Roddy White and Julio Jones: Are We Valuing Them Correctly?
The only way we can predict the future is if we understand the past. But when it comes to the receivers in Atlanta, the past is slowly becoming an irrelevant portion to this future formula for fantasy footballers (purposeful alliteration).
Roddy White isn’t getting the love he deserves.
Since 2007, Roddy White’s breakout season, the Falcons wideout has ranked, given standard scoring, as the 14th, sixth, seventh, fourth, eighth and 10th best fantasy wide receiver. And he’s compiled an average yearly stat line of 94 receptions, 1,296 yards and 8 touchdowns. To put that in perspective, his normal annual metrics over the last six seasons would have ranked him as the ninth-best fantasy receiver in 2012.
And that’s just his average.
White’s overlooked. Early mock drafts have him ranked as the 13th receiver off the board, which is far too late for such a consistent wideout. Mind you, White hasn’t finished with that low of a ranking since his third season in the NFL. And though White finished 2012 with a double-digit ranking, we have to realize that he was just seven points from being the seventh-ranked fantasy pass catcher in standard leagues.
Yearly rankings don’t really make the argument for White, though. Last season, the worst (we can’t call it bad) he’s had from a fantasy perspective since his breakthrough year, White finished with eight top-24 weekly wide receiver finishes (excluding Week 17). Only eight wideouts had more. And from a weekly top-12 perspective, White finished only behind twelve guys.
Is there sign of wear and tear? Not really. White has yet to miss a game in his eight-year career, and in 2012, at age 30/31, the stud receiver closed out the final six games – including the playoffs – with three 100-yard performances.
Those thinking he won’t be as involved in the Atlanta passing attack – yes, those people exist – need to reassess. White’s reliable hands, body and blocking ability are going to keep him as more than fantasy relevant in 2013. He’s still going to be a top wide receiver to own. Just as we put Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady on a pedestal because of their obvious high floor, we should feel the same about Sharod Lamor White.
Julio Jones is getting too much love.
There’s no doubt that Julio Jones is one of the most gifted receivers in the game. And in fantasy last season, Jones outperformed his teammate, Roddy White. But at his current ADP – the third receiver being selected off of fantasy draft boards – Julio Jones is overvalued.
Through his first two seasons in the NFL, Jones has done what few young receivers have ever been able to accomplish. His 18 touchdowns in 29 games during this time have already catapulted him into top-20 fantasy brilliance. And there’s no reason that can’t continue in 2013.
The worry? Well, as with anyone in fantasy football, you’ve got to compare his draft position to the players being drafted around him. And the caliber players being selected near him are more valuable.
Ask yourself: “What is Julio Jones’ floor?” We’ve seen his teammate consistently put up incredible numbers while never missing a game, but what about Jones?
RotoViz.com similarity scores list Julio Jones with a low to high average standard points per game range of 7.5 to 11.3; a difference of 3.8 points per game. Clearly, the more volatile the range, the more unpredictable the player is. Interestingly enough, Roddy White’s are nearly identical, as his range is 7.6 to 11.3.
It’s not to say those numbers are dreadful, because they’re not. At all, actually. But when Roddy is being selected ten receiver spots after Jones, it sure has to make you wonder.
The other players in Jones’ typical tier – Brandon Marshall, AJ Green and Dez Bryant – have a difference in floor-to-ceiling ranges of 2.3, 3.7 and 2.8 respectfully. Jones not only has the largest variance, but he also saw the least number of targets of all three of those receivers in 2012. In fact, Jones ranked 16th in the NFL in targets last season – 7 spots behind teammate Roddy White – with 127. Marshall finished second (188), Green was sixth (158) and Bryant was eleventh (137).
Selecting Julio Jones in the early-second round is a bad idea. He has clear potential to surpass his Year 2 numbers, which is part of the fantasy football formula discussed above, but he also has a risk – injuries in his first two season and lack of targets – that has been undetected by the fantasy masses considering his ADP.
It’s not as though Jones shouldn’t be regarded as one of the best fantasy assets entering 2013. He certainly has been one of the biggest playmakers in the sport, and because he doesn’t need an abundance of targets and receptions to score fantasy points, his value is slightly better in standard leagues. If he’s healthy, he won’t bust. But he won’t be seeing the looks you’d want from a receiver being drafted soon after Calvin Johnson.
If it’s me, I’m passing on Jones and snagging his teammate a full round later.