Josh Gordon has played 14 or more games only twice throughout his NFL career. In those seasons, Gordon was borderline unstoppable, especially the 2013 season.
That year, Gordon’s second in the league, the receiver had 1,646 yards in the air, became the first NFL player in history with consecutive 200-yard games, and had a career-high nine touchdowns with the Cleveland Browns.
Imagine if he could do that in a full season with the New England Patriots did somebody say, Randy Moss?
No, we’re talking about a guy who, had it not been for his off-field issues, might have joined Moss in Canton, Ohio one day. Gordon’s career, however, is on the verge of a rebound should he put together a complete season in New England.
His football career is on the line this season, adding further necessity for Gordon to have a good year. New England may be just the nurturing environment needed for a guy like Gordon to finally get over the hump.
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But when it comes to fantasy, is Gordon is a good fit for your team? Throughout the long-yardage plays and explosiveness, there are a few red flags about Gordon that may deter you from drafting him.
Gordon is a deep threat who will be sharing the field in New England with a ton of talent at the position. Though he can get open well downfield, make grabs in coverage, and is toughest in play action, he won’t be seeing a ton of passes.
Guys like Demaryius Thomas and N’Keal Harry are also deep threats and may take away from Gordon’s playing time and receiving targets. Meanwhile, Tom Brady utilizes his check down options a lot. James White and Rex Burkhead have been his go-to guys, but now he’s got Damien Harris who looks to feature in the receiving game this season too.
There’s also his catching ability. In 11 games with New England last year, Gordon had a 58.8 percent catch rate, reeling in an average of 3.6 catches per game. He was targeted just over six times per game.
Why such a low catch rate? Well first off most of those incompletions are on deep balls that don’t connect or passes defended in double coverage. So while it might not be Gordon, those are still missed opportunities for positive yardage.
Gordon has had drug-related issues as far back as high school. While he’s done a lot of self-improvement and work on his mental health during the past couple seasons, there’s just no guarantee he’ll be on the field for a full year.
He’s been a repeat offender but has hopefully turned a new leaf this season. That said, there’s no telling how Gordon will be able to play for a full season and what toll it will take on his body. After all, it has been seven years since he’s played a full 16 games.
Should You Stay Away?
Last year, Gordon had 98 fantasy points, ranking him 44th among NFL receivers despite playing in just 12 games. With a year under his belt, a system he’s comfortable in, and an atmosphere focused on helping him stay better, Gordon could be groomed for a big season.
But still, can he stay healthy and stay out of trouble for a full 16 games? It will be something the 28-year-old has done only one time in his entire career. There’s also the potential he replaces the production of Rob Gronkowski in the red zone which would mean more scores.
If you’re taking Gordon, he’s probably you’re WR2 and with a lot of people steering clear, he could wind up being a steal in the middle rounds.