Have We Seen The Last Of Julio Jones?
(Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox)
Quintorris Lopez "Julio" Jones, Jr. is easily one of the most talented receivers of all time. In his illustrious 10-year career, Jones has racked up 848 catches, 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns. Last year however, injuries haunted Jones, leaving him with his worst statistical season since 2013 when he played only five games due to a foot fracture.
Julio is 32 years old. With 26 year old breakout receiver Calvin Ridley coming off his best year, is it time to forget about Julio Jones?
The answer is no. It’s obviously no. Here are three reasons Julio Jones will be at least a top-10 receiver this season.
Falcons starting quarterback Matt Ryan led the NFL in pass attempts in 2020 with 626. Ridley was obviously the main beneficiary, with over 1,300 receiving yards. Jones finished third on the team with 771, only 15 yards shy of second-place Russell Gage, who played all 16 games
Ryan was also in the top five in yards last season. Atlanta lacked the ability to run the ball, and they knew it. Todd Gurley wasn’t the answer at running back they were hoping for and maybe that is because they realize they will never be a run-first team.
The Atlanta Falcons are literally the exact opposite of the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have two stud running backs that they will ride until failure and the Falcons have two stud receivers they will ride until failure.
For better or for worse, Atlanta loves to throw and that is it. If you’re a Julio Jones fan like myself, it’s clearly for the better.
2. A solid 2020 when healthy
In only nine games, Jones still managed to achieve almost 800 yards. In two of those nine games, he didn’t even play a full 60 minutes because of injury. What I am saying is, when Jones played healthy he was a top receiver in the NFL and in fantasy.
Jones scored 16.2 fantasy points per game in standard PPR scoring but you have to take into account those two incomplete games. Take those two away and then he scored 19.4 points per game. That would have been good enough to be WR4, right behind Stefon Diggs and right ahead of Deandre Hopkins.
Yes, obviously injury is a risk but you can’t predict these things. And for anyone who doubts Jones based on his age are just silly. Jones is the greatest receiver in our generation--there is no reason not to think he will come back as a top 10 receiver this season
Jones and Ridley are going to tear up the NFL this year with Atlanta’s air raid offense. If both achieve over 1,000 yards, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest.
Overall, Jones has been one of the top fantasy performers year in and year out. He recorded six straight seasons of over 1,300 yards. SIX STRAIGHT. For all of you PPR fans out there, he also had six straight seasons of over 80 catches.
The only problem with his recent dominance is his inability to find paydirt. Jones has recorded double-digit touchdowns in a season once in his career.
However, the No.1 rule for fantasy football is you can’t bank on touchdowns. That goes both ways. Jones is just as likely to have 13 touchdowns as he is five touchdowns.
I also believe Jones is going to want to prove everyone wrong. In FF Lab’s Mock Draft 1.0, Jones was a fourth-round pick. That is unbelievable value. If you get Jones in round four, that will be the steal of the draft.
Do I expect Julio Jones to be the No.1 fantasy receiver in 2020? No. Would I be surprised if he is the No.1 fantasy receiver? Also no. What I do know is that Jones will finish in the top 10 and I could truly see him finishing in the top five.
He’s not done yet folks.