Fantasy Injury Updates: Is C.J. Beathard playing Thursday night?
The 49ers may be in trouble at the quarterback position. C.J. Beathard is dealing with a wrist injury, and the team doesn’t have a lot of depth behind him. On a short week, the 49ers are staring down the prospect of starting Nick Mullens or Tom Savage at the position if Beathard can’t play. Needless to say, this is not a decision they expected to be facing after signing Jimmy Garoppolo to a massive contract this offseason. Beathard’s official active/inactive status won’t be decided until shortly before the game, but it will have an impact on fantasy football rankings and could create some interesting start ’em, sit ’em decisions — not because anyone is starting Beathard; rather because of how his absence could affect San Francisco’s pass-catchers and the Oakland D/ST.
We’ll provide updates on Beathard throughout the day, so check back for the latest news. And for news on the “questionable” Matt Breida, go here.
Week 9 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker
Is CJ Beathard playing Thursday night?
Beathard has been dealing with a wrist injury this week and is officially “questionable,” and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Beathard is “truly 50-50” for tonight’s game. He’s struggling to grip the ball, so that could keep him out on the short week. If Beathard can’t play, Nick Mullens — a second-year player who went undrafted out of Southern Miss — would get the start for the 49ers.
As mentioned earlier, Beathard isn’t likely to be anyone’s top QB option in fantasy (unless, maybe, you’re in a two-QB league). Thus, the switch at QB doesn’t have a major impact on quarterback rankings, as Mullens and Beathard are both bottom-barrel options. That said, it’s possible that Beathard’s absence could impact other key players on both teams.
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Notably, if Beathard is out, it’s impossible to know what to expect from the 49ers receivers. Mullens has only ever logged action in five preseason games over the course of two years. He’s not proven as an NFL passer, and if he can’t get the ball downfield to Marquise Goodwin and George Kittle, they won’t be viable options in fantasy. If Mullens is on the field, the only justifiable start is Kittle at TE, and that’s only because the streaming options available behind him are uninspiring, at best. Every other 49ers receiver should be sat.
Also, if Mullens can’t pass the ball well enough, the 49ers RBs could struggle to find room, even against a weak Raiders run defense. The Raiders may opt to stack the box and protect against that aspect of the game and force Mullens to beat them. That could have a negative impact on the trio of Matt Breida (if he plays), Alfred Morris, and Raheem Mostert (if he plays). Thus, it’s hard to trust any of them as top options.
It’s also worth noting that the Raiders defense could become a top streamer for the week if Beathard is out. They were already trending in that direction with Beathard in, and despite their horrible performance so far this year. They could be a consideration with six teams on bye. It would be a risk, but given that Mullens has a 2:4 TD-to-INT rate in five preseason starts, it may be worth it.
Beathard could end up playing, so all of these hypotheticals could be moot points. But either way, the Raiders figure to be in position to exploit the 49ers and force their QB into some mistakes. Thursday night games are often unpredictable, but this is certainly looking like a contest that the Raiders should win.
We’ll provide more updates on Beathard’s status as the game draws nearer. It’s clear that his active/inactive status will have a big impact on this contest even though he’s one of the weakest fantasy starters at the QB position.
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