Josh Gordon is BackBased on the recent history of breaking player news developing at an often excruciatingly slow pace, Monday’s news that much-maligned Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon would be reinstated came across as a shock to the NFL and fantasy football community.
Though his reinstatement is conditional, Gordon will be eligible to practice with the Browns when training camp kicks off on Friday, July 29th and be with the team during the preseason. As long as Hue Jackson and the Browns new staff can embrace Gordon and keep him focused, having him with the team is seen as a positive development for both the Browns and Gordon.
Gordon’s checkered history includes being suspended for two games in 2013, ten games in 2014, and missing the entire 2015 season. Even though many questioned Gordon’s decision making this offseason for associating with troubled Johnny Manziel, Gordon was able to meet the conditions to be granted conditional reinstatement by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
If he stays out of trouble, Gordon will be first eligible to play in Cleveland’s Week 5 home game against the New England Patriots- with the added interest being that this will also be the first 2016 NFL action for currently-suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
2016 Fantasy Outlook
This news broke after we updated and published our updated 2016 fantasy rankings and season projections. Adding a player of Gordon’s caliber into a lineup that appears to be desperately lacking for depth in its young receiving corps will make significant changes to Cleveland’s projections.
For Gordon, he will be immediately inserted into our PPR projections as a high-upside WR5. His presence will also cause Corey Coleman, Gary Barnidge, Andrew Hawkins and the remaining members of Cleveland’s receiving corps to be adjusted.
On a per-game basis, we have Gordon producing numbers equivalent to those of a top-20 fantasy receiver. If you took Gordon’s projections and stretched them out to a 16-game pace, he would rank as WR21 and could command a third or fourth round pick. For now, we think Gordon’s 12 games warrant consideration starting as early as Round 7 or 8.
As long as he has stayed in shape and can keep his head on straight, Josh Gordon can remain a significant fantasy contributor, and a smart offensive mind like Hue Jackson will figure out ways to get him the ball. He’s the definition of a high risk/high reward pick in the middle-to-late rounds of your 2016 fantasy draft.
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