Heading into their Week 12 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Atlanta Falcons and fantasy football managers are hoping we get to see a healthy Julio Jones. The Atlanta wide receiver has been dealing with a hamstring injury and appears to be a last-minute decision, putting fantasy GMs into a tough spot heading into Sunday. What is the likelihood we see Jone son the field, and what can we expect from him, in a season where he has been bitten by the injury bug this year.
Update Sunday, November 29: Julio Jones is inactive for the Atlanta Falcons Week 12 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders.
WR Julio Jones is deemed a “game-time decision” for Sunday
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones played 35% of the offensive snaps against the New Orleans Saints last Sunday due to tightness in his hamstring. This week, he will be a game-time decision when the Falcons face the Raiders at 1:00 PM Sunday.
“So, we’ll get a chance to get him through Wednesday, through Thursday,” Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris said. “Obviously, we’ll take Julio into a game-time decision and give him the best opportunity in order to go out there and be able to compete as long as he’s healthy.”
On the team’s official Wednesday injury report, Julio Jones (hamstring) was listed as a limited participant, along with 12 other players, including Todd Gurley, Calvin Ridley, and Hayden Hurst.
“You never want to put your guy in harm’s way,” Morris said. “You never want to put our guy in harm’s way. He means too much to me and to our franchise that we won’t do that.”
On Sunday morning, Ian Rapoport reported that Jones is not expected to be on the field in Week 12. However, Adam Schefter reported Saturday night that Jones would be assessed Sunday morning before a decision was made. The availability of Julio Jones for your fantasy lineup in Week 12 is something to keep an eye on when gameday inactives are announced at 11:30 PM ET.
For the first time in his career, Julio Jones has seemed mortal
Julio Jones, who will be 32 in February, had avoided Father Time up to this point, but a slew of missed games in 2020 makes you wonder about where he is in his outstanding career.
Jones is widely considered one of this generation’s best receivers in not only the NFL but also fantasy football.
Heading into this season, Jones has played in 14 or more games in seven of his nine years in the league. He had only played in less than 13 games one time, back in 2013, when Jones suffered a Pedal Foot Fracture in Week 5 against the Jets and didn’t play another game until the second week of the 2014 preseason.
He came into 2020 as one of the most well-respected receivers in the NFL, having caught 797 of his 1,252 targets for a staggering 12,125 yards and 57 touchdowns. Over his first nine seasons, Jones averages 1,347 yards and 88 catches per year.
All of this has made 2020 so different. Julio Jones missed two games this season (Chicago on Sept. 27 and Carolina on Oct. 11) and didn’t play in the second half against Green Bay on Oct. 5. Throw in his injury against the Saints, and for the first time, we see small chinks in the armor. Though it must be said, Jones has still had a decent year, just not what we normally expect. Jones has caught 45 or 56 targets for 677 yards and three touchdowns on the year.
If he does play, Julio Jones is a must-start in fantasy
With most players, I would say to maybe use some caution as there is also the ever-pretest risk of re-injury. But this is Julio Jones, and anytime he is on the field, you can not afford to leave his talent on your fantasy bench.
Currently giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to the wide receiver, the Las Vegas Raiders are a team to target in fantasy. In eight of their 10 games, the Raiders have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for over 250 yards. Only Baker Mayfield (Week 8) and Cam Newton (Week 3) failed to reach this mark.
The Falcons attempt the fifth-most passes per game (38.9) and have the third-highest yards per game on the season (280.6). The only place they have struggled is scoring, where they rank 19th with 15 passing touchdowns.
Julio Jones is likely to match up against CB David Arnette, especially if he is on the right side, where Arnette lines up on 90% of his snaps. If he does, that’s perfect as Arnette allows a catch rate of 79% and 0.36 fantasy points per route targeted. If he lines up on the left side, where Jones does on 47% of his snaps, he gets Trayvon Mullen, who allows 0.28 points per targeted route. Either way, you can’t lose. Over on Monkey Knife Fight, Jones’ current More or Less fantasy points prop is set at 17.5. If Julio Jones doesn’t have an injury designation and with Vegas struggling in the secondary, that number is easily attainable with MKF’s point system.
Currently, with an over/under of 54 and implied team total of 25.5, Vegas betters expect a lot of points in this match, giving it his second-highest total. The Falcons can’t stop anyone on defense, and Derek Carr is playing some solid football. A match made in fantasy heaven.
Want more fantasy football analysis and news?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also seeing our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.