Julio Jones' Injury Won't Hamper Fantasy Production in Week 3 vs. Dolphins

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2013

Sep 15, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch for a touchdown with coverage by St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) in the first quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones hasn't let his nagging knee injury slow him down thus far in 2013, and therefore, fantasy owners shouldn't expect the sore joint to hold him back this weekend against the Miami Dolphins. 

According to ESPN's Stephania Bell, Jones has seen limited action in practice over the past week, which should allow for a refreshed Jones to take the field in Week 3.

If there's any doubt about Jones' potential to shine this weekend, just look back at what he did in Week 2 on that same bum knee. Only four other wide receivers were more productive than Jones, who caught 11 balls for 182 yards and a touchdown last weekend.

Even better, that performance came just seven days after Jones opened the season with a seven-catch, 76-yard, one-touchdown performance against the New Orleans Saints.

Perhaps the most critical number for fantasy owners is 12. That's how many times Jones has been targeted by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan per game on average to start the season. Only Andre Johnson, A.J. Green and Julian Edelman have been targeted more often through two weeks.

As far as Jones' matchup is concerned this weekend, Miami's defense hasn't given fantasy owners any reason to believe it's capable of slowing down Ryan, Jones and the Falcons' vaunted aerial attack.

The Dolphins rank 21st in the league in fewest receiving yards allowed through two weeks and are one of only a dozen NFL teams surrendering more than 300 receiving yards per game to start the season. Clearly, Jones is set to face off against another vulnerable secondary this weekend.

While Jones doesn't rely on the big play to produce for fantasy owners, he's certainly a big-play threat, as the NFL on ESPN points out, via Twitter:

Remember, his 81-yard touchdown catch in Week 2 came on that same sore knee.

With only three other wide receivers having been more productive than Jones through the first two weeks of the season, the Falcons superstar is a no-brainer start for fantasy owners in Week 3. 

He appears likely to start at wide receiver. Assuming he does for the third straight week, expect him to be targeted early and often against a lackluster secondary in Miami.


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