Redskins

Harbaugh wants 49ers to rest their bodies, minds

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Harbaugh wants 49ers to rest their bodies, minds

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) As Jim Harbaugh sent the 49ers into a mandatory three-day break to ``rest their minds, rest their bodies,'' San Francisco's coach and his staff busily began playoff preparations for the NFC divisional round in less than two weeks.

That is, after he took a moment to congratulate his men for another special season. One that is hardly finished in everybody's mind.

The two-time reigning NFC West champions (11-4-1) will now spend much of their energy and efforts studying the Washington Redskins - the one team among the Niners' three possible opponents that they have yet to face this season. Green Bay and Seattle are the other two who could visit Candlestick Park for the Jan. 12 prime-time matchup.

Rarely one to look ahead by even a day, Harbaugh referenced the road he expects the team to take before season's end: reaching the Super Bowl after coming so close last season. San Francisco lost 20-17 in overtime of the NFC title game to the eventual champion New York Giants.

``To be back-to-back division champs, worthy champions of arguably the best division in football again this year, I think is quite an accomplishment,'' Harbaugh said Monday. ``Now it's a new focus, a three-game focus, to get our ultimate goal.''

There's another important job, too. Harbaugh must figure out who will be kicking field goals the rest of the way. David Akers struggled yet again Sunday, missing wide left from 44 and 40 yards before connecting on a 43-yarder and 26-yarder in a 27-13 win against Arizona. Harbaugh said it is likely the team will bring in a few kickers for ``some tryouts, have some competition.''

Akers, who made 44 of 52 attempts in his sensational 2011 season, is just 29 for 42 this year. He is only 7 for 13 from 40-49 yards.

The 38-year-old Akers signed a three-year contract as arguably the 49ers' biggest offseason acquisition ahead of the 2011 season aside from the hiring of Harbaugh. And he delivered at nearly every opportunity - until recently.

He had a 21-yard attempt blocked by Red Bryant in a 42-13 loss at Seattle on Dec. 23, and Richard Sherman returned it 90 yards for a touchdown.

Such a dramatic decline for the veteran who surprised himself when he hit a 63-yarder in a season-opening win at Green Bay after the ball bounced off the crossbar. Akers called it ``about like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.''

A six-time Pro-Bowler in his 15th NFL season out of Louisville, Akers scored 166 points last season - far surpassing the 49ers' previous best of 138 accomplished by Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice in 1987.

``Kickers go through, at times, slumps. You see a guy go through it and sometimes he'll come out of it quickly and sometimes it lingers a little bit,'' Harbaugh said. ``Have I been surprised that he hasn't made those kicks? You have to understand, that's the job of the kicker, put it through the uprights.''

Also of added importance with securing the NFC's No. 2 seed and an extra week before opening the playoffs is the chance to get Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith back into the mix after he partially tore his left triceps muscle in a 41-34 win at New England on Dec. 16. Smith's 185-game streak without missing a start ended at Seattle, and Arizona pounded that right side of the line at every opportunity with Smith missing.

``My thoughts are that you watch the strength and how that comes back, and if he can play, do his job, defend himself and be effective,'' Harbaugh said. ``He has made progress each week, significant progress. Hopeful, would be my thought.''

Harbaugh indicated the team would not only rely on Smith's word on whether he feels ready, but also the doctors.

``Nobody knows his body like a player himself,'' Harbaugh said. ``I'm hopeful.''

When it comes to the surprisingly shaky kicking game, Harbaugh provided three potential scenarios - sticking with Akers, bringing in a new kicker altogether or having two kickers and letting them compete.

Whatever plan they go with, the 49ers will need more consistency from that position going forward.

``We want to make the right decision. David's certainly in it,'' Harbaugh said. ``He's done a lot of great things for us. He's made a lot of great kicks, big kicks. He knows it, we know it. Those kicks in the games, you've got to make those kicks. There will always be a level of competition around at any position to find who gives you the best chance to win the next game. Knowing how competitive Dave is, I don't think he'll have a problem with that.''

San Francisco captured consecutive division crowns for the first time since winning four straight West titles from 1992-95. A first-round bye again was an added bonus after Minnesota beat the Packers.

``The bye is great,'' backup quarterback Alex Smith said. ``It gives us a chance to get that much more healthy.''

Harbaugh became the eighth coach in NFL history to win division titles in each of his first two seasons and third to do so after taking over a team with a losing record.

Yet Harbaugh offered a warning of sorts to his players as 2013 approached not to get too excited about what they've done so far.

``The celebration will be after the Super Bowl, not New Year's Eve,'' the coach said. ``I hope guys are smart, I hope they're tame tonight. I tried to ask that, encourage it, almost insist it. You can't make people do things, but if the players are listening, be tame, be tame. Let's rest. I think we need it.''

Notes: RB Kendall Hunter said he underwent surgery on his injured left Achilles and is making progress in his recovery. While still sporting a walking boot, he said: ``I'm getting better. I'll be walking next week. I wish I could be out there.'' ... Aside from the break early in the week, San Francisco players also will have Saturday and Sunday off. ... Harbaugh said CB Tarell Brown played Sunday while fighting a ``fever, the sickness, the flu, the whole works.'' ... The Niners waived RB Brandon Jacobs, who was suspended Dec. 10 for the final three regular-season games.

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After Patrick Mahomes' injury, could Case Keenum or Colt McCoy be on the move?

After Patrick Mahomes' injury, could Case Keenum or Colt McCoy be on the move?

Patrick Mahomes hurt his knee Thursday night, and while the severity is unknown, Kansas City's Super Bowl plans just got dealt a major hurdle. 

The truth is if Mahomes needs knee surgery then the Chiefs might need to recalibrate their hopes for January and beyond. If Mahomes only needs rest, however, then the Redskins might actually be able to help. 

It's no secret Washington and Kansas City know how to make a trade. January 2018 the two teams worked out a blockbuster when quarterback Alex Smith came to the Redskins and cornerback Kendall Fuller along with a third-round pick went to the Chiefs. The same power brokers are in charge now that pulled off that trade: Andy Reid in KC and Bruce Allen in DC.

And oddly enough the Redskins have a bit of a surplus in veteran quarterbacks. Neither Case Keenum or Colt McCoy can replace Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, but either signal caller might be able to keep the Chiefs afloat for a few weeks.

The trade deadline is approaching fast, coming October 29th. The Redskins are currently 1-5 and there is no reason to keep both Keenum and McCoy on the roster the rest of the year. 

Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick, and eventually, the Ohio State star will start for the Redskins. Beyond that, both Keenum and McCoy have contracts that expire after this season. Neither player figures in the long-term plans for the Burgundy and Gold, and certainly the future is to eventually go to Haskins.

Want one more mitigating factor? Even after his devestating injury last season, Alex Smith is due more than $20 million guaranteed next year. He has been at practice and games for weeks, and appears to be close with Washington upper management. It's not crazy to think that in some role Smith will be around in 2020 along with Haskins. That makes Keenum or McCoy that much more expendable down the stretch. 

If Kansas City needs somebody to run their offense for a few weeks, the Redskins should dangle McCoy or Keenum. Or both. 

It's unclear that either player would entice much of an offer, but keep in mind, McCoy is widely respected around the league and Keenum had the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game just two seasons ago. The return for Washington might not be much, but something is always more thank nothing. 

Most deals get made around necessity, and Kansas City might have a big need. 

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Fantasy Football: Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7

Fantasy Football: Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7

Week 7 is here and it is time to take a good look at your lineups and decide whether you like the direction your team is headed. If you are sitting at 1-5, its time to make a season-deciding trade. If you're sitting at 2-4 or .500, bolster your bench for later in the season. It's also time to stop wasting a roster spot on players that have continued to let you down.

Before we can get ready for Week 7, lineups need to be set, decisions need to be made and let's take a look at how last week's predictions fared.

Start ‘Em

QB: Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars: 163 Passing YDS, 1 INT, 4.6 PTS
RB: Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions: 34 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 2 Receptions, 27 Receiving YDS, 14.1 PTS
WR: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers: 7 Receptions, 73 Receiving YDS, 13 Rushing YDS, 15.6 PTS
TE: Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams: 2 Receptions, 9 Receiving YDS, 2.9 PTS

Sit 'Em

QB: Jimmy Garrapolo, San Francisco 49ers: 243 Passing YDS, 1 INT, 1 Fumble, 4 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 12.1 PTS
RB: Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers: 18 Rushing YDS, 3 Receptions, 30 Receiving YDS, 7.7 PTS
WR: Robby Anderson, New York Jets: 5 Receptions, 125 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 23.5 PTS
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: 3 Receptions, 36 Receiving YDS, 6.6 PTS

Week 1: 5/8

Week 2: 6/8

Week 3: 4/8

Week 4: 6/8

Week 5: 4/8

Week 6: 2/8 

Start 'Em

QB: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: at Falcons


The Rams travel to Atlanta in Week 7 hoping to bounce-back after a terrible performance on Sunday at home at the hands of the 49ers. Goff was especially bad, completing only 13 of 24 passes for just 78 yards and a fumble. This week’s matchup gives him the chance to bounce back. The Falcons have been a disaster in 2019 after beginning the season with high expectations and despite Matt Ryan’s solid play, the defense has been atrocious. The Falcons’ defense has allowed the third-most fantasy QB points per game thus far, and the Rams will be locked and loaded and ready to capitalize.

RB: Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers
Opponent: at Redskins


Kyle Shanahan and the unbeaten 49ers make a pit stop in the nation’s capital on Sunday and their dominant ground attack should continue to roll through every opponent in their path. Tevin Coleman is finally healthy and has been a welcome sight and will look to continue against Washington.

WR: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Opponent: vs. Eagles


With Amari Cooper not at 100% after suffering an injury against the Jets in Week 6, Michael Gallup will assume a larger target share regardless if Cooper is active or not against the Eagles. It couldn’t come at a more opportune time for fantasy managers who can slip him right into all lineups against a horrid Eagles secondary that gave up four touchdowns to the Vikings on Sunday as well as over 200 yards through the air. Gallup is a solid WR2 for the Sunday Night Football matchup with top-10 upside.

TE: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Opponent: vs. Dolphins


The Bills come off of a Week 6 bye to host the Dolphins in Buffalo. With John Brown questionable for the matchup, the only other Bills pass-catcher I have confidence is Dawson Knox, who has shown flashes throughout the season but hasn’t had the opportunity or usage to capitalize on. This matchup provides that opportunity. 
 
Sit 'Em

QB: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Opponent: at Titans


The Chargers had playoff intentions before the start of the season. At Week 7, they’ll be luck to sniff .500 at 8-8 if all goes well from here on out. Injuries have decimated the club. Star second-year safety Derwin James suffered a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his foot before Week 1 and underwent surgery and was placed on IR and isn’t able to return until Week 9. 

Melvin Gordon returned from his holdout but hasn’t shed the rust. Keenan Allen came out blazing but has regressed of late. Philip Rivers can’t be the deciding factor in whether the team wins or loses, and going up against a stout Titans defense, he needs to be on your bench. 

RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
Opponent: vs. Saints


The Bears come off their bye in Week 7 to host Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense has been exceptional thus far at containing the run, allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Bears' David Montgomery hasn't gotten off to the start most anticipated and this won't be the week he gets going.

WR: Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
Opponent: vs. 49ers


The Redskins’ rookie phenom has been electric through the first six games of 2019 but faces one of the best pass defenses in football when the Burgundy and Gold host the 49ers. The San Francisco defense held Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to seven receptions and 35 receiving yards combined in Week 6 and held Odell Beckham Jr. to just two receptions for 27 yards the week prior. Curb your expectations for McLaurin on Sunday afternoon. 

TE: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Opponent: vs. Texans


The Colts come off of their bye with a matchup against the red-hot Houston Texans. For the Colts, the only viable pass catching option for Frank Reich should be T.Y. Hilton. With Andrew Luck retired, the offense has pumped out a few victories but the team hasn’t been utilizing the tight end as much as last season. Through 6 weeks, Jack Doyle has only posted 14 receptions for 128 yards, which is well below what you need from a viable tight end to win your matchup. Greener pastures await for Doyle, but it would be best to find another option in Week 7.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 7
Running Back Rankings: Week 7
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 7
Tight End Rankings: Week 7