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SHOW ME WHERE IT HURTS: Week 3 Injury Fallout

There weren’t many injuries this week, but there was one that will have massive fallout. Any time a solid quarterback on a good offense goes down with a potential season-ending injury — as Jimmy Garoppolo did on Sunday — there are going to be far-reaching effects. I’m here to help you sort through that situation, as well as the other injury situations from Week 3. Here’s a rundown of all of this week’s injuries, including the fantasy impact:

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Garoppolo left Sunday’s game against the Chiefs with a left knee injury in the fourth quarter. He suffered the injury when he was scrambling on third-and-goal, and his knee buckled. He was carted to the locker room and did not return to the game. After the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan said that the team fears that Garoppolo tore his ACL.

Impact

Garoppolo will undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm the initial prognosis, but the expectation is that this injury will end his season. If that’s the case, then second-year quarterback C.J. Beathard will step into the starting role, and the entire 49ers passing game will require reevaluation. Luckily, Beathard played six full games for the 49ers last season, which means that we have a reasonable amount of data that we can analyze. In the table below, you can see how San Francisco’s three main pass-catchers fared with Beathard under center last year, and you can compare it to how they have fared with Garoppolo:

Marquise Goodwin* Pierre Garcon George Kittle
Receptions Per Game Yards Per Game TDs Per Game Receptions Per Game Yards Per Game TDs Per Game Receptions Per Game Yards Per Game TDs Per Game
With Jimmy Garoppolo 5.3 69 0.33 2.3 30 0.00 3.4 52 0.13
With C.J. Beathard 2.2 56 0.17 4.0 40 0.00 2.2 25 0.00

*Goodwin’s stats do not include Week 1 of the 2018 season because he suffered a quad injury in the second quarter.

As you can see, Marquise Goodwin and George Kittle were both significantly less productive with Beathard throwing the ball. Pierre Garcon, on the other hand, was more productive with Beathard, although his touchdown drought with the 49ers has really held him back, regardless of the QB. At this point, Goodwin and Garcon should both be moved down to WR4 territory, although either player could work his way back into WR3 consideration if he can establish a connection with Beathard. Kittle’s numbers with Beathard won’t be quite as bad as they were last year, since he only played 53.8 percent of the snaps in 2017, compared to the 77.7 snap percentage that he has in 2018. It also helps that Beathard and Kittle played together at the University of Iowa. For now, tight end is such a shallow position that Kittle can still be considered a low-end TE1.

The 49ers running game will also need to be reassessed, and that’s where you can find some good news. In Beathard’s games last year, Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida combined to average 6.8 catches for 48 yards per game. With Garoppolo in 2017, their per-game average dropped to just 2.6 catches for 20 yards (similarly, Breida and Alfred Morris have only averaged 3.0 catches for 14 yards with Garoppolo this year). Judging from the stats, Beathard appears to have a penchant for dumping the ball off to his running backs, and that could be enough to keep Breida and Morris in the starting conversation. Scoring opportunities will be more limited, but Breida still profiles as a low-end RB2 in PPR leagues, while Morris looks like a risky flex option moving forward.

About Jay Devineni

A journalist by trade, Jay is in St. Louis and still a loyal Rams fan. He earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University and is a published sports writer.