With the news today that Josh Gordon will be reinstated after he serves a 4-game suspension to start the year, fantasy owners are already talking about where to draft him. After the dust settles and the excitement wears off, hopefully a good dose of logic and reasoning will set in. Here are a couple of things to consider.
First, let's get the negatives out of the way. On the glass-is-half-empty side:
1. He's Going to be Rusty
He hasn't played in almost two years. That's an awful lot of rust to work through. He has literally been selling cars.
2. He Plays for Cleveland
New QB but same ol' situation. Perhaps he'll be able to create a rapport with RG III or McCown, but keep in mind that he still plays for the Browns. When the Vegas odds came out last week, nobody fared worse that Cleveland with 200-1 odds. The Browns are not the Cavaliers. Sorry Cleveland.
3. Limited Availability
Let's not forget that he'll be suspended for the first 4 games. That means that he'll only be available for you in 11 games. That's a quarter of the season lost.
4. Risky Repeat?
This isn't Josh's first disciplinary run-in with the league. He was suspended for 2 games in 2013, 10 games in 2014, and the entire 2015 season. One slip up. One mistake. One lapse in momentary judgement, and those 11 games you were counting on are gone faster than a vial of clean pee in a Russian drug testing facility.
5. Short-term Memory
Yes, his 2013 season was a monster. He averaged 18.9 yards per reception. As discussed in a previous article, he will likely be drafted on his brand name and fond memories of that 2013 season. Step back and look at what he did in the 5 games he played in 2014 though. In 5 games, he managed just 24 receptions for 303 yards (~5 rec for 60 yards) and no scores. Those are some pretty sobering stats making him decent but certainly far from great.
OK, how about the positives? There's a reason that we're talking about him, so what are they?
1. He's Josh Gordon
He is (or at least was) one of the most gifted and talented receivers that we've ever had the joy to watch play the game. In 2013, he really was that good. For those who are new to fantasy football, or for those who simply don't remember, Gordon's 2013 season is what we hope Antonio Brown's 2016 season will be like. There is so much talent there that the fantasy upside cannot be denied. The trick is getting him where his value is and not where his brand-name value is being perceived.
2. He Plays for Cleveland
The nice thing about playing on a terrible team is that there aren't a lot of options. Corey Coleman, Andrew Hawkins, and a bunch of guys you've never heard of. If Gordon is in game-shape, he is the single greatest weapon on that team. The double-edged sword; however, is that there isn't anyone else to take the pressure and double-team off of him.
Even though it appears that the negatives outweigh the positives, it's the potential that people are going to be drafting on. Yes, the potential is there, but it has to be tempered by the reality of the situation. He's not likely to put up WR1 numbers. Given the known parameters, he's not likely to vault himself into elite status anytime soon, so don't draft him like he's an elite player.
Based upon all the chatter today, people seem ready to click that Draft button. It seems like a rather obvious point to make, but we don't really know anything about Josh Gordon right now. We haven't seen him practice. We don't know for sure who will be throwing him the ball yet. Has he looked at a playbook, run any routes, caught any pro passes, or taken any NFL hits yet? Nope.
Given all that, people still want to know where to draft him. Knowing what we know, Gordon could make for a great WR4 on your team. There's too much risk for Gordon to be one of your starting wide receivers out of the gate, but there's also the lottery ticket factor. If he hits it big, he can easily become a starting WR or at least your flex option. Could he go WR3? Perhaps, but you've got to be comfortable giving up a safer pick for the lottery ticket.
BradytrainIwish CommentedAug 2, 2016 11:00 am
RGIII's rookie season meets Josh Gordon of 2013 this year in 2016 along with C Coleman which all 3 come ftom same college. It's going to be a fun year for sad Cleveland fans!!