Julio Jones, WR Atlanta Falcons

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Leonard Hankerson pushing Roddy White for Falcons' WR2 job?

Thursday, July 23, 2015, 2:44pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Opposite Julio Jones, the Falcons coaches really like newcomer Leonard Hankerson based on his strong offseason. Hankerson played in Kyle Shanahan's system while in Washington and appears to be healthy coming off a gruesome left knee injury in 2013. But Hankerson's emergence doesn't necessarily move Roddy White aside. It simply means the veteran White has to have a strong training camp and show the left knee injury that has plagued him won't be a lingering issue.

It would be hard to imagine White accepting a reserve role after he established team records in both career receptions (765) and receiving yards (10,357) through 10 years with the franchise. Again, it will all depend on how White's body holds up throughout the season. He's been nagged by various ailments over the last two seasons, including hamstring and ankle problems to go with the knee. And White turns 34 in November.

Fantasy Impact:

This is the first that we've heard that Hankerson could potentially push White for a starting role. Frankly, we don't see a healthy White losing his spot. Last year, White missed a couple of games due to injury, but when he played, he was a solid WR2 in PPR formats (#17 PPR PPG). He’s 33, but as long as he stays healthy, he should be a very solid WR2/WR3.

Scouting Report

Fantasy Upside
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.

Fantasy Downside
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.

Bottom Line
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.

2015 Strength of Schedule - ATL
W1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W10W11W12W13W14W15W16W17
28
PHI
11
@NYG
5
@DAL
29
HOU
32
WAS
21
@NO
17
@TEN
27
TB
26
@SF
BYE4
IND
6
MIN
27
@TB
10
@CAR
15
@JAX
10
CAR
21
NO

Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.

2014 Game Stats
WeekOppRecRecYdsRecTDTgtsYPCRuAttRuYdsRuTDFumYPRSnaps%
1NO71160916.570001-67/7293%
2CIN78811312.570000-67/6899%
3TB916121117.890000-48/6772%
4MIN6820813.670000-62/6793%
5NYG111050169.550000-71/7299%
6CHI46801217.0011001.0051/5691%
7BAL5560811.200000-56/6685%
8DET4580614.500000-46/6077%
9BYE------------
10TB811901114.880000-53/6680%
11CAR6590119.830000-64/7486%
12CLE56811313.600000-62/7187%
13ARI1018911218.900000-72/7991%
14GB1125911723.550000-47/6770%
15PIT------------
16NO71070815.290000-48/6574%
17CAR4580814.500000-55/7177%
Totals1041593616315.3211011.00869/102185%

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