The New England Patriots made a big decision on Wednesday, but it’s one which helps add even more clarity after their recent trade to acquire Mohamed Sanu. Just one day following the Patriots deal to acquire Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN’s Field Yates broke the news that starting wideout Josh Gordon will head to injured reserve.
Gordon, who’s battling a knee injury, missed Week 7 against the New York Jets, but this update is fairly telling. Shortly after the news of Gordon’s placement on injured reserve came to light, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots are “moving on” from Gordon and that he will be waived off injured reserve.
With the Gordon news altering the offensive outlook in a fairly big way, it also creates an opportunity for a number of other players, including the recently-acquired Sanu.
New England gave up a second-round pick to acquire Sanu from the Falcons, and as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, they had been attempting to land him since before the 2019 NFL Draft. Schefter explains that Atlanta’s season continuing to trend in the wrong direction, with the team currently at 1-6, played a role in the team looking at things from a long-term perspective.
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Josh Gordon Fantasy Football Impact: Top Waiver Replacements
For fantasy football players in search of potential replacements for Gordon, the starting point may actually be on the Patriots roster. Not only is Sanu an option to see a decent volume next to Julian Edelman, but rookie wideout Jakobi Meyers is fresh off two strong performances. Over that two-game span, the North Carolina State Wolfpack product caught all nine of his targets for 101 yards.
Beyond Meyers, it’s worth noting that rookie N’Keal Harry will be eligible to play in Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots used a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to land Harry, who starred for the Arizona State Sun Devils in college.
Over three seasons with Arizona State, he caught 213 passes for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. This included back-to-back seasons with 1,000-plus yards and 17 touchdowns during his final two years.
Unfortunately for those fantasy players targeting Sanu, he’s owned in 71 percent of Yahoo Sports leagues. Meyers currently holds just a four percent ownership, though, while Harry comes in at 11 percent as Week 8 is set to get underway.
Non-Patriot Fantasy Waiver Wire Receiver Targets
Beyond just the Patriots names worth targeting on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues, multiple options could be available still. One name worth adding is Houston Texans pass-catcher Kenny Stills (46 percent owned) following the injury to Will Fuller. While Fuller is expected to miss multiple weeks, Stills will likely see a solid increase in targets immediately.
Although Jamison Crowder (53 percent owned) was unable to get much going for New York Jets offense in their ugly loss to the Patriots last week, he’s an exceptional point-per-reception (PPR) option. Crowder has seen 14 targets in the two games since Sam Darnold returned to action, catching 10 passes in the process.
Last but not least, Miami Dolphins wideout DeVante Parker (20 percent owned) has quietly flown under the radar this season but is a productive option coming off his most-targeted game of 2019. Parker has scored in each of the past three games and caught 12 passes over that stretch. In a Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Parker was targeted 10 times, catching five balls for 55 yards and one score.
Josh Gordon Not Expected to Miss Much Time?
While the replacements for Gordon from a fantasy football perspective may only be needed for the short term, the big question is what the receiver’s future holds. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that Gordon’s knee injury is considered “minor” and that he’s hoping to be released off IR and find a new home.
With this being the case, it points to Bill Belichick and the coaching staff feeling comfortable where they currently stand at receiver. This bodes well for the outlook of Sanu, Meyers, Phillip Dorsett and even Harry when he returns from injured reserve.
As far as Gordon’s outlook goes and where his next career stop could be, that’s a situation worth monitoring, but there have been no rumblings to this point on the receiver’s future.