Is this the Josh Gordon breakout year or will he bust for your fantasy football squad?
For years the Cleveland Browns have been the laughing-stock of the NFL. I mean, their fans wear brown paper bags over their heads to hide the shame of being in love with such a disappointing franchise.
Then comes the 2018 offseason along with a slew of new names, new starters and a renewed sense of energy in what has the potential to be a prolific offense. However, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate all of this offseason hype, a lot of which was brought on by Brown’s receiver Josh Gordon, who publicly said the Browns have the best receiving corps in the league.
Gordon has never had a quarterback who was better than above average. Newly acquired Tyrod Taylor fits the same bill, but Gordon’s uptempo attitude and excitement has fantasy owners intrigued for what 2018 has in store.
The only reason Gordon’s name is still relevant today is because of the monster 2013 campaign that saw the Baylor product go off for a league-leading 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games.
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Flash Gordon’s flash of brilliance on the field was fleeting, as off the field issues have plagued the majority of his career. Gordon played in five games last season and finished with a 67 yard per game clip, but just one score. Last season Gordon’s only real competition for targets was Corey Coleman when he was healthy.
Coming into 2018, Gordon now has to fend off Coleman again, along with newly acquired target monster Jarvis Landry.
It comes down to a simple numbers game with Gordon. Taylor’s best season came in 2015 when he threw for 3,035 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 games. Those numbers extrapolated over the course of a 16-game season comes out to roughly 3,469 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Landry was 13 yards short of recording his third-straight 1,000-yard season in 2017. Should Landry get to exactly 1,000 yards again, which he easily could/should, Taylor’s passing yardage total comes down to 2,469 yards.
Coleman has played a total of 19 games over his two-year career. In his best season, his rookie year, Coleman caught 33 passes for 413 yards. That averaged over the course of a 16-game season puts Coleman at 660 receiving yards. Taylor’s possible passing total goes down to 1,809.
Let’s not forget recently re-inked Duke Johnson, one of the most prolific PPR backs in the league. Johnson agreed to a three-year $15.6 million extension, 7.74 million guaranteed. Clearly, Johnson is still part of the long-term plan in Cleveland.
Johnson had the best statistical receiving season of his career in 2017, catching 74 passes for 693 yards. Lets round Johnson’s receiving yards up to 700 in 2018. Take that away from Taylor’s passing total and it’s now at 1,109.
And what about breakout candidate David Njoku?
Njoku showed flashes in his rookie campaign but finished the season with just 386 receiving yards. According to many sources, including Fansided’s own Randy Gurzi, Njoku is a candidate to go over the 500-yard receiving mark in 2018. Take those 500 yards away from Taylor and we’re at 609.
Assuming Tyrod Taylor plays as well for the Browns as he did during his best statistical season, receiving yards will be hard to come by in the Cleveland offense. Yes, Gordon will outproduce Coleman and will be the team’s number one. But these numbers are based on Coleman (who is a talented wideout) getting just 660 yards total on the season.
The leftover 609 yards will be dished out to other targets as well, including the handful the newly acquired Carlos Hyde will catch as the early-down runner, along with other tight ends and receivers not listed above.
Last season the Browns ran the ball the fifth most times in the league. The year before they ran the ball the second most times. Cleveland’s game plan under Hue Jackson isn’t going to change because of Taylor. If anything the Browns selecting Nick Chubb with the 35th overall pick in this year’s draft only strengthens the notion that Cleveland will continue to be a run-first team.
Can Taylor outproduce the mean? Absolutely. But, are there now plenty of mouths to feed in Cleveland? You bet. Gordon possesses all of the physical tools to be an elite wideout in the NFL. The issue for him continues to be the situation and lack of an established quarterback.
Others going around the same ADP include: Doug Baldwin (just missed his third-straight 1,000 yard season in 2017), Adam Thielen (only got better with the Kirk Cousins addition after posting 1,276 receiving yards in 2017), Travis Kelce (the second-best tight end in the league), T.Y. Hilton (will be a steal if Luck comes back healthy), Amari Cooper (early word is he will be force-fed targets) and Brandin Cooks (coming off his second-straight 1,000-yard receiving season) to name a few.
Fantasy football is a game of taking chances. Taking a chance on Gordon could win you a championship if Coleman is traded, gets injured or Taylor looks his way early and falls in love.
Fantasy also comes down to making decisions based off of past production and potential. In the middle of the third round all the way to the sixth round, there are players I would select over Gordon at his current ADP.
Best of luck as you prepare for your Fantasy Football draft and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR as we get you ready every day as we inch closer to the start of the NFL season!