NFL fantasy football: Julio Jones rockets up the ranks

No questions: Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones crushed any doubts about his fantasy football value last night, racking up 109 receiving yards and a touchdown. Matt Ryan made sure the Alabama product was involved early, connecting with the receiver on four straight pass attempts, culminating with their connection in the endzone

Has Julio Jones elevated to elite status? (Daniel Shirey/US Presswire)

That drive alone accounted for 58 yards worth of Jones’ total. Expect him to see increased value in fantasy drafts, and rise up rankings charts. NFL.com fantasy guru Michael Fabiano told the NFL AM crew he believes both Roddy White and Jones can be 1,000 yard receivers, and ranks Jones as the third fantasy wideout overall heading into the 2012 season.

A long road: On July 26th, NFL Network and NFL.com reporter Steve Wyche reported Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew was prepared to hold out until after the regular season begins if necessary. That report was further validated Thursday when ESPN’s Adam Schefter stated he expects the holdout to last at least until the end of the month and could head into September. The UCLA product currently has an ADP of 10.6 in fantasy football leagues, but that number should drop the longer this saga goes on. Given his current draft status, owners will want to ensure they protect their investment and select Rashard Jennings as a must-handcuff to Jones-Drew.

Old ways: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning may have only played one series Thursday night, but he answered plenty of questions in the process. As NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus points out, “His best throw was on a sideline route by Eric Decker, in which Manning went through his progressions, spotted the receiver and made an accurate pass into tight coverage for a first down.” Though Manning did not attempt to throw any deep routes, “he appeared comfortable in the pocket and received plenty of protection from his new offensive line.” There is still much to be seen out of the veteran, but early indications show he is on the right track. Manning will be facing the 14th easiest strength of schedule among fantasy football quarterbacks, and his current ADP of 49.34 could provide good value for owners who select him in the middle rounds. It’s still too early to believe he can produce No. 1 quarterback numbers, but keep tabs on his progression as he could rise up the ranks if he continues to improve.

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