On Sunday, the Titans made a big move to bolster their passing game by acquiring Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones. Jones, likely a future Hall of Famer, provides an instant upgrade to a Titans’ passing unit that suffered mostly losses this off-season. He’ll team with A.J. Brown to give Ryan Tannehill the best tandem of wide receivers he’s had in his career.
Jones was drafted in the first round by the Falcons in the 2011 draft. He spent his entire career—10 seasons—with the Falcons, catching 848 passes for 12,898 yards and 60 TDs. His struggle, at times, was staying healthy. That was a factor in 2020 when he was limited to nine games but still saw 68 targets. That was his most missed time since 2013 when he was limited to just five games.
Jones became frustrated with the cash-strapped Falcons and demanded a trade, which was granted on Sunday. The Falcons sent Jones, and a 2023 Sixth Round Pick to the Titans for a 2022 second round Pick and 2023 fourth round Pick. For Tannehill, who finished as QB7 last season, it gives him the firepower the Titans haven’t been able to add this off-season.
Where does Julio fit with the Titans?
Earlier this off-season, I looked at the Titans’ receiver situation. The team saw No. 2 receiver Corey Davis head to the Jets, No. 3 receiver Adam Humphries for Washington, and No. 1 tight end Jonnu Smith signed with the Patriots. The trio combined for 192 targets in 2020, and the Titans brought in just free agent wide receiver Josh Reynolds from the Rams and rookie wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, drafted in the fourth round, to fill the void.
The group is paced by A.J. Brown, who saw 106 targets and caught 70 passes for 1,075 yards and 11 TDs in 2020. That was good enough to finish as WR12. He figures to remain the top guy in Tennessee and a Top 10 option at wide receiver in dynasty leagues. But adding Jones will certainly help.
Some have wondered if Jones can thrive in Tennessee in a lower volume passing offense. In 2020, Tannehill threw the ball 481 times. He figures to throw at least 500, maybe as many as 550 times, with an additional regular-season game. Even with Brown seeing an increase to around 150 targets and tight end Anthony Firkser—who saw 53 targets in 2020—getting a bump, Jones could easily see 100-150 targets without the Titans changing their passing rate in 2021. Players like Reynolds, Fitzpatrick, and receiver Cameron Batson would be supporting players with little weekly fantasy value.
Brown is still a WR1 for me in Dynasty and a WR1 in 2021. As long as he’s on the field, he’s shown he’s a great talent that can maximize his opportunities. Due to what I expect to be more of a complementary role in Tennessee and his age, I have Jones as a WR3 in dynasty ranks. I think he has a good chance to finish as a WR2 in 2021 if he can return to a fuller season, especially as the Titans compete for a playoff spot in a crowded and competitive AFC.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a member of the Campus 2 Canton Network.