If, like me, you picked up Jones as a free agent prior to Week 9 and started him to open the schedule on Thursday Night Football, you were likely disappointed with the outcome — unless you’re very easily pleased, that is.
The biggest surprise prior to the Bengals’ visit to the Miami Dolphins this week was that the man who’d solidified his place as the no. 2 WR was still widely available across most standard leagues in the NFL.com fantasy arena. Fantasy owners in need of replacement receivers have watched Jones grow from Week 6 onward when he posted his maiden double-point score of the season (16.50) with 105 all-purpose-yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills.
The game of fantasy football brings out the skeptic in all of us, so we were tentative in our approach to Jones on the basis that he could just be another one-week-wonder that sets us up for a fall.
It appeared that the stellar outing in Week 6 was enough to convince Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton that he was reliable enough to see more targets moving forward, as neither of them looked back. After stellar performances over the next two weeks, we were truly convinced; six touchdowns and over 65 points in three weeks silenced any doubts and caused a scramble for the services of Jones.
Unfortunately for those unsuspecting folk that hoped to ride Jones’ hot-streak to success in Week 9, the anticlimax was on its way.
He followed up on his jaw-dropping performance in the previous weeks with a modest 66-receiving yard outing at Sun Life Stadium. Though we should have seen it coming: only the Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed fewer fantasy points to wide receivers than the Dolphins this season so far. Of the nine passing touchdowns given up by the Dolphins in 2013, only one has gone to a wideout, which is the best in the NFL for what it’s worth.
To conclude here is a fact that is worth your consideration. Of the six opponents remaining for the Bengals this regular season, four of them rank below halfway in terms of points allowed to wide receivers. Their AFC North rivals Steelers and Cleveland Browns are the only remaining teams on the schedule that rank above midway against the pass in fantasy football.
All things considered and if statistics are to be taken as gospel, Jones is start-worthy in two-thirds of the remaining matches this season. You have the evidence, fantasy buffs; what you choose to do with it is entirely up to you.