2012 Fantasy Football: Analyzing Julio Jones’s 2012 Value
Julio Jones was a beast in 2011. And he really didn’t have much working for him other than his pure talent. Think about it, the guy put up 959 yards and eight touchdowns off of a measly 54 receptions. He was major second fiddle to Roddy White (100 receptions) and Tony Gonzalez (80), but he did a lot with those 54 receptions (not to mention that 17.8 yards per catch average).
But it wasn’t just about the low amount of targets. Jones also played a good portion of his rookie year nicked up, didn’t have a normal off-season due to an unfriendly lockout, missed three games and was severely limited in another.
Translation: we have already seen what Jones can do. I tend to think we’ve just kind of forgotten. His injury ailments and missed games periodically took us away from his dominance.
Just take a look back. After an average first two weeks, Jones became unstoppable, catching 17 passes for 242 yards in the next two games, before getting hurt in week five. That put him on the shelf for two straight games, but then he returned and reminded us of his amazing fantasy value by crushing the Colts for 131 yards and two touchdowns on just three catches.
He got hurt again against the Saints the next week and didn’t record a catch in the two games after that, but again, in his second game back, went off for 104 yards and two scores off of just three receptions.
And then he stayed healthy down the stretch and ended his first year on a high note, with six touchdowns in his final four contests – and at least one in each of the four games.
All of this in 13 games, after a lockout, and off of just 54 receptions.
It’s no wonder his teammates and fantasy experts everywhere are giddy about this guy.
The simple math is this: Jones’s 2011 rookie numbers had him coming in as the 17th overall wide receiver in fantasy football last year, and if he only sees minor improvement (say, 70 receptions, 1,000 yards and 10 scores), he could very easily leap into the top-10.
That’s the idea fantasy owners should be having, anyways. I’m not going to be the guy that gives in and says Roddy White suddenly has no value, because he’s still a PPR threat and an elite receiver. But the torch is being passed to a more talented player – a guy who simply makes plays with the ball in his hands like few players in the league.
As long as he can stay healthy, Jones is set up to have a huge second season, and it should get him very close to top-10 numbers, if not much better. Needless to say, he is a rock solid WR2 at the very minimum, with top-end WR1 upside heading into 2012.
*photo credit – falconsfocus.com