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Should you start Julio Jones in fantasy football against the Rams?

There are few guarantees in life.

Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Death. Taxes. Your top players going down in the fantasy football playoffs.

I have a long history of losing in the fantasy playoffs because my top players get hurt. I know exactly how you feel right now, Julio Jones owners. You’ve made it to the playoffs, put in waiver wire claims every week, and are looking at the unenviable choice of picking Julio Jones or some player you only heard of three weeks ago.

Julio Jones has turf toe that the Falcons coaching staff doesn’t seem worried about. A healthy Jones would be a target monster with Mohamed Sanu out. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC expects Jones to be out, and would only be a decoy if active. We also got this ominous update.

Falcons fans have seen this before. Which leads me this question: should I start Julio Jones and hope he plays the full game?

No way.

First, lets consider a healthy Julio. He’s had wildly inconsistent games this year. He can follow up a 300 yard game with a 30 yard game. We’ve seen a few games where he sees only one or two targets in the first half.

Second, Jones is not targeted in the red zone. We know he’s well covered, but Jones gets about half the red zone targets as other top wide receivers. This offense has been about playing the matchup and not forcing the ball to Jones. The odds of a fluky touchdown to save your fantasy day are very low.

Third, you are looking at a late start for Jones. You won’t even know if he will be active until more than half of today’s games over.

Fourth, the Falcons are playing the terrible Rams. With the playoffs in site, Jones, if active, is going to the bench as soon as he isn’t needed. You really need a shootout to justify starting Jones and Jeff Fisher is nowhere near that competent.

Lastly, the Falcons have been more than happy to put in Julio in the game as a decoy when he’s hurt. Just putting him out there, hobbled or not, changes the defense enough to justify making Jones active and having him play some passing downs. He’s not effective in those situations.

You need Jones to be active, effective, and in a shootout with a bad offense to justify starting this wide receiver. All three of those sound unlikely, making Jones a very, very risky playoff start. I’ve polled a few of the other editors, and none of them would even consider starting Julio. I’m not even worried if you have PPR scoring, standard scoring, or some other crazy scoring that makes everything so much more difficult.

Julio Jones is so risky you might as well start a 49ers wide receiver.