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The Biggest NFL Fantasy Sleeper of 2022; Julio Jones

The generally accepted primary goal of any fantasy football user in any fantasy football league is simple: to win. Yet the goal that all users should truly pay attention to goes a bit further – knowing more about the game than your opponents. 

As it turns out, the average couch potato that spent seven hours every Sunday watching NFL Redzone last season might not be as well-informed as they’d like to think. The best prospects to help a user make that extra push for a fantasy league championship are found between the lines. 

The disregarded, forgotten and diamond-in-the-rough stars are there, and Julio Jones is one of them. 

Jones, the former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro wide receiver and Tennessee Titans disappointment, has found his way to Tampa Bay, the home of the Buccaneers and Tom Brady.

Jones stood out in free agency, going a lengthy time without being signed despite his impressive resume in the NFL. Jones’ 91.9 receiving yards per game average is the highest in NFL history, and his 59 career 100-yard receiving games ties for third on the all-time list. 

Despite the disinterest surrounding Jones as a free agent, after back-to-back injury ridden seasons, Brady recruited the wideout to join his star-studded supporting cast in Tampa Bay. 

Countless analysts have written off Jones as a washed up, inconsistent prospect whose next major injury is all but guaranteed at age 33. Yet, some remain optimistic for the veteran, primarily due to him being in the same locker room as Brady.  

Looking back at Brady’s receiving targets over the years, it’s been a revolving door to say the least. One aspect that sticks out though is a pattern of veteran receivers who were once deemed washed up or unredeemable from the beginning of their career turning into unstoppable forces with Brady. 

Players like Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman all come to mind, and it becomes exciting to imagine what Brady may be able to do with a veteran like Jones. 

Head coach Todd Bowles weighed in on the subject, providing some confidence to fantasy owners by explaining that Julio Jones is an interim replacement for Rob Gronkowski, one of the top fantasy tight ends of 2021. 

“Signing Julio was not only for the long haul; it was just as much doing different things on offense and being able to replace (Gronkowski) ‘s catches,” Bowles said. 

Jones is expressing optimism in his own health as well, explaining that he is ready to play and assist the team in whatever way the coaches need. 

“I’m ready to go, though. At the end of the day, it’s all about accountability,” Jones said.  “I have to be accountable for him, the team, everybody, right? With all that said and done, I’ve still got to come to work. I still have to put the work in.”

With Buccaneers starting wide receiver Chris Godwin dealing with a lower body injury that may give him a slow start to week one, Jones’ health is another reason to add him to your roster. 

Grab him before him and Brady establish consistent chemistry, because once they do, he’ll likely be a top-30 wide receiver in fantasy and will be missing from your free agency list. 

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