The season-ending injury suffered by Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t just a Bay Area bummer, it figures to have ripple effects across the fantasy landscape. Expectations now need to be lowered for all of the 49ers’ pass-catchers, most notably WRs Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon, plus TE George Kittle, even though he has a rapport with new San Francisco QB C.J. Beathard that goes back to their college days together at Iowa.
The unfortunate fact is that while Beathard, a third-round pick in 2017, wasn’t a disaster as a rookie while playing in seven games and starting five, he wasn’t very good, either. He completed 54.9 of his passes for an average of 204.3 yards per game, with four touchdowns, six interceptions and a rating of 69.2.
There’s certainly a decent chance Beathard will be better in his second season, but it’s highly unlikely that there will be a seamless transition from Garoppolo. The latter hadn’t actually gotten off to the best of starts this season, but he had sparkled in limited action last year with the Niners and previously with the Patriots, and it was reasonable to think that he would at the very least provide steady, efficient play under a savvy offensive mind in Coach Kyle Shanahan.
Beathard does provide some rushing ability, and San Francisco may move to a more ground-based attack, which could prove a mixed bag for RBs Matt Breida and Alfred Morris. Both players may get more opportunities, but it could be harder for them to do as much with them, particularly in an offense that might struggle to consistently reach the red zone.
Note that The Washington Post defaults to PPR scoring, and that the rankings will update throughout the week, so please check back frequently. On a bye this week: Panthers, Redskins. Here are this week’s top movers and players of note.
Quarterback: Even with a trip to Denver on deck, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes retains the top spot for another week, as the Broncos haven’t been nearly as tough against the pass this season as in recent years. … The Chargers’ Philip Rivers should have his way at home with a 49ers squad that could stand to bring back Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid. … Coming off a disastrous home outing against the Bills and faced with a trip to the Rams in a Thursday night game, why in the world is the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins ranked so high? Well, I expect L.A. to be without star cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, and Minnesota is likely going to have to throw to keep up with its high-flying opponent. … Tom Brady gets some benefit of the doubt that the Patriots’ offense won’t look as bad as it did in Detroit. … The Bengals’ Andy Dalton should be slingin’ it in a likely shootout in Atlanta. … The Bucs’ Ryan Fitzpatrick got it together Monday night after an exceedingly shaky first half, and the guess here is that the looming implosion arrives in Chicago. Of course, this is assuming that he has earned the chance to start another game, even with Jameis Winston back from his suspension. … The Browns’ Baker Mayfield looked impressive in his debut but can’t be ranked any higher, given that he’ll be on the road in his first NFL start.
Running back: The Saints will be saddling Alvin Kamara up again in his last game before Mark Ingram returns from his suspension. … Melvin Gordon has been performing so far like a top-three RB, and so he shall be ranked. … The Cowboys’ sputtering attack has kept a lid on Ezekiel Elliott’s ceiling, but he nearly scored Sunday for a third straight game and has been more or less earning his keep as a no-doubt RB1. … In Joe Mixon’s absence, the Bengals’ Giovani Bernard is getting major playing time and should post his second straight top-10 outing. … The Falcons’ Tevin Coleman has been a bit of a disappointment in Devonta Freeman’s absence, especially in the passing game, but assuming Freeman is out again, he remains a top-12 option. … Mayfield should help keep defenses from swarming the Browns’ Carlos Hyde, not to mention improve his scoring chances. … The health of the Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette will have to be closely monitored, as will that of the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook. … The Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch has quietly been a nicely dependable, if somewhat TD-dependent, player. … Note to the Lions: for heaven’s sake, do the obvious and make Kerryon Johnson your undisputed lead back. … James White has earned a ranking as the Patriots' top RB, at least for fantasy purposes, which only ensures that he’ll be like, fifth in the pecking order against Miami. ... The Dolphins’ Kenyan Drake has done almost nothing to deserve top-24 consideration, but it’s probably about time he broke a huge play.
Wide receiver: The Giants' pass defense has been solid so far, and it’s a road game for the Saints, but Michael Thomas has caught an insane 38 of his 40 targets, so he stays at No. 1 in the weekly rankings. ... Speaking of insane, the inability of the Falcons' Julio Jones to get in the end zone has long left the realm of rationality. Get this man a touchdown already! ... The weirdest thing about Antonio Brown’s turbulent season is how frequently he and Ben Roethlisberger don’t seem to be on the same page. The same cannot be said of the Steelers QB and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has been money in the bank of late. ... Since going 8-108-1 in Week 1, the Chargers' Keenan Allen has posted lines of 6-67-0 and 3-44-0, a trend that needs reversing in a hurry. ... The Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders is inhaling targets from Case Keenum and should be used heavily against the Chiefs. ... Kenny Golladay has been the most consistent of the Lions' three productive WRs. ... The Texans' Will Fuller is being used in a variety of schemes, and to great effect. ... Brandin Cooks is clearly not going to recreate Sammy Watkins’s lost season last year for the Rams, and it’s just a darn shame there’s no room in the top 20 for Robert Woods (or Cooper Kupp, for that matter). ... Please, theoretical Raiders star Amari Cooper, don’t make me rank you behind the Dolphins' Kenny Stills. ... The Bengals' Tyler Boyd is pushing for every-week WR3 status, and he’ll jump up this week’s rankings if A.J. Green can’t go. ... We should get a look at Josh Gordon on the field for Patriots this week.
Tight end: It may be another couple of weeks before the Patriots' passing attack can force defenses to stop throwing quite so much of a blanket over Rob Gronkowski. ... A thin TE group, plus O.J. Howard’s increasing usage, plus his dominant physical abilities, make it easy to be very bullish on him. ... The Raiders' Jared Cook has predictably come back to Earth, but he still looks like a major part of the Raiders' offense. ... The Colts' Eric Ebron slots into the top 10 with teammate Jack Doyle looking iffy for the time being. ... The installation of Mayfield as the Browns' starting QB could also be very good news for David Njoku. ... Vance McDonald is more talented than Steelers teammate Jesse James, and he figures to get more looks going forward. ... Dallas Goedert deserves more usage by the Eagles, and he might get it, at least in the short term. ... The Giants' Evan Engram has a sprained knee ligament and could be quite limited, if he plays at all. ... All I needed was one bad week to return to ranking the Seahawks' Nick Vannett ahead of Will Dissly, as I had been doing before the season (honestly, I wasn’t ranking Dissly at all, which shows what I know). ... The Jaguars' Austin Seferian-Jenkins needs to do more than look the part. ... Charles Clay has not only been irrelevant, he’s ceded some of his scant workload to a person named Jason Croom.
Read more on the NFL: