According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the NFL Players Association recommended free-agent wide receiver Josh Gordon be reinstated, and now it’s happened after he successfully completed his NFL-monitored treatment program. Let’s discuss which landing spots make the most sense for Gordon’s fantasy football stock.
A brief synopsis of Josh Gordon’s professional career
Gordon was selected by the Browns in the second round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft. He was one of the top rookie wide receivers that season, amassing 50 receptions, 805 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns. Then, Gordon’s fantasy production rocketed to the moon during the 2013 campaign.
The second-year receiver’s 2013 season is imprinted in the minds of fantasy football enthusiasts. Gordon averaged 22.5 PPR fantasy points per game in 14 active games, leading the league with 1,646 receiving yards.
As a reminder, he was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Unfortunately, Gordon has been active in only 33 games since 2014 due to substance abuse issues while going back and forth with the NFL on reinstatement.
He’s averaged 6.3 targets, 3.3 receptions, 54.6 receiving yards, and 10 PPR fantasy points per game over that time frame. Gordon last appeared in Week 15 of the 2019 season. Let’s briefly touch on potential landing spots.
Best landing spots for Josh Gordon following reinstatement
When thinking about Gordon’s skill set and the current NFL landscape, six teams immediately entered my mind as potential landing spots.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have a new quarterback in Jameis Winston who enjoys threatening defenses vertically. New Orleans has an unproven group of receivers, and it’s unclear when Michael Thomas will return to the fold.
Quarterbacks in head coach Sean Payton’s scheme have averaged 38 pass attempts and 297 passing yards per game since 2006. This trend should continue with Winston under center. In addition to divisional matchups, the Saints face the AFC East and NFC East. New Orleans will need to score as many points as possible against these opponents and not rely solely on its defense. Gordon would fit in nicely with this offense.
Green Bay Packers
If this is truly the last dance for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams, it would be prudent to bring in as many offensive weapons as possible. Adams has averaged a robust 10.2 targets per game from 2017-2020. However, the Packers could use another viable receiving threat to take some of the heat away from Adams.
Quarterback Matt Ryan is on the tail end of his career. It will be difficult to replace the rapport and statistical production the veteran had with receiver Julio Jones. Ryan has thrown for 4,000+ yards every season since Jones joined the roster in 2011.
While Jones has since been traded, Ryan still has two receiving threats in Calvin Ridley and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. Gordon would provide the Falcons with another big-bodied receiver with similar speed to Jones. The 30-year-old receiver’s speed has always been a concern for defensive coordinators.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is blessed with two of the most lethal receiving weapons in the NFL in wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Since 2016, this duo has accounted for 1,235 targets, 11,808 receiving yards, and 88 touchdowns.
It remains to be seen if Mecole Hardman will emerge as the Chiefs’ No. 3 receiver. However, Gordon would provide them with another vertical threat that could free up Kansas City’s dynamic duo even more.
Earlier this month, the Colts placed receiver T.Y. Hilton on injured reserve. He’ll have to sit out at least three games before returning to the team. Hilton’s neck surgery went well, but he could be out even longer. He’s missed nine games over the last three seasons. Quarterback Carson Wentz and the Colts could use all the receiving help they can muster. Gordon could be a nice option to play alongside Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell in Indianapolis.
The Lions don’t have much receiving talent. Detroit opened the season with Tyrell Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Quintez Cephus as its top three receivers for new starting quarterback Jared Goff. However, many fantasy connoisseurs know Detroit’s offense will continue to flow through tight end T.J. Hockenson and its running backs. Yet, Gordon’s presence would elevate all of Detroit’s receivers.
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