2021 Fantasy Football Undervalued Player - WR Julio Jones
Under-valued: Julio Jones
The current value of Julio Jones varies greatly depending on who you talk to. “He’s injury prone”, “he’s past his prime”, and “there’s not enough passing volume in Tennessee” are all common phrases I have heard since the trade that sent Julio to the Titans. I think people are falling victim to recency bias due to Julio’s performance last year and forgetting that he has been one of the best WR’s, in both the NFL and in fantasy, over the last decade. First, let’s debunk the idea that Julio is injury prone. From 2014-2019, Julio missed a total of 4 out of 96 possible games! Doesn’t sound injury prone to me. Granted, he only played in 9 games last year, as he dealt with a hamstring injury pretty much all season. Even then, he still finished as the WR14 in PPG in 2020. On a PPG basis, Julio has finished as the WR3 (2019), WR5 (2018), WR10 (2017), WR4 (2016), WR2 (2015), WR6 (2014) in recent years. Julio has been the definition of consistent and I expect him to produce in 2021.
Now let’s take a look at possible target share for Julio. In 2020, the targets break down for the Titans looked like this: AJ Brown (106), Corey Davis (92), Jonnu Smith (65), Anothony Firkser (53), Adam Humphries (35) and Derrick Henry (31). Three of the previous players are now gone: Davis, Smith and Humphries. That’s 192 targets that are now vacated. The list of players who the Titans brought in: Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds and Dez Fitzpatrick. Even if we assume Reynolds/Fitzpatrick take a similar target share as Humphries did and Firkser gets an increase in targets, there is no reason Julio wont see 90+ targets this upcoming season. AJ brown finished as the WR6 in PPG in 2020 on 106 targets, so there is a real chance that Julio can finish top 10 if he sees a similar number of targets as Brown this upcoming season. I think we see the Titans offense operate similar to the Vikings did in 2020. Meaning, the offense will run through their stud RB (Henry/Cook), the two top WRs will receive massive target shares (Jefferson/Thielen and Brown/Jones) and the TE will be involved but not provide much fantasy relevance. With this is mind, Jefferson finished as the WR9 and Theilen finished as the WR11 in PPG in 2020. I believe we will see a similar finish for Julio and AJ Brown in 2021.
Julio is currently being drafted in around the WR15, and sometimes even later in PPR redraft leagues. Looking at the current depth chart in Tennessee and the project target distribution, I think it is safe to assume Julio is currently being undervalued at his current draft price. Make no mistake, Julio is one of the best WRs in the NFL , even at 32 years old, and will continue to get a large target share in 2021. My bold prediction is that Julio will finish as a WR1 this year and proves the doubters wrong.
Julio will finish as the ____ WR in 2021?