FF Tips

Why Julio Jones is our top-ranked WR

By Jared Smola 10:06am EDT 6/5/19

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What You Need to Know:

  • Jones has topped 1,400 receiving yards in 5 straight seasons, leading all WRs in total yards over that span and ranking 2nd in fantasy points.
  • The Falcons return all of their key offensive pieces from last year.
  • OC Dirk Koetter is back after spending 2012-2014 in Atlanta. Jones has averaged 6.2 catches, 93.6 yards and .5 TDs per game in Koetter’s system.

An elite fantasy producer

Fantasy owners love to complain about Julio.

“He doesn’t score TDs!”

“He’s always banged up!”

Wah, wah, wah!

All this dude does is rack up fantasy points. Over the past 5 seasons, only Antonio Brown has totaled more PPR points or non-PPR points than Jones. He ranks 3rd behind Brown and Odell Beckham in PPR and non-PPR points per game. Jones’ finishes in PPR points the last 5 seasons: 6th, 2nd, 6th, 7th and 2nd.

And that’s despite the relatively low TD production. Jones’ 31 TDs since 2014 rank “just” 13th among WRs. But he leads the position with 7,994 yards and ranks 2nd with 524 receptions.

Relying more on catches and yards than TDs for fantasy production has made Julio a reliable weekly fantasy play. His 66 games of 10+ PPR points over the last 5 seasons are tied with Antonio Brown for tops among WRs. Jones ranks 2nd at his position with 48 games of 15+ PPR points. And he, of course, has brought a lofty weekly ceiling. Only Brown has more games of 20+ fantasy points since 2014 than Jones’ 35.

2018 in review

Last year, Jones became the 1st player in NFL history to top 1,400 receiving yards in 5 straight seasons. His 1,676 yards easily led the league — 104 clear of #2 DeAndre Hopkins. Jones tied for 3rd with 113 catches. And his 8 TDs — tied for the 2nd most of his career — tied for 11th among WRs.

Despite turning 30 in February, Jones has shown no signs of slowing down. He hauled in 66.5% of his targets and averaged a big 14.8 yards per catch last year. His 9.9 yards per target was a smidge above his career average and ranked 12th among 82 WRs with 50+ targets. Jones led that group in yards per route run and ranked 3rd in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades.

2019 outlook

Jones will again be catching passes from Matt Ryan this season. Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper also return after ranking 2nd through 4th on the team in targets last year. The only change at the skill-position spots is the loss of Tevin Coleman.

The Falcons will be operating in a new offense under OC Dirk Koetter. But that looks like good news for Jones. Koetter is a pass-heavy play caller, with 5 of his last 7 offenses finishing top 8 in pass attempts. Three of those came in Atlanta. The Falcons finished 8th, 3rd and 3rd in pass attempts and 6th, 7th and 5th in pass yards those years.

And Jones enjoyed plenty of success under Koetter. In 2012, Jones’ 2nd NFL season, he broke out for 79 catches, 1,198 yards and a career-high 10 TDs, finishing 11th among WRs in PPR points.

Jones’ 2013 season was cut short after 5 games by a fractured right foot. But he racked up 41 catches for 580 yards and 2 scores in his 5 outings, putting him on pace for a full-season line of 131-1,856-6.

Jones returned in 2014 to finish 3rd league-wide in both catches (104) and receiving yards (1,593). He added 6 TDs to rank 6th among WRs in PPR points.

So in 36 career games in Koetter’s offense, Jones has averaged 6.2 catches, 93.6 yards and .5 TDs. That’s a 16-game pace of 100 catches, 1,498 yards and 8 scores.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

No WR has racked up more yards than Jones over the past 5 seasons. Only Antonio Brown has totaled more fantasy points. Jones’ PPR finishes the last 5 years: 6th, 2nd, 6th, 7th and 2nd.

The Falcons return the same key pieces on offense in 2019. They’ll be operating under a new OC in Dirk Koetter. But Koetter is a pass-happy play caller and spent 2012-2014 in Atlanta. Jones averaged 6.2 catches, 93.6 yards and .5 TDs per game in Koetter’s system.

Well-established as an elite fantasy producer, Jones is in the mix to be the 1st WR off the board in fantasy drafts and is worth considering anywhere in the back half of Round 1.

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