Updated: Jul 27
Photo by Tennessee Titans/Twitter
There I was, minding my own business. BAM.
News update: “Julio Jones will be traded to the Titans.”
IT’S HAPPENING. ALL THE REPORTS WERE RIGHT FOR ONCE.
Then I slowly looked around the gym I was in, and realized not a single person gave a damn. I started to think that the news was not earth-shattering, even in the slightest, and that I should just go on about my day as usual.
Screw that. I am not just going about my day after hearing this.
I wondered how life was going to change for the Falcons. What happens to the rest of the Falcons skill players because of this earth-shattering news?
He’s going to be a stud. Top 5 receiver for this year. This has been looked at in-depth already, so won’t go much into it here. Without Julio, Ridley averaged 11+ targets, 90+ yards, and 20+ fantasy points per game (PPR).
Draft him with confidence. Enough said.
Photo by Russell Gage/Twitter
Russell Gage will jump up to the WR2 on the team with Julio’s departure.
His numbers last season without Julio from the beginning to the end of the 2020 season:
He definitely got better as the season went along. I suppose we can cut him a break, as the head coach was fired midway through the season and it was the covid year, as it will be known as.
If you extrapolate his numbers from after their bye week, he was on pace for 140 targets, 90 receptions, 1000 yards, and 8 TDs. That estimate seems like a good gauge of his production, so expect WR2 numbers for the season.
He’s going very late in drafts, so he’s definitely worth the pick after the 6th round, I’d say.
To be honest, I don’t think the Julio news affects Hurst as much as the team drafting Kyle Pitts with their 4th overall pick, who’s widely considered to be a generational talent. Hurst had a decent enough season for a tight end last year finishing as TE9 in Half PPR. He wasn’t a difference maker and was frustrating at times I’m sure for owners, but the tight end position is a wasteland, so he had a TE1 finish.
With Pitts there now, he’s not useful for fantasy, unless in deeper leagues and hopefully TE premium just to help out with the point shortage.
Photo by Gregory Payan/Associated Press
The Julio news of course only helps Pitts. Julio leaving lets up a ton of targets, and some of those will go to Pitts. Him being a red zone threat, coupled with the fact that Ridley scores more when Julio is in the lineup, means that he may become a TD machine. I still think Ridley is the field stretcher and can be used all over the field, including the end zone, but Pitts may be that red zone threat out the gate.
I’ve seen him bumped up to TE4 in dynasty, which may be a stretch to say before he’s even set foot on the field, but goes to show everyone sees the upside.
The offense can gel without the presence of Julio, as seen last season. Matt Ryan had top 10 finishes down the stretch through the end of the season. The fantasy primetime. Julio missed the last month of the season plus a few games sprinkled throughout the season, so those numbers were without the superstar. He has led the league in completion percentage going all the way back to 2012, so he’s far from a scrub to begin with.
I think the addition of Kyle Pitts also helps Matt Ryan, and Ridley isn’t Julio but will perform as well as he has been, which is good.
It must be noted that he scored 5 less fantasy points per game without Julio than with him over the span of his career.
I will remind you that he’s 36, and father time will come sooner or later. But he’s likely a few years away from the wheels falling off.
So in conclusion, I think Matt Ryan is not going to be exactly the same but still has tons of upside, and could be a possible trade target if you're in a SF dynasty league, since his value might be very depressed right now.