What's Julio Jones' Fantasy Value with the Titans?
Julio Jones, WR, Titans
What You Need to Know:
- Jones was traded to the Titans in June. Tennessee received Jones and a 2023 6th-round pick in exchange for a 2022 2nd-rounder and a 2023 4th.
- Jones turned 32 in February.
- But he’s remained excellent when on the field. Among 87 WRs with 50+ targets last year, Jones ranked 3rd in yards per target and 4th in yards per route run. He finished 28th and 5th out of 80 qualifiers in 2019.
- Jones played 15 games in 2019 and ranked 3rd among WRs in PPR points and 5th in non-PPR. His scoring average in 7 healthy games last year would have ranked 4th in both PPR and non-PPR.
- Durability has always been a problem for Jones. He missed 7 games and most of 2 others last year with a lingering left hamstring injury. He missed 1 game in 2019, 2 in 2016, 1 in 2014, 11 in 2013 and 3 in 2011. That’s 25 games missed over 10 NFL seasons.
- Jones heads from a Falcons offense that ranked 8th in pass rate and 4th in pass attempts last year to a Titans offense that ranked 30th in both pass rate and attempts. Atlanta threw it 143 times more than Tennessee in 2020.
- The good news: The Titans’ passing game was efficient last year, ranking 7th in yards per attempt and 4th in TD rate. They finished 23rd in passing yards but 8th in TDs.
- The offseason departures of WR Corey Davis, WR Adam Humphries and TE Jonnu Smith leave behind 192 targets (a 40% share) from last year.
- Davis, who Jones will basically be replacing, garnered 92 targets in 14 games. That’s 6.6 targets per game -- a full-season pace of 105 that would have ranked 32nd among WRs last year.
- Davis saw a 22.1% target share in his 14 games.
- There’s also a chance the Titans’ pass volume grows this year. Their run-heavy attack last season was partly by design. But going 11-5 and trailing for only 42% of offensive snaps helped boost the run rate. Consider this: Tennessee threw the ball on just 41% of their snaps when leading but 56% when trailing last year. So if they’re trailing more this year -- and Vegas has their over/under win total set at 9 -- the pass rate figures to climb.
- The Titans lost OC and play-caller Arthur Smith, who took Atlanta’s HC job. He’ll be replaced by Todd Downing. He spent the past 2 seasons as Tennessee’s TE coach, so the team is looking for continuity in scheme. But Downing has just 1 season of NFL OC experience. That came back in 2017 with the Raiders, who finished 17th in total yards and 23rd in points.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
You know about Jones’ injury issues. And those aren’t likely to go away now that he’s 32.
But Jones has also remained dominant when on the field, performing as a top-5 WR in terms of efficiency and fantasy production over the past 2 seasons.
The concern in Tennessee is volume. The Titans ranked 3rd-to-last in both pass rate and pass attempts last season. We’re expecting them to throw it more in 2021 -- but not nearly as much as Jones’ old team did. And with A.J. Brown on the other side of the field, Jones won’t dominate targets.
It leaves him as a lower-end WR2 -- albeit one with a lofty weekly ceiling.