Patriots Acquire Josh Gordon From Browns, Fantasy Potential Ascends to the Moon

The Patriots attempt to fill their void at receiver with one of the most talented at that position in the NFL.

At the mere cost of a 5th Round Pick, Josh Gordon will be joining the New England Patriots… and I haven’t had pants on since the news broke. The Cowboys, Redskins, 49ers and others were also in on the Gordon Sweepstakes, but the Patriots ultimately stepped up and closed. Even better: Gordon’s “final straw” injured hamstring is reportedly healthy enough for him to debut this Sunday versus Detroit. With the chance to catch passes from Tom “The Goat” Brady, plus a gaping WR void, Gordon lands in the best possible spot for fantasy purposes; the “Surrounding Talent” is elite, and the potential for target-hog “Usage” genuinely exists. Though Gordon’s floor will always be low, he now genuinely carries a fantasy ceiling that rivals Randy Moss’ historic New England production. 

Yes, that means 1,500+ yards and 20+ TD upside for the remainder of 2018. Granted, this production seems like a huge stretch. Yet, in 2013, Gordon led the league with 1,646 receiving yards in only 14 GP… with the 7th-lowest QB rating passer delivering the mail. While playing drunk.

He now gets Brady.

I was already raving about Gordon’s No.1 Fantasy WR Upside with freakin’ Tyrod Taylor throwing him the rock. But from The GOAT?! Records could be broken.

For any one claiming Gordon is a mere deep-threat decoy to stretch the defense for the little white slot guys… stop. This man is an imposing 6’3″, 225 lbs glider who dominates at every level of the field.

If you don’t trust my eye, then how about Bill Belichick. In comments that may hint at some extensive future usage for his new toy, Belichick heaped the following praise on Gordon back in 2013 (before the WR dropped 151 and a TD on him):

“He’s a great player. He can attack all three levels of the defense. He can run through them, he can take the short plays, catch-and-run plays, crossing patterns, look patterns, plays like that. Quick three-step drops and break some tackles. He’s very good on the intermediate routes, the in-cuts, the crossing routes, comebacks, stop routes, things that attack the middle levels of the defense.

“He’s a complete player that can run fast, catch, big target and make a lot of yards on his own after the catch with his speed, size, and running ability.”

Belichick’s evaluation, though aged a bit, shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Patriots offense is predicated on catch-and-run opportunities and attacking the middle of the defense — the two specific areas that Belichick described. In fact, Gordon’s at his most dangerous when breaking a tackle and then ripping a slant for 70+ yards behind the entire defense.

Of course, Gordon needs to actually see the field for any of this to matter. The BS like showing up late to meetings and being injured in off-field promotions won’t fly, and Gordon could be sent packing as soon as he arrived. Nevermind a relapse in his sobriety that could send him into a year-long ban. That’s the legitimate “zero floor” cloud that’ll always hover around Gordon.

Yet, if New England is the haven where he screws his head on straight — as it had been for Moss, his direct parallel, and so many others before him — Gordon could be a fantasy megastar for 2018 and beyond.

Consider this an absolute best case fantasy scenario. I’m expecting a slow-ish Week 3 and 4 start as Gordon gets acclimated to this complex scheme (with a few long bombs to sustain value), before he explodes for an epic second-half run. Ultimately, 1,000 and 10+ TDs in the next 14 weeks is highly achievable.

Between the limitless “Individual Talent,” the ideal “Surrounding Talent,” and the upside for enormous “Usage” in a wide-open WRs corps, Gordon has WR1 written all over him.


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