Quintorris Lopez ‘Julio” Jones is 31 years old. He was born in Foley, Alabama, where he played wide receiver and defensive end for his local high school team. In his junior year, Jones caught 75 passes for 1,306 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning him an invitation to the high school Under Armour All-American game. He ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at a Nike camp in 2007 and the event-best vertical jump.
Jones was described “as a rare prospect at the wide receiver position with a supreme blend of size, power, speed, and agility. He reminded some people of the high school version of Michael Irvin, but at this stage, Jones is more explosive and faster.” Those are some impressive statements for a high school wide receiver.A three-sport athlete (basketball and track), including winning the State Championships in both long jump and triple jump, Julio was named the 2006-07 Gatorade Track & Field Athlete of the Year in the state of Alabama. Considered a five-star recruit and the number one receiver in the nation in 2008, so it only made sense that he joined the Alabama Crimson Tide.
As a true freshman, in 2008, Julio played in all 14 games catching 58 passes for 924 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jones played all 13 games in his junior season, catching 78 passes for 1,133 yards and 7 touchdowns.
He decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. He measured 6’ 2 ¾” and weighed 220 pounds, running a 4.39 40-yard dash (with a broken bone in his foot). Jones was selected with the 6th overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons after they traded five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up to get him. He has drafted two picks after A.J. Green.
Jones has played in nine NFL seasons, and over the past six years, he has only missed four games. In his first three seasons, he struggled with some injuries but has been an Iron Man over the past six seasons. Consistently a top-five wide receiver in the NFL, Jones' 2015 season will probably go down as his best, catching 136 passes for 1,871 yards and 8 touchdowns. That year he set a career-high in both receptions and receiving yards.
Let’s talk about Julio Jones' injury history, as it is significant. Jones has a total of 23 different injury listings over the past 11 years. That’s pretty crazy! Especially for a guy who has played in over 87% of his team's games.
Jones struggled with a couple of injuries in college, but his most famous injury was to his right foot. In his junior season of college, Jones suffered a Jones fracture (no, it was not named after him, lol!). The fracture is very significant and involves breaking the base of the fifth toe, near the heel. He broke the bone in his right foot in his final college season but managed to (impressively) play through it, posting monster numbers (78-1,133-7) in the process.
Jones had surgery in the offseason before being chosen by the Falcons. Traditionally Jones fractures in elite athletes require surgery as they are at high risk for re-fracture if a screw is not inserted, like this. Most players return from this surgery doing quite well, but some struggle because of the feeling of the screw (think Greg Olsen). This part of the bone has an inadequate blood supply, and that is why it fractures (and re-fractures) so easily. No blood, no healing!
Unfortunately, in October 2013, during Jones’ third NFL season, he re-fractured this same bone again, this time breaking the screw. He required a second surgery, ending his season after five games. It was the only season where Jones played less than 13 games.
The good news is that in the last seven years since that surgery, Jones has only missed a total of four games (96%). The games missed were actually for turf toe, also on the right foot, but no new injuries to the surgically-repaired bone.
Jones had surgery in January 2017 to remove a bunion on his right foot, but this did not affect his 2017 season at all. Jones struggled with a foot injury at the beginning of the 2019 season; it did not seem to affect him much early going on. He tweaked his hip in week five but never missed any games as a result, despite having a couple of subpar performances. Again he tweaked his foot in week 11 but didn’t miss any time.
Unfortunately, in Week 12, Jones injured his shoulder, and because it was a short week, he ended up missing the game. It was likely an A.C. sprain, which is common in football players after landing hard on the shoulder. Traditionally these usually range from mild to moderate, where players return anywhere from one to four weeks.
Jones’ injury was not as significant, and he only missed one game. Upon returning, Jones had a monster performance where he caught 13 passes for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 targets against the San Francisco 49ers. He followed that performance with 10 receptions for 166 yards the next week. Despite being injured, Jones was still elite.
We’ve seen Jones deal with a couple of different injuries throughout his impressive career, but besides a significant foot fracture in 2013, Julio has been an Iron Man and a staple of good health. Consistently a top-five wide receiver. In Jones’ worst season over the past five years he had 83 receptions. Last year was his lowest receiving total with 1,394 yards, to give you an idea of how amazing he has been.
Fresh off an extension with $64 million guaranteed before the 2019 season, Jones has a contract through the 2023 season.
Jones finished the 2019 season as a WR5 in PPR leagues and second in receiving yards, next to Michael Thomas. He continued to be a high-target weapon and finished second to Thomas. Jones' 99-1394-6 season is typical regardless of his age.
Jones consistently averages nearly seven receptions (6.6), 93 yards (92.9) per game. Again, his touchdowns keep him from being the number one receiver. Jones was targeted 16 times in the red zone, catching 12, and 5 for scores.
In 2020, Jones may see a regression in both receptions and yards. In two of his last four seasons, he caught 83 and 88 passes before exploding for 113 in 2018. He also has seen a regression in his yards per reception since 2016. Jones has gone from 17 yards per catch to 14.1 last year. However, his targets will always be in high abundance.
Jones has finished with more than 6 touchdowns in every season except two, the three he put up in 2017 and the two he scored in 2013. That is seven seasons out of the nine he played that he scored 6+ scores. Perhaps, you can toss the 2013 season out the window; he played just five games.
Look for the trend of 6+ touchdowns to continue. Also, the direction of 100+ catches will go forward. The 99 Jones caught last year should count as 100 because he missed a game. Look for a third straight season in 2020.
Jones’ floor is 85+ receptions for 1,250+ yards and 6 scores. The ceiling is 1,500 yards, 110+ receptions, and 9-10 touchdowns. The 200 point fantasy season is once again in play, but a mixture of floor and ceiling is a good indicator of what we are likely to see.
One of the reasons Jones should keep a high point profile is the Falcons offense. In 2019, Atlanta put up 23.8 points per game and averaged 379.7 yards. The offensive attack threw on over 66% of their possessions.
The weapons are there to throw the ball. Calvin Ridley is emerging, Hayden Hurst will replace Austin Hooper, and Todd Gurley was signed. Maybe, Laquon Treadwell can be successful after being a complete bust in Minnesota.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Jones has a 58.3% chance of injury in 2020, and surprisingly projects him to miss 3.3 games in the 2020 season. It is interesting since Jones had only been absent in three games since 2013 when he underwent his foot surgery.
Maybe the computer system is calculating the increased risk analytically and predicting an injury. For reference, Jones is the 9th riskiest wide receiver (in terms of injury risk score) behind several commonly injured players, including Keke Coutee, John Ross, and Sammy Watkins.
I (Dr. Morse) am personally not as concerned with Julio as SIP is. He is a top-shelf player and will control his foot issues. The shoulder was a fluky injury, and he was able to return much faster than most other players and continue to perform at an elite level when he returned. My risk score for Jones is 4 out of 10.
After finishing the WR3 in 2019 (PPR league), he is currently listed as the WR5 in 2020 and chosen at the beginning of the second round around fellow wide receivers Davante Adams and Chris Godwin.
I am not overly concerned about Jones’ long injury history, especially since he has been able to perform on the field despite these minor injuries. Expect continuous success from Jones. As long as he can remain healthy, he should finish as a top-five wide receiver and a top-12 pick in most fantasy drafts. Draft him with confidence even though he is on the wrong side of 30.
Injury Risk: Low. 4/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Nov 24, 2019||Shoulder A/C Joint Sprain||Jones suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter and left the game vs. Tampa Bay. He missed only one game|
|Jun 10, 2019||Pedal Foot||Jones was dealing with a foot injury toward the end of last season, although he didn’t miss a game. He didn't play in preseason games. He managed to play in Week 1 against Minnesota.|
|Dec 18, 2017||Hand Thumb Sprain||Jones had the thumb taped up but didn't miss any time.|
|Dec 17, 2017||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones suffered the injury early in Week 15 but played through it.|
|Nov 5, 2017||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones played through an ankle ailment. He played all 16 games in 2017.|
|Oct 1, 2017||Inguinal Hip Strain||Jones returned from a hip flexor after Atlanta's Week 5 bye.|
|Mar 6, 2017||Pedal Foot||Jones had surgery to remove a bunion from his right foot. He was medically cleared for the start of training camp but eased back in and sat out the 1st 2 preseason games.|
|Jan 14, 2017||Pedal Toe Sprain||Jones aggravated a toe sprain on his right foot. He played through it the following week and in the Super Bowl but had surgery to remove a bunion in March.|
|Dec 4, 2016||Pedal Toe Sprain||Jones sprained the big toe on his right foot and missed 2 games.|
|Sep 18, 2016||Leg Calf Strain||Jones missed no time following a Week 2 calf strain.|
|Sep 11, 2016||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones aggravated his left ankle sprain but played through the issue.|
|Aug 25, 2016||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones sprained his left ankle in the 3rd preseason game but missed no time.|
|Oct 11, 2015||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones came off the field for a few plays because of a hamstring injury but returned for the next possession.|
|Dec 8, 2014||Inguinal Hip Strain||Jones suffered a hip injury in Week 14 and missed the next game.|
|Sep 18, 2014||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones tweaked an ankle late in Week 2. It lingered but cost him no games.|
|Oct 7, 2013||Pedal Foot Fracture||Jones fractured his right foot in Week 5 against the Jets and didn't play another game until the 2nd week of the 2014 preseason.|
|Aug 5, 2013||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones dealt with tightness in both hamstrings and sat out the 1st preseason game.|
|Nov 18, 2012||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones hobbled off in the 4th quarter after re-injuring his right ankle but missed no further time.|
|Nov 11, 2012||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||In Week 10, Jones sprained his right ankle against the Saints but played through the injury.|
|Nov 13, 2011||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||After tweaking his right hamstring in Thursday practice, Jones re-injured it in the 2nd quarter of Week 10. He missed the following game.|
|Oct 9, 2011||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Jones strained his left hamstring in Week 5 and missed the following 2 games. He returned after the Week 8 bye.|
|Feb 1, 2011||Pedal Toe Fracture||Jones broke a bone in his right foot after his final college season. He worked through it at the NFL Scouting Combine and had surgery afterward.|
|Sep 12, 2009||Knee Strain Grade 1||Jones suffered a September knee injury that lingered throughout the 2009 season but cost him just 1 game.|