The Atlanta Falcons have decided to give QB Taylor Heinicke the starting nod under center heading into their Week 9 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. While this could help give the Falcons’ pass catchers a small fantasy boost, how will WR Drake London’s injury impact the fantasy football outlook for Atlanta’s offense?
Latest Injury Update on Drake London
According to a recent report from Michael Rothstein, London was a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice after sustaining a groin injury against the Titans. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith added that London is currently day-to-day and doesn’t necessarily have to practice to be available to play against the Vikings in Week 9.
Will Drake London Play This Week?
Those comments from Smith don’t exactly provide a whole lot of clarity for London’s status heading into the weekend.
Perhaps he’s trying to maintain a competitive advantage with regards to London’s true status for Week 9, but if the Falcons’ WR is not able to get on the practice field before the end of the week, that would obviously put him in real jeopardy of playing against Minnesota.
What Does This Mean for Kyle Pitts, Mack Hollins, and KhaDarel Hodge’s Fantasy Ranking?
After starting his 2023 campaign with a zero-catch performance, London has started to see enough consistent work in the passing game to make him a reliable option in your fantasy lineup. He has managed to produce five straight outings with 10+ fantasy points. During that five-game stretch, he has seen a minimum of seven targets in an offense that has started throwing the ball far more often than they did to start.
MORE: PFN Consensus Rankings
If London is available against the Vikings, he’ll be a fringe top-25 play in Week 9. There is still some uncertainty with regards to how Heinicke will perform in Atlanta’s offense and how much the Falcons will need to air the ball out against a team rolling out a rookie QB making his first NFL start.
If London is unavailable against Minnesota, his target share could be split in a multitude of directions. The first name that comes to mind is tight end Kyle Pitts, who has seen just five targets in each of the last two games after posting back-to-back 14-point performances in PPR formats in Weeks 5 and 6.
The wide receivers who are likely to see an expanded role would be either Mack Hollins or KhaDarel Hodge. Neither of these players would sneak inside my top 35 WR rankings for Week 9, even if London is unavailable. However, both are capable of making some big plays downfield and are viable dart throws in deeper PPR leagues.
The reason I’m not rushing to the waiver wire to pick up either, though, is because they have a combined 22 receptions, 350 yards, and zero TDs this season. The wide range of outcomes these two players present makes them very tough to trust in your fantasy lineup in Week 9.
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