Fantasy Reaction: Julio Jones Signs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Fantasy Football)

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Your Twitter feed and phone likely blew up with the news that one of the true GOATs decided to link up with the GOAT.

33-year-old veteran WR Julio Jones signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after Tom Brady decided to pick up the phone yet again and make a call.

How good has Julio been in his career?

  • Averaging most receiving yards per game (91.4) in NFL history– Justin Jefferson is right behind at 91.1.
  • Ranks 2nd among all active players in Receiving Yards
  • 7 Pro Bowls, 2 1st Team All-Pros
  • An insane stretch from 2014-2019 where he finished as the WR8, 2, 6, 4, 5, 5, 3… six straight seasons as an elite performer.

But this isn’t the same Julio and this isn’t the same situation where he can be a true alpha. Let’s bridge the age question and then see where he could fit into this offense.

Here are the 33-year-old WRs who changed teams in the off-season over the last decade. I set the cut-off point at 30+ targets although we should add that numerous players started the season but eventually were cut.

Season Player Age Team G Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G
2013 Anquan Boldin 33 SF 16 129 85 1179 13.9 7 73.7
2021 A.J. Green 33 ARI 16 92 54 848 15.7 3 53
2018 Jordy Nelson 33 OAK 15 88 63 739 11.7 3 49.3
2020 Emmanuel Sanders 33 NO 14 82 61 726 11.9 5 51.9
2018 Danny Amendola 33 MIA 15 79 59 575 9.7 1 38.3
2014 Wes Welker 33 DEN 14 64 49 464 9.5 2 33.1
2021 Antonio Brown 33 TB 7 62 42 545 13 4 77.9
2014 Brandon Lloyd 33 SF 14 35 14 294 21 1 21
2017 Brandon Marshall 33 NYG 5 33 18 154 8.6 0 30.8
2011 Chad Johnson 33 NE 15 32 15 276 18.4 1 18.4
2018 Ted Ginn Jr. 33 NO 5 30 17 209 12.3 2 41.8

Dang Anquan Boldin was good.

But beyond that, it is mostly a middling effort of players playing out their last days in the NFL.

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Adding Julio Jones to an already elite WR group feels like cheating. But remember Julio saw just 16 percent of the Titans’ targets when he was on the field. That last part is key as he played in only 10 contests finishing with a paltry 31/434/1 line. With only one finish inside the top 24, he was all but dusted in the minds of fantasy managers.

The Bucs were a Super Bowl contender entering last season and the same is true in 2022. With the Plant Man essentially operating as this team’s OC, we should expect more of the same as we saw last year – a team that will run a ton of plays, push the pace and throw at one of the highest rates in football. Given their pace and pass rate metrics, Tom Brady pass-catchers are worth going in on at the right price.

  • Plays/game- 67.0 (4th)
  • Offensive scoring rank- 30.1 (2nd)
  • Neutral situation pace- T6th
  • Neutral situation pass rate- 67% (1st)
  • Neutral situation rush rate- 33% (32nd)

The Buccaneers project to be a top-5 team again in pass attempts but dividing them up among Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Leonard Fournette, and Julio is a tough task. We haven’t even mentioned the hodgepodge of TEs (Cameron Brate, Cade Otton, Kyle Rudolph) that should take away from red zone looks. TDs have never really been Julio’s thing but with Brady, all things are possible. He’ll likely be running as the old man out of the slot. We’re projecting him for 70+ targets and 3+ useable weeks for fantasy. His name likely will pump his fantasy draft position too high so let someone else chase the past glory.

It’s also possible he turns into a part-time player once Chris Godwin comes back or doesn’t even finish out the season with the team.

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