It's not breaking news for me to say that
Julio Jones is "good," nor if I say he is
"very good." Oddly, when I say to people for the
past 2-3 weeks that Jones is showing signs of
being "great," like elite/Calvin Johnson-type
"great"...I get a scrunched face of
There is no secret that the debate of the
best WR in the 2011 Draft class was between
A.J. Green and Julio Jones. It was
established quickly that both are supposed to be
great. As is typical with football fans and
Fantasy Football players...we get whipped into a
frenzy on rookie players (oh, how we love the
"possibilities"), and then we can just as
quickly turn ice-cold on the same rookies at the
first sign of non-greatness (anyone turn their
nose up at C.J. Spiller when he became a
starter for Fred Jackson?). Julio
Jones quickly fell out of favor in 2011 for
many, for good reason...
Jones started out with two very quiet games
(strike one) in 2011 (3.5 rec per game, 50.0 yards
per game, 0
Jones had no TDs in his first 5 games of
2011, thus no "highlight reels" for
all of us to
drool over (strike two).
Jones then missed 3 games from Weeks 6-8
with hamstring injuries...out of sight, out
of mind, out of TDs, out of highlights
What can get lost among the numbers/flow of
this 2011 season is...that Julio Jones
has been the single best Fantasy Football WR on
a PPG basis since his return from injury in
Week-9 (and the 2nd best PPR WR), and no one is
close (considering Julio's Week-10 game as 0.5
Jones has been putting up amazing numbers on
a per game basis, but fellow rookie A.J.
Green is stealing most of the rookie WR
spotlight. I think that there is an amazing
Fantasy Football opportunity within all this. If
you play in a Dynasty League, I would be bending
over backwards to acquire Jones, who may
currently have a "value" of a 7, 8, or 8.5 (out
of 10), but should be a 9-10 value (more on why
we think a "10" in a minute). If you play
traditional Fantasy Football, I would suspect
that Julio Jones will be around the
#10-15 overall 2012 WR (and behind A.J. Green)
when we wake up to look at national Draft
Guides/rankings in July-August...and yet to us,
he could/should be a top-3 Fantasy Football WR.
What is an "A+" WR...
We do not throw the "A+" WR tag around
lightly. The WRs that we would consider in the
A+ crowd, are WRs who have physical attributes
and performance so far ahead of the masses (over
the past decade). Set aside 2011 stats, or even
if they are active in 2011...from our studies of
college prospects/NFL performance, the A+ WR
examples would be :
The A+ WRs are those that are from a grouping
that we call "big-WRs". These are WRs, who are
6'2+ and/or are 205-210+ pounds...big physical
WRs. The kind of WRs that, in a sense, can't be
covered or shut-down easily (or virtually at
all). These WRs are too big/bench-press strong
to be pushed around, and they typically have
giant vertical leap measurements, and are too
fast/agile to be held in check by the normal
DBs...and also, as in Larry Fitzgerald's
case, have great hands/catching ability beyond
belief. It's a rarefied air to have all these
attributes all embodied in one WR. Many WRs have
a couple of the top/elite attributes...but not
all of them. Julio Jones, physically, is
in this A+ crowd for us.
*Note, there are several great WRs that
are smaller...that we consider "A" level =
Percy Harvin, Torrey Smith, Mike Wallace as
examples. We don't give the "A+" tag to
"small-WRs", as they are more frequently injured
with shorter career/useful life-span...plus
there are many more good/great "small WRs" that
come around every year. "Supply & Demand" favors
the rarity/value of the "big-WR"...the true A+
"big-WR," is much more rare to discover.
The case for Julio Jones as an "A+"
In the 2011 pre-NFL Draft season, our
computer scouting formulas had Julio Jones
scored as the #2 overall "big-WR"...just barely
ahead of Jones was Leonard Hankerson. Despite
that, we mentioned Jones's physical measurements
as "too amazing" to pass up on. From a March
2011 research article...
....If you allow for a second that there are some
performance issues with Jones, but acknowledge
that he is a "freak" (in a good sense)
physically -- what do you do? For my money, I
don't take any WR with a high draft pick if I
have a NFL bad team....that's first and foremost.
However, if I were to make a giant reach for a
WR, and pay them a ton of money -- I would have
to swing for the fences and take a shot on
Julio Jones...physically he is "rare" or a
"freak" (which ever you prefer). If I was
hell-bent on taking a WR with a Top-5 pick, I
would take Jones even though he is not our
statistical system's #1 rated WR (he's close
enough). Jones is just too unique (physically)
if he, Hankerson and Green were all available to
me...and I was forced to pick one.
What we had against Jones in our
measurements, which was unlike all the other
elite "big-WRs" such as Calvin, Fitz, etc., was
that Jones had a lower propensity for scoring
TDs in college. With his physical attributes,
Jones should have scored 1-2-3 TDs per game...he
should have been unstoppable, but he wasn't
(from a TD standpoint). Outside of the TD issue,
Jones (on paper) was one of the best we've ever
seen among "big-WRs."
In 2010 (at Alabama), Jones only scored 3 TDs
for the entire season against legitimate teams
in college (one each vs. Auburn, So Carl, and
LSU...and he scored his other 4 TDs against San
Jose St and Georgia State).
Jones had just 7 TDs at Alabama in 2010, and
only 4 the year before. That is something that
we have not seen with these physically
"super-elite" WRs (Calvin, Fitz, Moss, V Jax,
etc). Moreover, it is something that when we do
see the high-physical attributes with lower TD
production...it is a red-flag, and winds up as
an issue in the NFL.
Jones has been dispelling this "TD-issue"
over his last 6 NFL games. Early in the 2011 NFL
season, Jones wasn't scoring TDs...and we
thought, "just like college!" In Jones's past 6
games played, he has 6 TDs. When we watch Jones
on tape in 2011, his overall play, his routes,
his TDs are so effortless...it is captivating. I
watch a bunch of NFL tape/games, and few players
make me sit up and take notice that something is
"different" with a certain player. From
mid-season on...Jones had spurts/flashes were he
seemed to be playing a different game than
NFL Draft pundits, and even me (above), talk
about players in terms of "fast," "strong,"
"big"...but what does that really mean? I am
going to use A.J. Green as part of
showing you what we mean by physically elite.
Along with a Green vs. Jones comparison...I also
want to make the case that you should trade
Green for Jones straight up in Dynasty Leagues
right now if you can (or trade an equivalent for
First a 2011 statistical comparison, then a
look at the physical...
A.J. Green vs. Julio Jones,
statistically in 2011
I know that my staunchly pro-A.J. Green folks
smoke coming out of their ears at this moment. I
would say most general fans would be pro-Green
over Jones right now (and that's where the
opportunity lies...). Even though Jones has
better per game stats than Green in 2011 (you'll
see that in a second), folks are locked in on
Green as superior. I know how this happens...
The Bengals got off to a fast start in 2011,
(6-2) to start the season. Andy Dalton
was also an exciting rookie story. Mainstream
media NFL analysts (just a hunch) tried to cover
their tracks of predicting the Bengals (and
Dalton...while they hyped Gabbert) as the worst
team in the NFL for 2011...and overcompensated
their "bad call" by going overboard with praise
on Green/Dalton/the Bengals. Green also scored 6
TDs in his first 9 games, and for those in the
media that has their NFL homework consist of
watching game highlights (of mostly scoring
plays)...Green seems "awesome."
Vice-versa, Julio Jones did not record
a TD in the first 8 weeks of the season (he
missed 3 games in there as well). Atlanta
started out slowly at (2-3). BORING!! "Moving
on to the next "it"/hot thing." When Jones
did score a TD finally (actually 2 in the game),
he then went 4 more games without a TD (missed
2+ games with injury). BORING!! Not on the
highlight express, so therefore Jones doesn't
When you look at the 2011 season in terms of
output per game (again we have Week-10 where
Jones left very early with injury, as 0.5 games
played. Green had a Week-10 game where he was in
& out with a tweaked knee, but we counted as
full), you might be shocked by the comparison:
10.7 FF PPG, 15.2 PPR PPG, 4.5 receptions,
73.6 yards, 0.5 TDs = A.J. Green (14 games)
12.3 FF PPG, 17.0 PPR PPG, 4.8 receptions,
84.1 yards, 0.6 TDs = Julio Jones (10.5
If you are shocked that Jones may have better
stats per game than Green, you may also be
shocked to know that Julio Jones finished
the 2011 Fantasy season (we don't count Week-17)
as the 3rd best traditional scoring Fantasy WR
on a PPG basis (among those WRs with 10+ games
played). The 3rd best in 2011! Jones is the 5th
best if you flip to a PPR scoring system rank
per game (Roddy and Cruz barely pass him).
What is more amazing to me...is that Green had
so many red-zone targets in 2011, that he should have
blown away Jones in Fantasy Football scoring PPG
-- just from his TD counts alone. However, Jones was
on par/better per game scoring TDs than Green
Julio Jones had 1 pass-target from within 10
yards of the end-zone this season, just ONE.
Conversely, A.J. Green had 14 pass-targets from within 10
yards of the end-zone this season. One of the main takeaways
of this info...Jones is scoring a heavy majority
of his NFL TDs from long-range, and that is a
"green-flag" that something elite is taking
We would make the argument that Julio
Jones (on a per game basis) has had a better
2011 season than A.J. Green. At a
minimum, they were both roughly equally
"good/great." I think that if Fantasy players
were asked right now, "who had the better 2011
season between Green or Jones?" I think that 9
or 10 out of 10 would answer Green.
A.J. Green vs. Julio Jones, the
I have said it several times this year...I
can find many more A.J. Green-type
players each season, than I can find a Julio
Jones-type...from a physical standpoint. In
the long run (to us), the Cincinnati Bengals
will be mocked for the decision to take Green
over Jones. It's a simple supply & demand thing.
A couple of physical comparisons to show you
what we mean:
HEIGHT/WEIGHT = Green is taller at 6'3.5,
versus Jones at just slightly under 6'3.
Advantage Green. However, where some of that
height advantage disappears is in weight. You
can see it visually...Green is very small-framed
at just 211 pounds. Jones looks like a power-RB
at 220+ pounds.
SPEED/AGILITY = the speed and agility
measurements seem close enough, but in reality,
they are worlds apart...because Jones has
speed/agility for his size that is nearly
unrivaled. Green runs a 4.48 40-yard dash, which
is great...but I see 130+ other WRs in our
college database with 4.48 40-times, or lower.
The WR count drops down to 40 WRs that can
equal/beat Jones's sub 4.40 times in the 40-yard
dash...and only 4 WRs, that we have measured
over the past 7-8 years can run as fast/faster
than Jones, and are also 220+ pounds.
Taking height (6'2+)/weight (220+), 40-times
(sub 4.4), and great agility measurements into
consideration from the NFL Combine/Pro-Day
histories...after I filter it, only Calvin
Johnson and Julio Jones's names
appear left on that list. If I do the same with
A.J. Green's range of data...we have 38
WRs pop up on our list (many of the 38 names on
there would barely provoke a response beyond
This is to take nothing away from A.J.
Green; he is a very good NFL prospect...it's
just that (by comparison) Julio Jones is
so incredibly rare physically, (to us) it makes
Green pale in comparison.
HANDS/VERTICAL = Jones measured with a well
above-average vertical leap, and an average
hand-size measurement among NFL WR prospects.
Green was below average in the vertical (which
is odd, because he makes many nice leaping
catches), and has below-average hand
size...which could lead to drops/fumble issues
over the course of time.
As I look at all of Green's physical
"resume," I see not one A+ characteristic. At
the same time, Jones has several A+
characteristics. There is no doubt to us, that
Jones is the far, far superior prospect to Green
(not that both can't be good/great). When we
evaluate Green, we also see a body-type (based
on our calculations, not just eye-ball) that is
much more at injury risk...and Green is
currently fighting a shoulder injury (Jones's
injury issues have been hamstring/sprain
In the long-run, Jones is the superior
athlete, and the least-likely to be injured
among he and Green. Their college on-field
performances both evaluate solidly. There is no
reason that we can see, why anyone would take
Green over Jones.
Trading Green for Jones in a Dynasty
A.J. Green will get more
Rookie-of-the-Year votes. Green will also see
time in the Pro-Bowl. Green has the media
momentum currently. Now would be the perfect
time to exchange Green for Jones, if possible.
In my discussions, and sense, from Dynasty
Leagues around the globe...Green has a value of
a 9-10 (out of 10) for most Fantasy owners,
whereas Jones is a 7-8-maybe 8.5 value. I use
A.J. Green as the example for the
exchange/trade, but obviously, it could be any
similar good-not-great WR.
If you find this to be a reasonable thought
process, and I have your attention...I must also
warn you, that you may have a limited time to
act upon this Julio Jones-concept.
Potentially, in about two weeks, the entire
pro-Green/lukewarm Julio Jones world view
concept is going to go flying out the door.
Here's what we think is about to happen...
If the Bengals get into the playoffs, Green
is likely going to face a rugged AFC opponent
like NYJ/Revis or HOU/Joseph or
PIT/BAL...none of this will be favorable for
Green's statistical output, on a national TV
stage. The current Green media momentum is such,
that if he has a weaker game...it will probably
be written off as a "rookie" playoff learning
experience. Perhaps it knocks Green's Fantasy
Football value from a 9-10, to an 8-9.
The part of the future scenario more likely
to happen...Julio Jones (who has been on
a tear as of the last 8 weeks) will walk into
the 1st-Round of the playoffs versus the softer
pass-defenses of a DAL/NYG or the Saints, and
put up a monster game on national TV. Possibly,
followed by another one in Round-2...and thus
giving Jones a rocket-boost as the new "it" WR.
Of course, he may have a quiet game in a
loss...and you have an entire off-season to
hatch your diabolical Julio Jones
trade-scheme, but I wouldn't count on it.
The Dynasty League GM and Thomas Dimitroff's
When the Falcons forked over a ton of draft
picks on Draft-Day 2011 for Julio Jones,
I thought it was ill-advised (so did Bill
Belichick according to reports). I was
scratching my head, because NFL Draft 1st-Round
WRs rarely equate to better franchise
wins-losses, or playoff advancement. Actually
most 1st-Round draft WRs never amount to much of
anything. Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson,
and Andre Johnson's Super Bowl rings can
be counted on my balled-up fist. Great WRs are
often available in later rounds, and you can see
that the Packers, Steelers, Patriots, Saints
aren't all that concerned about chasing WRs in
the first round of the NFL Draft. However, we
are playing Fantasy Football here...
Rare is the time that you can land a truly
elite NFL player for your Dynasty/Fantasy
Football team...especially rare to acquire via
trade ahead of the players statistical outbreak.
You are potentially staring at one of those
times with Julio Jones. Think back upon
this 2011 Fantasy season alone...WRs come and go
all year, stars emerge out of nowhere (Victor
Cruz, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown)....or
just viable WRs emerge out of nowhere (Doug
Baldwin, Damian Williams, Laurent Robinson).
WRs spike up and trail off all Fantasy season,
but there are only a handful of WRs that you
don't even have to think about placing in as a
starter each week. Julio Jones may be
that next one you don't have to worry
about...and that's worth it's weight in gold.
We are forever in the quest for talent at a
bargain price, but sometimes it's worth
"over-paying" a bit at current prices...for
something you will look back on in a few years
and consider a huge bargain (just like the
Falcons did). I wouldn't give up an elite WR for
this potential elite WR (Jones)...but I would
try to fleece an owner with a B-B+ WR with some
additional trinkets in exchange for Jones,
hoping that the current Jones-owner see Jones as
a B+ WR too.
The clock is ticking on this however. It is
very possible that in two weeks, after Atlanta's
1st-Round playoff game/win...Jones will have gone from
a current 7-8 value, to a 10-11 in trade value. The playoffs have a
tendency to rapidly elevate and exaggerate
rookie player values (see Shonn Greene
circa-2009, and James Starks Circa-2010).
My current New Years resolution for 2012
Dynasty League teams...the smart/swift
acquisition of Julio Jones. Happy New
Years to all!
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