49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo injury shows absurdity of 'next man up' to 49ers Faithful

Jimmy Garoppolo injury shows absurdity of 'next man up' to 49ers Faithful

This is where the painfully weak coaching phrase “next man up” rings just as hollow and insulting as it is.

Jimmy Garoppolo rendered his left knee useless for the rest of the calendar year Sunday in Kansas City, trying to gain an extra yard that his army of fans will curse for months to come. And while the 49ers lost the game 38-27 and might have lost cornerback Richard Sherman as well (an understandably undernoted development given the circumstances), the team, organization and customers now will watch the last 13 games with lifeless eyes as they wait for another year for the Garoppolo they've dreamed of seeing.

And it’s why C.J. Beathard just inherited a most difficult job, namely trying to make a devastated audience believe the movie still is worth watching. It won't work, through no fault of his own, because "next man up" usually is a lie.

Yes, quarterbacks get hurt every week. It’s part of the charm of the institutional carnage that is the National Football League. Most seasons drift off into the woods when that happens, so the mood is justifiable.

But Garoppolo had been granted the power to make people believe that he -- and he alone -- would usher the 49ers to a new world full of unicorns, winning lottery tickets, taverns that never give you a bill, and Joe Montana and Steve Young frolicking together in a leafy glade. Or something like that. That’s how eager people were to believe.

Thus, this injury carries a greater magnitude than most. The closest comparison might be Aaron Rodgers because (a) he has a larger profile and more impressive résumé , (b) he plays in a town where football is more important than the 49ers ever have been in the Bay Area, and (c) he has been a national cultural figure for years, as anyone who enjoys late night television and insurance commercials will tell you.

Garoppolo, though, still had that new-car smell and new-car feel -- no dents, no spills on the interior carpet, not even an oil change. Plus, he made Vegas sit up and take notice at the one place that matters most, which no quarterback with a 10-game résumé has done in decades. He moved betting lines and win totals.

And we’re not even getting into the good looks/dating stuff, which matters to a segment of the audience.

Mostly, though, acquiring Garoppolo was the smartest and most dynamic thing the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan brain trust had done since coming to San Francisco, and now because his left knee chose to be catastrophically disobedient, the 49ers are collectively bent over and gasping, desperately trying to figure out how to reinflate its lungs. “Next man up” -- now there’s a joke that never starts being funny.

Of course, there is one thing that might cheer them up, and that’s knowing that Raiders fans are no better off, because their team has second halves as mangled as Garoppolo’s knee. So it’s a Schadenfreude Sunday all around, and the NFL draft is eight months away.

This season started in such promising ways for both teams, and now ... this. Well, maybe they can come together as brothers and sisters, commiserating together over their mutually destroyed seasons with empathy and kindness.

Yeah, because that will happen right after people start taking "next man up" as a compliment rather than the lament it is.

MORE ON THE 49ERS

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Niners deal with emotion of losing their leader

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Fantasy football waiver wire: 49ers' Deebo Samuel among Week 3 targets

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AP

Fantasy football waiver wire: 49ers' Deebo Samuel among Week 3 targets

Another week in the books.

With nothing but the Monday Night matchup remaining on the NFL's Week 2 slate, it's time to turn our attention to the waiver wire. There were several standout performances across the league, as well as some serious injuries to some key fantasy players.

The waiver wire presents your opportunity to capitalize on those developments and set your team up to continue its fast start, or to rebound before it's too late.

With that, here are four non-quarterbacks to keep in mind for waiver claims Tuesday morning, all of whom could be the missing link for your squad and are owned in fewer than 15 percent of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy leagues.

Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs WR

1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 1 percent owned in ESPN

Patrick Mahomes has shown no signs whatsoever of slowing down, as the third-year quarterback lit up Oakland for 443 passing yards and four touchdowns in Kansas City's 28-10 road win on Sunday. He did all that without Tyreek Hill, who missed the game with a sternoclavicular joint injury. However, Demarcus Robinson did his best Hill impression.

Robinson hauled in six passes for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, pairing with rookie Mecole Hardman to give the Chiefs two downfield threats that Oakland struggled to keep up with. Given how explosive Kansas City's offense is, you know they're going to put up plenty of points on a weekly basis. Sammy Watkins takes over the No. 1 spot in Hill's absence, but Robinson made a very convincing argument for more playing time on Sunday. He'll likely be the top waiver add in your league.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins WR

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 3 percent owned in ESPN

The Dolphins flat-out stink. There's no way around it.

After being shut out 43-0 by the Patriots on Sunday, Miami has now been outscored 102-10 over the first two weeks of the season. That is historically bad.

The Dolphins are inept on both sides of the ball, but from a fantasy perspective, that can have its benefits. Miami has been playing from behind all season, and there's no reason to expect that to change anytime soon. That means lots of passes, and as one of the most talent-poor teams in the league, the Dolphins simply don't have many pass-catchers worth rostering. Preston Williams, however, might be a different story.

While DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant both drew one more target, Williams led all Miami receivers with four receptions for 63 yards on Sunday. He now has at least five targets and three receptions in every game this season, and has accounted for Miami's lone touchdown. There aren't many Dolphins worth rostering in fantasy, but in deep leagues, Williams might qualify.

Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks TE

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 2 percent owned in ESPN

If you didn't grab one of the top-tier tight ends in the first few rounds of your fantasy draft, chances are you've experienced some uneven play from that position. Rookie T.J. Hockenson had an all-time performance in Week 1, but was an absolute dud in Week 2. Pittsburgh's Vance McDonald basically did the opposite.

So, if you're unhappy with the state of your tight end position, it might be worth taking a flier on Seattle's Will Dissly. The Seahawks tight end caught all five passes on which he was targeted Sunday for 50 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He won't be a consistent producer from week-to-week, but in a pinch, you could do a lot worse, particularly given the quarterback throwing him the ball.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers WR

13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 13 percent owned in ESPN

It remains to be seen if the 49ers have a true No. 1 receiver, but Deebo Samuel made the most convincing argument yet this season on Sunday against the Bengals.

San Francisco's second-round pick led the 49ers in targets, receptions and receiving yards against Cincinnati, hauling in five passes for 87 yards and a score. Jimmy Garoppolo looked considerably better in Week 2 than in Week 1, and he seemed to look for Samuel in key moments.

[RELATED: Why Jimmy G getting into early rhythm was key to 49ers' win]

Inconsistency is to be expected from a rookie, but given that Samuel has outplayed Dante Pettis over the first two weeks, it seems unlikely that his snap count will decrease anytime soon, especially after the offensive explosion San Francisco experienced against the Bengals. Kyle Shanahan is as good of a play-caller as there is in the NFL, and Samuel affords him plenty of flexibility in that department. Add Samuel as a WR4 that offers the potential for more.

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

CINCINNATI — The 49ers' defense was overshadowed by an offense that put 41 points and 572 yards on the board against the Bengals, but it still had a Sunday not to forget.

San Francisco held Cincinnati to 316 yards in total offense, including a shockingly low 25 on the ground. Another 66 yards of that total came on the Bengals' final offensive play -- a garbage-time touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to John Ross. Take that away, and the Bengals' total offensive output was 250 yards as the 49ers rolled 41-17 at Paul Brown Stadium.

That one week after the 49ers held the Buccaneers to 17 points and 295 total yards in a season-opening road win.

Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all recorded quarterback sacks Sunday, and linebacker Kwon Alexander logged his first interception as a 49er and the seventh of his NFL career. The defense also racked up eight pass break-ups, with Alexander responsible for three, Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed for two apiece, and Jullian Taylor for one.

The 49ers' new attitude on defense is noticeable, and much of the credit for that goes to Alexander and defensive end Dee Ford being added to the lineup and, of course, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's presence.

Jimmy Garoppolo explained how unique the group is and how Alexander really has changed the mood.

"Yeah, Kwon's awesome, man," the 49ers quarterback said. "He really is. The defense as a whole, it’s a different attitude, and I’ve never been around a defense like that. When I turn the ball over and they hold them to a field goal and miss it, it just gives you so much more confidence in those guys. They played their asses off, and it’s incredible."

Alexander could be considered an instigator of sorts. He's always seen on the sideline with a lot of energy, and if any trash talk is happening on the field, you'd best believe that he's involved. He also takes full responsibility for second-year pro Fred Warner's vocal emergence this season.

[RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in rout of Bengals]

Alexander believes motivation is cyclical, with all phases of the game keeping the energy high for each other. He thrives off it.

"Everybody buying in, doing what they got to do," Alexander said. "Offense doing what they got to do running the ball, D going out there making plays and turnovers ...

"Everybody was just feeding off each other, and once you do that, once you get a team feeding off each other and playing fast, you’re going to win a lot of games."

So, while the offense had a better showing Sunday, the defense is what could keep the 2-0 49ers' upward trajectory on course. Not only is the unit capable of helping pull out a win when the offense struggles, but the defense can alleviate pressure on Jimmy G and Co. to perform.