Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus' Fantasy Value After Julio Jones Trade

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 6, 2021

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Julio Jones era is over in Atlanta. 

The Falcons superstar was traded to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday alongside a 2023 sixth-round pick in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-rounder, per ESPN's Adam Schefter

For fantasy players, that brings to mind one question: What will the impact be on players like Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheaus?

Ridley is the easy answer. He was already a WR1 before the trade after finishing fifth in scoring among wide receivers in standard-scoring leagues last year. Now, he's a legitimate candidate to lead all wideouts in fantasy scoring. 

Expect the 26-year-old to have a monster year. 

Graham Barfield @GrahamBarfield

Calvin Ridley without Julio Jones over the last two years:<br><br>8/91 <br>5/110<br>8/136<br>6/50/1<br>8/124/1<br>10/163/1<br>5/130<br>8/52<br><br>Finished as a top-25 WR in weekly scoring in 7-of-8 games and got 9 or more targets in every outing.

Matthew Berry @MatthewBerryTMR

Julio to TEN? Fantasy impact for Julio Jones, AJ Brown, Calvin Ridley, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage. pic.twitter.com/YTh6TEmDLu

Gage and Zaccheaus are much tougher projections, with neither holding the track record of a Ridley. Gage was good last year, catching 72 passes for 786 yards and four touchdowns, and the instinct for some fantasy players might be to assume he's due for another production bump with Jones gone. 

But remember, Jones missed seven games a season ago. Much of Gage's production was already without Jones around. And the Falcons added a young, dynamic tight end in Kyle Pitts who is going to play a major role in their offense. 

Gage is going to get his targets. But assuming he'll be anything more than a WR4 at this point is risky. If he flashes in training camp, maybe bump him up as a promising sleeper, but for now keep your expectations realistic. 

Zaccheaus is even more of a dart throw in the dark. He'll likely earn more targets next season as the team's slot receiver, but he's going to be competing with Ridley, Gage, Pitts, Hayden Hurst and Mike Davis for targets. 

He's a WR5 at best, but you can do better with your speculative late-round draft picks. 

The TL;DR of the Jones trade from a fantasy perspective is this: Ridley and Pitts are the big winners. Gage and Hurst should be solid. The rest of the team's pass-catchers can take a back seat when you fill out your roster. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.