Can Julio Jones Return to WR1 Status?
By: Jesse Moeller (Twitter: @JMoeller05)
Did I read that correctly? Did you say over 30? Don’t worry, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. This article is for teams that are bonified contenders looking to make one last title run. I’m going to highlight 3 aging veteran wide receivers for you to target at an age discount. These players are much more important to a true contending team. If you have to ask yourself if you’re a contender, this article is not for you. Lets jump into these “over the hill” vets.
The single most confounding player in Dynasty football going into the 2021 season. There is no getting around the red flags with Julio. He is a 32-year-old receiver entering his 11th season in the NFL, coming off a season where he consistently fought through injury to play nine games. You have to accept those things about Julio going forward. If you take a step back and look at the efficiency there is still so much to love about Julio Jones.
In 2020, Julio Jones put up 2.70 Yard Per Route Run. Ranking him third in the NFL behind only DaVante Adams (2.97) and A.J. Brown (2.76). Julio had 11.3 Yards Per Target, putting him third in the NFL behind Will Fuller (11.7) and Rashad Higgins (11.5). Julio Jones also finished eight in Fantasy Points Per Route Run at 0.51. Meaning for every two routes run, Julio was generating 1 Point for your fantasy team.
Let’s take a look at Julio’s 16 game pace. Julio would have finished with 90 Receptions (11th) on 120 Targets (18th) for 1,371 Yards (6th). Julio played at a remarkable high-level in 2020, all the while fighting through a severe hamstring strain from Week 1 which he reaggravated on Week 13, thereby ending his season.
Scott’s tweet above sums up how dominant Julio was, as he battled through a severe injury the entire year. What the stats show you is Julio Jones is still one of the best Wide Receivers in the NFL.
Pay the second to third-round pick and acquire Julio Jones. The window has not closed on Julio yet. Take advantage of the injury discount for the next two years. If your team does not live up to the expectation of being a contender, you can flip Julio for a late 1st-early 2nd round pick to a team making a title run.
Adam Thielen will be 31 Years old this upcoming season. Thielen has a top 5 Dynasty wide receiver opposite of him in Minnesota. Adam Thielen has Kirk Cousins as his quarterback. Adam Thielen is in a run first offense. People will have those complaints about Thielen. Go ahead and fade the noise, and grab a wide receiver that can win you another title.
Thielen was overshadowed by rookie Justin Jefferson, the new kid of the block in Minnesota. Thielen did manage to finish as a top 10 wide receiver with 254 fantasy points in full PPR. He was 11th in fantasy pts per game at 16.9, also .7 per game better than the headliner of this article Mr. Julio Jones. Did you know it is the third time in his career Thielen has accomplished this? As I certainly did not.
Thielen produced some impressive statistics this year. He had a QB rating of 119.0 when targeted (15th). 2.33 Fantasy Points Per Target (5th). Had 21 deep targets (19th), and 20 Redzone targets (3rd). His end of year numbers were 108 targets for 925 Yards on 74 Receptions. Thielen also finished with a career-high 14 touchdowns this year. The fact he was undrafted coming into the league shows you how badly the NFL missed on Thielen.
Thielen’s value is extremely low for a player who has finished inside the top 10 at his position 3 of the last 4 years. Thielen is not a sexy name, but he’ll instantly make your team better for the 2021 season. Pay the price of a mid 2nd round pick to add this veteran receiver on your team, and you can thank me later.
Antonio Brown is the oldest WR of the three mentioned in this piece. He missed almost the entire 2019 season with off-field issues that lead to him being suspended for the first eight games of the 2020 season. Antonio Brown went almost 14 months without playing an NFL game, came back, and produced a HOG Rate of 20.1%, and a 26.2% Target Share in the eight games Brown played this year. for those of you unfamiliar, HOG Rate measures targets per snaps played. Having a number above 20% shows heavy involvement from a player when they are on the field.
The PFF grade caught my attention. Brown finished the season rated above superstar wide receivers such as DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, D.K. Metcalf, and all the rookies with the exception of Justin Jefferson. PFF liked what they saw this year, and so should you.
Brown was brought into Tampa Bay because of Tom Brady, and while Brown is a free agent. Brady is the reason Brown will be back in Tampa Bay in 2021. With Godwin set to be a free agent, a team will pay handsomely for his services. Opening up the door for both Evans and Brown, who are set to have great seasons in 2021.
Pay a 3rd round pick for Brown and reap the rewards of him solidifying your roster for another championship run.
Dynasty is about winning titles, and these three over the hill veterans will help you achieve that goal.