As previously stated, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is throwing the ball much more often these days, leaving fantasy owners in a quandary—Roddy White or Julio Jones? Who will be on the receiving end of a potential breakout season for Ryan? Will we see second-year receiver Julio Jones cutting into veteran receiver Roddy White’s catches? Both pose a deep threat and have the potential to put up double-digit touchdowns, but which receiver will ultimately be the more valuable fantasy player? Here’s the breakdown.
I’m personally a big fan of veteran receiver Roddy White, who led my fantasy team to victory in back-to-back championship seasons. He is a highly experienced player, entering his eighth year with the Atlanta Falcons, and a highly productive player to boot. White lead the NFC in receptions for the second straight season and became the Falcons’ all-time leading receiver with 7,374 receiving yards. He also became the first player in team history to record multiple 100-catch seasons.
With figures like that, even if we do see more of Julio Jones this season, White will still have plenty of opportunities to put up huge numbers. Clearly, he’s a favorite target of Matt Ryan. Going into the 2012 season, Roddy White has the opportunity to break every major Falcons’ team record for receiving touchdowns and receptions, so you can count on Matt Ryan and the Falcons offensive coaching staff wanting to get White the ball. Roddy White is a consistent, safe bet and is unlikely to disappoint. However, he’s a high commodity, as ESPN rankings currently have White going 15th overall and 4th among receivers in 2012 fantasy drafts, so you better grab him fast.
Miss out on Roddy White in the early rounds, or feel like taking a risk? Second-year receiver Julio Jones has huge upside coming into the 2012 season. Jones finished his rookie season with 54 receptions, 959 yards, and eight touchdowns, marking the best season by a rookie receiver in Falcons’ team history. He put up those numbers despite missing three games due to a hamstring injury. Not only that, Jones showed great improvement as the season progressed. Of his eight touchdowns, six came in the late football months of December January, and he caught a touchdown in each of his final four games. If the trend continues into the 2012 season, Jones’ stats will be on the upswing.
Predicted to go 33rd overall and 11th among wide receivers, Julio Jones would make a phenomenal number two fantasy receiver, if not a solid number one receiver. Football great Jerry Rice predicts Julio Jones will be the 2012 breakout receiver.
“I love this kid. He’s big. He’s fast. I think he’s going to have a breakout season this coming year.” Rice said of Jones on ESPN’s SportsCenter, per ProFootballTalk.com.
Who’s to argue with the 13-time Pro Bowler, Rice, who is known to be the greatest wide receiver—if not the greatest player period—in NFL history? Julio Jones is one to watch.