After a tumultuous offseason that saw a slew of NFL stars change teams with bank-breaking contracts, it turns out the most significant roster move may have been one of the cheapest, and latest.
That’s because on Aug. 29, the San Francisco 49ers agreed with Jimmy Garoppolo on a $6.5 million restructured contract to serve as backup to phenom-to-be Trey Lance. Or to serve as trade bait for other NFL teams desperately needing a midseason replacement for an injured QB.
Turns out, the 49ers WERE that team that would lose its signal-caller, as Lance went down with a season-ending broken ankle Sunday.
Them’s is the breaks.
The Niners are counting on Jimmy G. to regain the swagger he showed in leading them to one Super Bowl and one NFC title game in the past three seasons. But can fantasy owners count on him to be an adequate replacement for Lance in their little game?
If you judge Garoppolo by his best fantasy season, he’s not much more than average. In his best season (2019), he tallied 3,978 yards passing with 27 TD tosses. Drew Brees he ain’t.
While Garoppolo might be considered the handsomest of passing prospects, he’s not the best-looking quarterback you might find available on the waiver wires.
Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) — How tanking-worthy was the Miami QB last Sunday. He passed for 232 yards and four touchdowns … in the last 15½ minutes. Thanks to the league’s best pair of deep threats (Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle), Tua is on pace for more than 6,000 passing yards. Hashtag: Small Sample Size Alert.
Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars) — The former No. 1 pick is starting to round into form in Jacksonville. Lawrence has passed for 510 yards and three touchdowns in the first two weeks. He’ll be even better as he gets used to new weapons Christian Kirk, Travis Etienne and Evan Engram.
Jared Goff (Lions) — Is it even conceivable that, long term, the Lions WON the Matthew Stafford trade? Not very likely. But the former top pick is tied for fourth in the league with six TD passes for the … get ready for it … NFL’s second-highest scoring team.
Marcus Mariota (Falcons) — He may only be keeping the seat warm for Atlanta rookie Desmond Ridder, but the former Heisman Trophy winner is third in rushing among QBs and hasn’t been shy about calling his own number near the goal line.
This is not the best week to start aged quarterbacks who have struggled in Weeks 1 and 2. So find someone else besides the Bucs’ Tom Brady (vs. Packers) or Denver’s Russell Wilson (vs. Niners). … We’re not a big fan of starting Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Indy despite his two-TD game last week. … WR Marquise Brown has underwhelmed in Arizona so far and will continue to against the Rams and all-world cornerback Jalen Ramsey. … On the other side in that game, Rams WR Allen Robinson showed more life in Week 2 but should still land on your bench. … And the bench is where all Pittsburgh receivers probably belong this week, with struggling QB Mitchell Trubisky heading to Cleveland to face some angry Browns.
The NFL has a new big name: Detroit wide receiver Amon-Ra St Brown. He tied the NFL record for most consecutive games (8) with at least eight catches, and he will break that mark against the Vikings. HIs totals in that stretch: 54 catches, 740 yards, 9 touchdowns. … The Bengals need a win desperately against the Jets, so they will amp up the running game with Joe Mixon. … Tampa Bay will need to run to beat Green Bay, so Leonard Fournette will be busy. … With each game, Dallas is turning more to RB Tony Pollard and away from Ezekiel Elliott. Look for that to continue against Giants. … We say THIS is the week Houston rookie Dameon Pierce breaks out against Chicago. … Saints WR Michael Thomas is about 80 percent of his old self, and that will be good enough against Carolina. … Former Gophers WR Rashod Bateman will continue to shine for the Ravens against New England. … And Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow, whose fumble cost them a victory over Arizona, will atone this week against Tennessee.
We start with suspension news: Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans has been banned this week because of his brawl with New Orleans’ Marshon Lattimore. … Arizona running back James Conner hurt his ankle and missed the madcap finish in Las Vegas. If he can’t go this week it will thrust Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams into the spotlight. … Will Justin Herbert’s rib cartilage allow the Chargers’ star quarterback to play against Jacksonville? … Players who left early in Week 2 include Denver WR Jerry Jeudy and Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz. … Will the injury hiatuses continue for Saints RB Alvin Kamara, Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins, Indy WR Michael Pittman, Bucs WRs Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, or 49ers tight end George Kittle.
THE DEEPEST SLEEPER
Among the surprises from the Cowboys’ upset of Cincinnati was reserve wide receiver Noah Brown. The sixth-year journeyman from Ohio State was targeted nine times, and he caught five passes for 68 yards, emerging as the clear No. 2 pass catcher behind CeeDee Lamb. Michael Gallup may not be ready to return from injury yet, so Brown could be worth a flier this week because of an adequate backup quarterback (Cooper Rush) and an unimpressive opponent (the remarkably unbeaten New York Football Giants).
THE THURSDAY PICK
Steelers at Browns (-5½):
Pick: Browns by 3
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.