Julio Jones vs. Roddy White: Who Do You Draft?
The Atlanta Falcons have a luxury heading into 2012. They have two elite wide receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones. With White, they have a reliable possession receiver who can get first downs and is often at his best inside the red-zone. With Jones, they have a bottle rocket waiting to be released on any given play.
Unfortunately, while the Falcons have in made in the rain with their two stud receivers, fantasy owners are faced with a mind-numbing dilemma come draft day: which wide receiver is going to be better in 2012?
Here’s a case for and against both guys:
Why You Should Draft Roddy White
He’s a reception machine that scores touchdowns consistently, and he’s in an offense that continues to get more and more pass-heavy. Michael Turner is pushing 30 and is worn down, and the Falcons have been shifting their offensive philosophy more since last season to compete with the other elite offenses in the league. Matt Ryan is on the verge of greatness, and your boy White has a sick rapport with him. What’s more, is White is coming off of back-to-back 100-reception seasons. Oh, and he’s found the end-zone 29 times in the past three years.
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Roddy White
While the offensive changes could potentially help him, they could also majorly hinder him. At 30, White isn’t the most explosive weapon in Atlanta’s passing game anymore, and it’s also important to note he’s not best receiver on his team anymore, either. Sure, he’s caught 115 and 100 balls in each of the last two years, but with hungry mouths in Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez and Jacquizz Rodgers to feed, it’s pretty unrealistic to hope for a third straight season of 100 or more receptions. His touchdowns could easily stay pretty high, but with the ball being spread out more than ever, that number could just as easily come down, too.
Why You Should Draft Julio Jones
The baton has been passed in this relay, and it’s Jones’ time to shine. Consider this: Jones put up 959 yards and eight touchdowns on just 54 receptions as a rookie in 2011, and he also did so in just 13 games. Despite catching 46 less passes and appearing in three less games, he still managed to finish last year as the 17th best fantasy receiver – just 9 spots behind his teammate, White. Simply put, Jones is a play-maker and he’s going to touch the ball way more than he did in 2011. His receptions, yardage and touchdowns will all be up this year, while that fact plays in hand with the notion that White’s numbers will more than likely be down across the board.
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Julio Jones
As sexy as all the hype surrounding Jones, he doesn’t come without risk. He did, after all, miss three games as a rookie, and played hurt in several others. A fully healthy Jones for 16 games is certainly a safe bet to crack the top-10 in year two, but what about a hindered Jones that once again barely makes it to 13 games? There’s also the thought that, while Jones does get a major increase in targets and overall numbers, it still might not be quite enough to pass up White as the best receiver in Atlanta. After all, if you take a look at the Falcons depth chart, White is still the team’s official number one receiver, with Jones being the number two. While I don’t deem it likely, it’s certainly possible that Jones is being a hyped up a bit too much, and possibly even over-valued.
I have to spin it both ways for both guys, but the reality is that Jones is the better, more explosive talent. If you’re going to worry about injuries all day, then you probably shouldn’t draft Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden, Trent Richardson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Schaub, Sidney Rice, Andre Johnson or Antonio Gates. Any of them – ever. But that’s not using logic with a fine meshing of fantasy football realism, is it? No, and that’s why Jones is hands down the better option of these two Falcons receivers.
It’s still possible White leads the team in targets and receptions, but it’s also entirely possible he doesn’t. And regardless of which way the reception/target meter swings, I highly doubt he ends up with more yardage or scores than Jones. Jones is bigger, faster, and more explosive. There’s no reason for Ryan to not dial him up on a more consistent basis. The passing of the torch began last year, and it concludes in 2012. Julio Jones is without a doubt a top-five fantasy receiver right now, and Roddy White no longer is. Happy drafting.