“You’re on the clock, David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell arleady went” who do you select in your fantasy draft? Julio or Antonio. Both of these two are what one would call “studs” when it comes to fantasy. They are both great picks, and you really can not go wrong picking either one. Even though you can’t go wrong, lets look at it to see who has the edge.
Julio and Antonio both have talented men throwing the ball to them. Both Big Ben as well as Matt Ryan are among the leagues best quarterbacks, so it’s pretty difficult to pick the better one. This is bascially a match as both are accurate as well as smart with the ball. One problem I would watch out for is if Matt Ryan can “bounce back” from what happened in the Super Bowl, but other than that this category basically comes down to “who do you like more”.
What’s worse than opening up the fantasy app to see that Sanu or Rogers stole a touchdown from Julio or Brown? Nothing. I have had both of these players on my fantasy team and nothing is more frustrating than seeing someone else grab one of your players touchdowns.
Atlanta as well as Pittsburgh have not only two or three reliable pass catchers other than Brown and Julio, but they also have some great pass catching backs. These players must be taken into account, as they will most likely be the ones “stealing” the touchdowns. Atlanta has the likes of Mohammed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Tevin Coleman, and Devonta Freeman, (tight ends not included because both teams have a below average rating at the position) who all are respectable targets. Coleman and Freeman are significant to the offense so fantasy owners should take into account that not only will Sanu and Gabriel get targets, but they also have two running backs that will also grab a few passes per game. This decreases Julio’s value slightly, as I still believe he will be among the league’s best receivers, but due to the fact that he still has a few teammates who can snag a ball here and there, he will not be as targeted as some of the other top receivers. After doing some research on Pro Football Focus, I was not surprised when I saw that in 2015, Julio was the number one targeted receiver, with 193, while this season that dropped to 125 targets which is an astounding 68 less. Despite Julio’s absence in two games last year, that only accounts for around 15 targets (7.8 Per game) bringing that total to 140 targets, which is still 53 behind his 2015-2016 season.
As for Antonio, other than him, you can look for Le’Veon Bell, Eli Rogers, and returning Martavis Bryant (suspension for marijuana). Pittsburgh does not have two versatile backs like Atlanta may have, but they do have the best running back in the league in Le’Veon, and he’s not the best just because he can run the ball. Bell is debatably the most versatile back in the league. He is actually a top target in the pass game for the Steelers, so you can expect a few receptions per game. Martavis Bryant will be back this season, he was the number 2 receiver before he was suspended, and he was also a top target alongside Antonio. While Antonio is “loud” on the field making star like plays, and while Martavis is 6’5″ yet is a “freak” with his athletic ability, don’t forget about the most likely slot receiver, Eli Rogers. Eli played great last season, he will fit great in the slot, but I can not see him “cutting” into Antonio’s receptions too much, as I expect he will only get a few per game. The fact that Martavis is returning this season should not dissapoint Antonio Brown fans. As surprising as it is, Antonio had 39 more targets when Martavis was on the field during the 2015 season. Although Antonio missed one game last season, that only decreases the total targets to 30 (nine per game) which is still a rather wide gap. How is this possible? Well if you think about it, Martavis is a large receiver with “freakish” speed for a man that size, therefore he is a huge deep threat for every defense to worry about. While the defense is worrying about Martavis and Antonio deep, that allows Tone to do what he does best, which is his ability to be so elusive while route running, and by doing that he can get open for quick under routes that can go for long… especially with Antonio.
Both teams have multiple other targets, but in my opinion, Atlanta has more reliable receivers as they have two pass catching running backs, as well as 2 receivers that will cut into Julio’s looks. This is shown if you take a gander at the stats. As I said earlier in 2015 before Gabriel and Sanu came along, and before Tevin Coleman’s role in the offense was much larger; Julio had around 50+ targets. Therefore, I do not expect his targets to go up significantly, but they will increase… hell with a new offense, who knows?
As we all know Julio previously dealt with a toe injury that affected his availibility towards the end of the season. While Julio’s toe may be a reoccuring problem, he may have to take a game off here and there due to soreness to avoid an even more significant injury. Antonio has not missed more than three games since his rookie year, therefore he has been one of the most available receivers in the league. Not that Julio is not available, but he has had some injury problems in the past, and a man at his height, with his type of speed and his play style, it starts to take a toll on the body (Calvin Johnson Jr.).
Yards: 1409 (2nd)
Touchdowns: 6 (T-19th)
Receptions: 83 (T-15)
Targets: 125 (16th)
Drops: 6 (T-23rd)
Yards per reception: 17 (T-5th)
Yards: 1284 (5th)
Touchdowns: 12 (T-2nd)
Receptions: 106 (2nd)
Targets: 151 (3rd)
Drops: 2 (T-79th)
After going over who has more competing targets, the better quarterback, last years stats, as well as availability, I am sure we can all admit that it is apparent Antonio Brown has more fantasy value than Julio Jones. I “admit” this due to Julio being my favorite receiver in the league, but I will not give a biased opinion, I will give my honest evaluation of the two. As I said earlier, you really can not go wrong, but who has the edge in this one? Antonio Brown.