The Fantasy Football season is almost upon us, and many leagues are already holding their drafts. For those who have already done so, then this article will not help you all that much. But if you are like me, and try to hold your online or live draft closer toward the end of the preseason to avoid an injury wiping out your team before the regular season even starts, then you still have time to do your homework.
Roddy White has been one of the best fantasy football wide receivers at his position over the past few years. A favorite target of Matt Ryan’s throughout the start of his Falcons’ career, White has been the beneficiary. As have all of the fantasy football owners who have been smart enough to have drafted him on their team.
And while White is still in the prime of his career, and still a very viable fantasy option, it is becoming more and more apparent that White is no longer the best WR option on the Falcons, let alone throughout the rest of the league.
That honor now belongs to second year receiver out of The University of Alabama, Julio Jones.
When Atlanta gave up their next two drafts more or less to move up to select Jones with the No. 6 pick two years ago, many people questioned their sanity. I was covering the Falcons exclusively for another site at the time, and I in fact did criticize them for the move. I said that I would have made the trade to give all that up to move up to draft A.J. Green out of the University of Georgia, but would not have done so to grab Jones.
I am also man enough to admit when I was wrong. This appears to be one of those instances where an apology is necessary to Jones and the Falcons.
And I’m sure it is not just me. And while many fantasy owners will still see the name of White vs. Jones and draft him earlier based on past production, I will not make another mistake when it comes down to the talented wideout.
The Falcons are shifting to a pass first team. They said they were last year, but things did not really take off until toward the end of the season. But this year promises to be different.
Atlanta has already said it drastically plans to decrease Michael Turner’s workload on offense. He is expected to see far fewer carries than he is accustomed to (which is a major reason to drop him way down their boards as well), which also signals they plan on going to the air far more often.
Couple that with the fact that White continues to tell anyone who will listen that he is no longer going to be the most targeted man in the league – or even his team – and everything spells out for a breakout season for Jones in just his second season, which is one earlier than receivers generally break out in a major way.
White is still going to have a very good season. He is being drafted in the second round on average, which is not horrible. If he is your No. 2 WR, then I would still advise drafting him on your team this season.
But if Jones, who is going in the late fourth round is still available, then make sure you draft him. In fact, depending on the number of teams in your league, I would consider taking him in the third round.
You will be glad you did by season’s end.