Trades in the NFL used to be as unusual as seeing snow in Los Angeles. Now GMs move around and treat like they’re playing fantasy football. Another major deal came to fruition this week, as the Falcons traded superstar wide receiver Julio Jones and a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the Titans for a 2022 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick. 2023. The trade has major implications for fantasy football across the board.
Let’s start in Tennessee, where the Titans lost 216 goals combined when Corey Davis (92 goals) and Jonnu Smith (65 goals) left as free agents. Jones will absorb almost all of Davis’ goals and more. If he can avoid injuries, he should produce high-level fantasy No. 2 wide receiver totals. Expect it to be a general selection of the top 40.
The move is not a death sentence for AJ Brown, although it will leave him in some places at wide receiver. Rather than having top-five fantasy potential due to the previously high number of wide targets, Brown will be in the number-one low-end wide receiver conversation. Considering that it finished in WR12 in 2021, it does not lose value compared to a season ago.
Ryan Tannehill, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in fantasy football, now has a great duo as a wide receiver and should be back in the top 10 at the position. I’ve put him ahead of Tom Brady and Jalen Hurts in my 2021 player rankings.
However, the news is not entirely good for the Titans, as Josh Reynolds and Dez Fitzpatrick lose much of their luster and will now be last-round fliers or will not be selected in the new writing.
In Atlanta, the move means Calvin Ridley remains Matt Ryan’s top pick in the passing game. It will retain its 2020 value (WR5), as its 143 goals from a year ago appear to be set for 2021. The move also means that the Kyle Pitts hype will reach even greater heights. The best tight end to come out of college in decades, he should absorb a good chunk of the 7.6 goals Jones averaged per game last season. While I still have my reservations due to the general lack of success that most rookie tight ends have on stat sheets, Pitts will now be one of the top five picks at the position.
Russell Gage, who moves into the starting lineup against Ridley, will also see an increase in value. It will be a late pick in most new drafts. Hayden Hurst could also see a slight increase in value, although Pitts’ presence limits him to the later rounds of the draft.
As for Ryan, he will lose some value without Jones in the passing game. It’s hard to compensate for the relationship and statistical success this duo had during their time together in Atlanta, which made Ryan a less attractive No. 2 fantasy quarterback in later rounds.
Michael Fabiano he is an award-winning fantasy football analyst in Illustrated Sports and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Y Instagram for your latest fantasy news and the best analysis in the business.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.