Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy's Fantasy Outlook After Julio Jones' Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05:  Justin Hardy #16, Mohamed Sanu #12 and Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate  after Freeman scored a touchdown on a 5 yard run against the New England Patriots in the second quarter during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

With superstar wideout Julio Jones suffering a hip flexor and Mohamed Sanu out with a hamstring injury, per William McFadden of the team's website, fantasy owners will now be wondering what to make of players like Taylor Gabriel and Justin Hardy moving forward. 

Gabriel is a big-play threat, averaging 16.5 yards per reception last season while finding paydirt six times. While that makes him a boom-or-bust play, he has definite flex appeal if both Jones and Sanu are out for any significant period of time. 

Hardy is a tougher sell. In his first two season, he's offered limited production and doesn't need to be rostered in anything but the deepest leagues.

Truthfully, Jones isn't the sort of player whose production can simply be replaced. Instead, the team is likely to rely heavily on running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to generate offense, while Ryan's targets will be dispersed among a handful of wideouts and tight ends.

So while Gabriel and Hardy should see their usage increase somewhat, it's hard to imagine either will suddenly become must-start players for fantasy owners. Both are worth monitoring closely, however, as long as Jones is out of action, and Gabriel becomes a waiver priority if Jones and Sanu miss any game action.

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