Jones had a down year in what would be his final season with the Falcons. A living legend in Atlanta, Jones gave his blood, sweat, and tears to try and get Atlanta their first Super Bowl win. And he came darn close before the infamous 28-3 comeback by the New England Patriots. After that, the Falcons were never the same and Julio needed a change in scenery. And after 10 years spent on the Falcons, the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards and receptions got traded to the Tennesee Titans. This trade blew up the NFL landscape and has many people believing that the Titans could represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. And how can you not like what you see when you have Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and A.J. Brown on the same offense. The Titans have their eyes on the Lombardi Trophy and will need everything from their trio of weapons if they want to win the Super Bowl.
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Jones only played 9 games due to a hamstring injury in 2020. Jones was as good as advertised, but he did have some notable down games. Among them are his 2 catches for 24 yards and 3.4 fantasy points loss to Dallas and the loss against the Saints where he only got 4.9 fantasy points on 2 catches for 39 yards. But then again, this is Julio Jones we are talking about and he did have some Julio magic games in 2020 as well. Some of his vintage Julio games were his 29.7 fantasy point game against the Vikings where he caught 8 passes for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns and the game against the Panthers where he scored 17.2 fantasy points on 7 catches for 137 yards. Even though he is older, Julio is still the game-wrecking receiver that he’s always been and will make a huge impact on the Titans.
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Julio Jones is now a Tennesse Titan thanks to the convincing Tik Tok A.J. Brown released weeks before the trade. However, Julio might not be as dominant in 2021. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still Julio Freaking Jones. He still same the same blazing speed, great vertical leap, great hands, great route running ability, and high football IQ. It’s just that he’s not the focal point of the Titans’ offense, Derrick Henry is. And that could be a good and bad thing for Julio. On one hand, he’s probably not going to get the same amount of touches that he enjoyed in Atlanta. On the other hand, Derrick Henry demands so much attention that Julio could burn many defenders by being matched up one-on-one with them. This is going to be a yin-yang season for Jones and it’ll be interesting to see how the Titans use him.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 35, Rounds 2-3, WR11
Auction Value: $19
These rankings seem a little low for one of the best receivers ever. I get it, he’s getting older and he’s not what he used to be. But to that, I say Julio right now is still better than 90% of the receivers in the league. He’s not on the same level as talented guys in their athletic primes like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, but Jones is still just as good as guys like Allen Robinson and Terry McLaurin. Julio might have lost his fastball, but he is still a monster and I think he is worth the $19 or middle 2nd round pick.
Julio Jones has an extensive list of injuries to his name. Ten years is a long time to play in the NFL and Jones’ body has certainly taken a beating. Jones has suffered hamstring, shoulder, hand, hip, turf toe, foot, calf, and knee injuries during his tenure with the Falcons. That’s a lot to push your body through so don’t be surprised if Jones misses games throughout the season because of nagging pain. Julio might also not put up the number we are used to seeing because he is playing in an offense where Derrick Henry is the main offensive weapon. This means that Julio will not be getting the touches he is used to seeing and he won’t put up gigantic eye-popping numbers. That being said, Julio is going to be a great fantasy WR2 and could even pass as a WR1 if your team has stud running backs.
Who knows what 2021 could bring for Julio Jones and the Titans’ offense? This could be Jones’ best year as a pro because for the first time in a long time Julio has what every great receiver needs, a big-armed quarterback and a running game. Matt Ryan is no bum, but Ryan Tannehill can push the ball more effectively down the field than Matt Ryan can at this moment in time. The complimentary running game is also nice because that frees up a ton of space in the secondary for Jones to catch the ball. Jones also has the added benefit of having a great receiver alongside him in A.J. Brown who can further take the pressure off of Jones. Jones has everything around him and could add another great season to his already Hall of Fame-bound résumé.
Tennesse Titans Offense
The Tennessee Titans offense is very basic when you think about it. Step 1, give the ball to Derrick Henry and let him run over everyone. If that doesn’t work then move to Step 2, run play action, and let Ryan Tannehill air it out to the receivers deep. That simplicity seemed to be effective as the Titans finished with the #4 scoring offense in the NFL, scoring a little over 31 points per game. The second step in the Titans’ offense might be lacking this year, as the Titans lost Adam Humphries, Jonnu Smith, and Corey Davis in the offseason. This is a huge loss for the Titans as these three players were 3 of the 4 reception leaders on the roster. Combined these players totaled 129 receptions, which is high when you consider that Tenessee only completed 316 passes the whole season. The only receiver still on their roster with more than 40 catches is A.J. Brown, who caught 70 passes in 2020 but underwent knee surgery this offseason. But this might not be as big an issue because Tennesse turned around and traded for one of the best receivers in the league, Julio Jones. With Jones added in the mix, defending this team becomes impossible. You can’t stop the trio of Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones. Very few teams have the personnel necessary to stop them so we could see the #4 offense last season become the #1 offense in 2021. Expect a heavy dose of Derrick Henry and their lethal rushing attack and deep bombs to A.J. Brown and Julio Jones this upcoming season.
Strength of Schedule
The Titans have the 13th hardest schedule in the NFL in 2021. For this season, the Titans have to play the AFC East and the NFC West along with the Chiefs, Steelers, and Saints. The NFC West is arguably the hardest division in football as the Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, and Cardinals are all capable of winning the division, and having to play the Bills, Patriots, and Dolphins is no walk in the park either. The Titans’ bye week is in Week 13, so that means they will be playing tough game after tough game every week for 12 straight weeks. This would be hard for any team to overcome and leaves the door open for the Colts to win the division. There is no real lull period in the Titans’ schedule and the easiest games that they have are their 5 games against the Texans, Jaguars, and Jets. Titans’ fans should temper their expectations about their team after reviewing their very difficult schedule.