The illustrious wide receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons will be taking the Dirty Bird to the Music City. Will the 32-year old wideout make a dent for your fantasy team by swapping Matt Ryan for Ryan Tannehill? What does this mean for Calvin Ridley, who becomes the de facto #1 target in Atlanta? And how can you profit off this in the early fantasy football season? Join me after the jump and learn why you’ll be moaning over Julio Jones

Julio Jones

Julio Jones is one of the top wide receivers for fantasy football, and he’s been producing at elite levels for years. Here’s how he fared in full-season play over the past few years (data courtesy of Rudy Gamble’s Fantasy Football Player Pages, which you can access by searching a player’s name in the search field at the top of the page)

  Team Age G Snaps Snp % Tm Tgt % Rec/ Tgt STD PTS PPR PTS STD Pos Rank PPR Pos Rank STD Per Game Rank PPR Per Game Rank
2020 ATL 31 9 468 42 11 75 95 146 51 51 12 14
2019 ATL 30 15 834 70 24 63 175 274 5 2 4 3
2018 ATL 29 16 818 77 28 66 212 325 5 4 5 5
2017 ATL 28 16 766 75 29 59 163 251 5 7 8 10
2016 ATL 27 14 709 68 24 64 176 259 6 6 4 5

In short, Jones is usually durable (missed 10 games in 5 years), is taking a ton of snaps (70% rate for 4/5 years), and is taking the targets (24% share for 4/5 years). And even in his injury-plagued 2020, Julio Jones still ranked in the top 15 wide-receivers on a per-game basis. Wow! Are you moaning yet? Hopefully, it’s not a reaction to the marshmallow fluff I put in your coffee. I’ve got a sweet tooth! 

Julio Jones in Tennessee

Jones becomes a 1A/1B wideout combination with A.J. Brown for the Tennessee Titans now. The obvious implication for each receiver is that there is more competition. Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel has been coaching for 3 years, and has directed the team to near-dead-last rankings in pass attempts among NFL teams. Vrabel is, without a doubt, a run-first head coach; his rushing attempts and total yardage have been in the top 10 in every year he’s been a head coach. This limits the upside of both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. Fortunately for each player, both Coach Vrabel and quarterback Ryan Tannehill are incredibly efficient with the passing game. The Titans have ranked 8th overall in passing TDs the past two years and 7th in net yards per attempt. A.J. Brown finished in the top 15 wide receivers despite having only 70 catches on a bit over 100 targets.  A.J. Brown Target Profile

This is A.J. Brown’s target profile, available at his Fantasy Football Player Page up in the search bar.  The bold green demonstrates where Brown was a leader, and you can see that Brown was dominant around the sticks, where he typically got just beyond the first down marker. Is this significant to Julio? Yes, because take a look at A.J. Brown’s 2020 counterpart Corey Davis, who is now with the New York Jets

Corey Davis Target Profile

You can see by the dark green that Corey Davis was similarly going for deeper passes. This means that the Titans pass game — while not prolific in attempts — was above average in its average depth of target to wide receivers. According to PlayerProfiler, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill ranked third overall in the NFL in true completion percentage, 4th overall in adjusted yards per pass attempt, and second overall in fantasy points per dropback. In other words, Tannehill is an efficient signal-caller who isn’t afraid to throw deeper than the average quarterback. 

Julio then walks into an efficient situation where his older body won’t be required to take as many pass attempts to accumulate usable stats. Ryan Tannehill and Mike Vrabel’s system will help him take off the load, and the threat of A.J. Brown — who probably is the fantasy 1A to Julio’s 1B — will open up Julio to take advantage of weaker coverages. Corey Davis garnered only 92 targets last year, and Titans tight end Jonnu Smith — now with the Patriots — took another 65 targets. 

Fantasy Takeaway

Julio Jones enters a situation where he can feasibly take 100 targets on the season and accumulate enough yardage and touchdowns to produce top 15 wide receiver stats per game, with a small possibility of breaching the top 10 wideouts. A healthy Julio will likely see the lowest outcome as somewhere around WR30, which means that he’s a safe pick as your WR2 in most formats. He’ll be best deployed in best-ball and DFS formats, where the Titans can take advantage of matchups in the secondary. Jones might be a headache to own in head-to-head formats, where he might disappear due to gameplan. Dynasty managers would be served well to let him accumulate value before pursuing a trade because his value is low coming off an injury-riddled season. 

What do you think about Julio Jones? Drop a comment and let me know! See you later this week for an Atlanta Falcons update! 

  1. Gary Z says:
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    Love the write up EWB!

    I think Julio will have the same output as in the past few seasons playing opposite of Ridley. My gut tells me AJ Brown will be hurt by this signing, but you could also argue that he wont be doubled as much because Julio is there so he could be just fine. At both of their ADP’s, Im staying away this year. In one of my leagues that I play, based on how we finished last year, I have the 4th choice on where to draft this year. My guess is I could choose as high as 4, I don’t think Id want it unless I knew Henry would fall to me there, and I want no piece of Saquon, Kamara, Chubb or Zeke at that ADP. What are your thoughts on having the 4th pick, and what draft pick would you choose if not the 4th? Sorry so lengthy!

    • Gary Z says:
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      I should add this is a 12 team, half ppr h2h redraft league

      • everywhereblair

        everywhereblair says:
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        Hey Gary!

        I love lengthy, send more!

        There’s two ways to look at where you want to draft: the top of the draft *tends* to have a higher win rate over a long time frame. The “edge” isn’t all that much, but every little bit helps, right?

        Myself, I like to draft either in the middle or the 12 spot in a 12 teamer. The reason is that — for the most part — I know somebody else (or multiple somebodies) will make a mistake in the first round, leaving a more valuable player for me to draft. I also like the turns because then I can set the tone for the next round — if there are too many TE on the board, I might take 2 in a row, which creates scarcity that people over react to.

        So, it all plays into how you like to draft. I’ve got no problem going #4, but like you say, those RB are going to be volatile. Somewhere between 6-12 seems like a happy medium depending on your preference.

        • Gary Z says:
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          I like your strategy. Yes happens every year, I don’t think you can win your draft in the 1st round, but you can certainly hurt it!

          Further than those backs being volatile, I want to set myself up for better picks in the 2nd and beyond! What would your 1st 4 rounds look like in a 12 teamer ideally this year?

          Would you ever take Kelce/Kittle b2b? Ive thought about it before haha, Kittle’s injury history scares me a bit, but man that’d be fun lol. I view Kelce as more of a WR anyway.

          • everywhereblair

            everywhereblair says:
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            I’ve actually got an article coming out soon that talks about draft strategy, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

            I actually made it 2nd place in my home league 2 years ago (16 teamer, custom scoring) by doing the Ertz/Kittle back-to-back in round 2/3 (value, I know!). Everybody was securing RB and leaving TE alone, and when I took 2 TE right away, it shook the room and started a TE run.

            Unfortunately the championship came down to me vs. Lamar/CMC (2 years ago) and there was just no hope in stopping that.

            So, I don’t recommend TE/TE as a normal strategy, but when you see gifts that your draft room gives you, you take them and stay flexible.

            • Gary Z says:
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              I will definetly be watching for that, do you typically post on a specific day?

              Man that is crazy! The strategy ive used if I didnt get the top 2 or 3 is to grab whoever in the later rounds (made a killing w Walker/Jonnu the last few years) GREAT VALUE as I feel like the field after the top tier is pretty even.

              Yeah couldn’t do much about that. I lost to Lamar in a championship as well, (I benched Lockett for Deebo after he crapped the bed 3 weeks in a row) Lamar/CMC thats impossible to beat that year.

              Makes sense, in this league im talking about, I live near Green Bay as do most who are in it. I love when some years Rodgers was going 1st overall lol, and more recently Jones is going top 5 or near where Davante goes. Homer drafts rock! haha Way more predictable and huge help to getting value picks in later rounds.

              You think Rodgers play for GB this year?

              • everywhereblair

                everywhereblair says:
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                I’m on the other side of WI, and you probably know we’ve got a bunch of Bears fans running this side of Razzball lol. NFC North representing.

                In the football off-season I’m on a random schedule due to my baseball obligations but come the regular season I’ll be doing the game recaps.

                I think A-Rog plays for GB because I don’t think there’s another team that really wants to upheave their system to cater to him. A-Rog already got McCarthy out, and his stats show that he’s heavily reliant on receivers getting YAC instead of air yards. Not a lot of momentum in an analytics-based front office to get a guy who was 15th in air yards and 25th in air yards per attempt. Davante Adams put a lot of work into ARog’s success. So I think ARog vents his frustrations this year and plays it out, maybe 2022 is different. And if he moves…well, enjoy Denver? I dunno where he goes at this point lol.

                • Gary Z says:
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                  I wasn’t aware im in the midst of Bear fans. Please don’t let that hinder the advice you give me lol…most of my family is from the Chicagoland area, we don’t speak on Packer-Bear weeks :)…congrats on Fields, I think he will be really good to great provided he is supported by your team.

                  Yeah I see your posts for baseball and appreciate those as well, Grey, DT, Rudy, Coolwhip, yourself and others do an outstanding job! Just started following you guys in 2019. I certainly am more knowledgeable about fantasy since I started reading, thanks again!

                  Faults on both sides, I understand Aaron’s frustration. There are cool things to be said about our team not having an owner, but honestly I wish we did, this situation could have been talked about behind closed doors. Im not a fan of the current brass here. That said, Im not a fan of giving players power to walk when they want to walk, make team decisions, and cry to the media when they dont get there way. If GB caves, that will open up a can we don’t want open.

                  Anyway, thanks for your insight and your time!

                  • everywhereblair

                    everywhereblair says:
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                    Thanks so much for reading along! Look forward to seeing you more as the season comes along.

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