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Julio Jones contract situation raises questions about fantasy status for Week 1

This might end up being nothing, but Julio Jones has officially raised some questions about his status for Week 1. We break down the fantasy and betting implications.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones talk on the field during the first day of training camp at Falcons Training Complex. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently Antonio Brown is not the only star wide receiver raising questions for fantasy football owners heading into Week 1. Atlanta Falcons star pass catcher Julio Jones is non-committal about playing in the team’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, according to Falcons reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Jones was limited at practice Thursday, with the team report saying “not injury related” and the team referring to it as a rest day. His agent has been negotiating with the Falcons on a new contract. Falcons owner Arthur Blank said earlier in the week that the two sides were very close and he’d be surprised and disappointed if it did not get done this week.

After the practice, someone asked Jones if he would “definitely play [on Sunday] no matter what.” He offered a muddle response, via Ledbetter:

“I don’t know. What I’m trying to do is be ready. You know what I mean. It’s not if I’m going to play or if I’m not going to play. I’m trying to be out there regardless. I’m coming back from injuries and things like that, but the ultimate thing is being ready when my number is called.”

It could be Jones legitimately recovering from injuries, but I don’t think anybody would be surprised if it was a way of expressing displeasure about his current situation. Regardless, he’s officially a question mark for Sunday until we hear otherwise.

Fantasy impact: If you’ve rostered Jones this season, you’ll potentially be waiting until near kickoff for an answer. If he does not play, you’ll be left scrambling, but if we get word he is definitely going to play, you know what to do with him.

DFS impact: Jones is currently the second highest-priced wide receiver, behind only Odell Beckham Jr. You can still get value given how high Jones’ ceiling is, and you have to consider whether to go with a player everyone else will use to just maintain pace. But the upside to DFS is you’re welcome to wait until shortly before 1 p.m. kickoffs.

Sports betting impact: The Falcons had been a 3.5-point underdog, but the line recently moved to four points at the DraftKings Sportsbook. The Falcons had a lot of underdog value, but losing Jones would be far from ideal. Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, and Austin Hooper offer a lot in the passing game, but you don’t fully replace an absent Jones.

Predictions: My guess is this gets resolved and he ends up playing. Hopefully we hear more before the end of the day Friday.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is FoochNN) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.