Wishful thinking for Julio Jones owners

ASSOCIATED PRESS Losing Julio Jones (left) was a blow to Matt Ryan and Falcons.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Losing Julio Jones (left) was a blow to Matt Ryan and Falcons.
Posted: October 11, 2013

IN MOST LEAGUES, there are enough wide receivers on the waiver wire to fill out lineups running low because of poor play or to cover those that are on bye.

But the problems Julio Jones owners face can not be covered with a simple drop/add. When Mama Pajama rolled out of bed Tuesday, she found Julio down by the trainer's room. The news has been grim, and the panic high, ever since. Jones is out for the rest of the season with a broken right foot.

"You know, when it rains, it pours," Falcons owner Arthur Blank told USA Today. "In this case, we're having a monsoon right now in Atlanta."

Jones had a stress fracture in the same foot when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 at the 2011 NFL Combine.

With Roddy White in danger of missing the Falcons' next game because of a pulled hamstring, about the only positive for Atlanta is that it has a bye this week. The Falcons signed veteran Brian Robiskie off the street to join a group of relative no-names in the wide receivers' bullpen.

Obviously, there are no stars to be had in the fantasy free-agent marketplace, but there are some serviceable players who could make spot starts when the opponent is right. Owners may want to consider more than one of these guys and playing the matchup game.

It's not easy losing a player like Julio Jones, but remember it's much worse for Jones himself. Here, in order, are some players at the top of the Daily News wish list of players that were available in a majority of ESPN leagues this week:

Vincent Brown, Chargers: With Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead working the underneath routes, Brown has seven catches each of the last 2 weeks. San Diego has several good matchups coming up (at Jacksonville, at Washington, Denver) and Philip Rivers has thrown for 400 yards in three of the last four.

Nate Washington, Titans: Had a bad Week 5 (3-30-0) after posting consective 100-yard outings, but he was playing the Chiefs. Teammate Kenny Britt is melting down like a stick of butter in the microwave, so Washington is going to get targets. His quarterback ( Ryan Fitzpatrick) and immediate schedule (Seattle, San Fran, bye) are shaky. But after the Week 8 bye, Tennessee has a decent schedule that includes a pair of games against Jacksonville.

Harry Douglas, Falcons: After Douglas, it's Kevin Cone (one catch, 3 years) and Drew Davis (four catches, 2 years) ahead of the newly signed Robiskie on Atlanta's depth chart. Atlanta coach Mike Smith pointed out that Cone and Davis have worked extensively with starting quarterback Matt Ryan because of the nagging injuries to Jones and White. This is a good time to own Tony Gonzalez.

Terrance Williams, Cowboys: All that is separating Williams from WR2 status is Miles Austin's cranky hamstring. Austin is back practicing, but Williams is worth a stash since the Cowboys still have all six NFC East games on the schedule.

Keenan Allen, Chargers: Remember the numbers Eddie Royal put up the first 2 weeks? Allen is putting them up now. Over the last two games, he has 11 catches for 195 yards and a score.

Rueben Randle, Giants: New York can't run the ball, so Randle is going to be a low-end WR3.

Austin Pettis, Rams: Had two touchdowns last week and has four in the last four games, so he's better than Chris Givens. The Rams still have to play Seattle and San Francisco twice, so Pettis is worth considering only in larger leagues.

Position watch 

* Quarterback: With Drew Brees on bye next week, viable pick-and-plug options include Miami's Ryan Tannehill (vs. Buffalo), Cincy's Andy Dalton (at Detroit) and, for deeper leagues, Minnesota's Josh Freeman, who could be starting next Monday at the Giants. Freeman, of course, was just picked up by the Vikes and is not starting this week. Matt Cassel is . . . Matt Flynn, recently released by the Raiders, was paid $14.5 million by Seattle and Oakland over the last 2 years and made one start. And they snicker at us for playing fantasy football.

Running back: We have Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell as a mid-range RB2, even against the Jets defense. Bell seems to have won over quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and is a good bet to get somewhere around 18-to-20 carries this week . . . Interesting play of the week is San Diego's Danny Woodhead, but only in PPR leagues. This is a good time for the Chargers to catch the Colts, after an emotional win over NFC power Seattle and before Peyton Manning and the Broncos visit Indy on Oct. 20. Woodhead has 29 catches in his last four games. On the other side of the coin, hoever, it should be noted that the Colts have allowed just 15 receptions to RBs this season.

Wide receiver: If Baltimore's Torrey Smith had more than one touchdown, he'd be an undisputed WR1. He's having one of those mythical third-season statistical leaps and is on pace for career numbers in everything but TDs . . . In two games against San Francisco last year, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had a total of seven catches for 65 yards and zero touchdowns. His QBs in those two games were John Skelton, who is out of the league, and Brian Hoyer, who is in Cleveland but out for the year with a knee injury.

Stat of the week

LeSean McCoy has scored a touchdown in eight consecutive October games. The question around here is will he ever score one in January or February.

Ed Barkowitz, who is sick of Aaron Rodgers and the "Discount Dabble-Check" commercials, has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001.


Email: barkowe@phillynews.com

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