by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
At first blush it’s easy to say that Jones had a wildly inconsistent season in 2013, as the Bengals’ second year receiver traded good months with nearly nonexistent ones:
- September – 7 receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD
- October – 21 receptions, 355 yards, 6 TD
- November – 2 receptions, 11 yards, 0 TD
- December – 21 receptions, 266 yards, 3 TD
The Bengals did play just two games in November, thanks to their bye week and a Thursday game falling on October 31. Also skewed was his monster October, considering the bulk of the production came in one game (8 receptions, 122 yards, 4 TD against the Jets). You take that out and, while it was still one of his better months, it wasn’t quite as impressive.
It’s his final four games, including the playoffs, that should have us excited as he averaged 6 receptions (on about 9 targets per game) and 78.5 yards per game while scoring a pair of TD. If you projected those numbers out for a full 16 games, you get 96 catches for 1,250 yards and 8 TD. Obviously he’s not going to reach those numbers, but if he can find consistency seeing him take another step forward is not unreasonable.
Jones wasn’t well thought of coming out of college, though part of that can be attributed to being overshadowed by Keenan Allen. The 5th round selection never had more than 62 receptions, 846 yards or 6 TD in a season.
He’s proven that he has the talent at this point, it truly is a question of consistency and opportunity. Last season he was second on the team with 80 targets, despite not being a starter. Obviously he is not going to average 9 targets per game for the entire season, but could he get 6 or 7? Getting up to 100-110 targets would make a significant difference in his production.
And why not? It’s not that he’s a big play receiver, with 46 of his catches being thrown 20 yards or shorter. He and Dalton completed 63.75% of his targets, and 68.57% over his impressive final four games. That can’t be ignored, and should help him become more and more entrenched in the offense.
With A.J. Green on the opposite side and Giovani Bernard in the backfield, opposing defenses aren’t going to be able to focus on Jones. That should help as well.
Obviously he’s not going to be a WR1, but as a back end option with the potential to be a WR3? It’s absolutely possible, and with the limited investment it would take he is well worth targeting.
Source – ESPN