Browns, Fantasy, and General Football Fans rejoice – Josh Gordon is back!
On Saturday, the uber-talented, but oft-troubled Gordon returned to the Browns after missing the opening two weeks of camp. In a candid note, Gordon says he “took the time needed to ensure my overall mental and physical health.”
Now in peak-shape, with a clear head (for the first time), and as much ability as any WR in the game, Gordon’s path back to WR1 Dominance can officially begin. This is especially true considering the “Surrounding Talent” and “Coaching Scheme” upgrades he and all Browns’ WRs received this offseason. Moreover, despite a last-place finish in Total Points last season, the Browns offense now drips in Juggernaut Upside for 2018.
With psychos drafting as early as this weekend, The Fantasy Gods have answered our prayers… as well as one of the most burning, remaining Preseason Questions. This is huge news, as Gordon carries as high of a ceiling as any WR in fantasy. In our in-depth Todd Haley breakdown, we raved about the new OC’s ability to squeeze the absolute most out of his WRs. In fact, we even called for 1,000 yard seasons out of both Landry and Gordon (before he left the team).
SIde Note: For more on all 2018 Play-caller Changes, check out our FREE Coaching Carousel Guide.
In the returning Gordon, Haley will now be able to mold his passing attack around an imposing 6’3″ and 225 lbs glider who can dominate at every level of the field. While I fully recognize he’s only played in 10 games since his dominant 2013, just look at this picture and tell me Gordon’s out of “football shape.”
And how can you forget the dominance of that 2013 season? Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards, in only 14 GP, with the 7th-lowest QB rating passer delivering the mail. While playing drunk. His 22.4 fantasy points per game, at only the age of 22, ranks top-20 among wide receivers all-time.
Now, Gordon will have his clearest mind to complement his ridiculous ability. More importantly, he’ll be catching balls from the best QB of his career, by a mile — whether Tyrod Taylor or eventually Baker Mayfield (who, after practicing with “Flash” in OTAs, noted: “I’ve never seen anybody like him, bar none…He’s definitely gifted.”) Simply put, his on-field upside is limitless.
But off-field, we can’t ignore the risk, either. After this last incident, Gordon’s availability cannot be taken for granted. If his mental demons return, Gordon could need to leave the team at any point or, even worse, regress to his old habits. He also still reportedly needs to meet “certain conditions” of the NFL’s Substance Abuse Program, who state: This part of the process. Can attend meetings, do conditioning. Can go to practice but not participate. No timetable on next step.” Indeed, he hasn’t hit the finish line, but Gordon’s made tremendous progress on the right path.
Personally, I believe in 2018 Gordon. He wouldn’t have returned without absolute certainty, and I truly expect a return to dominance. Between his own mental improvement and the coaching / QB upgrades, I expect a return to 1,200+ yards, 10+ TDs, WR1 form.
In the process, the Browns craft a historic offensive turnaround, rolling out an unexpected weekly juggernaut while creating enormous fantasy values. This will only be emphasized by a hilariously bad and poorly-coached defense under Greg Williams, which should force the O to keep pace each week.
All of Taylor (ADP: 216, ECR:193), Landry (ADP:44, ECR:50), Gordon (ADP:52, ECR:49), and Carlos Hyde (ADP:80, ECR:87) project as major Fantasy Bargains, with many landing on our Preseason Kickoff Guides “Must Buy” and Penny Stock lists.
Last year, the Rams rewarded owners who invested in the their discounted players after a their bottom-barrel offensive performance in 2016. This season, owners who capitalize on the Browns at these low rates will reap enormous fantasy rewards.