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If Julio Jones is active vs. Panthers, you have to play him

Julio Jones almost played on Thursday night but was held out vs. the New Orleans Saints. If he’s active against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, you start him.

The Atlanta Falcons have certainly had a miserable season. They have only four wins and were eliminated from playoff contention for the second consecutive after suffering their third loss of the year on Thanksgiving night vs. the arch-rival New Orleans Saints. With four weeks left, there is only pride left to be played for, but that won’t stop wide receiver Julio Jones from getting after it.

Jones has been Atlanta’s best player for quite some time. Though he wanted to play at home against the Saints last week, he was ruled out because of a shoulder injury. It was truly a game-time decision, but if he is healthy, do what The Fantasy Footballers say and start him against the Carolina Panthers at home on Sunday afternoon.

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Jones is one of those players where if he’s healthy, you do not think for a second and you start him in your fantasy football lineup without a second thought. Don’t overthink this. Jones is one of the very best wide receivers in the NFL. He has been a big reason why you have gotten this far in fantasy this season. Look for him to go off as he usually does against NFC South rival Carolina.

Jones has had some of his greatest games as a professional against the Panthers, including his 300-yard performance against the 2015 team that made it all the way to Super Bowl 50 and lost to the Denver Broncos. With Carolina firing its long-time head coach Ron Rivera earlier in the week, this is all the more reason to start Jones to give your fantasy team the points it craves.

Atlanta throttled Carolina in its earlier meeting this season in Charlotte. But after dropping two in a row at home to the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Saints, Atlanta will desperately want to get back in the win column to avoid the embarrassment of a last-place finish in the always-competitive NFC South. A win over Carolina could be what ends Atlanta’s season on a strong note.

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Add in that head coach Dan Quinn coaches his best ball against division rivals, as well as former Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter now the Atlanta offensive coordinator, the Falcons’ passing attack could have a field day against a Panthers team that is clearly in transition. If Atlanta doesn’t win this game, then there is no reason Quinn should be back in Flowery Branch in 2020 at all.

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