Assumptions to jump on athletes for success happens daily in sports. Wide receiver Matt Jones is a guy that everyone has their eye on as being a “sleeper”. All of these predictions are based on how well he finished the 2005 season. What has bolstered his expectations for the 2006 season was the retiring of Jimmy Smith.
Doesn’t anyone think that may harm Jones for his second season? People are overlooking the fact that Jones is still learning and trying to adapt to being a wide receiver. This is the same guy that played quarterback in college and just was converted to wide receiver to play in the NFL. He has all the tools to be a solid receiver and can be in appropriate time. But the Jaguars need to acquire a veteran that can help bring this young group of receivers along. If not, there may be growing problems in Byron Leftwich’s week to week injury report.
It’s just too much to expect crazy fantasy numbers from Jones this season. Just on today’s fantasy football weekly show on ESPN, the analyst predicted 900 yards and 11 touchdown receptions for Jones. Those numbers are bold to predict, and for the analysts sake those numbers were predicated on the way Jones played last season.
Defenses last season really had no clips of Jones. None of his tendencies were known; good or bad. How often do you see a player that has been unscathed in a sport do well from the start? In baseball the pitchers can get away with it. In any sport you could find a prime example of when fresh talent excels just because there is no footage on them. Mike Vick use to scorch any NFL team just with his legs until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers figured him out. That led to the rest of the NFL copying that script and holding Vick down a bit with his legs.
Jones is likely going to struggle if the Jaguars have to count on him as their number one wide receiver. It’ll be awfully easy for defenses number one cornerbacks to shut down Jones. Now that he is the main guy, defenses will key in on his weaknesses. There are sure to be a handful as there is no way he has figured out all the necessary tactics to not be exposed by veteran corners.
Jones should still be a force for touchdowns as he is a big target that Leftwich will find. Another downside to Jones is that the Jaguars do not have the strength of a solid core of receivers. This is the same staff that has been under the wings of Jimmy Smith for a couple of years, but none have ever excelled. In years past, when did you ever see a Jaguars wide receiver other than Jimmy Smith on a fantasy team? That answer would have to be shoved back to the Keenan McCardell days, which were last in 2001. Youngsters Ernest Wilford and Reggie Williams are now entering their third seasons and have been fairly non existent thus far in their careers.
The Jaguars rely on their defense to game plan what they do offensively. Their defense is usually stellar so they play almost as conservative as the Pittsburgh Steelers. While people may be thinking that Matt Jones will gobble up the majority of Jimmy Smith’s stats, that is not going to happen. Numbers will be dispersed in proportion amongst the youngsters, but none will have stellar stats. For now you can do a couple of things with Jones.
Sell him high and package him in a two for one deal to gain another player for your fantasy team. You can also just keep him on your bench and wait for a significant game to consider inserting him as your third wide receiver.
Notice soon that Matt Jones will be either stagnant on fantasy teams benches or a high percentage waiver wire dropped athlete.