What you are about to see is real. The participants are not actors. They are actual litigants with a case pending in an international fantasy court. Both parties have agreed to dismiss their pending case and have their dispute settled here … in our forum … The Yahoo! court.
Ready for a down-home tussle in Hot 'Lanta? Let's sort through this wide receiver thing - Roddy White against Julio Jones. Here's hoping for a smooth resolution: Andre Rison tried to storm the courthouse last week. Scott Pianowski gets the first argument, then Brad Evans will offer his rebuttal.
Pianow approaches the lecturn: Before we get to the tussle at hand, I want to make it clear what we're debating. Today's assignment is not to determine who the better value is between Roddy White and Julio Jones. This isn't the Price Is Right; we're not trying to make it to the Showcase Showdown. The job is to determine which player we'd prefer in a vacuum, all else equal, at the same cost. And with that in mind, the right answer has to be Roddy White.
One of the worst things a fantasy footballer can do is listen too intently to the spring propaganda, the days of the good round coin. Teams love to put their best foot forward in the media, suggest breakouts here and strategy shifts there. Perhaps it's a way to motivate a player, or maybe they're looking to throw a false angle at an opponent. And sometimes it might be a case of a team using rose-colored glasses on its scheme and personnel. (Sidebar: ignore every run-run-run spin you hear from Pittsburgh camp. When the bullets are flying in real action, I'm expecting the Ben Roethlisberger/Todd Haley aerial circus.)
The Falcons are talking up Jones in Year 2, and his expected spike might come at the cost of White's workload. So noted; I'll jot that down on my clipboard and see if the sirens are still singing in August. As much as I love Jones's talent and upside (and it's not like I'm against the idea of drafting him), I can't ignore how Matt Ryan tends to lock in on White in a key spot. White has led the NFL in targets each of the last two years, and more than anything else, opportunity drives the values of elite wideouts. No target, no triumph.
Consistency is a wonderful thing in our fantasy world and White is here to bring it. He's never missed a game in his seven pro seasons (we already can't say that about Jones), and his worst fantasy season in the last five still graded out well (he's ranked 14th, 6th, 7th, 3rd and 8th over the last five years, basic scoring). There's a time and a place to take a swing at the upside of Jones, but please don't do it if White is still on the board. Superstar consistency is a wonderful thing. Billy, don't be a hero. Your honor, please dismiss this ridiculous case.
Yahoo! Noise objects: Over the past two weeks, Hotlanta has delivered on its name. Numerous accounts from several players, including Roddy White, indicate the Falcons offense is scheduled to undergo a significant makeover, potentially reducing the roles of some of its prominent players.
Diversification is expected to be the emphasis of Dirk Koetter's revamped offensive scheme. The hope: Instead of Ryan consistently zeroing in on White, Jones and slot weapon Harry Douglas are slated to attract more targets. To achieve this, five wide receiver sets, dump-off passes and screens will be stressed, a socialist philosophy that could greatly damper the normally reliable White's fantasy production. Another season of 179 targets is likely farfetched. As the unselfish veteran stated recently, he's willing to sacrifice anything for the betterment of the team. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"I know that sounds crazy, but we've got other guys out there that can play," White said. " Julio Jones is going to be a big part of the offense this year. Douglas is going to do wonders in the slot. We have to maximize our talent and get the ball in everyone's hands. …"
"There will be a lot of wide receivers out there, tight ends and things like that," White said. "We're going to try to get the ball to the backs in the screen game. We are going to try to get it in everybody's hands."
Roddy is a decorated former All-Pro who is a legit consistency king. But based on his perspective above, it's likely his 2011 campaign is unrepeatable. Though it's only June, to say he's overpriced at his current 28.6 price point (WR6) isn't unreasonable.
Jones is an outstanding talent who possesses the physicality and speed needed to develop into an elite receiver. Of the pair, he is the more fantasy desirable. Recall last year as a rookie, he bested his tag-team partner in per game average (standard leagues) 11.5 to 11.1. With added looks, he could flirt with the position's top-5, making him the better value at an almost identical price.
Gamers, this season, throw back a few shots of Don Julio.