Posted by Anthony Stalter
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 2:15pm
Julio Jones finished as fantasy's No. 8 receiver after recording career-highs in receptions (104), targets (164) and yardage (1,593). If he can avoid injuries, there's zero reason to believe that he'll take a step back in 2015. His size and speed make him a nightmare matchup for opponents. But it's his route-running, his attention to detail and overall work ethic that sets him apart. With Roddy White aging and new additions Leonard Hankerson, Jacob Tamme and Justin Hardy serving more as possession receivers, Jones remains Matt Ryan's go-to red-zone option and vertical threat. Jones has emerged as one of the elite playmakers in the NFL and the sky is the limit in terms of his potential.
The only real negative to Jones' fantasy outlook is his durability (or lack thereof). Due to foot and other nagging injuries, Jones has played a full 16-game season only once in his career (2012). He missed all but five games in 2013, crushing owners that invested a high pick in him coming off his '12 campaign. Given his current ADP of 1.09, he could ruin plenty of fantasy seasons again this year if he were to miss significant time.
In four seasons playing in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's system in Houston, Andre Johnson averaged 6.6 catches, 90.2 yards and 0.52 touchdowns per game. Now that Shanahan is in Atlanta, there's no reason to believe that Jones won't match or exceed those numbers playing the "X" position. If he can stay healthy, Jones could post top-5 receiver numbers as Ryan's top weapon. If you want him, you'll pay a premium price for Jones on draft night. But ranked as our No. 7 wideout heading into 2015, he won't disappoint if he can stay out of the trainer's room.