There are a few winners from the Julio Jones trade, but Calvin Ridley now has a clear path to be in line to become the overall fantasy WR1.
Ridley was already 6th in targets/game last year with 9.5, but was still averaging a full target less than guys like Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, and Stefon Diggs.
In games that Julio either missed or didn’t finish, he was up there with those guys at 10.3 targets and 95 yards per game. That includes the Week 4 goose egg (5 targets) against Jaire Alexander. And if you watch that game, Ridley is consistently open, and was even open for a TD in Alexander’s coverage… but that’s a separate conversation.
He already led the league last year in games over 100 receiving yards with 8.
If you’re worried about Ridley going up against the best corners on opposing teams, I’m not. Ridley is one of the best separators in the NFL, and those guys are exactly the type of guys he should be going up against.
Ridley was also Matt Ryan’s favorite end zone target last year; he finished only one target behind the league leader in end zone targets (Adam Thielen). You can say Ridley has a knack for finding the end zone after finishing with 9+ TDs in 2 of his 3 seasons.
He led the league in air yards/game – by a big margin. He also led the league in deep targets (20+ yards downfield).
He was at about a 25% target share last year, which is great, but he might be pushing close to 30% in 2021.
Kyle Pitts might have the best projected talent + opportunity combinations we’ve seen for a rookie tight end, but we have to remember that an NFL alpha WR just left this team. We can’t expect Pitts to fill those shoes off the bat, so some of the residual void will have to be placed on Ridley.
By the way, check the next slide 😂😎 IYKYK… well, that ain’t happening anymore. More to come on the impact of this trade throughout the week.