As of Wednesday night, Julio Jones is officially undergoing season ending foot surgery. If you own him in your league, I don’t have to explain to you how monumental of a loss this is. Depending on your league’s scoring system, he’s been a top five receiver this year with a monster first two weeks. Lately, the scoring dropped off but the yards were there, meaning the touchdowns were on their way. I was scoffed at for drafting him ahead of Calvin Johnson a couple of times and, for the first few weeks of the season, he was making me look like a genius. The real tragedy here is that this appears to be turning into a chronic problem for Jones. It is still uncertain if this injury is related to the screw placed in his foot prior to the draft in 2011, but it is definitely the same foot. His career so far has lived up to the hype and he’s proven to be worth the hefty price Atlanta paid to move up in the draft. I hope he comes back from this and returns to dominant form next season.
Where does that leave the rest of the Falcons fantasy options?
Well, Steven Jackson will certainly be leaned on quite a bit more when he returns. Jacquizz Rodgers’ value drops every day Jackson gets closer to returning to the field. He managed a decent fantasy tally last week, but I honestly wasn’t impressed with his running. It was the Jets, who have a good running defense, but he got absolutely no push. He’s just not a 4th and goal back. Steven Jackson is.
Roddy White is in line for a lot more targets, but he has his own injury concerns to factor in. If you thought Tony Gonzalez was getting a lot of targets now, imagine how many he gets if Harry Douglas is the number one option at receiver. Which brings me to my main concern and probably the biggest loser in all of this, besides Julio of course, Matt Ryan. Ryan is quietly having a top five year at quarterback and, depending on where you drafted him, providing a lot of value at the position. He’s a part of my first place squad in one league and I am deeply concerned at the moment. Consider that the Falcons would be smart not to push a hobbled Roddy White back into action in the midst of a campaign that is quickly turning into a lost season. The thought of Harry Douglas and recently signed Brian Robiskie lining up at wideout makes me shudder. I recommend taking precautionary measures in case this gets ugly.
You’ve probably already picked up a bye week filler for Ryan, but you should really use this week to test drive for a potentially long term replacement option. Alternatively, if someone in your league got antsy and cut Mike Vick after his injury, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to grab him as a contingency plan.
Below are a few wide receivers to fill your newly vacated wide receiver position.
Harry Douglas WR Falcons - Someone has to take Julio’s place.
Terrence Williams WR Cowboys - Tony Romo’s new favorite receiver that will drop off eventually but is worth riding for the time being. Think Laurent Robinson 2011.
Robert Woods WR Bills - Really talented and getting targets. The window on his availability is closing.
Rueben Randle WR Giants - Also very talented. The obvious downside being that he is clearly the third option for Eli. But, that also makes him one injury away from being a huge part of their offense.