Four Downs: Sizing up the Falcons' WRs 

September, 30, 2012
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is a gifted talent with the ability to become the best in the game, but after four weeks of football, Jones has made fantasy owners happy only half the time. On Sunday, Jones caught just one of his eight targets, for 30 yards, or three standard fantasy points. Meanwhile, his older colleague Roddy White exploded for 169 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. It's still a bit early to make season assumptions, but White is and pretty much has always been consistently productive, even when he doesn't have a big game. Jones, however, has been inconsistent and occasionally nonexistent, and fantasy owners are noticing.

The fantasy implications here for a pair of universally owned and potentially top-10 wide receivers on a real-life 4-0 team is that perhaps Jones isn't yet the fantasy monster we thought he was, and White could be underrated. I'll continue to rank Jones well, perhaps among the top 10 on a weekly basis, with the Falcons' offense rolling along like it is. Matt Ryan is playing like a top-5 quarterback, rumors of Michael Turner's demise seem to be greatly exaggerated and Tony Gonzalez is still rocking. There's just a seemingly palpable difference when comparing Jones and White, one that makes me feel better about having gone against popular opinion in ranking White better in the preseason. It looks to be time others reconsider the order of the Atlanta hierarchy, as well.

[+] EnlargeJulio Jones
Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesJulio Jones was selected seventh among wide receivers, on average, and 26th overall in ESPN preseason drafts.
Consider the facts: Jones followed up his electrifying Week 1 performance at the Kansas City Chiefs (22 fantasy points) with a one-point effort against the Denver Broncos. In Week 3, Jones rebounded for 67 yards and a touchdown (12 fantasy points) against the San Diego Chargers. And then on Sunday fantasy owners got just three points from him. That's 16 fantasy points in the past three weeks, with two stinkers; Donald Jones of the Buffalo Bills had 15 points Sunday alone. If you own Julio Jones, you got little help two of these three weeks, an up-and-down pattern that was easy to overlook when he was a rookie, and in fairness one he seemed to overcome later in the season.