Never Julio, Josh Hernsmeyer warned us. We didn’t listen. We didn’t listen!
Actually, let me alter that—I didn’t listen. Like best who accept biconcave their toes in the fantasy football waters, I knew the accident associated with drafting Julio Jones. And accustomed the drive the #NeverJulio movement aggregate on Twitter this summer, I absolutely didn’t appetite to do it. It aloof array of … happened. In one league, I chose Julio over Rob Gronkowski (stick about for my thoughts on Gronk afterwards in the article) as my additional keeper. In addition alliance I drafted Julio, but alone afterwards Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham had already been called (if you appetite a cackle at my expense, booty a ankle at the blow of my draft).
At the time, I wasn’t afraid it because alike admitting he may not accept been my first, additional or alike third choice, Jones is still one of the game’s best advantageous advanced receivers. And admitting the animadversion he’s accustomed from abominable fantasy owners on Twitter, that’s been abundantly accurate this year as Jones has gotten off to addition atomic alpha with 34 catches for 564 accepting yards, the closing baronial third in the alliance abaft Hopkins (594) and Adam Thielen (589). Yet Jones ranks aloof 14th in PPR leagues and alone 16th in accepted scoring. The reason? He and the end area accept never met.
That’s been the rub on Julio for a while now. Jones was a monster aftermost year (88 catches, 1,444 accepting yards, 16.4 yards per reception) in every way but one. I accept a activity you apperceive which “one” I’m talking about. Julio logged aloof three touchdowns all of aftermost division with two advancing in the aforementioned game. Anticipate of that—Jones, a answerable Hall of Famer accepted for accomplishing nonsense like this, hitting pay-dirt in aloof two of 16 approved division games. That’s anarchy. And, if we’re aing the dots, it’s acceptable the acumen Jones got lapped by Jarvis Landry (he of 8.8 yards per catch) in PPR leagues admitting out-gaining him by about 500 yards. Catches and yards are nice, but they’ll alone get you so far in fantasy.
Touchdowns are the capital advance but lately, Julio hasn’t had abundant to eat. His end-zone abhorrence has gotten decidedly out of duke this division as the 29-year-old Alabama alum will access Anniversary 6 with a goose egg in the touchdown column. Fifty-five targets (seventh-most) and not a touchdown to appearance for it. That’s lunacy.
Last year you could accomplish the altercation that the Falcons were still award their character beneath amateur abhorrent coordinator Steve Sarkisian, which could be to accusation for Julio alienated the end area like an ex-girlfriend with an axe to grind. The Falcons’ breach went through its fair allotment of growing pains in Year One of the post-Kyle Shanahan Era, but this division they’ve been battlefront on all cylinders, baronial in the top 10 in touchdown passes (11), casual yards per d (304.2) and absolute credibility (133). Yet we’re still cat-and-mouse for Julio to get in on the action.
I apperceive we’re aing dead-horse area with Julio and his connected touchdown woes but the anecdotal isn’t changing. We’re way accomplished “slump.” That chat goes out the aperture aback you’ve denticulate aloof four touchdowns in a 26-game span. At atomic aftermost year the Falcons were still targeting Julio in the red zone—he aloof wasn’t communicable abounding of them (5-for-19 with one touchdown). This year he’s been an reconsideration central the 20, cartoon aloof three red-zone looks in his bristles contests. That’s beneath than teammates Calvin Ridley (five) and Austin Hooper (four). Alike the abundant ones accept flaws. Shaquille O’Neal couldn’t hit his chargeless throws. Giancarlo Stanton has coiled through abounding a ambit ball. And Julio couldn’t acquisition the end area if you gave him a map.
I’ve been able to advance a akin of optimism with Julio, continuing to apply him in my DFS lineups (despite his absonant price), hoping, praying, assertive anniversary anniversary will be the one, the bedrock that assuredly break the dam. But it never is. Being a Julio buyer is the aing activity I can anticipate of to active in fantasy football affliction because you can’t not alpha him. In PPR leagues, his account attic is still double-digit fantasy points, which isn’t nothing. But afterwards the touchdowns, it’s aloof abandoned yards, all steak and no sizzle.
Whatever the activity is, whether it’s Atlanta’s play-calling (no one would anytime abash Sarkisian for Sean McVay), Jones not accomplishing abundant to get accessible or an busy demolition arrangement masterminded by Matt Ryan (I’m aloof spit-balling here, but maybe he’s accepting aback at Julio for abrogation him out of the accumulation argument chain), the botheration doesn’t assume to be activity abroad and fantasy owners like myself are starting to lose patience. Unfortunately, with Jones’ barter amount aing an best low, the alone activity to do is break the advance and achievement the touchdown botheration solves itself. Jones does accept a double-digit touchdown division on his resume (that was in 2012), so it’s not like he’s dealt with end-zone-a-phobia all his life.
I don’t beggarly to acrylic an unnecessarily austere account of article that, in the admirable arrangement of fantasy football, is a accessory inconvenience. “Oh, Julio’s not scoring abundant touchdowns for you, Jesse? Boohoo … I’m starting Peyton Barber in my angle spot.” It could be worse but it could be bigger too and I don’t accusation the masses for accepting Julio fatigue. I beggarly attending at it—172 players in able football accept bent a touchdown canyon this year and Jones isn’t one of them. For Julio to accept six beneath touchdowns than his amateur assistant is above baffling. In fact, it’s infuriating.
What’s the fantasy rub?
Well we’ve appear this far with Julio, so why accord up now? The acumen we can’t bond yet (to clarify, we’re alone talking about DFS here—if Jones is on your season-long team, it’s a accustomed that he’s starting) is because the acme jewel of fantasy matchups awaits in Anniversary 6. Not alone are the Falcons arena at home area they’ve averaged a able-bodied 34.6 credibility per game, but they’ll additionally be activity adjoin Tampa Bay’s league-worst defense. That’s not hypere—the statistics aback it up. No aggregation in football has accustomed added credibility per d (34.8), added casual yards per d (358), added yards per attack (9.4), added touchdown passes (13) or a college achievement allotment (77.1) than the Buccaneers, who are advancing off a d area they accustomed six touchdown passes to Mitchell Trubisky of all bodies (yes, this Mitchell Trubisky). Atlanta’s aegis is about as affecting as Tampa Bay’s, which agency the Falcons will be affected to bandy aboriginal and generally aloof to accumulate clip in what abstracts to be a high-scoring activity (of the 15 amateur on the Anniversary 6 schedule, alone Kansas City at New England appearance a college d total). And let’s not balloon that Julio had his best d aftermost division beneath identical circumstances—he erupted for 253 yards and two touchdowns aback adverse the Bucs at home in Anniversary 12. This d has slump-buster accounting all over it. Fantasy owners who accept asperous the abundant Julio aridity of 2018 will assuredly be adored for their patience.
Tight Ends on Parade
For examination purposes, the best arresting antagonism of the Anniversary 6 slate is adequately obvious—it’s Patriots/Chiefs by a country mile. This d should do gangbusters in the ratings and it’s accessible to see why. It’s a archetypal antagonism amid adolescent and old, the ancient ancient Tom Brady aggravating to advance his aerial branch aloft the league’s quarterback totem pole amidst a growing blackmail from Patrick Mahomes, the glossy up-and-comer with an arm for days. It’s a alluring activating but not the one we should be absorption on.
Even if Mahomes outplays Touchdown Tom on Sunday night—a audible possibly accustomed his glorious, history-altering start—it’s activity to booty a lot added than one head-to-head antagonism for him to leapfrog Brady on the NFL’s hierarchy. But at bound end, the ambit amid Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce has never been smaller. For years Gronkowski has agitated the bake as football’s capital bound end, a bluff amid minnows in the NFL’s sea of talent. And while that aerial appellation still belongs to him, Gronk no best owns a bank all to himself. Kelce is animadversion on the aperture and he’s accomplishing it loudly, closing the gap with anniversary week.
At the bound end position, it acclimated to be Gronk and anybody else. But the actualization of Kelce and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz has afflicted the calculus significantly, decidedly in the fantasy branch area the Patriots bound end has had a bottomward year, at atomic by his accepted alarming standards. While it’s acceptable Gronk will consistently be the bigger all-around amateur due to his blocking prowess, Kelce’s accepting outputs can’t be ignored. The 29-year-old has topped 1,000 yards accepting in back-to-back seasons and should accomplish it three in a row this year with Mahomes transforming Kansas City’s breach from the check-down branch it was beneath Alex Smith to a accepted field-stretching juggernaut.
Kelce’s accepted clip calls for 1,302 accepting yards, which would be the third-highest absolute by a bound end in NFL history. It would additionally put him aural arresting ambit of Gronk’s single-season mark of 1,327 set during his blemish 2011 campaign. Kelce has been abnormally ascendant over his aftermost four contests, averaging a amazing 100.3 accepting yards with three touchdowns during that span. He’s the accomplished package, a matchup-proof fantasy apache with bankable aggregate in arguably the league’s best atomic offense. And clashing the perpetually-injured Gronkowski, he’s been a archetypal of durability, missing aloof one d over the advance of his six-year career (that absence came in aftermost year’s absurd Anniversary 17 d at Denver).
Gronk’s NFL resume is astounding adjoining on historic. Alike if the 29-year-old had gone through with his retirement blackmail this offseason (which dimmed the blaze on a abeyant barter to Detroit), he’d still be a lock for Canton. But afterwards accepting a ambition on his aback for the bigger allotment of a decade, it’s fair to admiration if all the years of abrasion and breach are assuredly communicable up to Gronk. We haven’t apparent his best this year as New England’s blithe behemothic has averaged a banal 46.3 yards over his accepted four-game touchdown aridity while cartoon decidedly beneath targets than half-back/Tom Brady-bestie James White.
He fared somewhat bigger in aftermost week’s win over Indianapolis (six catches for 75 yards), conceivably the aftereffect of Julian Edelman’s acknowledgment from a four-game suspension. New England’s barter for Josh Gordon was additionally meant to accord Gronkowski added allowance to operate, admitting he has yet to become a above agency (six targets in two games). Slow starts are annihilation new for the Tide-pod-loving bound end—a hamstring abrasion bound him to allurement cachet aboriginal in 2016 (one t for 11 yards over his aboriginal two games). The above Arizona Wildcat showed he can still accompany it with his seven-catch, 123-yard masterpiece adjoin Houston in Anniversary 1 and absolutely he’ll accept no curtailment of action Sunday with Kelce arduous him on his home turf.
What’s the fantasy rub?
Gronk gets a blow-up atom in Anniversary 6 activity adjoin one of the league’s best acceptable secondaries. The nine-year vet was captivated in analysis by All-Pro assurance Eric Berry aback these teams boxlike off in aftermost year’s division opener (two catches for 33 scoreless yards on six targets) but Berry won’t be about for the rematch—a heel abrasion has kept him out all season. Jesse James (5-38-1), George Kittle (5-79-0), Jeff Heuerman (4-57-0) and Niles Paul (7-65-0) are a few of the abounding bound ends who accept had their way with Kansas City this year and it wouldn’t be a abruptness if Gronk followed suit. Admitting their best start, the Chiefs’ aegis has yet to appearance up, bleeding a league-high 461.8 yards per d while acceptance 400-yard casual performances to Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Blake Bortles. If Gronk spikes get you out of bed in the morning, Anniversary 6 is for you.
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