No one in the NFL looks more physically prepared for the 2018 NFL season than Josh Gordon. When it comes to mental preparedness, however, Gordon is probably in the bottom 1 percent.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Gordon missed the first four weeks of the Cleveland Browns training camp and he will miss his third week of preseason action despite reporting to camp last week. He has yet to practice.
After such a long absence from football, Gordon is unofficially back. It’s unclear for how long. It’s unclear what impact he can make. But it’s going to be a compelling storyline that should keep Browns fans and Gordon’s fantasy football owners on high alert.
Here’s why you should be one of Gordon’s fantasy football owners.
- In 2013, he played 14 of 16 games. Still, Gordon scored 314 points in PPR leagues, good for seventh-most in the league that year (including all positions). He was WR2. He finished the year with 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. His quarterbacks were Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer.
- In 2018, his ADP is 52nd overall. He’s getting drafted behind Demaryius Thomas, who finished 2017 with 949 yards and five touchdowns. Behind Allen Robinson, who finished 2017 with one reception and 2016 with 883 yards and six touchdowns. Behind Larry Fitzgerald, a 34-year-old whose quarterback will be some combination of Josh Rosen and Sam Bradford. Gordon may slip even further in your draft because of his history of getting suspended. (He slipped to 68th overall where I got him in my first draft of the year).
- His suspensions seem like a thing of the past for reasons beyond his own self-control. Yes, Gordon seems like a changed man. But that’s not the only reason for optimism. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be adjusting the severity upon which he disciplines the use of marijuana. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio also went so far as to suggest the league was looking out for Gordon — he might somehow have guardian angels in the league office after getting banished.
- He’s entering the final year of his contract. Gordon may be in the same offense as Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and David Njoku. But Gordon surely knows how important each touch will be in securing his family’s future. There are a lot of hungry mouths in the offense, but there shouldn’t be anyone hungrier than Gordon.
That 2013 season has proved an aberration for every fantasy owner who has drafted Gordon in the years since. This year, however, he seems like he’s physical prepared. The league may no longer be intent on keeping him out for marijuana use. And maybe — just maybe — Gordon can catch on with Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield over the next two weeks as Cleveland prepares for their season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For those who don’t mind a little fantasy football stress, Gordon is the perfect boom and bust prospect, who balances risk with reward.