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When Two Is One Too Many – White vs. Jones

By: — August 2, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

In my continuing quest to contribute to your draft-day domination, I will compose a series of blogs over the next few weeks that focus on players that are sure to create some hardship for fantasy owners: players on the same team who play the same position that will likely have a significant fantasy impact. For those of you who regularly read and contribute to the FF Today Forums, consider this short series a distant relative to “Look-Alike Players”. My goal is to create a compelling case for and against each player before handing down a final decision. Let’s get started:

The players in question this week: Wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones

The setup: Full-point PPR; 10 rushing/receiving yards equal one fantasy point; all touchdowns are worth six fantasy points.

Current ADP (courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator): White – 3.07 Jones – 3.04

What’s at stake: Grabbing the better fantasy WR1 of the two the Atlanta Falcons have to offer.

The case for White: Proven consistency. Fantasy owners often chase the shiny new toy when it becomes clear everybody else wants that same toy, often forgetting how much they enjoyed their last favorite toy. White has secured at least 149 targets in each of the four seasons he has played with QB Matt Ryan, finishing first in the NFL in that category each of the last two years after a second-place finish in 2009. While it probably isn’t the worst thing in the world for White or the Falcons if they reduce their reliance on him and place more on Jones’ plate, the high-target total also tells us that Ryan obviously has a strong level of trust with White, something that tends to win out over talent in the short term – or at least until the point where the talent of one receiver is undeniably better than the other receiver.

The case against White: A reduced role and – let’s face it – Jones is just more explosive at this point of their careers. Not that he cares one way or the other about his fantasy stock, but White surprised many when he personally announced that his role would be reduced in new OC Dirk Koetter’s offense. It’s not exactly as if prognosticators didn’t see this eventual passing of the torch coming, but for the player himself to announce it was happening created even more buzz for Jones. White will also turn 31 during the season, meaning he will be a year or two past his athletic prime. Since Jones has already asserted his dominance as a big-play deep threat, does White begin to get boxed into the possession-receiver role of this offense even more?

Julio Jones

Fantasy owners are drooling over Julio Jones.

The case for Jones: Can fantasy owners help but be impressed by how dominant Jones was down the stretch last season? Jones was the second-most productive receiver in PPR leagues during Weeks 14-16 – the fantasy playoffs – last season, which started just two weeks after he returned from his second hamstring-related absence. Consider for a minute the rookie averaged five catches for 98.25 yards and 1.5 touchdowns over the final four games of the regular season and it is no wonder why owners are drooling over him. Jones has reportedly been very impressive during the off-season and the early part of training camp, doing nothing to dispel the notion that he will be anything less than elite in 2012. HC Mike Smith has even went so far to suggest that Jones is a faster version of Terrell Owens, which must be music to his keeper and dynasty league owners since he has been anything but a distraction his entire career.

The case against Jones: Durability. Lost in the meteoric rise of Jones as a top-five fantasy WR is the fact that he hasn’t been a model of health in recent years. Just in the past year-plus, he needed foot surgery during the 2011 off-season and battled hamstring issues for much of his rookie season. During his college days at Alabama, he broke a bone in his hand in 2010 and battled through a knee injury and sports hernia surgery in 2009. Granted, it is a bit nit picky to be downgrading a young receiver for legitimate injuries suffered while playing in a physical, ball-control offense in college and his rookie year in the NFL, but White has yet to miss a game in his seven-year pro career. All the talent and run-after-catch ability in the world isn’t going to help fantasy owners if he can only bring his A-game for half a season.

The verdict: In general, I will always lean toward the more durable and proven commodity in situations like this simply because owners need consistent weekly production from their high draft choices and White has provided that over the years. So while Ryan is obviously comfortable with Jones, it will take a while for that combination to approach the rapport Ryan and White have. However, the line between these two receivers in fantasy is so razor-thin that choosing between them depends on the format. For example, if your league uses non-PPR scoring and/or rewards big plays, then I give the advantage to Jones. In PPR leagues, I would opt for White.

  • I would tend to agree with you if we had more history on Jones durability problems. Unfortunately, getting injured one yr. doesn’t mean he is injury prone. It merely means that he got hurt in his first season. White has been injured in the past also. What convinces me to go with Jones is that White stated himself that he was not going to be the focus of the offense this season. He said it, not the coach or anyone else. White is still a great receiver, but I feel that this year will be the start of a phasing out process for him and he eventually will be replaced. I also would pt. out that Rogers will be used heavily out of the backfield this yr. which would also start a phasing out process for Turner. With a no huddle offense this yr. Alanta will be a different and exciting team to watch.

  • CT

    I have the 2nd pick in a 12 team league. Would it be worth the risk to select Jones in 2nd and White in 3rd?

  • Doug Orth


    I’d say that I provided enough of an injury history to make the case that durability could be a problem for Jones, which is why I cited his college injuries. He’s also a physical receiver to begin with, which tends to lead to missed games. While it is true that White has also been injured, he has yet to miss a game in his NFL career.

    What I did not say in my blog entry is that White was the superior fantasy receiver following Jones’ second return. Yes, Jones will be more involved and, yes, he will give White a run for his money as the Falcons’ top fantasy receiver. I just don’t think White goes from the most frequent target in the league to second place on his own team in one year, barring injury.

    FWIW, I’m with you on the phasing out of Turner and think Ryan’s celing is incredibly high this season.

  • Doug Orth


    You are talking about two WRs who could both possibly both go over 80 catches, 1000 yards and 10 TDs, so if you are pretty certain both will be available at those spots, take them. Unlike most people, I actually like grabbing two receivers from the same offense, provided they are attached to a very good/elite QB in a prolific offense. And if you put any stock into my PMAs, their schedule looks very good for the passing game this season.

  • CT

    So here is my dilemma… With the second pick I can go one of the Big 3, or I can take Rodgers and worry about RB later, (drafting RB with 4 consecutive picks beginning RD 5. I love Roddy/Julio/Ryan this year. I am not even a Falcons fan.

    My question is IF i employ this strategy & go with Roddy/Julio in Rds2/3, do I take a RB or QB in rd 1?

  • Doug Orth

    @CT: As always, depends on the format. And I certainly wouldn’t build my pre-draft strategy around what I was doing at 2/3. I play a lot of full-point PPR, so I would definitely go with one of the “Big 3” and take my chances on a Ryan/Manning/Manning/Romo/Rivers drop into the 5-6th round area. Building a fantasy team is just so much easier (for me anyway) when you feel good about your RB1 slot. Given the lack of feature-back options, I’ll gladly take McCoy-Ryan over Rodgers-Spiller or the like.

  • CT

    I couldn’t agree more. So we start the draft McCoy/Julio/Roddy.

    What direction would you go in after this start. I assume Rysn must me drafted in Rd 5 as I am “all in”

  • Todd

    Im in a 12 team PPR keeper league.. I’m keeping McCoy, Chris Johnson, and Andre Johnson… I have the second pick? Should I take Stafford, White, or J Jones?

  • Doug Orth

    Tough to say as I never want to get locked into my “ideal draft” mode b/c you get set up for disappointment when one of your guys gets taken right before you…I do like Hernandez as a possibility in the 4th, but I’m one of those guys that likes to have two RBs after four rounds. Although, if you pulled off something like McCoy/Jones/White/Hernandez/Ryan/Hillis through six rounds, I think I might like that.

  • Tom

    I’m in a keeper league and can keep 3. I am drafting third in a standard draft format. Would like to keep M. Wallace, A.J. Green and Phillip Rivers. However, I also have M. Turner and am not sure of him this year. I believe I might have a shot at Trent Richardson. I lose a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round pick if I keep one, two or three. Would you only keep one or maybe two to have a better shot at Richardson?

  • CT

    I usuall don’t draft TE that high. Hernandez playing with an elite
    QB would make sense. Passing on some good WR would be hard. In Rd. 4 there will still be some decent RB’s still avail, ie Redman, Greene. Tough to tell this early. But I like your thinking!

  • Doug Orth

    @Todd: Nice foundation. Based on age in a keeper league, I’d eliminate White. My advice would be to take Jones as insurance against AJ b/c QB is deep enough this year that you should be able to get a Romo/Manning/Manning/Rivers type a bit later.

  • Doug Orth

    @Tom: Great question and given what we know right now with Wallace’s situation and Rivers coming off a un-Rivers-like year, I would try as hard as possible to nab Richardson. I think Green takes a small dip this season as Cincy’s tough schedule and opposing DC’s conspire to eliminate Green and make the likes of Gresham, Sanu, Tate or Law Firm beat them instead. For some persepctive, I have TR rated as early second-round value in redraft and that is still higher than any of the guys you are wanting to keep.

  • jesse

    Hey i was wondering im drafting first overall in a ten team half point ppr league and my three keepers are julio jones, jeremy maclin and shonn greene. Best Players available to draft are: Demarco Murray, T Richardson, J Charles, fred jackson, Larry Fitz, Vic cruz, greg jennings, jordy nelson, welker,aj green, wallace, jimmy graham and romo, eli or matty ice. Question is: who do i take ? i gotta have a rb and wr and qb is a deep position this year and only 3 teams need a starting gb? im leaning towards demarco. And hoping that graham or aj green falls to my eleventh pick. Any advice?

  • Tom

    Thanks Doug for validating my gut feelings. I think if most really elite qb’s are gone early and I think they will be either keepers or drafted, I can always grab Rivers again in a later round. Or even Turner if need be. And wideouts seem deep. Besides, I like trying to start a run on a position after I take someone. Makes it easier to grab your targets in another position later.It must be true! Great minds do think alike!!

  • Doug Orth

    @Jesse: I like your thinking. I’d lean ever so slightly towards T-Rich with the first pick and pray that Graham makes it back to you at #11. QB is deep and WR is not an issue for you, so that is how I’d approach it.

  • CT

    Julio jones in the last 20 mocks I have done hasn’t made it back to my 2.13. Funny how
    1 week of preseason affects draft results. I am going against the trend here and plan on taking Chris Johnson @2. I “strongly” believe I need to go WR/WR with my next 2 picks. Julio should be gone. Do u consider Roddy & Dez at this point? I am very high on Dez this year.

  • Pete

    I’m in a 16 team league. We get to keep two keepers. I am keeping McCoy, but also have the option to keep Julio Jones. I think that at my draft position of 4th in the second round, I could snag Stafford or Newton at QB. My question is, do I keep Julio and lose my second round pick, or try to snag Stafford/Newton and worry about WR later?

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