Everyone loves a breakout fantasy sleeper. With every passing week in the NFL, injuries inevitably mount and fantasy owners are often left befuddled at the notion of having to replace one of their starting studs. Often times, these aforementioned underrated talents take time to blossom from a fantasy perspective and simply require the right situation to truly flourish. While fans of the Buffalo Bills may not be fond of watching a team that is depleted of receiving playmakers, it does provide a glorious opportunity for a young rookie wideout to show what he’s made of. Although Zay Jones has not had a breakout game as of yet, a matchup against a poor Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary could be the perfect catalyst for Jones to explode onto the scene.
Team: Buffalo Bills
Position: Wide Receiver
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams: (Yahoo Fantasy): 10%
Fantasy Points Total Thru Week 6 (Half PPR): Projected: 38.16 Actual: 9.10
Clearly, based on Jones’ projected fantasy point total up to this point, fantasy experts have been salivating with anticipation at the thought of what the rookie pass catcher is capable of accomplishing. While Jones has yet to live up to these lofty expectations, his steadily increasing snap share (91.5%, 23rd amongst receivers) and end zone target share (33.3%, 22nd amongst receivers). Although Jones’ increased presence during offensive plays has yet to result in him catching a touchdown pass in the end zone, his impressive drop rate (22%, fourth amongst receivers) points to the rookie being reliable yet underutilized up to this point.
Looking at Jones’ physical attributes it becomes easy to see why the rookie receiver was so highly touted coming out of college and why a breakout performance is not a matter of if but rather when. At 6’2″ and 201 lbs, Jones has both the length and frame to make big catches while being able to sustain big hits from tenacious defensive backs. However, the main metric that truly highlights Jones’ potential as a receiver is his overall catch radius. A metric that incorporates a players ability to cover ground laterally as well as to go airborne to reach and secure a football in a three-dimensional space, Jones rates at an elite 10.28 (Any rating above 10.20 is considered extraordinary for a wide receiver). While the aforementioned measurables can only be considered truly great if they result in equitable production, it certainly points to Jones having all of the physical tools to be one of the best pass catchers in the NFL given the playing time to prove himself.
In the end, while Jones has severely underperformed from a fantasy perspective, his physical attributes and off the charts athleticism should set him up for a monster day statistically in the very near future. While Jones has to be considered a fairly high-risk acquisition until he actually produces, it seems inevitable that the second round selection will become a high-reward asset as the season progresses.