Julio Jones: Falcons WR Will Be Fantasy Monster vs. Chargers

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 08:  Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons runs for yards after the catch against the New York Giants during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at MetLife Stadium on January 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has huge expectations from fantasy owners this season. He lived up to the hype in Week 1 with 108 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas City. As the excitement grew, the anticipation for what could be reached ridiculous levels. 

Jones was brought back down to earth last week against Denver, with just 14 yards on four receptions.

If that wasn't bad enough, Jones was being limited in practice this week due to a thigh injury. He is listed as probable for Sunday's game against San Diego, according to the Falcons' official website

So which Jones are fantasy owners going to get this weekend? Will he be the superstar we saw in Week 1, or the waiver player from last week?

There are a few factors you must look at before just saying anything one way or the other.

First, we must look at where Jones is at right now. He did not do much in practice before Friday, which is not necessarily that big of a deal. Players who know the system well and can get some extra rest are going to be ready to go when the game starts. 

Last week's performance was the anomaly. The Broncos boast a strong secondary that is capable of shutting down the best receivers in the NFL. Champ Bailey might not be as great as he once was, but he is still among the handful of best defensive backs in the league. 

The second, and most important, factor to consider when examining Jones' value is the opponent. We mentioned how strong the Broncos are in the secondary. Now he gets to go up against the Chargers

On the surface, the Chargers look like a good defense. They rank first against the run and 12th against the pass. However, that is why a simple eye test doesn't tell you all you need to know. 

The Chargers' first two games have come against Oakland and Tennessee, two of the worst offensive teams in the NFL. They have not been tested against a team that can air it out, or has a dynamic playmaker like Jones or Roddy White. 

Jones is one of the 10 best fantasy receivers in the NFL right now. He is in the perfect offense for his skill set. He is a deep threat down the field, with the instincts to make plays underneath when he has to. 

Any fear that Jones' performance against the Chargers would become a trend and not an outlier will be alleviated on Sunday afternoon.

Practice might make perfect, but Jones doesn't need much prep work to dominant an untested and unproven Chargers defense.