The long awaited Julio Jones trade is about to go down, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, with the Titans sending a second-round pick back in exchange for Jones, who has spent his entire career with the Falcons. But what does this mean for fantasy football owners and perspective best ball drafters? And don’t forget to check out all of Awesemo’s fantasy football content this season, including our new series of YouTube videos profiling all the top talent available for your drafts.
Julio Jones Fantasy Football Impact
For fantasy owners, this is not the greatest landing spot for Jones, but it is not terrible either. Going from an offense that routinely lands towards the top of the league in pass rate to a run-heavy one that was bottom three last year will limit his potential fantasy upside.
On the plus side, Ryan Tannehill can chuck it, and the Titans have finished near the top of yards per pass in each of the last two seasons. In fact, Tannehill was first in the NFL with 9.0 yards per pass in 2020. That should mean more deep balls for the Jones, who should see his yards per reception increase, even if his targets don’t.
Additionally, the Titans have a bunch of targets up for grabs this year after losing Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith to free agency, adding only Josh Reynolds as a replacement. That is 185 targets that are going to need to go somewhere, and unless Jones gets injured, he’s not leaving the field very often. The duo of he and A.J. Brown should form one of the most concentrated, high-powered offenses in the NFL for 2021.
On the Falcons, Awesemo.com has Jones projected for seven targets per game and 70.7 yards, which, extrapolated over a full 17-game season, would be around 1,200 yards. When they are updated, it’s safe to assume the targets per game will go down but the yards per game will go up.
Current ADP: 40s
Trend: Neutral. Probably rising in the short term, then dropping back down.
Advice: Jones will get an ADP news bump in the short term, but expect it to settle back down in the long term. Hold off until then. Stacking-wise in best ball, this offense has huge tournament winning potential. It’s possible you could get a Henry in Round 1, Brown in Round 2, Jones in Round 4 and Tannehill later on in the draft. That’s a deadly combo.
Rookie Receivers you NEED to draft
A.J. Brown Fantasy Football Impact
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably seen the fantasy football hype machine pumping up Brown to a borderline Round 1 draft pick. With this trade, those days are gone. Still, though he will see fewer targets, this is a concentrated Titans offense that has lost a lot of pieces this season. The Awesemo rankings currently rank Brown as the No. 6 receiver in our half-PPR rankings. That should change once we re-crunch the 2021 fantasy football projections.
Brown had just over 100 targets in 12 games played last season for a per-game average in the mid-sevens. Awesemo has Brown projected for 8.5 targets this season, a number that might dip a bit after the Jones addition.
Current ADP: 10-20
Advice: Let other fantasy football enthusiasts get excited about Brown’s prospects and over-reach in the weeks after this trade. His ADP will settle down and lower as the summer goes on.
Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage
At first assumption fantasy footballers might assume that the three biggest benefactors of the deal could all play for the Falcons. However, it’s likely that the Falcons trio of top receiving options will not see much change in their production from 2020 given that Jones was injured and hampered for much of last season. Jones’ 68 targets in 2020 were the second fewest of his career.
Russell Gage should firmly entrench himself as the WR2 in this offense and is a bargain at a 136 ADP in best ball. Kyle Pitts is a unicorn, but rookie tight ends usually take a year before they are comfortable in NFL offenses, so tread lightly. Awesemo has Pitts ranked 20th among tight ends, but that will go up a bit.
Advice: Reach a round or two for Gage immediately if drafting in best ball. Ridley’s value should go up a bit, so he can probably go 4-5 picks earlier than his current ADP. Pitts is already going pretty high and is being drafted as high as he should be.
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