The Curious Case of Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon
Josh Gordon /

What can we expect from Josh Gordon in Fantasy Football?

Josh Gordon has to be one of the most interesting fantasy football prospects this year, but can you trust him? He may be worth the risk you’d pay by drafting him considering what he accomplished in the league in 2013. Let’s take a deeper look at his entire situation.

Gordon has been trouble since his college days, but concerns have never stemmed from his playing ability. In his sophomore season at Baylor, Gordon was suspended after being found asleep in teammate Willie Jefferson’s car at a local Taco Bell drive-thru. Police found marijuana in the car, and it would start a series of events in which Gordon found himself in trouble for substance-related instances. After being suspended for failing a drug test later in 2011, Gordon transferred to Utah and sat out the 2011 season before being selected in the second round of the supplemental draft in 2012 by the Cleveland Browns.

Gordon’s 2012 rookie campaign was pleasantly quiet off the field, but not on it. He finished the year among the top rookie receivers, catching 50 balls for over 800 yards and five touchdowns. In 2013, Gordon was suspended for the first two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but would later create positive headlines after dominating the league in the 14 games he played in that season.

Gordon made history in 2013 by becoming the first receiver to record back-to-back games with over 200 receiving yards. He finished the year with 1,646 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, making him one of the most coveted fantasy football players in the entire league. In 2014, Gordon was arrested for driving while impaired and only played in five games after being suspended for the first 10 games for again violating the league’s substance abuse policies.

Gordon would then miss the entire 2015 season and more for violating the league’s substance abuse policy once again. That suspension has carried over to the 2016 season, in which Gordon is set to miss the first four games after finally being reinstated back into the league by Roger Goodell in July. And here we are, with some much-needed background info, discussing the intriguing fantasy case of a once-dominant receiver who has struggled to stay in the league since entering it.

Next: What can we expect in 2016?

Josh Gordon
Nov 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) gets pushed out of bounds by Atlanta Falcons defenders after a catch in the first quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Gordon’s past shouldn’t just be forgotten, but neither should his play in 2013. He’s only 25 years old, and the league gave him the benefit of the doubt by reinstating him, so we need to consider the same when deciding who to draft in our fantasy football leagues. Gordon’s average draft position is in the middle of the seventh round according to Fantasy Football Calculator. Missing the first four games is obviously a huge blow, but it may actually be beneficial for a guy like Gordon trying to work himself back in the league. 

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The Cleveland Browns poise an intriguing offensive lineup with or without Gordon. Robert Griffin III gets an opportunity with a new franchise, and he has looked great this preseason. He’ll have two talented backs in Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson behind him, while rookie Corey Coleman, QB-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor, and tight end Gary Barnidge will catch passes from him. Once Gordon comes back in week five, this is a serious offense that could actually put up a ton of points.

Gordon’s going to be tough to pass on in the later rounds considering what we’ve seen him do in this league when he was at the top of his game. It’d be foolish to rule out his brutal track history, but would it be foolish to give him the benefit of the doubt and take the risk of drafting him in the seventh round?

Next: Top Fantasy Football Sleepers

We’ll have to wait and see, but don’t be surprised if Gordon comes back and immediately makes an impact in Cleveland.