Thursday - Feb 21, 2019

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The Josh Gordon Conundrum

He is back! So now what do you do with the enigmatic Josh Gordon?

He is unquestionably talented. He also has been plagued with issues off the field and has been spending time with Johnny Manziel, you know, the kid your parents warned you about. Add to that a quad injury and you have an interesting dilemma. Where does value merit risk?

The pros: Have you seen him play? If you started playing fantasy football sometime between 2014 and now go catch up on some film. The man is an absolute beast. When you look that good in a Browns uniform, you are amazing at your job.

The cons: The incredibly ambiguous term everyone likes to use is character. For some reason that term, when used in this context, makes me think of Dungeons and Dragons. How do you boil down the essence of a human? Would Josh Gordon be chaotic good?

Josh Gordon has had multiple issues with the league substance abuse policy. This raises two questions for the drafter: 1) does his violations bother you? If they bother you on a moral level don’t draft him. Always win with the guys you love. 2) How much of a risk does it pose in the future? This is where the conundrum comes in.

This isn’t a question on how you feel about marijuana use or medical marijuana. This isn’t an article about NFL policy on marijuana (although, I would like to point out it should only be considered a performance enhancing drug in competitive eating competitions).

This is an article about Josh Gordon. For all the talk of character, we are judging someone we haven’t met through the sum total of their media presence and second hand chatter.

The red flag for me is the time he is spending with Johnny Manziel and his last suspension. I worry that he is only complying with his interpretation of the “letter of law.” His misunderstandings with the league add an element of risk to my thought process.

So what’s his value?

Gordon is someone that works great in a grinder/gamble situation.

In both dynasty or redraft, when making the decision, look at your roster and just remove him completely. Can you survive without him? If Gordon is a lynch pin to your roster your reward may not be worth the risk.

In a redraft, if you can establish a solid team in your first 7-8 rounds and are ready to patch if you need to, you can try and snag him between the 9th and 11th rounds. If it is a home league, you know your league. If you know he will go later let him fall and snag him in round 11 or 12, if you know someone is going to grab him in the 4th round you will have to make a decision but factor in the suspension and the fact that he is dealing with an injury.

Personally, I am good with burning a 7th or 8th round pick for a gamble like Gordon as long as there aren’t too many question marks on my previous picks. I wouldn’t use a 4th or 5th on him. I know he could be amazing, but I may grab a Steady Eddie (Matt Forte, Jordan Matthews, Larry Fitzgerald) or a high upside player with less risk (Dion Lewis, Kelvin Benjamin, or Michael Floyd).

All of those players have their drawbacks but they are all currently slated for a full season. Remember you lose a quarter of your games automatically with Gordon.

In dynasty, he is already sitting on someone’s roster. His trade value may be in that no-go zone, where he costs too much to buy and you are only selling high. If Gordon has his act together you have a stud for years to come. If he goes clubbing one night it could all be over in a matter of hours.

I expect his price to be roughly around the players I listed above or a 2017 1st plus a player. It depends on your league and his owner. If you can survive the fallout and have the players this is the end of the window on trading for him and getting any value. This is also the time to trade him if you are worried about his character.

We know Gordon isn’t risk adverse, so the question is, are you?

About Lisa London

I suffer from an undying obsession with fantasy football. Former Lee Evans owner, I am not proud. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, I would get to the second one but I have lineups to set. Follow me on Twitter @leedoglaw