While everyone else is hammering for picks and youngsters, now is the time to go out and get Julio Jones.
I got a fever and the only prescription for it….is more rookie hype. The ever-consuming NFL Combine is producing an endless amount of data sending Twittersphere into a frenzy of speculation and salivation. (Note: I call it “stud hunting season.”)
College production, sub 4.4 4o-times, countless algorithms, endless narratives, BMIs, burst scores….the hype is real and everyone wants a piece of this historically stacked 2020 draft. And you should! That’s not my point whatsoever.
However, you can’t forget that a current stud is still a current stud and that’s exactly what Julio Jones is- and that’s not changing for YEARS (…barring major injury…I mean, come on, it could happen to anyone). In a league full of shiny, new, young talented wide receivers, people seem to easily forget how dominant Julio truly is.
So let’s take a trip into the ageism surrounding a youthful 31-year-old WR who is not only a future HOF but will most likely be one of the five best WRs of all time.
A Dive Into Quintorris Lopez Jones’ Hall-of-Fame Career
Pop quiz, hotshot. Name every player that has finished a top 7 PPR WR over the last 6 seasons: Only one man nicknamed “Julio.” From data I collected using the PPR settings on fantasydata.com and raw stats from pro-football-reference.com, here’s the breakdown:
|Year||Position Ranking||Targets||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs||
Fantasy Points (PPR)
Ladies and gentlemen that is called consistently dominant. The Roll Tide product has missed only 4 games in 6 seasons! Yeah, the 6-foot-3, 220 lb superstar seems to always have lingering injuries, but the guy is tough and plays through almost EVERYTHING.
One of the reasons why people tend to ignore Julio’s dominance due to the lack of TDs, but he’s consistently putting 6 or more TDs in 5 out of 6 seasons. STOP CHASING TDs! Guys who move chains and get the yards to win championships and are more reliable over a reasonable span of time.
Number 11 is the master of that type of production, but he’s also the product of one heck of a pass-happy offense.
The Falcons Let That Ball Fly!
No matter what fantasy sport you play, opportunity equals points. Back-up point guards replacing injured starters, AAA prospects called up to face a subpar MLB line-up or a spell back being falling into a starting RB position are prime examples of opportunities that can produce major fantasy points.
For WRs, the offense simply needs to chuck it a lot and give you a chance to haul that baby in! Boy, do the Falcons love to toss that pigskin!
In 2019, Atlanta threw the ball a league-leading 689 times for a crazy average of 43.1 passing attempts. This offense also chucked up 617 attempts for an average of 38.6 attempts, so this is an elite passing offense. Matt Ryan and Julio also really have chemistry and rapport, which is incredibly important to not overlook in terms of consistent production.
Why would you want to trade away a guy who’s the established WR1 in that situation? Yeah, you don’t want to do that. But Todd, isn’t this the time when a WR starts to decline? NOT THE ELITE ONES! So let’s take a journey into the ageism case against Julio Jones and how he stacks up against some legendary WRs.
Legendary Wide Receivers: The 30s Years
As sports fans, we love rankings and lists. We love to play expert and talk about who we feel is the GOAT (Note: QB GOAT is Brady, you know it). For me, my Mt. Rushmore of Wide Receivers would be Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, and Calvin Johnson.
Since Megatron retired at such a young age, I’m replacing him with my guy at #5, Terrell Owens. Who do I have at #6? Julio Jones and he could easily move up this list once he’s retired WAY down the road.
Moss is quite the casualty tale (to say the least) and was always a TD beast, but he was pretty much done by age 34. Julio is not that type of player and is in INCREDIBLE shape. Therefore, I’m replacing Moss with WR#7 on my list, Marvin Harrison, who had a much healthier and longer career than Moss.
For this argument, let’s see how these legends produced in the window that Julio is approaching, which is their 31-33-year-old seasons (3-year window):
|Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs||
Fantasy Points (PPR)/season
Scoring settings: 1 point per reception, 1 point per 10 receiving yards, 6 points per TD
It’s clear that all four of those legends were still top 10 WRs with those types of averages. Tell why Julio is not in a similar situation. Why risk on a guy with one year of production or an unknown rookie for a future HOF wideout who just consistently puts dominant production? Also, remember that league now throws A LOT more, which means Julio will see more targets than these legends.
For successful dynasty management, I believe you would play within a 3-year window, but beyond 5 years is just nuts to me. There are too many variables in the NFL to predict more than 5 years down the road.
If you want to go crunch the numbers for an additional two seasons, go right ahead, but I assure you that Rice, TO & Harrison were still elite and Fitzgerald got BETTER. Julio is in THAT class of WR, except he’s not quite the TD machine that these guys are.
The Bottom Line
If you are even remotely close to contending, get him while your league mates are sick with rookie fever. Julio Jones will never be cheaper than before the NFL draft.
If you are rebuilding, you could definitely sell him for 2020 1st picks, but I don’t think less than an early and late 1st is fair value. If you can be patient, I would wait for a mid-season trade to a contender makes more sense to max out your value.
Respect Julio’s greatness over this rookie hype. Please, it’s just the right thing to do.
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