Julio Jones: Another bust

The media and Fantasy Twitter have been blowing up about Julio Jones signing with the Buccaneers:

Reality check time: In the last 2 seasons, Jones has played 19 games, missing time due to injuries.

Sure, if Julio was still in his prime, the idea of him catching passes from Tom Brady would be awesome. But now he’s a 33 year old WR coming off two injury-plagued seasons. Maybe he’ll have a few decent games. But expecting him to last the season is silly.

Admittedly, this isn’t as silly as thinking CMC should be drafted in the early first round. But the experts can have silly opinions sometimes.

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So is expecting him to put up big numbers while he lasts. He will be heavily TD dependent. I can see him having 2 multi-TD games, in which he will be a top WR in that week. But we won’t know which 2 games that will be. And in all other games, he’ll put up single digit fantasy numbers.

Also, we should keep in mind that Chris Godwin has not been put on PUP yet. If he is ready to start the season, Julio could find himself as the #4 target in Tampa Bay.

Such players hurt fantasy teams. You will always be tempted to start him because of the big name, and that big game he had 2 weeks ago. And he will burn you most of the time.

As a very-late-round flier, he’s okay. But he will probably come off the board a lot earlier now, and I’ll be very happy to leave him for other owners there.

Hey, keep your silly opinion to yourself. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m not saying I would draft him early in the first round. But if a fantasy manager understands the risk and is ready to take it, I won’t blame him.

Here’s my hot (?) take on CMC: he will play at least 13 games this season. In 11 of those games, he will be a top 10 RB that week (top 3 in at least 6). That will allow him to finish the season in RB1 territory (RB#12 or better, probably top 10), despite missing a few games.

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The last two years, I have said “avoid CMC”. I will continue that this year, and continue to say “I told you so” when it happens. The 2019 magic won’t happen again this year.

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Probably not, but we could get a lot closer to it than in recent years.

We discussed this a little earlier - I’m torn on how to rank top RBs who are likely to miss a few games. I’m not even sure anymore if I should include known bans, like for DeAndre Hopkins. If I project him only for the 11 games he’ll play, he’ll come up south of WR3 territory in my rankings. But in those 11 games he will play - which includes the fantasy playoffs - he’ll probably be a WR1.

I do expect CMC to miss games in 2022. Just as with Dalvin Cook, who hasn’t played a full season in forever.

But if we assume my above CMC scenario is true - 13 games played, 11 top-10 finishes, including 6 top-3 ones - where would you draft him? Do you really wait until the 3rd or 4th round to grab a player who will help you win your fantasy matchup in almost every week he’s on the field?

CMC is game script proof and unstoppable while healthy. There aren’t many RBs who check both those boxes.

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Cook hasn’t played less than 13 games since 2018. Plus he is only 26, so he may have more good years left in him. On the other hand, CMC hasn’t played more than 7 games since 2019. I’ll take Cook against CMC any time, because Cook will deliver more games than CMC. In PPR, this may be even more pronounced, since the Vikings are moving more pass-oriented.

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And that’s where I’m not so sure. CMC got injured twice in both 2020 and 2021. If he manages to get injured only once in 2022, he could be good for 13 games. Which is exactly the number of games Cook played in 2021. And now he’s expected to see even more usage.

The Vikings will be more pass-oriented, that is true. We don’t know how many of those passes will go to Dalvin Cook, though. Will he always play on passing downs? Or will Mattison get more involved? Or will they even turn lightnin-fast Kene Nwangwu into a pass-catching back? It’s a long shot, but I can see him turn into a faster version of Nyheim Hines or J.D. McKissic.

With CMC, we know that he will see 15-20% of the passing volume while on the field. Dalvin’s share is more in the 5-10% region. He would have to claim a lot of those extra targets to get close to CMC’s numbers. And he would have to manage to stay healthy while claiming them.

You expect Cook to play more games, I don’t necessarily - that’s cool. At the end of the day, we’re only looking into a crystal ball here.

But for the sake of the argument - assuming CMC and Cook will both play 13 games this year, whom of both RBs do you expect to finish higher?

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IF CMC plays 13 games, I expect his volume will be reduced, which means his production will drop down to Dalvin Cook range. It’s hard to say which one will be better in that number of games…

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And if Cook’s volume is extended to CMC’esque numbers, he is likely to play less than 13 games.

I don’t think the Panthers will dial down on CMC’s usage a lot. Maybe that will lead to another 7 game season. Maybe it won’t.

As for Cook’s usage, maybe it will increase, thanks to extended usage in the passing game. But that will inevitably lead to an increased risk of missing more than the 4 games he missed last year.

I can see one good scenario for Cook, though, at least in PPR: if they use him as their prime pass-catching back, but give more of the ground work to Alexander Mattison. Kind of what their division rivals, the Packers, plan with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.

That could lead to a highly productive PPR season for Cook, while not significantly increasing his injury risk. If that will be enough to beat CMC is a different question, though.

I’m expecting CMC to put up more points per game than Cook, and to play a similar number of games in 2022. CMC is still risky as an early 1st round pick, but so is Cook.

If I had to decide between the two of them, I would slightly lean towards CMC, as he offers more upside, whereas Cook is a little safer, but not by a ton.

Here’s my bet for you:
CMC will score more points per game than Cook. Cook will also play max. 3 games more than CMC. CMC will not finish more than 5 spots behind Cook on the final RB rankings, and ahead of him if they play an equal number of games.

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Sure, CMC will score more points per game than Cook. But most fantasy leagues are based on weekly wins, not seasonal. Cook will win you more games than CMC, even if CMC manages to outscore him overall.