Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez averaged 31 yards with one touchdown during the first three weeks of the 2013 NFL season. Gonzo was targeted six times per game during the stretch so there wasn’t any reason to panic.
In his past two games, he’s been a focal point of the offense with 14 targets per game. He responded with 22 receptions for 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns. At his age (37), will he more resemble the player from the first three games or the past two? Given the circumstances in Atlanta, I would say the latter.
Losing Julio Jones is a big blow to the Falcons’ offense. He wasn’t just the most talented receiver on the team, but he was right up there with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall as one of the best receivers in the league. His targets will be up for grabs, but Jones will be missed because of the attention he commanded, which made life easier for Gonzalez and company.
The Falcons passing game is going to take a hit. Jones’ 116 yards per game will not simply be replaced. Not all of them anyway. Roddy White, once (and if) he is able to get to full strength will absorb some of the production. After all, he’s averaging just 25.8 yards per game.
When healthy, he will likely add around 60 yards per game to that total. Harry Douglas, who is averaging 43.8 yards per game should see an increase. I’m expecting he’ll add about 15 yards per game or so. The main benefit will be more consistency. Douglas has two games with single-digit production.
The same goes for Gonzo. He is averaging 67.8 yards per game. I expect that number to increase, but not dramatically. He should be more consistent though, which will be music to the ears of fantasy owners. He shouldn’t dip below the 40-yard mark in many of the remaining games.
Gonzalez should continue to be a preferred option in the red zone. Jones is known for his big-play ability, but eight of his 12 touchdowns over the past two seasons have come in the red zone. Gonzo should see some extra action there.
If you have Gonzalez on your roster, enjoy the ride.
Also check out Lester’s Legends Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings.