Originally written on Fantasy Sports Locker Room  |  Last updated 10/19/14
With reports emerging today that Julio Jones‘ foot injury is tied to a previous broken bone suffered in 2011, and his placement on the Injured Reserve the Atlanta Falcons will be without the league’s leader in receptions for the remainder of the season. It is disappointing to a) the Atlanta Falcons, who sit at 1-4 and seem destined to struggle in the post-Jones 2013 reality given Roddy White‘s uncertain health and the fact that the New Orleans Saints have raced out to a 5-0 start b) those who sunk an early round draft pick into Jones and were enjoying the early season benefits and c) anyone invested in most of the elements of the Atlanta offense. It’s tough for both the real and the fake games when a star player goes down. However, we need to react accordingly, particularly if you’re a Jones owner. I’ve updated my rest of season rankings, loosely, holding steady on Roddy White from a week ago, but bumping Harry Douglas north and Matt Ryan south among other tweaks. Julio Jones apparently made this spectacular play with a screw loose in his foot. Unfortunately, owners can’t expect similar results for the rest of 2013 (Photo: Dale Zanin, USA TODAY Sports) Atlanta is on a bye in Week 6 but will return mid-October with a number of question marks. The early word is that White, expected initially to use this week to get back to full health, has 50/50 odds of playing two weekends from now after developing a new injury on Monday night. Meanwhile, Harry Douglas is already playing far more snaps than anyone anticipated this year participating in 70.6% of Atlanta’s offensive plays. That number should rise significantly if Jones is ruled out moving forward, making Douglas a valuable commodity based on volume alone. He hasn’t wowed in any of Atlanta’s games to date – posting a 64.0% catch rate and compiling 16 catches for 219 yards without a score and grading as 81st of 105 qualified receivers according to Pro Football Focus. He’s not Julio Jones, and he won’t replace his production… but those 44 yards per game should head upward, particularly if White continues to be hampered or misses any games. Drew Davis enters the picture as well, he’s the player most likely to move into Douglas’ role as the third receiver. Davis has seen just 67 snaps, compared to 245 for Douglas and he’s been targeted just once. The third year pro came into the league as an undrafted free agent and has yet to see much playing time, but, is worth keeping on your radar if he does earn an extended look. Beyond that, Matt Ryan won’t be able to replace Jones’ production and thus your outlook on the QB needs to be adjusted. The consensus top 6 Quarterback in Fantasy Pros preseason rankings could be hard pressed to stay in the top 10 for the rest of the season without his best receiving weapon. If White gets right, the outlook is much better, but until we see him healthy it’s hard to believe in a QB throwing the ball to a hobbled #84 and a number of unproven pass catchers. Of course, Ryan does have Tony Gonzalez on his side. The 37 year old has been a model of good health throughout his tenure in the league and should be able to absorb any additional work that comes his way. You’d have to expect that it will. While teams may focus more of their gameplan on shutting down the veteran with limited options available otherwise, there should be more volume in store for the league’s second most targeted TE. Gonzalez’s 339 yards and three touchdowns through five games have already been paying the fantasy bills, but, he could be in line for greater production. Finally, and briefly, the news and the overall context in Atlanta is bad news for Steven Jackson. I raved in the preseason about how his arrival in a high-powered offense would lead to greater production for Jackson but between his own injury and the offensive quagmire that he is returning to, expectations have to be tempered. Jackson was productive in St. Louis and will continue to be so for Atlanta but he can no longer be looked at as a back-end RB1. So… that’s it. To summarize, the injury helps no one except for Harry Douglas who should see a handful more snaps and Tony Gonzalez who will be targeted until the wheels fall off. The post Fantasy fallout: Reaction to Julio Jones’ foot injury and its impact on the Falcons appeared first on Fantasy Sports Locker Room.
PLAYERS: Julio Jones
TEAMS: Atlanta Falcons
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