Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roddy vs Julio: A Statistical Battle of Two Fantasy Football Studs

By Pat Donnelly (@legendonnelly)
Fantasy Football Staff Writer

Ever since Atlanta traded the farm to acquire Julio Jones in the draft less than 2 years ago big things have been expected from Julio. After a great rookie season in which he posted 959 receiving yards and 8 TDs in only 13 games, fantasy owners debated: Roddy or Julio. In this article, I will take a closer look at two Atlanta stars (as much as I hate to admit it being a huge Saints fan) to see which one is better in both standard and PPR formats. Before diving into stats and analyzing 8 weeks of play-by-plays, I expected Roddy would have a big advantage, but after looking into everything I found it was a lot closer than I expected.

The Julio Jones (11) and Roddy White (84) debate has been a hot topic so far this season
Starting with their overall stats, Roddy wins in targets (67-65), receptions (47-40), and yards (709-628), with Julio edging him out in TDs (5-4). Looking at Redzone numbers, I looked at RZ targets, receptions, yards and TDs. Roddy wins in only targets with 10, whereas Julio wins in yards (53-45) and TDs (4-3) and the two are tied in receptions with 6 each in the Redzone.

Looking at Roddy and Julio's "deep" targets, which are catches of at least 15 yards, Julio wins this as many of you would expect, but only by a slim margin, 21-19. Looking at 20+ yard plays, Julio has 11 on the season to Roddy’s 10. The only real thing to take away this is that Roddy is making more plays of 15+ yards than in previous seasons, which is likely a result of the extra defensive pressure that Julio creates, which is clearing out the middle of the field. However, Julio has been extremely effective in taking short passes and turning them into big gains as he is averaging almost 5 yards after the catch for his 40 receptions. The two WRs greatly benefit from each other being on the field as each can do different things and the combination in addition to stud TE Tony Gonzalez creates matchup nightmares for the defense.

The tough thing for fantasy owners is that defenses shift coverage to one of the two WRs which has made it almost impossible to predict which of them will be more effective on any given Sunday. They haven't had a game where they both score, and both guys have had games with 2 TDs or a 50+ yard TD. Their stats are so similar in every facet that it is really difficult to pick who I would rather have the rest of THIS season.

So here's why I like Roddy more this season.

I like his consistency, as he has 5 games with at least 6 catches, where Julio only has 2 of those games. In PPR especially, that adds up, but even in standard leagues more touches means more consistent production regardless of whether they find the end zone. I also like Roddy because of his advantages in yardage, targets, receptions, and catching percentage. The margins maybe slim but I expect it to continue in large part due to Roddy's relationship with Matt Ryan. Julio is a bit of an injury concern as he had missed 3 games last season and left a game early this season, whereas Roddy has not missed a game since coming into the league in 2005. You can't discount Roddy's tenure with the team, his veteran experience, his consistency and his back to back 100+ catch seasons. In PPR, Roddy is the clear winner for me, but I also like him very slightly more in standard formats as well because Julio is much more boom or bust. I'm a pretty safe fantasy guy so I don't usually go for those huge hit or miss guys, preferring to get the production that you can count on every week from Roddy White.

This week vs New Orleans, I expect them to both have very good games and expect them to both be top 10 WR plays (although I really hope they don't as a fan). You really can't go wrong owning either one of these guys as they are both absolute studs at WR, but if I had to choose one it’s Roddy White for me. 

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