Julio Jones is once again dealing with a hamstring injury for the Falcons while JuJu Smith-Schuster injured his toe in a strange way late in the Steelers’ win over the Jaguars. Given that Jones’ Falcons are pretty much out of the playoff race and Smith-Schuster’s Steelers are playing on a short week, each of these players will need to be monitored closely. They could have an impact on our Week 12 fantasy WR rankings and waiver wire strategy for fantasy owners in need of help at wide receiver.
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Julio Jones injury update
Jones (hamstring) exited the Falcons’ Week 11 loss to the Saints after experiencing hamstring tightness. He did return to the game late and made a catch, but he limped off the field after that and stayed out the rest of the way.
At this point, there hasn’t been an update on Jones’ injury, but considering that he already dealt with a hamstring injury earlier in the season that caused him to miss two games and most of a third game where he aggravated the injury, it seems likely that he will miss time. Soft-tissue injuries do tend to linger, as well, so the Falcons, who are far behind in the NFC playoff race at this point, probably won’t risk his long-term health and rush him back.
If Jones can’t suit up, Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheaus will benefit from his absence. Gage saw a team-high 12 targets against the Saints, while Zaccheaus had a 100-yard game in Week 9 against the Broncos when Calvin Ridley was out. He also caughty eight-of-nine targets for 86 yards earlier in the year when Jones was in and out of a game because of hamstring issues. Both have upside against the Raiders in Week 12, so feel free to add them on the waiver wire pending Jones’ status.
Is JuJu Smith-Schuster playing this week?
Smith-Schuster suffered a bizarre-looking injury on Sunday when he appeared to injury his lower leg by stepping on a referee’s flag late in the Steelers’ win against the Jaguars.
According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, sideline reporter Evan Washburn noted that Smith-Schuster was dealing with a toe injury and that he would’ve been able to re-enter the game if it was close. That said, Smith-Schuster was walking with a noticeable limp on the sideline, so his status heading into a Thanksgiving night game against the Ravens is uncertain. He will need to be watched closely ahead of that game.
If Smith-Schuster can’t play on the short week, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson would be in line for increased targets for the Steelers with James Washington filling in as the team’s WR3. Washington would be a potential flex play but in a matchup against a tough Ravens defense, trusting him is less than ideal.