- Julio Jones has the second shortest odds to win the NFL’s receiving title in 2020
- The Falcons All-Pro wideout led the league in receiving yards in 2015 and 2018
- Get the updated odds and insight into who offers the most value to win the NFL’s receiving crown in the story below
For nearly a decade Julio Jones has arguably been the best receiver in football. The All-Pro wideout has won the NFL’s receiving crown twice in the last five seasons yet still finds himself behind Michael Thomas to win the award in 2020.
Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards
|Juju Smith Schuster||+2000|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||+2800|
Odds taken June 15
That’s likely because we’re all prisoners of the moment and Thomas’ record breaking 2019 campaign is still fresh in our minds.
Thomas earned the hardware last season by catching an insane 149 passes, six more than anyone else in NFL history. His average yards per target however was only 9.3, which means he’ll likely need to catch another 130+ passes to repeat. No player in NFL history has caught 130 balls twice in their career, let alone in back-to-back seasons, so is someone like Jones a more attractive bet?
Is Jones’ Price Justified?
For the past three seasons, Julio has led all receivers in yards per route run and he averages more receiving yards per game than any other player in NFL history (96.2). He’s earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 90 or higher in five straight seasons, and was recently named PFF’s number one receiver for 2020.
No. 3 on the PFF50:
Julio Jones pic.twitter.com/b5MrfvKbpY
— PFF (@PFF) June 3, 2020
Even in a down season in 2019, he still racked up 99 catches and 1,394 yards in just 15 games. He’s averaged double-digit targets per game in two consecutive years and his Atlanta Falcons were the most pass heavy team in 2019.
Atlanta projects to have one of the most difficult schedules in 2020 which should mean plenty of work for Falcons’ receivers. The question will be how much of that volume will Calvin Ridley eat up?
Ridley is on the Rise
Ridley’s odds to lead the NFL in receiving opened at +5000 in April and have been cut in half over the last two months.
The 25-year-old’s targets increased from 5.75 in his rookie year to 7.15 last season and he was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season before an abdominal injury cut his year short.
Matt Ryan says Calvin Ridley has been putting in a lot of extra time working with him and looks great. Ridley is a player getting a lot of buzz this offseason. #Falcons
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) June 9, 2020
He’s not enough of a talent to completely overtake Jones in percentage of team target share, but the arrow is pointing up and he’ll likely command 8-9 looks per game this season. The extra attention for Ridley could cost Julio a target or two per contest which doesn’t seem like much, but it will definitely add up over the course of a 16-game season.
Also working against Jones is the addition of Todd Gurley, if the running back is truly healthy. In his two most productive seasons, Gurley averaged 81+ targets per year, and Matt Ryan’s best statistical season came in 2016, when he targeted his RB’s 107 times.
Pass on Jones, Target Adams
Ridley’s emergence and the potential for Gurley to steal easy catches are big enough concerns for me to pass on Jones. Instead, I want to target a player who’s quarterback adores him and who has virtually no competition for targets.
Aaron Rodgers ➡️ Davante Adams
— ESPN (@espn) January 12, 2020
Despite Aaron Rodgers’ pleas to the front office for more receiving weapons, Green Bay didn’t add any significant talent in the offseason meaning once again it will be the Davante Adams show.
Adams racked up 127 targets in just 12 games last season and added 22 more targets in the playoffs. In total, he averaged 10.64 looks per game, which was more than Jones (10.46) and just behind Thomas (11.56).
Most projected targets (WRs)
1. Michael Thomas – 164
2. Davante Adams – 161
3. Julio Jones – 151
4. Mike Evans – 141 pic.twitter.com/Xkg060f78C
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 10, 2020
Adams’ price tag at +1400 however, is significantly longer than both those players. He has just as much target upside as Thomas and Jones, but has a better yards per reception average than Thomas and far less competition for work than Julio.
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