Fantasy Alert: Julio Jones, Austin Hooper to Return from Injuries vs. Panthers

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball during a game between Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons received good news Friday when head coach Dan Quinn announced receiver Julio Jones (shoulder) and tight end Austin Hooper (knee) would play in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers after missing last week's contest due to injuries.

Of course, that news is music to the ears of fantasy football owners who are looking to bring home a championship.

When healthy, Jones has proved to be one of the top wideouts in all of football. The six-time Pro Bowler is closing in on his seventh 1,000-yard season in eight years, as he has 64 receptions for 950 yards and four touchdowns in 11 appearances this season.

Jones is averaging 86.4 yards per game this season, putting him fourth in the NFL. The only area of his game that might be concerning to fantasy football owners is his inability to consistently find the end zone. Jones scored four times in the first three games, but he has not been able to do so in any of his last eight games.

Regardless, Jones is a must-start in fantasy leagues when healthy, as he and quarterback Matt Ryan have a strong connection.

Hooper, meanwhile, is in the midst of his finest season to date. The fourth-year pro is on pace to set new career-highs in both receptions (56 in 2019; 71 in 2018) and yards (608 in 2019; 660 in 2018) while having already done so in touchdowns (six).

Hooper averaged 6.8 catches and 72.6 yards through his first five games this season but has seen those numbers drop to 5.5 and 61.3 in his last four outings. While that trend may be concerning to fantasy owners, the Falcons tight end continues to provide value, as he has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games and in five of his last seven.

Of note, Hooper did not play in the Falcons' Week 11 contest against the Panthers. Jones had six receptions for 91 yards in the 29-3 victory.

As long as both Jones and Hooper remain healthy, fantasy owners should not have much to worry about in terms of either producing on the field.  

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