2. Julio Jones
Roasting Sean Smith over an open fire: Julio Jones (5 catches, 106 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown: 16.60 points)
Julio Jones had himself a great game in Oakland, despite facing double and triple coverage throughout most of the day. The fantasy first rounder delivered when the Falcons really needed him.
It was a frustrating start to the game for Julio Jones’ fantasy owners – throughout the first 25 minutes of playing time (more than a quarter and a half), the Alabama alum had just 1 catch for 9 total yards. Matt Ryan was taking advantage of the single coverage which every other pass catcher saw, thanks to the added attention Jones was getting.
However, as we learned last week, you won’t be able to keep Julio quiet all game. At the 4:51 mark of the second quarter, he proceeded to burn CB Sean Smith for a 21-yard touchdown via a crossing route over the middle.
After getting shutout throughout the third quarter, Jones once again came alive, in the fourth – catching passes of 8 yards, 20 yards, and a deep bomb in coverage for 48 yards. He made Sean Smith’s day into an absolute nightmare, and that dominance was punctuated with that 48 yard reception.
Analysis: Jones wasn’t on the field for Atlanta’s final drive, after injuring his calf. With the amount of bumps and bruises he constantly plays with, this doesn’t look serious, but it’s something to monitor throughout the week.
Jones will be an elite WR1 option against New Orleans’ porous defense on Monday Night Football next week, provided his calf doesn’t keep him out (which it shouldn’t). Fire up Jones in your starting lineups with confidence each and every week.