The Case For Matt Jones
Deep down we all know it, but it never hurts to be reminded. Opportunity and situation are the two biggest predictors of fantasy success. You can’t score fantasy points if the football isn’t in your hands and when it is, playing on a good offense helps facilitate more efficient and productive touches. Matt Jones fits this fantasy football equation successfully and at an affordable draft cost. I hope you’re keeping an open mind because your irrational negative thought process towards Jones is about to change. #StayWoke
Going shopping with your girlfriend on an NFL Sunday is more exciting than what we were forced to witness last season. It never seemed like it, but the corpse of Alfred Morris was continually fed the rock in Washington. By season’s end, Morris had amassed 202 carries while also seeing 13 targets in the passing game. Even though Morris’ touches were uneventful, that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. With Morris now in Dallas, those 215 opportunities from last season are now up for grabs.
Many speculated Arian Foster would inherit those chances as rumors circulated this summer Washington was going to sign him. However, Foster has since been signed by the Miami Dolphins. Although that hasn’t stopped Jay Gruden from considering bringing in a veteran back, the free agent running back market looks just about as appetizing as Golden Corral leftovers right about now. While pass catching specialist Chris Thompson and 7th Round pick, Keith Marshall, will be involved, there’s little doubt who the top dog will be in 2016. Enter Matt Jones, who himself saw 144 carries and 25 targets in Washington last season.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of workload within the realm of possibilities for Jones this season, let’s do a little exercise. If Jones were to see 70% of the 202 carries vacated by Alfred Morris’ move to Dallas, that would give him an additional 141 carries this season. Adding these increased opportunities to the workload he already saw in 2015, we get a grand total of 285 carries. Here’s the list of running backs who saw more than 285 carries last season: Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin. That’s it, that’s the list. Throw in some inevitable opportunities in the passing game, and Matt Jones is a candidate for 300 touches in 2016.
Not only will Jones receive plenty of opportunities this season, he will also be aided by the offense he plays in. Washington showed last season they are plenty capable of filling up the scoreboard, as they finished with the 10th most points in the league. In Kirk Cousins’ first full year as the starting QB in 2015, he helped put up those points by increasing his passing yards, passing TDs, passer rating and TD-to-INT ratio every month of the season. Heading into 2016 with a full offseason knowing and preparing as the team’s franchise leader, Cousins projects to continue his improvement. Helping Cousins along the way will be his impressive stable of pass catchers in Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, and rookie Josh Doctson.
Washington successfully moving the ball through the air will force defenses to emphasize more nickel and dime packages as they try to minimize the air assault taking place. This will help Matt Jones see more favorable running situations and less defensive personnel with eight in the box. Jones already scored 4 TDs on limited touches as a rookie and with Washington’s offense likely continuing to score in bunches, Jones’ increased workload makes him a candidate for double-digit scores this season.
Affordable ADP = Value
Despite Jones’ sweet combination of opportunity and situation, he’s still readily available in the 5th Round of drafts. His ADP currently sits at 5.07 in PPR leagues according to Fantasy Football Calculator. DeMarco Murray, Danny Woodhead, and Duke Johnson are all being drafted before Jones despite being projected to share their respective backfields with teammates in 2016. Jeremy Langford is another running back being drafted in the same area as Jones despite reports the Bears will be using a “committee approach” at running back this season themselves. As far as wide receivers go, Jones’ ADP puts him between Jordan Matthews and Larry Fitzgerald, two safe wide receivers but players I can live without.
Jones’ combination of opportunity, situation, and draft cost makes him a perfect RB target for those owners that end up taking stud WRs, Gronk or Jordan Reed, or even a QB such as Cam Newton in the earlier rounds. But regardless of which strategy you choose to utilize on draft day, Jones is a great target for those wanting to acquire guaranteed touches for their fantasy team week in and week out. Washington already tied for the 14th most rush attempts in the league last season and now with the corpse of Alfred Morris out the door, this could very easily be an addition by subtraction situation. Last year’s 3rd Round pick, Matt Jones is ready to roll for Washington in 2016, and he should be for your fantasy team as well.