Josh Gordon is back in the NFL once again — or at least back on an NFL roster. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Seahawks have re-signed Gordon to a one-year deal. Gordon played with the Seahawks last year after being claimed off waivers from the Patriots and found a role with the team. But how does he fit in now with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in the fold? And will he be reinstated by the league while facing an indefinite suspension? These are the questions fantasy football owners need to know the answer to before thinking about adding Gordon to their rosters.
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Josh Gordon’s fantasy outlook with Seahawks
Last year, Gordon played a minor role with the Seahawks, playing in five games and catching seven passes for 139 yards. He only played in more than 50 percent of the snaps once for the team and had just one game in which he saw more than two targets.
That said, when Gordon was with the Patriots, he had a bigger role in their receiving corps. He was on the field plenty across six games and was on pace for a 53-catch, 765-yard, and three-TD season with the team before the Pats ultimately decided to part with him. Had Gordon remained either in New England or on the field in Seattle, he certainly would’ve been a viable WR4 and matchup-based flex play, and had he caught more TDs, he could’ve worked his way into WR3 territory.
Even without playing a full season and switching teams, Gordon still finished the season as the 88th receiver and averaged 4.3 fantasy points per game. Those numbers aren’t great, but the fact of the matter is that he was at least somewhat productive last season despite playing in just 11 games.
If you were to take a flier on Gordon, he’s no worse than the typical back-end bench depth, and he comes with more upside than a chunk of the players available in the later rounds of fantasy football drafts. He shouldn’t be relied on as anything more than a boom-or-bust bench guy, but there is at least a little wrinkle of hope that Gordon can finally live up to his potential.
Hypothetically, Gordon should be better in his second year in Seattle. He learned the offense last year on the fly, and while he wasn’t around this offseason, he will at least have experience in the system as opposed to being thrown straight into the fire. And Gordon was a good fit in the system, as he averaged nearly 20 yards per catch with the Seahawks and showed off a lot of his raw talent as a deep threat.
However, the question with Gordon has never been about his talent. It’s about his availability. At this time, it’s unclear when — or if — Gordon will be available during the 2020 season.
2020 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Superflex | Top 200
When will Josh Gordon be able to play?
In mid-December during the ’19 NFL season, Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league’s policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs and substance abuse. It was Gordon’s fifth suspension during his eight-year career and it marked the seventh-consecutive season that he had not played a full 16-game slate. The only time he did that was as a rookie.
Gordon has applied for reinstatement and is awaiting the results, according to Fowler. The timetable for a decision on the matter has not been clarified, but perhaps with Gordon now on a team, the decision by the league will be expedited. Considering that Roger Goodell has reinstated Gordon so many times before, it seems possible that he could once again allow Gordon to return to the league.
Even if Gordon does return in time for Week 1 — which is a major unknown at this point — it’s unlikely that he will play a full season. Simply put, he hasn’t done it since ’12, so it’s hard for fantasy owners to rely on him to become a consistent contributor. If you do draft Gordon or scoop him up on the waiver wire, make sure you have plenty of receiving options to rely on in case he can’t stay on the field again. He really should only be picked up as a WR5 that has the potential to be a WR3 if all things go right for him.
2020 PPR RANKINGS:
Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Superflex | Top 200
DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett fantasy outlook
Gordon’s presence with Seattle will have little to no impact on Metcalf and Lockett. In the five games in which Gordon saw action, Metcalf still played at least 80 percent of the snaps each game and averaged 6.6 targets per game. Meanwhile, Lockett played at least 71 percent of the snaps in those contests and managed an eight-catch, 120-yard game with a TD against the Panthers.
Metcalf and Lockett are still Seattle’s top two receivers even if Gordon sees the field and takes a few targets away from them. Metcalf and Lockett are dynamic and more proven than Gordon at this point in their respective careers, so they’ll continue to start and build up a strong rapport with Russell Wilson. The duo both crack the top 30 in our WR rankings.
Gordon’s addition was more about shoring up the team’s lacking receiver depth, so if anything, his presence will have an impact on Paul Richardson and Phillip Dorsett, two other free-agent signees battling for that third WR spot. Richardson and Dorsett already had little to no fantasy value, but they’ll be complete non-factors barring an injury (unless Gordon’s reinstatement takes longer than anticipated or doesn’t come to fruition).
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