Julio Jones’ status for Week 1 is surprisingly in question which could mean an uptick in fantasy value for the rest of the Falcons offense, namely Calvin Ridley. The second-year wide receiver is already being selected high in drafts with an ADP of 53 as the 22nd wide receiver coming off the board, per Fantasy Pros.
Even with Jones in the lineup, many project Ridley to float in the WR2 conversation for this upcoming season. Without Jones, Ridley would be in for a monster year, but let’s stop before we get ahead of ourselves. The talk all offseason has been how both Jones and the Falcons want to get a deal done. Up until the recent report from The Athletic’s Jason Butt, a contract extension was expected to be announced before Week 1 started.
Based on everything we have heard up until this point, a deal is likely going to eventually get done for Jones. What is more puzzling is that it seems that Jones is also battling through an injury.
“Julio Jones: “I don’t know” if I’ll play Sunday regarding contract situation … also mentioned he’s a little sore, so kinda hinting about injury too…Asked a follow-up later, Julio Jones said he “plans on playing.” Still seemed to leave it up in the air by saying “I don’t know” as to if he will actually play Sunday,” Butt tweeted.
Ridley Moves From the WR3 Category to a Must-Start in Week 1 If Julio Jones Misses Time
Ridley becomes a must-start if Jones misses Week 1 for either contract or health reasons. While I have tempered expectations for Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense in Week 1, Ridley would be peppered with targets against the Vikings.
Overall, it is not a plus matchup given Atlanta is on the road against a good defense, but we have already seen what the former Bama receiver is capable of when he is in the lineup alongside Jones. Without Jones, Ridley’s upside is through the roof even in a challenging matchup.
Julio Jones Fantasy Owners Should Be More Concerned About His Injury Than a Potential Holdout
This is not a situation that is similar to the Chargers and Melvin Gordon. The Falcons and Jones are expected to agree to a contract extension even if the timeline extends beyond Week 1. What is more concerning from a fantasy perspective is the potential injury Jones may be dealing with. Rotoworld provided a great overview of Jones’ bizarre press conference that alluded to both his negotiations and injury.
In the words of longtime Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter, it was a bizarre scene. Ledbetter said Jones was “battling through something physical or emotional.” Jones said he didn’t know if he would play against the Vikings before then saying he “plans” to give it a go. He hinted at an injury issue beyond his contract situation. In other words, weird. Very, very weird. It’s hard to believe Jones won’t be out there against the Vikings, but there is clearly something going on here that the public is not privy to. Jones’ situation will be updated no later than Friday afternoon.
Even if Jones starts, his status for the full game remains in question moving Ridley firmly into the WR2 territory for Week 1. Feel free to reach out on Twitter @JonDAdams with any fantasy football-related questions.