Julio oh Julio, just how can I trust you? After having a nice sophomore campaign in which you went for nearly 1,200 yards and 10 TDs, you broke my heart. You started off 2013 with three 100-yard games and two touchdowns, which was an admirable start.
Then the wheels came off. You broke your right foot and you sent fantasy seasons spiraling down the drain.
Okay, so clearly I'm bitter. He only hurt me in one league, but it was still tough for me to swallow. I had high hopes for us after seeing what you did to start the season.
So here we are today. Your foot is healed, so I've read, and you're beginning to gear up for the 2014 season. I'm thrilled that you're healthy and ready to play, but I'm not sure if I can trust you for fantasy football in 2014.
The Negative of Drafting Julio Jones in 2014
Some of you may be thinking that I'm biased in my assessment of Jones. Your assumption would be wrong. Sure I'm mad that it didn't work out, but I've been burned before and I'll be burned again. It happens to even the best fantasy football pros.
The negatives that I see currently are related to his health and his average draft position. Jones has broken the same foot twice now since 2011. It's a concern that the same injury has happened twice already early in his career. Clearly he puts immense pressure on that foot, as he broke the screw last season that was previously holding it together. Is this something that could happen again in 2014?
When it comes to draft position I'm more upset about some of the players that he's going before. According to Profootballcalculator he is the 18th player off the board, making him a 2nd round pick.
I think that's roughly where he should be, although I'd prefer him a little bit later (but hey, beggars can't be choosers).
The problem I have with that draft slot is that Zac Stacy, Alshon Jeffery, Gio Bernard and Alfred Morris are going behind him. By now the world knows I love me some Zac Stacy and Gio Bernard. I think it's absurd that running back talent of this caliber is going behind him, when the running back position is much uglier in fantasy football than the wide receiver position. (remember this is for standard leagues.... WR should be going higher in PPR formats).
The Positives of Drafting Julio Jones in 2014
By all accounts Julio Jones is full healthy. The Falcons are holding him out of OTA's, but there is no concern about his availability for the preseason or upcoming season.
We hate projecting numbers out for 2014 based on a partial season of play in 2013. However it's fun to live the fantasy that they could be true. Assuming Jones played all 16 games we can project that he would have had 1,856 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
He also would have had 12 targets per game, which makes him a monster PPR play.
Tony Gonzalez is gone, Roddy White is now healthy and the Falcons hope to have their running game back on track in 2014. All signs point toward Jones getting more targets in a better offense than existed in 2013. The real question is if he'll stay healthy enough to play the entire fantasy season.
Deciding on Julio Jones' Fantasy Value for 2014
It honestly all depends on the fantasy expert you speak with. I haven't spoken with the other members of the site on their thoughts about Julio, but if I were to guess some of them would say I'm crazy to be down on Jones in 2014. I say work on your fantasy rankings and trust your gut. You'll feel better about it in the long run.
I see the upside, and I think he's a WR1 for sure, but I also see the risk. I've always been a conservative fantasy owner and it's clearly showing here.
As we approach draft day I expect his value to rise higher than 18th overall, I just won't be the one drafting him.
Do you think I'm too low on Jones or over-analyzing his foot injury? Let me know below. As always, I love to talk fantasy football.See Our Fantasy Player Profiles
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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