Josh Gordon is coming back this week and all your fantasy troubles are going away. Or at least that is what many of you are thinking as you have held on to him for 11 weeks. Let’s step back for a moment and see what Gordon has actually done in the NFL:
His numbers for 2013 put him at the top of the wide receiver leaderboard and he carried many a team to a title considering that he did all that in only 14 games due to a two game suspension. He was a beast and it didn’t matter who was throwing to him. The question you must ask yourself though is this: can he still put up top-5 numbers at his position over the remaining games?
Last season, Gordon was part of the vaunted Norv Turner system and the Browns did not have much of a running game. In 2013 the Browns averaged 42.6 passes per game, completing almost 24 of them for 253 yards per game. This happened while only rushing the ball 21.8 times per game. This year, Cleveland has taken a different approach. The 2014 version of this club is averaging 10 less passing attempts per game.
You may be able to talk yourself into the reason they are throwing less is because they don’t have Gordon and that is probably partially correct. However, I don’t see the Browns going pass heavy moving forward. They have three-headed running back by committee and I don’t think this changes much. It’s unlikely that Gordon suddenly changes their entire gameplan.
On the plus side, when Hoyer was throwing to Gordon in the two-plus games before he tore his ACL, Gordon averaged 7 receptions for 110 yds and had one touchdown on 28 targets. Thise are all very good numbers and I do think that Hoyer will look for Gordon and they will get him involved. I am just not counting on him putting up elite numbers for the rest of the season. I believe he will be a weekly starter and should put up top-20 numbers over the season’s final six weeks but let’s temper our expectations. He may not be the savior.
Here is the point where you can get crafty. How many of you have seen a highly touted Minor League baseball player that every expert says is a can’t miss prospect? Everyone in your baseball league covets this guy and they are willing to trade proven commodities so they can get the next shiny new toy. How many times have you seen the value skyrocket right as the shiny new toy gets called up to the show? Then he plays and you realize he will be a good baseball player but right now he isn’t worth that perceived value he had last week.
This is why I think this is a great opportunity to sell high on Josh Gordon. I know you have sat on him for 11 weeks and now I am telling you to trade him away. It’s bold for sure. This is primarily for a team that is on the playoff bubble and could use multiple pieces due to injury or bad luck. I wouldn’t take just anything but if you can prey on a team that is looking for that Hail Mary because their season hasn’t been great, maybe you can move Gordon for DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller or straight across for an underperforming LeSean McCoy.
The bottom line is that Josh Gordon is a talent but he is somewhat unproven. He has had one great year in a good system, but his value will unlikely ever be higher. With fantasy trade deadlines fast approaching, trading him at peak value is definitely something to think about.
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Shane Gallimore is a fantasy football contributor and co-host of the live Sunday edition of The Fantasy Forecaster for The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Gally4!