After a rookie campaign in which he amassed 819 yards in just 7 games as a starter, Julius Jones is being endorsed as a top 10 fantasy player. Admittedly, these are impressive statistics, especially for a rookie, but I don’t believe we have seen enough of him to warrant a first-round choice.
After being injured for most of the first half of the season, Julius Jones finally got healthy in week 11 and started a game. The fact that he was off for so long enabled him to stay fresh, whereas defenses which had already been playing for 10 weeks were worn down and unable to contain him. When we look closely at his stats, we see that this theory could indeed be valid. After his initial game against a tough Baltimore defense, he reeled off 2 games in which he rushed for 150 and 198 yards. He did not again top 100 yards until the last game of the season, where he notched 149 yards against the Giants.
The games in which Julius Jones topped 100 yards came against Chicago, whose opponents last season rushed for an average of 128 yards per game-25th in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks, who gave up 127 rushing yards per game last year-23rd in the NFL, and the New York Giants, whose opponents rushed for an average of 135 yards per game last season, 28th in the NFL. Jones put up the bulk of his stats(497 out of 819 yards and 6 out of 7 touchdowns) against 3 teams that were horrible against the run last year.
When we take out the games Jones played against those 3 teams, we find that he rushed for just 306 yards and 1 touchdown in 4 games. Additionally, he only rushed for 3 yards per carry in these games. These are not great numbers, and definitely not top 10 fantasy player numbers. I know that even though he gained most of his yards against bad teams, he did still gain them, and that can’t be discounted. However, until he proves that he can put up numbers against good teams, I would look before I leap when drafting him.
Vikas Paruchuri is a sports columnist who writes on the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. He maintains a website at http://www.thehomefield.com with sports analysis and opinion columns.