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Who is the 49ers quarterback in Week 18?

The 49ers are playing their cards close to the vest heading into a key Week 18 matchup.

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers talk to each other on the sidelines before their preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Levi’s Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Los Angeles Rams in a key Week 18 matchup, and they are playing coy at the most important position on the field. Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as questionable due to a thumb injury that cost him a Week 17 start. Trey Lance started that game and played well, but the team has split first team work among the two quarterbacks.

The 49ers’ decision-making this week has suggested Garoppolo could return and start on Sunday. The splitting of work was significant, and Saturday’s roster moves were arguably more significant. The team had to make any final roster additions for Sunday by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. Notably, the team did not promote quarterback Nate Sudfeld from the practice squad.

A week ago, the 49ers promoted him to be Lance’s backup, and deactivated Garoppolo for the game. The decision to not promote Sudfeld means Garoppolo and Lance are the team’s only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. It’s possible Garoppolo would be available as the backup, but that seems unlikely. Kyle Shanahan has said that if healthy, Garoppolo would start. He would not be viewed as healthy enough to be available, but not healthy enough to start.

It’s possible that changes at the last minute, but all indications point to Garoppolo starting over Lance on Sunday against the Rams.