Julio Jones had a forgettable 2021 season. The 33-year-old was plagued by ailments and finished with a career low in yards per route run (1.84). What will his 2022 campaign look like now that he’s on a new team? Here, we’ll detail our Julio Jones fantasy football outlook for 2022.
Despite all of Jones’ difficulties last year, his yards per route run still ranked 25th overall.
And in his six healthy games, he did get more than a 50 percent snap share. In those same contests, Jones averaged 2.18 yards per route run and a 22 percent target share. Last season, that yards per route run figure would have rated in the top 10.
By all metrics, Jones can still hack it.
In a run-heavy system, Jones averaged 11.7 PPR fantasy points per game. Basically, that’s WR3 range in fantasy football. That is precisely where Jones should be valued coming into the 2022 season as the Buccaneers’ newest member.
If he stays healthy, which is a big if, his efficiency in a pass-heavy offense led by Tom Brady will lead to many weeks of fantasy football production.
As such, here’s Julio Jones’ 2022 fantasy football outlook.
Julio Jones’ 2022 fantasy football outlook
Again, Julio Jones of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is coming off the worst season of his career. He will play with a chip on his shoulders and be hungrier than ever. Can Jones return to the ranks of the elite now that he is playing with quarterback Tom Brady? What is Jones’ fantasy football prognosis, and where does his current ADP rank in fantasy football drafts in 2022?
Let’s dive in.
Jones was expected to be the missing piece in a Tennessee Titans offense that needed to step up to the next level in 2021. Recall that he remained a valuable former franchise standout even after an injury-shortened 2020 season. Instead of maintaining his history of high-level output, however, Jones was sidelined by injury once more. Consequently, his stats continued to fall.
Entering the 2022 NFL season, Jones has one more shot to prove he is more than a part-time player who is only healthy enough to see action for half the year. Keep in mind that he chose Brady’s Buccaneers above numerous other possibilities. Thanks to a great receiving corps, the Bucs led the NFL in passing attempts, yards, and touchdowns in 2021.
— PFF (@PFF) July 26, 2022
Looking ahead, Jones can carve out a meaningful role with Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Jones, of course, is an accomplished route runner with great hands. Though he only played in the slot for around 15 percent of his total snaps in the past, he appears to be a decent match as a strong slot option.
His agility and quickness will be too much for larger defenders to handle as well. Additionally, his size and catch radius will be a problem for cornerbacks. The issue is if he’ll be relegated to a platoon role on this strong team. If so, that leaves him too limited as a fantasy option.
What’s more likely is this: his fantasy expectation is to be a depth component for Tampa Bay. Take note, however, that last season, the Bucs had only four fantasy-relevant pass catchers. It might be even fewer in 2022.
Still, it’s entirely possible that Jones will get more targets than a regular tight end would. Think about this: Jones is a much better option when going four-wide compared to Brady resorting to either Cameron Brate or Kyle Rudolph. On the flip side, we know the Bucs will frequently use the power-run game, so that means the offense will probably utilize three receivers and one tight end more often than not.
As much as we’d like to see Jones re-establish himself as a star with Brady, the more probable scenario is he’ll take away some targets from Russell Gage. Those two will operate in a platoon position once Chris Godwin returns, whether that’s Week 1 or beyond. This all means that Jones would have less than one month of true individual upside to produce big numbers.
This likely explains why he still is ranked WR64 and 155 overall. His ADP may surprise fans who’ve followed him in his best seasons, but he could still end up a nice bargain given the upside he provides in a high-volume offense led by an outstanding QB.
Prospective fantasy managers should certainly consider him ahead of Romeo Doubs, Jahan Dotson, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Again, Godwin’s return may restrict Jones’ upside, but Brady should continue to feed Jones despite having a deep receiving corps.
Expect Brady and Jones to be productive, and expect a renewed level of confidence from the seven-time Pro Bowler.