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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Julio Jones No. 37

Julio Jones comes in at 37 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park.  Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The imminent trade of Julio Jones this offseason had plenty of teams in the mix, but the Tennessee Titans ended up winning out. It wasn’t the best landing spot for his fantasy output, but Jones being Jones always makes for fantasy upside. Injuries kept him from a full season in 2019, but he was still a fantasy asset when on the field.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 37, Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans, WR

Jones is a future Hall-of-Famer, but he isn’t over the hill either. On just 68 targets through nine game appearances, Jones caught 51 for 771 yards and three touchdowns. The low touchdown numbers have always been a sticking point for Jones, but with the running game that the Titans have, Jones might not be the player defenses focus on around the goal line.

Competition for touches

A.J. Brown is the only competition for targets in Tennessee, but there are fewer target opportunities with the Titans than with the Falcons. The good news is that those targets should be more efficient to help even things out and Brown is good enough to attract defensive help.

Team offensive expectations

The Titans will remain a run-first offense, especially compared to most offenses in the NFL. As long as Derrick Henry is healthy and they aren’t down by 30 points, the run game is what they’ll focus on. But that doesn’t mean they will have a middling offense. Last season they ranked fourth in Football Outsiders DVOA for offense and we should expect another Top 10 finish, especially with Jones now in the mix.

What’s his upside?

Jones’ upside will likely be based on touchdown production and health. Health is a concern, but last season is the first season he hasn’t played in 14 or more games since 2013. A full season in Tennessee would likely give Jones his elusive 10 touchdowns and a great fantasy season.

What’s his downside?

Jones’s downside will be tied to his health, as a full season should give him enough opportunities for a strong fantasy season.

Projection

85 receptions, 120 targets, 1250 yards, 9 touchdowns