Summer Sleeper: James Jones

Ken KellyContributor IIIJune 18, 2010

In the latest installment of our Summer Sleeper series, we look at our 3rd straight WR in James Jones of the Green Bay Packers.  Jones is a player known in most fantasy circles, but he may not be a household name quite yet.  As with all the other Summer Sleepers we’ve featured, it won’t be a surprise if he is by the end of the year.

Many fantasy owners want to throw in the towel on Jones after he didn’t flourish like many WRs do in their 3rd year.  Jones has shown some flashes of greatness in Green Bay, however.  For his career, he has a respectable 99/1390/8 line with 32/440/5 last season, including a 100-yard game against Tampa Bay.  There are a few factors that need to be considered beyond just his stats, though.  Failure to do so could be a huge strategic mistake.  Let’s take a closer look.

First, Jones finds himself on a team with a dynamic offense.  This fact cannot be overstated. Being the 3rd WR in Green Bay can quite honestly be better than the #1 in ClevelandAaron Rodgers has proven to be a top-notch QB in both reality and fantasy.  With a gunslinger like that, there are lots of footballs to go around.  You have to consider the annual 4,000 yards from Rodgers needs to go somewhere.  While Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley may be 1 and 1A soon, there’s still room for Jones, even in the short-term with Donald Driver still on the roster.

The second factor you have to consider is the opportunity he’ll have soon.  Yes, Driver is a starter and likely will be for the upcoming season.  However, news that he had work done on both knees, combined with his age (35), makes it clear he won’t be around for much longer.  For a dynasty owner, all you want to see for a player is an opportunity and Jones will have his very soon.  With defenses keying on Jennings and Finley, Jones will soon find himself with consistent one-on-one coverage he’s proven he can exploit.

Finally, Jones is has shown consistent improvement. When he first entered the league out of San Jose State, he had a little trouble running routes and fumbling.  Since then, he’s worked very hard to rectify those problems and has become much natural getting in and out of his breaks and holding on to the football.  That’s helped him maximize his greatest talent, which is his run after the catch ability. Another offseason of work for him will further develop his talents and allow him to continue getting a rhythm with Rodgers.

When you combine the offense, opportunity, and improvement he’s shown, Jones is poised for a breakout season.  While it may not be this year, he’s primed for big things when Driver shuts it down permanently.  In fact, it wouldn’t surprise many if he passed him on the depth chart this season. This mixture of factors leads us to believe James Jones fits the bill of DLF Summer Sleeper.