Player Profile: Josh Gordon
At the beginning of the season we saw Josh Gordon serve a 2 game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Because of this, we saw Gordon's value drop a lot as drafts approached in 2013. Now, we all knew Gordon was talented, but we didn't see anything like this coming. Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards, posting 1,646 yards off of 87 receptions. Those are incredible numbers when you take into account that Gordon played 14 games instead of a normal 16 games. This is an average of 117 yards per game! Needless to say, Gordon surprised many of us and now we have to wonder about what he can do as the 2014 season approaches.
Let's take a look at the positives. Probably the most impressive thing about Josh Gordon is the fact that he posted these insane numbers with 3 terrible QB's. Starting the season, we saw Brandon Weeden take the helm. After suffering an injury we got to see the promise of Brian Hoyer. After Hoyer suffered and ACL tear, we saw Jason Campbell take over the QB play. That is not a list of promising QB's to say the least. Yet each week Gordon continued to produce. From weeks 11-14 we saw Gordon produce one of Fantasy Football's most impressive WR numbers ever. In that span Gordon produced 774 yards receiving along with 5 TD's. The next point that we have to make is the possibility that Cleveland makes an upgrade at QB either through free agency of through the NFL draft. Thanks to the Trent Richardson trade back during the season, Cleveland now has 2 first round picks. They may be able to maneuver some and draft one of those top tier QB's that will be available in the draft this year (Bridgewater, Manziel, Carr, Bortles). Any of these QB's would be better than what they have now and as long as Cleveland keeps Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator there will be no problems.
Now we take a look at the negatives. The one negative point that pops out to me the most when thinking about Josh Gordon is the off chance that he gets into trouble again with the NFL. If Gordon were to violate the NFL's substance abuse policy again then he would be in jeopardy of missing an entire season or more possibly. With fantasy experts projecting Gordon as a late 1st-early 2nd round draft pick, this is a big gamble to take on a player you are drafting with such a high draft pick. You would think that the Cleveland Browns organization would hire somebody to follow Gordon around in the offseason just to make sure he stays out of trouble. The next problem I have with Gordon is if Cleveland drafts a QB, that QB is going to need some time to possibly learn the system and get acclimated to the fast pace of the NFL. Lastly, Cleveland just recently fired Rob Chudzinski, after only 1 year as Head Coach. We do not know who they will be hiring or what kind of system they will be implementing in Cleveland yet. A lot depends on who is hired. Beyond that I have no other problems with Flash Gordon.
In conclusion, while the upside of Gordon is through the roof, the risks do need to be monitored as draft day approaches. The NFL draft in May will be very big for Cleveland and any person that is entertaining the idea of Drafting Gordon for Fantasy purposes will need to keep tabs on their draft picks. Some experts will throw the thought into the air that you should draft Gordon with your 1st round draft pick. Do not be the sucker to buy into this! With how deep the WR position will be in 2014 you will be able to wait and still nab a fantastic WR for your teams. Gordon is a 2nd round draft pick and if you can nab him in the 3rd round then you are doing fantastic. For Fantasy auction leagues, I wouldn't feel comfortable spending more than $40 on Gordon with a $200 budget. Gordon is a rare talent and will be ranked by many experts as a top 5 WR. It will be hard for Gordon to duplicate his 'out of this world' 2013 season but will still post WR1 numbers for sure. Please please please don't draft him with your 1st round pick though!
2014 Projections: 1,375 yards receiving, 10 TD's
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