The San Francisco 49ers will be without three starters against the Denver Broncos Sunday for their Week 14 matchup at Levi’s Stadium. Receiver Pierre Garçon, running back Matt Breida and safety Jaquiski Tartt were all ruled out Friday by coach Kyle Shanahan.
Garçon’s missed the last four weeks with a combination of both knee and shoulder injuries. Kendrick Bourne has filled in for the veteran receiver, reeling in 10 receptions for 120 yards in his absence. The former undrafted free agent will likely again get the starting nod Sunday.
In addition to Garçon, speedster Marquise Goodwin has missed the last three weeks with a personal matter. Rookie Dante Pettis has shined in his absense, catching 13 passes on 20 targets for 218 yards and three touchdowns since Week 10. Goodwin is slated to return against the Broncos, likely moving Pettis to either the slot or bumping Bourne from his spot opposite Goodwin.
The 49ers’ offense will also be without their lead running back. Breida’s ongoing ankle injury was aggravated against the Seahawks, giving the NFL their first look at undrafted free agent rookie Jeff Wilson. He didn’t disappoint, carrying the ball 15 times for 61 yards and catching eight passes for 73. Breida’s absence against the Broncos will give the 49ers another chance to see what Wilson is capable of as the primary back.
“That’s his style,” Shanahan said when asked about Wilson’s physical brand of running. “That’s what got him an opportunity in this league. That’s what he does best. That’s why he’s going to make it. I hope he doesn’t lose that, for his and our sakes. He runs hard and that’s what he does good. Hopefully, we can keep him healthy and he keeps getting better and better.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Tartt’s ailing shoulder has plagued him throughout the season. Sunday will be his fifth missed game of 2018. Marcell Harris will likely get the start in Tartt’s strong safety spot, with fellow rookie D.J. Reed or Antone Exum at free safety. The 49ers have fielded nine different safety combinations throughout the season, per Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman.
Further complicating the situation at safety for the 49ers is nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams’ knee injury. Williams is listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos, which could impact the defense’s lineup at safety if Reed needs to fill in for Williams.