Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Roddy White knows that we're out there.
He said so himself.
"Good morning world."
Wait, wrong tweet. Here's the one we're looking for.
"As far as fantasy, if I don't participate in practice then don't start me. It's a red flag."
White tweeted this to his 175,000 followers after Sunday's season-opening loss to New Orleans. White, hobbled by a badly sprained ankle, was limited to just two catches for 19 yards.
"No I can't give out an injury report before the game," the longtime Falcons wideout continued.
Fair enough. But then there's this.
"I play real football and it would be stupid to tip the other team off and say I'm hurt."
Though it may come off a little more hostile than his previous tweets, White again brings up a very good point. Why should he care what fantasy owners think?
White is employed by the Atlanta Falcons, not Jim from Cleveland who plays in a Yahoo League with a bunch of his softball buddies.
Deception is a huge part of the game. Waving the white flag (no pun intended) and telling the Saints straight away that he isn't healthy only makes Sean Payton's job easier.
If that's the strategy, I understand why the Falcons would be cryptic about White's availability heading into Week 1. But now that the cat's out of the bag and we all know Roddy is hurt, what should the next course of action be?
I know what I'd do.
I'd sit him. This week, next week ... however long it takes.
If the Falcons want to make it to East Rutherford (I still can't believe that's where the Super Bowl is being held this year), they need White to be healthy. And that's never going to happen if he doesn't get the proper rest and treatment.
After a little prodding, White finally admitted that he does indeed have a high ankle sprain. While a low ankle sprain may only take a few days to get over, a sprain of the high variety (meaning above the ankle) can take months to heal.
Darren McFadden suffered the same injury at the tail end of last season and wound up missing four weeks. Aaron Hernandez missed even more time with his high ankle sprain (six games).
So why is Roddy doing this? Surely the Falcons can handle St. Louis without him. The Rams, Atlanta's Week 2 opponent, haven't won against the Falcons since 2007. And before that, they hadn't won since 2003.
It's true the Falcons are a little beat up right now, especially in the secondary where Asante Samuel and Thomas DeCoud could both be game-time decisions. But doesn't coach Mike Smith trust Julio Jones, a Pro Bowler who finished with double-digit touchdowns last season? And what about Tony Gonzalez, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer with more touchdowns at the tight end position than any player in history?
I assume it has more to do with pride than anything. White doesn't want to lose his reputation as an iron man by not playing. Since entering the league in 2005, the four-time Pro Bowler has never missed a game. He's played in 129 straight contests, which puts him 47 games shy of Tim Brown's all-time record for durability at the wide receiver position.
But by playing injured, White is hurting the Falcons more than he's helping them. His two targets in Week 1 were his fewest since December 13, 2009. Just like in Week 1, the Falcons lost that game to New Orleans.
When White hasn't been the Falcons' go-to-receiver, the offense has struggled. Since 2007, White has been held to 20 yards or fewer on just three occasions including Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Saints. All three contests have resulted in Atlanta losses.
Having White operate at 50 percent or less just isn't good enough. By being out there, White is taking away targets that should be going to healthier, more able bodies like Jones, Gonzalez or even dual threat running back Jacquizz Rodgers (402 receiving yards last season). And I guarantee it's not helping his ankle.
The Falcons' upcoming schedule is set up perfectly for White to get the rest that he needs. Their bye week is Week 6 and only one of Atlanta's four opponents before that made the playoffs last year (New England in Week 4). The Falcons can probably go 3-1 in that stretch and have White back to 100 percent for Week 7 against Tampa Bay. That's about the normal recovery period for an injury of this nature.
By then, White should be back to his old self, catching touchdowns at will and putting up double-digit fantasy points on a weekly basis. Having Roddy sidelined definitely hurts but it's a heck of a lot better than tormenting fantasy owners with the "Should I?" or "Shouldn't I?" game each week.
So let go of your pride and sit out this week, Roddy. Come on, man. You've played eight years in a row without missing a game. Give yourself a break.