Shark Bites

Falcons DB Damontae Kazee is active for today's game against the Texans. He was questionable because of an illness that kept him out of Thursday and Friday practices. Kazee has been Atlanta's primary slot corner, a role that should find more action against Houston and WR Keke Coutee than it did against Tennessee's run-heavy offense last week. Kazee has some deep IDP interest.

The Falcons on Monday traded LB Duke Riley and a 6th-round pick to the Eagles for S Johnathan Cyprien and a 7th-rounder. The move looks like an attempt by Atlanta to get a replacement for SS Keanu Neal, who suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in Week 3. Kemal Ishmael started in his place against the Titans. We'll see if Ishmael's still in the lineup for Week 5. Riley, meanwhile, joins a crowd at LB for the Eagles. He'll have some climbing to do before he's relevant.

Falcons RB Ito Smith has cleared the concussion protocol and isn’t listed on the final Week 4 injury report. He’ll return to his #2 RB role behind Devonta Freeman. Smith isn’t a real fantasy option but does downgrade Freeman to lower-end RB2 status vs. the Titans.

The Falcons believe S Keanu Neal tore his left Achilles' tendon in Sunday's loss to the Colts. Kemal Ishmael filled in for Neal on Sunday and finished with 6 tackles. He'll be worth a look in plenty of IDP leagues this week.

Falcons RB Ito Smith exited in the 1st quarter of Sunday's game against the Colts for a concussion check. We'll update his status when we learn more. Smith's absence leaves Devonta Freeman as Atlanta's feature back.

Update: Smith has been ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Falcons and WR Julio Jones are "finalizing" a multi-year contract extension that will make him the league's highest-paid receiver. Pelissero reports that the deal should get done today. Jones had intimated he might not play Sunday without a new contract. This news means you can put the star wideout in your fantasy lineups with confidence.

Falcons WR Julio Jones isn't listed on the final Week 1 injury report. He was limited on Thursday for what the team deemed "rest" but later suggested that he might sit out this weekend's opener if his new contract isn't done. The situation is worth monitoring leading up to Sunday's game against the Vikings. But for now, Jones should be penciled into fantasy lineups.

Falcons WR Julio Jones told reporters Thursday that he "doesn't know" if he'll play against the Vikings on Sunday. His press conference was convoluted and cryptic. Jones seemed to suggest he might sit out if his new contract isn't signed by the weekend and added that he was sore from practicing on the turf on Wednesday. "What I’m doing is getting me ready to go," Jones said. "Whatever [Dan Quinn] makes or whoever — the organization or myself — makes the decision when it’s time, we make that decision. It’s not like, 'If he’ll play, if he’s not going to play.' We’re doing everything we planned." This has obviously become a situation to track closely. We'll update Jones' status as we know more.

The Falcons have signed K Matt Bryant to a 1-year, $3 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Atlanta released Bryant in February but needed him back after K Giorgio Tavecchio struggled mightily this preseason. Bryant connected on 20 of 21 FG attempts and 33 of 35 XPs in 13 games last year. He finished 15th among Ks in fantasy points per game. He's a viable option this year kicking for a high-powered Falcons offense.

Update: Atlanta has officially waived Tavecchio and K Blair Walsh. So it's Bryant.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) was limited to open training camp but is running routes at full speed now, according to insider Orlando Ledbetter. “It feels great, being back out there running around, running routes,” Jones said Tuesday. Jones isn't expected to play in the preseason but is clearly on track to be full-go for Week 1.

Falcons WR Julio Jones will be limited at the start of training camp after he had a procedure to remove a bunion from his foot earlier this offseason, HC Dan Quinn said Monday. Jones reportedly took part in some individual drills on Monday but sat out full-team work. We'll continue to keep an eye on him, but this doesn't seem like something that will be an issue by the time Week 1 rolls around. We're not moving Jones in the WR rankings.

Falcons WR Julio Jones reported for this week's mandatory minicamp but won't participate in practice because of a foot injury he's rehabbing. "It was part of maintenance ... and also some rehab, too," HC Dan Quinn said, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They won't participate in the camp this time, but I'm anticipating them both being ready for the training camp." MLB Deion Jones was the other player Quinn was referring, too. Jones, of course, lost 10 games last season to a foot injury. We don't see any reason right now to worry about Julio Jones, who often sits out offseason workouts for similar reasons.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be a full-go for training camp, HC Dan Quinn said. Knee, groin and foot injuries limited Freeman to just 2 games last season. “We can’t wait to get Free back,” Quinn said. “He’s having such an awesome offseason ... When you get to see the team out here this spring, I think you’ll feel the energy at running back certainly with Free leading the way.” Prior to the injury-wrecked 2018 campaign, Freeman had finished 13th, 6th and 1st among RBs in PPR points the previous 3 seasons. Still just 27, he's a prime bounce-back candidate in 2019 with Tevin Coleman gone and Atlanta beefing up the offensive line with free agents Jamon Brown and James Carpenter and rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary.

The Falcons will keep DT Grady Jarrett off the open market by applying the franchise tag. The 25-year-old (until late April) has increased his sacks and his tackles per game each of the past 3 seasons. Pro Football Focus also credited him with a career-high 53 total pressures in 2018, tied for 6th most among all interior linemen. Jarrett retains upside beyond what he's scored for fantasy owners so far. He's not likely, however, to grow beyond a solid option for DT-required IDP leagues.

The Falcons have released K Matt Bryant. The 17-year veteran spent the past 10 seasons in Atlanta. His 86.2% career FG conversion rate ranks 8th among 31 active Ks with at least 50 attempts. Bryant reportedly wants to continue his career and should find a starting gig elsewhere.

The Falcons have fired OC Steve Sarkisian. Atlanta climbed from 8th in total yards and 15th in points in 2017, Sarkisian's first year, to 6th and 10th this season. But the offense still felt relatively disappointing considering its abundance of talent. We'll see who the Falcons hire as their next OC.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip, ribs) is not listed on the final injury report and will play in Sunday's finale against the Bucs. He only put in a limited practice on Friday, though, after playing around 50% of the offensive snaps in each of the last 2 weeks. Clearly operating at less than 100%, Jones is more of a WR2 -- albeit with plenty of upside -- for Week 17.

11:12am EST 12/23/18

Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip, ribs) is active for today’s game against the Panthers. He only got in a limited practice on Friday and was reportedly a game-time decision. Jones isn’t at 100% today and comes with more risk than usual. But he remains a WR1 in season-long lineups.

"The belief" is that Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip, ribs) will play against the Panthers today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Jones will go through pre-game warmups before a final decision is made. He's obviously not at 100% but would be awfully tough to bench in season-long leagues.

Falcons TE Austin Hooper (ankle, knee) is not listed on the final injury report. He was limited in practice all week, though, after playing a season-low 51% of the offensive snaps last Sunday. It’s worth noting that Hooper only practiced on Friday last week. He’s seemingly healthier now but still comes with elevated risk in Week 16 fantasy lineups.

 
 
 

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