On Monday afternoon, it was announced that wide receiver Calvin Ridley is out for the rest of the season. Although this doesn’t impact the Atlanta Falcons in terms of the actual playoffs, many of you may be in the playoffs in your respective fantasy football leagues.
In the past four weeks, Ridley has a combined 29 receptions for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns, making him a fantasy starter in many leagues. This week is the semi-finals in most leagues, so chances are if you had Ridley you’re panicking and looking for other options to start in Week 15. There’s better options league-wide, but I’ll focus on the Falcons’ wide receivers who could step up for you, if you’re willing to take a desperation chance on them.
Gage is arguably the most likely to impact your fantasy team, as his numbers have steadily increased since the Falcons traded away Mohamed Sanu. Prior to this past weekend, Gage totaled 13 catches for 128 yards and touchdown in two games. This past weekend, likely due to the return of Austin Hooper, Gage only had 2 catches for 17 yards. He’s very athletic and with Ridley being out, could step up as he’ll likely be used more in the slot. However, with the San Francisco 49ers up next, I don’t view Gage as anything more than a desperation flex play.
Although he’s a familiar name, Hardy has only 4 catches over the last two games. The younger, unproven recievers mentioned in this article have a better chance of making an impact going forward. I would avoid Hardy.
With Julio Jones being out on Thanksgiving against the New Orleans Saints, Blake stepped up. Although he didn’t score, Blake finished the game with 9 targets, hauling in 6 catches for 57 yards. With that being said, Blake had no targets against a middle of the road Panthers defense last week, so I wouldn’t recommend starting him this week. He’s nothing more than a franchise league depth add.
This past weekend against the Panthers, Zaccheaus scored a 93-yard touchdown which was the longest of Matt Ryan’s career. Unfortunately, that catch was his only catch of the day which makes him a very unreliable fantasy prospect. Against the 3rd toughest pass defense, I wouldn’t recommend starting him this week, even with the possibility of receiving more targets.
Well folks, that about does it. If you have any fantasy football questions for me, ask below or on Twitter @EvanBirchfield. There are likely far better options available in your league and I’ll be happy to give you my opinion on who to start if you have Ridley out. Julio Jones and Austin Hooper should continue to be started in all leagues. In the end, always go with your gut.