What Kind of Season Will Julio Jones Have?
Let's face it, Julio Jones doesn't get enough credit.
In 2018 he led the NFL in receiving yards for a second time and still wasn't named All-Pro.
That same season, he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards.
Last year he became the all-time career receiving yards leader for the Atlanta Falcons. His career average of 96.2 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL history. Yet he was again overlooked for All-Pro, finishing as a second-team selection.
But Jones is turning 31. His 99 catchers for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns were his worst numbers since his injury-shortened 2013 season.
Consequently, he's been slipping in early fantasy drafts, all the way to the end of the second round based on the latest average draft position.
Sports Illustrated’s fantasy analyst Shawn Childs and The Falcons Report writer Chris Vinel discuss why Jones isn't getting the respect he deserves, but considering some of the following:
• Jones has been remarkably consistent over the last six seasons.
Statistically his best was in 2015 when Jones caught 136 passes for 1,871 yards, his worst season was in 2016 where he caught 82 passes for 1,409 yards.
• Since 2013, he's averaged 110 receptions for 1,644 yards every 16 games.
• As for that 2013 season, he had 41 catches for 580 yards over five games. Jones was on pace for 131 receptions for 1,856 yards that season.
Consequently, a recent ESPN poll asked 50 NFL personnel who was the best receiver in the NFL heading into the 2020 season and Jones finished first (Amari Cooper was 10th). Yes, over Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins.
Larry Fitzgerald also said, "He's the best I've ever seen."
We'll also note here that BamaCentral's inaugural fantasy league last year was won by the the person who selected Jones first overall.
Since Atlanta is a pretty short drive from Tuscaloosa, here's a little extra on the Falcons.
They added some new weapons to their offensive arsenal in running back Todd Gurley and tight end Hayden Hurst, but the staples on their team remain the same: Quarterback Matt Ryan and former Crimson Tide wide receivers Jones and Calvin Ridley.
The season opener set for July 23 is coming up quickly, but Major League Baseball is off to a very rough start in trying to play through the coronavirus pandemic.
Testing is a key part of its attempt to get through an abbreviated season, but so the efforts to ensure players and staff is falling significantly short.
The league is relying on a single lab in Utah with limited experience testing for viruses like COVID-19. Experts say the plan has cracks—and may be pulling resources from the public.
There's been vocal frustration from players, managers, and even the front office surrounding the testing issues the MLB is running into. The Covid-19 test program is one of the most crucial features of MLB’s return to play. So where is the program falling apart?
Kaitlin O'Toole is joined by SI's MLB writer Emma Baccellieri: