Multiple news outlets and twitter feeds are blowing up with the news that Julio Jones could be done for the season with a broken foot. The Falcons were 1-4 after their bad loss last night to the Jets and were already quickly becoming a non-factor this season. This could effectively end their season as well, but it also radically shifts the balance of power in the fantasy football world.
Let’s take a quick look at the players dramatically affected by this injury
Obviously, if he’s done for the year, it’s a crushing blow to Jones owners who probably used a very high pick and had been enjoying his solid production and new-found role as the no doubt #1 option for Atlanta. If you owned Jones, hopefully you’ve stocked up on depth at WR. If you need help at WR, there are plenty of options on the waiver wire (top 10 here), but no one is going to quickly replace the bonafide WR1 that you lose when Jones goes down. If you are in any kind of a keeper league, Jones still has great upside going forward, but if you are in redraft leagues and he’s out for the year, you sadly have to move on.
Another player’s value that gets severely hurt by this injury is Matty Ice. Ryan has had a so-so season, and losing his top WR takes him out of the QB1 class and puts him in the fringe 8-12 group that means in many leagues there will be times to sit him and play a better option. We’ll have to see how he adjusts, but losing a dynamic field-stretching talent like Jones is a huge hit to Ryan’s value.
White has been battling through a high ankle sprain since camp and will be needed even more with Jones out. He also pulled a hamstring on Monday Night Football and wasn’t able to return late in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for White, the Falcons have a bye week this week and he’ll be able to rest and get back to 100%.
If someone in your league dropped White, now is the time to get him. I’d even try to trade for him and see if you can buy low. White is typically a target monster, and with Jones out across from him expect White to get plenty of passes his way. The bye week should help him physically recover and he’ll be back to his usual go-to self going forward. White could get back to WR1 status if health allows, so get him now if you can. If you’ve stashed White on your bench suffering through his two and three catch weeks, your patience could be about to pay big time dividends.
Another receiver who should get more looks with Jones hurting is Tony Gonzalez who has come on after a slow start with big games the last two weeks. He has 22 catches in his last two games with 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’ll continue to be a huge red zone target and immediately jumps into the top 3 TE options with Jimmy Graham and the soon-returning Rob Gronkowski (his owners hope anyway).
The player who will most likely replace Jones in the starting lineup is Harry Douglas who has shows some fantasy value in the past when filling in for White or Jones and makes a solid waiver wire claim if you need depth. Last night, he only caught two passes for six yards, but he’s had three games this season with four or more catches and over 40 yards. While he’s far from a replacement for Jones production, this injury does make him fantasy relevant and ownable in most formats. If you do make a claim on Douglas, remember the Falcons are on a bye this coming week, so he won’t help you this week.