Matt Ryan will have more than just one reliable target this fall with Calvin Ridley on the rise. If for whatever reason Ridley doesn’t live up to the hype then Ryan can always count on his No. 1, go-to option Julio Jones.
Pro Football Focus most recently created an algorithm in order to project which NFL wide receivers are the best bets to top 1,000 yards in 2020. Jones and Ridley made the top 23 list.
Jones stands at the very top of the list with no surprise there. Jones hasn’t finished out of the top three in receiving yards in the past seven seasons. PFF has Jones receiving for 1,628 yards, 234 yards more than he finished in 2019.
Jones Should Have a Stat Named After Him
Jones is the yards per route king and many analysts have suggested the stat be named in honor of his enormous success.
“The efficiency metric of yards per route run may as well be named after Julio — he has led all WRs in that category in five of the last seven years and never ranked outside the top five,” PFF’s Jarad Evans writes. “Jones and [Michael] Thomas were the only players to have more than 40 catches of at least 15 yards last season. Book it.”
The Falcons finished with a 7-9 record last season, but that didn’t stop Julio from setting his own benchmarks. In 2019, Jones started all 15 games he played catching 99 passes for 1,394 yards (14.1 average) and six touchdowns.
The 31-year-old became the fastest receiver in the league to reach 12,000 yards and having six 1,300 yards-plus seasons (only one behind Jerry Rice).
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Ridley Should Reach His 1,000 Yards Season
In just two seasons in Atlanta, Ridley has recorded 127 passes for 1,687 yards and 17 touchdowns. If all goes well, Ridley should hit his first 1,000-yard season.
Ridley is entering his third season in Atlanta and has gained a lot of respect from Matt Ryan. With Jones continuing to attract double-teams and Austin Hooper on his way to Cleveland, Ridley is in a good position to receive a lot more attention from Ryan.
“One of the fantasy community’s favorite breakout candidates, Ridley is primed to reach 1,000 yards for the first time in his career,” Evans writes. “Atlanta’s passing offense is going to run through its two outside WRs in Jones and Ridley — Matt Ryan has a league-high 537 pass attempts to outside WRs since 2018, 72 more than anyone else. Still, the possibility of Julio hogging too many targets is a potential roadblock to Ridley reaching 1,000 yards.”
NFL Network predicts Ridley will be the player to have the biggest breakout 2020 NFL season out of any player in the league.
Ridley & Julio Jones Could Be Another Chris Godwin & Mike Evans
Tampa Bay wideout Chris Godwin had a breakout year three in 2019 despite being No. 2 to his teammate Mike Evans.
Godwin was close to breaking 1,000 yards in his second season catching 59 passes for 842 yards and seven touchdowns but didn’t hit the thousand mark until his third year. The 24-year-old balled out recording 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns.
Both Evans and Godwin ended the season with Pro Bowl invites and Ridley is on his way to do the same with Jones if he stays consistent and Matt Ryan lets him get some pass action.