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“Mr. 3000”: Can Julio Jones really achieve this number?

Photo by Eric Hartline, USA Today Sports

Written by: Joe Carlino @joecarlino14

Last week, during post-training camp press conferences, Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones talked about how healthy he currently is, mentioning he’s “going crazy” at taking care of his body and that he’s ready to go.

Right after that, he did something which isn’t usual to his standards, but actually went on a prediction for the upcoming 2019 season: he wants 3,000 yards receiving.

3,000 yards. 3,000 YARDS?!

Before getting into this topic, it feels from my end that this was just Jones trying to get that nagging topic off his back since every year, he has to field this question at some point during the year. Last season, it was all about the lack of scoring touchdowns, and he was asked about that following the win over the Giants in Week Seven, when he stated, “Sometimes I have four, six eyes on me, but if I’m helping the team, then I’m doing my job.” Honestly, it feels like much ado about nothing, especially considering the number.

But, let’s actually pose the question: can the NFL’s best receiver in terms of leadership and production actually accomplish this feat, especially considering the NFL record is 1,964 by Calvin Johnson in 2012?

From a rational standpoint, the answer is a resounding N-O, yet it’s hard to think he can’t flirt with it from time to time this year if Atlanta’s offense will be as potent as they’ve been in recent years.

Let’s start with the reasons why: Julio’s got the second-most receiving yards in a season in NFL history, doing so with 1,871 yards in 2015, so he at least flirted with the record set by Megatron. Also, the 2014 season began a streak where he caught at least 80 receptions and had at least 1,400 receiving yards, which is something only one other receiver in NFL history has accomplished (hint: it’s not Jerry Rice). And finally, he’s the only receiver in NFL history with at least three games of 250+ yards receiving, so he can break the number even with a game in which he only gets 30-50 yards; he’s getting the equivalent of two games in one fell swoop.

However, there is one negative here, and that’s the number he mentioned. Honestly, even with how incredible this man is (and don’t get me wrong, he’s the best receiver in the game), 3,000 is just too astronomical a number, even for him. To start with, he’d need to average at least 188 yards a game, which just barely eclipses said target at 3,008 yards. Second, he’d need at least 10-15 catches per game, not a terrible number but easy for Jones. And finally, while today’s NFL is truly offensive friendly and allows the quarterback more time to air it deep, Jones is that type of receiver who, if he’s coming off an incredible contest like previously mentioned, it’s a guarantee opposing defensive coordinators will double/triple/quadruple his coverage to eliminate the possibility of him getting the desired average he wants.

That said, I do want to offer a minor fantasy question for the readers: let’s say Julio is on your squad, and your league is a standard/0.5/1.0 PPR with .1 points per receiving yard. Can anyone figure out how many points on average each league would net with these numbers? Let’s take a look:

Standard League: 188 yds on 14 catches= 18.8 points

0.5 PPR League: 188 yds on 14 catches= 25.8 points

1.0 PPR League: 188 yds on 14 catches= 32.8 points

Those stats showcase an increase of at least seven points per league rules, or one full touchdown and extra point attempt. Which leads to my question:

If Julio Jones averaged those numbers every single week without scoring a touchdown, would you still want him on your team?

I know I would. But that’s just me recognizing the greatness in front of us all.

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