Dealing with injuries is something that fantasy football managers have to figure out on a weekly basis every single year. Week 9 of the 2020 season appears to be a particularly tough week, with players like Calvin Ridley, Michael Thomas, and Ezekiel Elliott all appearing on the injury report. He’s had a great year for fantasy managers thus far, but if Calvin Ridley is playing on Sunday, should you start him?
Calvin Ridley and the Falcons so far in 2020
As I mentioned, Ridley has had a terrific 2020 so far. He’s currently the WR3 for the year in PPR scoring with 148.1 PPR points. He’s had 43 catches on 68 targets for 657 yards and six touchdowns. Ridley’s 18.5 PPR points per game puts him at WR7 in that category.
Ridley has also been very consistent, with a Consistency Score (CS) of 4.74, putting him at WR19 in the metric, just behind Robert Woods, Chris Godwin, and Allen Robinson, all of whom are studs as well for fantasy.
All that aside, the Atlanta Falcons have struggled to put teams away this year. The positive is that their defensive struggles have meant that they have had to throw often to stay competitive as their games go on. Quarterback Matt Ryan is QB11 overall when it comes to fantasy points and QB17 in PPG. He’s been far from consistent, though, with a CS of 6.72, putting him at QB22. While the team has struggled to win, and Matt Ryan has struggled to stay consistent, his top receivers don’t appear to have had those same issues.
Ridley’s teammate, Julio Jones, has been terrific this year, coming in at WR3 in CS with a score of 4.52, and we have already mentioned how Calvin Ridley is playing out of his mind as well. He even played well when Jones was out in two separate weeks. Jones missed Week 3 and Week 5, both due to a lingering hamstring strain. In Week 3, Ridley went off for 110 yards on five receptions. In Week 5, he caught eight passes for 136 yards. Clearly, Ridley can handle the pressure of being his team’s WR1 and is becoming a fantasy stud on his own, which is why this injury likely has fantasy managers on high alert.
Latest Calvin Ridley injury
For starters, Calvin Ridley hasn’t missed that many games in his short NFL career thus far. Since entering the league in 2018, Ridley has only missed three games due to an abdominal strain, all of which came at the end of the 2019 campaign. In those games, Jones picked up the slack terrifically, going for 134 yards, 166 yards, and 78 yards, respectively. Across the three games that Ridley missed, Jones caught a total of 20 passes on 48 targets and scored two touchdowns. The Falcons also went on to win all three matchups, but that was last season, and that team was a very different group.
Ridley is now suffering from a mid-foot sprain that could force him to miss some time. So far, he has been listed as questionable, meaning he could still see the field, but if Ridley misses time, that’s not only a bad thing for him and his fantasy managers but also the Falcons as well. The Falcons have a 2-6 record so far this season, and given the overall struggles that the team has had this year, they need every asset they have on the field this week if they plan on making a run for the playoffs. Without Ridley, their offense will likely not be as effective.
Calvin Ridley isn’t injury prone, meaning he doesn’t have a long history of injuries. This could just be a short term thing and not cause a lot of issues for his performance going forward. However, if he plays on it and reinjures it or somehow makes it worse, he could be looking at a longer absence, which would hurt the team even more. If they roll the dice and he suits up for the team, what should fantasy managers expect this week?
Calvin Ridley’s outlook for Week 9 against Denver
For starters, if Ridley is given the green light, that is good news and should be seen as such. If there were any threat that playing would hurt his foot in any way, then the team wouldn’t even let him risk it. He’s far too important to the team, both this season and in the future.
If Calvin Ridley is playing, it’s possible that he will see a full workload, which bodes well for his fantasy output. As we mentioned earlier, Ridley is playing like a stud this year, and defenses are having a hard time stopping him. The only down week that Ridley had was in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers, where he caught zero passes on five targets, and the team lost 30-16. Even Jones struggled in that game, though, catching only four passes for a meager 32 yards himself.
The Denver Broncos aren’t the Packers, though. Denver is currently ranked 16th in Defense Points Against Consistency (DPAC) to the WR position. This means that they have been a pretty middle of the road defense to opposing receivers. By comparison, Green Bay is 28th against wide receivers, meaning they give up fewer points in general.
All signs point to Ridley playing, and if that is the case, you’re playing Calvin Ridley, injury or not. There is no way you can argue for benching him unless the team benches him first. Ridley has been far too consistent and productive this year to even consider sitting him for someone else. Foot sprains are relatively common in the NFL, and it’s often a case of pain management rather than re-injury. If Ridley can handle the pain, he should be a good starting option for your fantasy lineups as well.
Want more fantasy football analysis and news?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.
Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering the NFL and Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.