Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones is expected to return from IR today. He’s spent the last few weeks on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, suiting up for the last time in Week 9 against the Los Angeles Rams. Since then, the Tennessee offense has sputtered with serious injuries to Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown. What’s the latest on Jones’ injury for Week 14, and what does it mean for fantasy football managers?
Update 12/12/21: According to the Titans, Julio Jones is officially active and will play in this game against the Jaguars.
Julio Jones’ production
Prior to his hamstring issue, Jones struggled to get adapted to the Titans’ offense early in the season. Through six games, he’s posted only 21 receptions for 336 yards without scoring any touchdowns. Although the numbers don’t pop out, Jones has only seen 31 targets this season.
In Week 2, he flashed the talent he’s known for against the Seattle Seahawks. In that game, he posted 6 receptions for 128 yards on 8 targets. However, Jones has failed to post more than 60 receiving yards in any other game this season. He also hasn’t seen elite volume, as he’s recorded 6 or fewer targets in each of his other five contests.
Is Julio Jones playing today?
Jones’ hamstring shouldn’t be an issue, as he doesn’t appear on the injury report ahead of their game on Sunday. He’s going to suit up this week, and Jones will make an elite addition to the Tennessee offense.
They’ve struggled to produce points in recent games, but the return of one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers will help get Tennessee to their earlier successes this season.
The biggest question at this point is whether or not Jones boasts the potential to be a true WR1. He’ll get the opportunity to prove he can be with Henry and Brown injured for the time being.
At worst, Jones should be a focus of the Jacksonville defense, helping others find easier opportunities in this game, even if they will see less volume.
How will Jones benefit the Tennessee offense?
Jones’ presence will immediately benefit the Tennessee offense. They’ve been dealing with injuries to three of their best players, so returning a true WR1 will help the remaining players.
Without Jones, Brown, or Henry in the lineup, Ryan Tannehill’s been relying on Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as his top receiving option. Jones will immediately take the pressure off of younger, unproven players in an AFC South matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jones’ big-play ability will take some focus off of the Tennessee backfield as well. He’ll force the Jacksonville defense to play a true game, as he’s a threat over the top on any play. It’ll help open running lanes for Dontrell Hilliard, D’Onta Foreman, and Jeremy McNichols.
Overall, Jones’ return should be beneficial to most of the Titans’ offensive players in terms of fantasy football production.