Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Cleveland Browns had a chance to draft one of the best players in the history of the NFL and traded away the pick. There were numerous times the Browns decided to trade down. In the 2011 NFL draft, however, they traded the sixth overall pick away to the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons then proceeded to draft a wide receiver out of Alabama named Julio Jones. Since that time, Jones has only caught 585 passes for over 9000 yards and 43 scores. He also added five trips to the Pro-Bowl and is a two-time first-team All-Pro selection. The only two things missing from his resume are a Super Bowl ring and an MVP award.
For all these awards and achievements, Julio Jones still doesn’t get the same respect as some of the other wide receivers in fantasy. For instance, according to the DynastyRedZone.com staff, Julio Jones’ ranking is 24thoverall. There were 12 wide receivers ranked above him. However, the ADP for him with the RedZone 96 drafts is 18th. The highest he went was 14thand the lowest was 20th. Over the years, Julio Jones has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. If you look at the chart below you will see that Julio finished as a WR1 most of the seasons he has been in the NFL.
Given these stats, it seems like you can’t argue against drafting him. However, for those of you that have been on our Facebook group, my stance on Julio Jones should not surprise you. I have been in the “get out from under Julio Jones” camp for a couple of years now. It isn’t that I don’t like him or think he is a bad person/player, he actually won me a championship in 2015. I just believe that he isn’t living up to the level of hype he receives.
Why do I feel like he’s been over-hyped?
Yes, last year he finished as the seventh best wide receiver. However, if you look at his game by game production you will see the game he had week 12 while the Atlanta Falcons were hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers skewed that data. In that game he had:
Doing a large portion of the work in a few weeks.
That is a quite a big difference in fantasy points. With week 12’s performance of over 50 points, that would drop him from 251 points to around 200. He would have fallen from WR1 (6thoverall) to WR2 (18th overall). The 18thwide receiver would be a third-round pick with the 9-10 running backs and possibly Kelce drafted ahead of him.
2017 is just one year though, right? In 2016, he had another huge game against the Carolina Panthers and a couple more decent games. Then he had some games where he just didn’t show up.
As you can see above he had some pretty good games. However, mixed in he had some pretty lousy games too. He had seven games of scoring 20 points or more. He also had five games of scoring 10 points or less. If you include the two weeks he missed from a Pedal Toe Sprain, that would be seven weeks where he underperformed. These past two seasons aren’t the only areas where Julio has been inconsistent.
At 6’3” and 220 pounds, Julio Jones should be a viable red zone target. But over the years, not only has he not been targeted but he hasn’t even been on the field. This next table will show his red zone stats since entering the league in 2011 according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Work in the red zone.
From these stats, you can see that Julio scored 20 touchdowns in the red zone. However, he was on the field around 75% percent of the time the Falcons were in the red zone in 2017. Even when he is on the field, Jones hasn’t been catching the ball a lot in the red zone lately. With his targets inside the 20 declining, it is time to sell.
Over the last couple of years, he has not been consistent and his red zone targets he been declining. At 29 years old, he is still valued as a WR1 and 18thoverall, so you should still be able to get a decent return for him right now. I would suggest trying to get younger players like Josh Gordon and next year’s star free agent running back Tevin Coleman or Dion Lewis for him. I know I’m higher on Josh Gordon than most, no pun intended, but getting a younger receiver with the potential to be a WR1 and another small piece would be a smart move.
Thanks for reading about Julio Jones, check out more articles like these and more at DynastyRedZone.com.