Week Seventeen Analysis: There's nothing for the Falcons to play for besides keeping their players fresh. After all, they've locked up home field advantage in the NFC and will be resting guys like Julio Jones all next week. So we might see Jones for only a half, but a half of play against the Bucs is good enough for me. Tampa's secondary, which is the worst in NFL history, have given up multiple passing scores in each of the last four and a touchdown to a wide receiver in ten straight games. Since Jones has scored four times in the last three weeks, it wouldn't surprise me to see him score on the opening drive.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Those of you who stuck with Julio Jones as your top wide receiver were likely rewarded with a trip to the championship game after his two touchdowns on Sunday against the Giants. The two scores accounted for numbers three and four in the last four weeks as Jones has completely rebounded from a bum ankle that slowed him down in the middle of the year. This week the Falcons take on a Detroit team that has given up some monster games to wideouts lately. In three of the last four games a wide receiver has topped 100 yards against the Lions and in their last home game the Colts wideouts torched the Lions for three touchdowns.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Julio Jones tallied his second touchdown in three weeks last Sunday against the Panthers. Signs are pointing in the right direction for the Atlanta passing game after a few lackluster weeks for Matt Ryan. Jones has now been targeted 28 times in the last three contests, catching 16 of those balls. This week Jones faces off against a Giants team that has allowed ten different wide receivers to both top 65 yards and score in the same game. It just so happens that Jones has done that on his own six times this year.
Week Fourteen Analysis: In four of the five games that Julio Jones has scored in, he's also had 90 yards or more. In the other seven games, Jones has been held below 50 yards four times. It's come down to this; he's a boom or bust player. Those five games with a score came against easy matchups too; Kansas City, San Diego, Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa have all been very kind to wide receivers. This week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, have not. In his Week 4 meeting with Carolina, Jones managed only one catch for 30 yards. In the eight games since then, the Panthers have gotten even tougher. Only one wideout has topped 100 yards and the Panthers have given up only five touchdowns to wide receivers in those eight games.
Week Thirteen Analysis: Julio Jones' ankle doesn't seem to be much of a concern anymore, after his six catch, 147-yard, touchdown performance last week at Tampa. Granted, it would be easy for most grandmothers to have a receiving day like that against the Bucs defense, but the good news is that those same octogenarians are having great success against the Saints. The Saints have given up multiple touchdown passes in six of their last eight games, including 13 touchdown receptions to opposing wide receivers during that span.
Week Twelve Analysis: Despite a gimpy ankle, Julio Jones was active last week, but was limited to playing in less than half of the snaps, resulting in only 33 yards on three receptions. Be sure to check his status for this game. I've got him ranked as though he's healthy enough to be effective. This week Jones gets another favorable matchup, this time against against the Buccaneers. Tampa has allowed 20 pass plays of 30 or more yards, which is three more than any other team in the NFL. It just so happens that Jones is tied for third in the NFL in pass plays of the same distance, as he's hauled in seven that have gone for 30 or more. If his ankle cooperates, Jones is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, and he should blow by the Tampa defense for a few long balls on Sunday.
Week Eleven Analysis: In the last five games, Julio Jones has topped 75 yards four times and had two games with both 90 yards and a score. So while he's essentially getting you something every week, I still feel like he's due for a huge game, and very soon. It could be this week against a Cardinals team that has faltered in the last month. Arizona ranks fourth-worst in the NFL at allowing pass plays of 50 or more yards and Matt Ryan and the Falcons have the fourth-most plays of the same distance. Jones has half of the Falcons receptions of 50-plus yards, as he continues to be one of the league's best deep threats. What's more, Arizona has allowed six wideout touchdowns in just their last two games.
Week Ten Analysis: Until last week, it was either Julio Jones or Roddy White, not both, who was putting up good stats each game. They both topped 100 yards last week, though, and there's no guesswork this week as Atlanta travels to the Bayou to take on a terrible New Orleans defense. The Saints defense has allowed the two longest passing plays in the league this season and allowed another 77-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson last week. That's music to the ears of a deep threat like Julio Jones, who has 14 receptions of 30 or more yards in 21 career games.
Week Nine Analysis: Julio Jones faces one of his toughest matchups of the season in Dallas. Wide receiver duos have remained very silent against the Cowboys, as the combos of Cruz and Nicks failed to score in two matchups, and Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams were held to three catches. Only three wide receivers have topped 69 yards against the Cowboys this season too. Jones managed to beat another strong pair of corners last week, when he blew past the Eagles for a big game. But, still it's going to be hard work for Julio to get anything going.
Week Eight Analysis: As much as the preseason hype vaulted Julio Jones to a fantasy first-rounder, the in-season mediocrity has taken the wind right out of fantasy owners' sails. Jones trails in yardage and touchdowns to Arizona's Andre Roberts! He's scored in three contests, but in the other three games in which he has not had a touchdown, he's had four or fewer receptions in every game and has only topped 30 yards once. The Eagles aren't as scary as we originally thought, as every receiver who has had nine or more targets has either topped 86 yards, scored or both. Jones just happens to be averaging exactly nine targets per game.
Week Six Analysis: Julio Jones was targeted a hefty 15 times last week, which is four more than both Roddy White and Harry Douglas combined. His 10 catches in the game was one away from his career high, and was as many as he had in the previous three weeks combined. Jones has alternated good and bad games this year, but that ends against Oakland. In the Raiders last two games they've let the wide receiver tandems from Denver and Pittsburgh torch them. In those two games one of the receivers has topped 100 yards and the other one has scored and had at least 79 yards.
Week Five Analysis: Since Week 12 of last season, only Rob Gronkowski has more touchdowns than Julio Jones' nine. Let me clarify. In his last eight regular season games, Jones has nine touchdowns. Despite a couple of less than stellar performances in the first few weeks, Jones still has scored three times this season and been targeted an average of eight times per game. In most situations Jones has been drawing the top cover cornerback on a defense. Fortunately for Jones, the Redskins don't have a "top cover cornerback".. Here's the list of wide receivers that have torched Washington in the month of September for 100 or more yards: Lance Moore, Danny Amendola, A.J. Green Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Besides Green, no player on this list possesses the raw talent that Jones does. I expect a huge day from the Falcons passing game.
Week Four Analysis: Filed under the matchup of unstoppable force versus immovable object, Julio Jones takes on the Panthers this week. Jones has been a scoring machine in recent history, with a touchdown in six of his last seven regular season games. This season, only Vernon Davis and Heath Miller have more receiving touchdowns than Jones. Carolina has been great against the pass this season though. Only two teams have allowed fewer passing yards to wide receivers than the Panthers and Mike Williams was the only wideout this season to score on Carolina. Still, I don't view the Panthers as a shutdown secondary, and Jones remains matchup proof.
Week Three Analysis: Julio Jones' streak of five straight regular season games with a touchdown is over, after his disappointing four catch, 14-yard performance against the Broncos on Monday night. Despite the dismal output, it's worth noting that Jones was targeted seven times on Monday night, a feat that only was accomplished six times last season. He's a major part of the offensive scheme in Atlanta. Plus, if you rewind to the beginning of last season, only Rob Gronkowski and Calvin Johnson have more multiple touchdown games than Julio. Jones tries to regroup against the Chargers this week. San Diego hasn't allowed more than 47 yards to a wide receiver this season, but has allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver in each of their last five games.
Week Two Analysis: On Sunday, December 11, 2011, the moon, Venus and Jupiter were aligned, bringing forth the dawn of the Age of Julio. Since that date, Julio Jones has had at least one touchdown in each of his five regular season games. Along that span he's also tallied three 100-yard games. I don't care if it's Tracy Porter or Champ Bailey covering Jones, he's the hottest receiver in the league right now, and until something drastic changes that you'll find him in the top 10 each week. The Broncos allowed 74 yards to Antonio Brown last week along with a touchdown to Mike Wallace, so they are beatable, even with two great, old cornerbacks.
Week One Analysis: Everyone is aware of Julio Jones' brilliant final four games of last season, but maybe you've been sleeping on his preseason performances. Jones led the NFL in receiving yards through the first three weeks of the preseason, so we're saying the trend is continuing. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has somehow vowed to make the offense that had the fourth-most pass attempts last year into more of a passing offense. In the offseason, KC's secondary took a downgrade, losing Brandon Carr, and gaining Oakland writeoff Stanford Routt. I like Jones' chances of success, even if stellar CB Brandon Flowers sticks to him.
NEXT: #5 RODDY WHITE