Julio Jones' foot injury is giving fantasy owners a crash course in patience.
The Atlanta Falcons could be without their Pro Bowl wide receiver the rest of this season, pending a second opinion from a foot specialist on Wednesday. Jones leads the league with 41 catches and is second with 580 yards receiving, making him the sixth best receiver using standard scoring and the best in fantasy points in point-per-reception leagues.
And thousands of owners in Yahoo leagues are already starting to shed him, many picking up his teammate Harry Douglas or shopping for other replacements.
What's the hurry? Every roster likely has other droppable players, and with a guy like Jones in a situation like this — with a bye in Week 6 along with another doctor's diagnosis expected — there's some value in waiting.
It depends on your league and needs, but more definitive word on the centerpiece of your receiving corps is likely more important than a jump on potential replacements like Terrance Williams of Dallas or Keenan Allen of San Diego. If you want a non-stats reminder of why, just watch a replay of Jones' one-handed 46-yard catch in the fourth quarter on Monday night (http://on.nfl.com/1a8VMIi ).
NFL news, especially when it comes to injuries, can change extremely quickly. So it's usually better to wait to find out what a team will do with a player rather than what it might do.
Patience-testing goes the other way, too.
It's a bit early for full disclosure, but I made what I thought was a smart deal on Monday night in a keeper league, trading Darren Sproles and Jonathan Stewart to a buddy in need of running backs. In exchange, I got Jones, who is ineligible as a keeper.
That made for a fun Tuesday morning.
Would it have been smarter to wait a few days to make the trade — even a week to get one more game out of Sproles with Jones on a bye? Maybe, but I figured the deal had a reasonable chance to improve my 1-4 team and I didn't want to risk the other owner getting cold feet. After all, these decisions are all a series of small gambles.
Sure, it stings like a bad beat. But that's fantasy. Get used to the agony.
Jones isn't the only fantasy starter owners are looking to replace this week. Here are a few Week 6 options for you if you have someone who could be out a while:
QB: Nick Foles, Philadelphia. Michael Vick was jogging and throwing at practice on Tuesday, but didn't practice in team drills and is uncertain to play this week after pulling his left hamstring. As the AP's Rob Maaddi reports, coach Chip Kelly left open the possibility that Foles could win the job if he plays and performs well. Foles should be owned in most two-quarterback leagues already, but would be a plug-and-play option in any format if he starts.
RB: Marcel Reece, Oakland. Reece could produce a repeat of last year with Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings hurting. Last year, when given an opportunity, he turned in several decent fantasy performances and ended up going to the Pro Bowl. He's a team captain for the Raiders who can catch passes, and knows he needs to provide a reasonable rushing threat to take at least a little focus off quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Owners depending on David Wilson, Ahmad Bradshaw or any of the underperforming backs could get value out of Reece.
WR: Austin Pettis, St. Louis. There are many reasonable wide receivers to pick up this week, including Douglas, Williams or Allen. Pettis has put up similar numbers to teammates Chris Givens and Tavon Austin, but with four touchdowns. It's usually inadvisable to chase touchdowns, but Pettis is second on the team in targets and could directly benefit from quarterback Sam Bradford turning around a couple bad games.