- Julio Jones led all receivers with 1,677 yards last season
- Falcons star has posted most receiving yards two times in four years
- Odell Beckham Jr. could be the interesting bet in Cleveland
Julio Jones has not showed any indication of slowing down.
The Atlanta Falcons star — entering his ninth NFL season — led all receivers with 113 catches and 1,677 yards in 2018. It marked the second time in four seasons Jones posted the most receiving yards in the NFL. The other two seasons Jones finished second overall.
Can Jones once again lead the league in receiving yards on a Falcons team that is expected to be on the decline this season?
MyBookie is one of a handful of sportsbooks offering odds on which player will have the most regular season receiving yards in 2019-20.
2019-20 Most Regular Season Receiving Yards
|Juju Smith Schuster||+1000|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||+1000|
Odds taken 07/05/2019
As expected, Jones is listed as the +400 favorite among the contenders. The 30-year-old saw his overall targets increase by 21 attempts from 2017 to the following season. It’s the most targets Jones has seen since 2015 when he dominated the league with 136 receptions and 1,871 yards.
Jones’ numbers were up following back-to-back campaigns of just over 1,400 yards in 2016 and 2017.
It’s rare these days to see a wide receiver win consecutive receiving yard titles, especially for Jones who is now in his 30s.
Hopkins Entering His Prime
That leaves the door wide open for other receivers to take center stage, and who better than DeAndre Hopkins?
Hopkins had 1,200 or more receiving yards in four of the last five seasons in Houston. The Texans star — now 27 and entering the prime of his NFL career — was second only to Jones in total receiving yards in 2018, finishing with 115 catches and a career-best 1,572 yards.
MyBookie has +600 odds on Hopkins recording the most receiving yards in the upcoming season — something he has yet to accomplish in six seasons with the Texans.
NFL's Most Indispensable Offensive Players:
— NFL (@NFL) July 2, 2019
Houston is coming off an 11-win season due in part to Hopkins carrying much of the offensive load. Playing in all 16 games, Hopkins averaged 13.7 receiving yards per game and finished with 11 touchdowns. His best season also came in 2015, making 111 catches for 1,521 receiving yards.
The betting lines are wide open after Jones and Hopkins.
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) July 4, 2019
Beckham has Top-Five Potential
Odell Beckham Jr., Juju Smith-Schuster and Michael Thomas are all considered +1000 underdogs to edge either of the top two frontrunners in Jones or Hopkins.
Of the three at +1000, the most interesting could very well be OBJ, who is entering his first season with the Cleveland Browns.
Beckham, who excelled with Eli Manning passing him the ball in New York, could see his numbers skyrocket with mobile quarterback Baker Mayfield calling the plays.
While many consider Jones and Hopkins a coin toss to claim the title for most receiving yards, it’s hard not to add Beckham’s name to the conversation.
After starting his career with three rock-solid seasons, his statistics dipped over the last two, primarily because of the Giants decline.
However, Beckham is in a much better situation and could match — if not surpass — his offensive production from his first three season in the league where he posted 1,300 or more receiving yards.
Angelo Montilla is a writer, visual design instructor and graphic designer based on the East Coast. As a journalism graduate, his experience in the media industry spans more than 15 years and includes work with Nation Network, SportsBreak, Featurd, Hockey Writers and the Windsor Star.