Melvin Gordon III is back on fantasy football radars after signing with the Kansas City Chiefs, but should he be a waiver wire target this week? Let’s take a look at the RB landscape in Kansas City and whether Gordon is a player to target this week.
Should Fantasy Managers Target Melvin Gordon III on the Waiver Wire?
The Chiefs’ backfield has been a weird one all season. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on the IR, leaving rookie RB Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon as the main two backs in the offense. We also saw Ronald Jones for the first time in the 2022 NFL regular season in Week 11, as he touched the ball five times in their victory.
The question is where Gordon fits into all of this. Gordon came into the season viewed as the reliable veteran in Denver, but things went downhill quickly. He has averaged just 3.5 rushing yards per attempt and fumbled the ball five times, the most since his rookie season.
Gordon struggled to make plays for the Broncos, averaging just 1.7 yards after contact, the lowest since Pro Football Reference has tracked the stat in the last five years. He also broke just five tackles, at an average of one broken tackle every 18 rushing attempts. That is lower than either of the last two years, and only his final season with the Chargers saw him prove less elusive.
When we look at Next Gen Stats, things just get worse for Gordon. His -0.74 rushing yards below expectation per attempt is the lowest among qualified backs. Only eight players have surpassed expectations on their rushing attempts less frequently than Gordon this season. One of the players below Gordon on that list is Edwards-Helaire, who Pacheco took the starting RB job from in KC.
It doesn’t feel like Gordon is an upgrade on Pacheco at this point. The rookie averages 0.99 yards above expectation per rush, nearly two full yards more than Gordon. He also surpasses expectations on 44.2% of rushes, which is 13th among qualified backs.
If Gordon were to take anyone’s role, it would likely be McKinnon’s. With just 39 rushing attempts this season, McKinnon is the passing back in this offense. He had six targets in Week 12, the third time in four games he has surpassed five targets.
However, McKinnon’s role has been difficult to predict this year, fluctuating from playing 34% of the snaps in Week 11 to 62% in Week 9. Therefore, even if Gordon were to take that role, it would not have consistent fantasy value.
Currently, it seems most likely that Gordon would unseat Jones as the third RB on the depth chart. Jones’ role has little fantasy value, but before Gordon’s signing, he was likely the primary handcuff to Pacheco with CEH out.
It’s hard to view Gordon as anything more than a touchdown-dependent handcuff right now. He’s lacked dynamism this year, and even if he had a prolonged shot with the Chiefs, there’s no guarantee Gordon would produce for fantasy managers.
Playing in the Chiefs’ offense seems like it should offer plenty of chances for a running back to find the end zone. However, the RBs have just five rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns between them this season. As a result, it’s hard to get excited about Gordon as anything more than a depth option for the remainder of 2022.
How Should Fantasy Managers Prioritize Gordon in Week 13?
To put it quite simply, Gordon is very low on the list of priorities this week. The likes of Gus Edwards, Jaylen Warren, Zonovan Knight, and Kyren Williams all appear to have more direct routes to being fantasy-relevant RBs for the rest of the season.
Additionally, the Chiefs’ offense is never that easy to trust running backs in from a fantasy perspective. Taking a shot at trying to get the right option out of the San Francisco 49ers backups may end up producing more value in the long term.
Tevin Coleman or Jordan Mason may only be an injury to Christian McCaffrey away from being a starting RB on a run-heavy team. Gordon is not guaranteed to be the lead back in Kansas City if Pacheco were to go down.
Gordon is an extremely low-priority add for me this week. I would rather save my FAAB in case of an injury next week than spend more than 1-2% on Gordon. As a back end of the bench stash, he’s fine, but the upside is incredibly limited.
Even as a late-round option in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues, he is somewhat unappealing. Gordon’s career as a fantasy-relevant player appears to be on the precipice of being over.