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What to do with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage in Week 8 fantasy football

We go over Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage’s fantasy football outlook ahead of the Falcons Week 8 matchup against the Panthers on TNF.

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch in front of Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland (59) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin Ridley stepped up with Julio Jones sidelined by a hamstring injury in Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers. On that Sunday, Ridley caught eight of 10 targets for a season-high 136 yards. Jones should be good to go for this showdown Thursday, so we’ll see how the Falcons’ top three wideouts — Jones, Ridley and Russell Gage match up with a defense that has been pretty stingy against opposing WRs.

Fantasy Football analysis: Falcons WRs Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage

Jones has basically played a full season’s worth of games against the Panthers in his career. His stat line is impressive, as you’d expect: 82 catches, 1,390 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. Jones should be productive against Carolina again, especially if cornerback Rasul Douglas doesn’t play. Douglas, who has been one of the best CBs in coverage this year, was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday. For Ridley, the matchup doesn’t seem like it matters; he has scored at least 18 fantasy points in all but one game this season. Any thought that Gage would be a breakout star in 2020 has evaporated. After seeing 21 targets in the first two weeks, he has seen just 22 since. A 4-65-0 line against Minnesota stands as his best fantasy showing in that five-week span. The Panthers rank among the NFL’s top five defenses in fewest receiving yards and touchdowns allowed to WRs.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

You know to start Jones and Ridley regardless of matchup. Likewise, you know that you should probably ignore Gage, who is a low-ceiling, low-floor option. Ridley costs $7,000 while Jones is at $6,800. Gage’s price has fallen for the third consecutive week, down to $4,200.