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Don’t Forget about Julio | Fantasy Football 2021

Nowadays, everyone acts like they got something to say.  At one point the public “Forgot About Dre”, and it seems that fantasy managers have forgotten about Julio Jones too.  As of right now, Julio Jones’s ADP on FanatasyCalculator, compiled from thousands of drafts, is the 3.12 in PPR leagues.  Yes, you read that right, the 3.12 and he is coming off the board as the WR13.  Picture that. Julio, the WR13!  In the six seasons prior to 2020, Julio was basically a guaranteed top-10 WR.  As Dr. Dre put it “With a wall full of plaques, hanging up in the office in back of my house like trophies.”  If the fantasy football community gave out trophies, plaques, and accolades to the best WRs, Julio Jones would rival Dre over his career and you should not forget about him heading into 2021.

Y’all Better Listen Up Closely

Before last season, Julio Jones had finished between WR2 and WR7 every year since 2014.  That is six consecutive seasons of top-7 finishes before his injury-plagued 2020.  Now, he is being drafted just one spot ahead of Terry McLaurin.  There is no doubt that McLaurin has some upside heading into his 3rd year, and this is no offense to him, but in his first two years, McLaurin has finished as just the WR29 and WR20. Before you tell me about his bad QB play, there are still QB concerns in Washington next year.  Ryan Fitzpatrick should be the starter and that would be great news but, when was the last season Fitzpatrick played all 16 games? The answer is 2015 and before that, it was 2012.  If he misses time again, Taylor Heinecke is lurking.  We must also see how the addition of Curtis Samuel and the emergence of Logan Thomas change this offense.  Long story short, McLaurin is fine and has potential, but there is still risk.  When trying to choose between the two of them at the end of the 3rd round of your fantasy draft, it should be a no-brainer.  Matt Ryan’s contract is restructured, and Julio is the apple of his eye.  Even with Calvin Ridley emerging, we have seen Julio and Ridley excel together too.

Let’s run a quick comparison with two other WRs going in front of Julio.  Mike Evans is currently the WR11 off the board and DK Metcalf is the WR5.  Mike Evans’ last two years were WR11 and WR15 finishes and, while DK Metcalf did light the world on fire from Weeks 1-8 last year (he was the WR3), that attracted the attention of all of the top corners (see Jalen Ramsey) and from Weeks 9-17, he plummeted to WR28. That is on top of the WR33 finish his rookie year.

I’m not down-talking these guys, I am just illustrating how all WRs come with risks, even the younger ones.  Julio is going into his age-32 season and we all know the risks of WRs that old (see Andre Johnson), but Julio has not dropped off one bit when he’s healthy.  Last year, while he played just seven healthy games, he was the WR8 in Week 1 and the WR3 from Weeks 6-10.  There was no drop-off when he was actually on the field.  Now he’s being drafted as the WR13 because of one injury-filled year?

Keep messing around and turn me back to the old me

Julio had only missed three games due to injuries between 2014-2019.  He missed seven last year.  That makes 10 total missed games in the last seven years. Davante Adams has missed 11 games in the same time frame and Tyreek Hill has missed 5 games since 2017 due to injury.  These two are the consensus top-2 WRs in the league.  My point is that injuries will always be a risk.  Julio Jones gets a bad rap when his track record from 2014-2019 was impeccable.  You could almost always count on him to play.  However, that tough-guy mentality + Dan Quinn fighting for his job could easily be an explanation for an injury-riddled year. It’s just more popular to point to Jones’ age.

Picture this though, you have the 1.12.  You go get two top RBs and you come back around at the 3.12 and Julio is still there.  That’s insane.  That means you can go RB heavy, take three top backs with your first three picks, and still get Julio in the with the 4.01. If you prefer balance, take RBs with your first two picks and grab two WRs here and have Julio be your WR2.  That should negate some of those age and injury concerns that we’ve been hearing around the fantasy football community.  I still think that those concerns are unwarranted though, at this stage.  As I’ve said, he’s a top-10 WR when he’s healthy, and before last year, that included six straight seasons of top-7 production (and only three missed games!).  The thought of him being a 4th Round pick for all of my squads is so tantalizing that I kind of hope y’all forget about him.

“Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say…” and y’all act like you forgot about Julio.