The 2013 fantasy season was one of my more memorable seasons I can recall. It was the year my brother invited me to my current 16-team dynasty league. For anyone who has not done a dynasty league I strongly suggest giving it a try. (If the thought of dynasty league scares you a little, no worries, my Grandma still thinks Channel 8 programming is the most amazing thing.) My league was only 1-year-old and I acquired a team, which the previous owner did not like the hot mess he drafted the year before and disappeared like a dead-beat dad. Needless to say, “my” team was in shambles. Therefore, I made a plethora of trades and sold off my left kidney (I was told I only needed one). Eventually during that offseason, I finally acquired my most coveted wide receiver on my player acquisition list. Josh Gordon was a 6-foot-3, 225-pound beast out of Baylor. It was love at first touchdown. He was going to be my secret weapon that no one say coming. I mastered a three-way trade and he was mine to deploy at will. I knew big things where coming for Gordon. It was truly enjoyable watching Gordon catch bomb, after bomb, after bomb during that 2014 season. During a Week 14 matchup at Foxboro when he literally ran away from corner back Aqib Talib for an 80-yard touchdown catch and run might have been the most enjoyable moment in my fantasy watching history. Needless to say, I had invested much more than just hours and memories of my life. I invested my dynasty future.
Arguably, no player in the last decade has held fantasy owner hostage with his potential quite like Gordon. We all saw what he could do on the field in 2014. As a dynasty owner, if you drafted or traded for him, there is a high chance you are still holding on to him. Even though Gordon’s value is worth a bag of bent rusty nails. Many people have already written off Gordon but many like myself, still hold hope. This is the “Josh Gordon Dilemma.”
What do you if you have Josh Gordon?
To attempt to answer this question we must first jump to the most pressing issue.
Floating in an indefinite suspension for repeated violation of drug and alcohol abuse, there are two clear future outcomes that will take place in September.
- Gordon applies in September and is finally reinstated — there is a street party in Cleveland. (OK, probably not going to happen).
- Gordon applies in September and is denied … again! (very likely).
If he is granted reinstatement, the story continues, and the conversation becomes infinitely more fun. The possibilities of Josh Gordon catching balls and dominating his competition become rekindled in the fantasy community recent memories.
On the other hand, if he is not reinstated the conversation become very clear and dire. Much like Justin Blackmon, a denial would all but effectively derail Gordon’s shot at playing in the NFL ever again. Never mind the fact that he would have to wait until next year to reapply for a third time. The physiological toll would taxing and arduous for anyone without an addiction. That is a long time to stay absolutely clean for some that has a problem with that very thing. He would be 27 before the 2018 season began, and would not have played regular season NFL football game in more than three years. You read that right!
* According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, Josh Gordon and his (previous) agent parted ways weeks before his reinstatement hearing with the NFL back in May. (Is it just me or that this seem alarming?) One can only speculate as to why they discontinued the arrangement. But, from a public relation perspective this does not look good for Josh Gordon.
When is the right time to move Gordon?
If you own Josh Gordon in a dynasty league like I do, all you can do is watch old YouTube videos of him outrunning everyone on the field and feel nostalgic about it. Start a propaganda campaign in your league for him. There is probably not too much you can do with Josh Gordon on your roster right now. Realistically you are just sitting on the worthless fair value asset at the moment. If by the graces of the NFL and Gordon happens to be reinstated – all athletic ability aside – there is a clear documented history of Gordon repeatedly making terrible decisions off the field. From substance abuse to trashing houses with Johnny Manziel he seems to not be getting the message. Playing football does not fix or even address Gordon’s actual issues. Even if Gordon is reinstated this year, there is a very high probability that he will slip up again and face further suspension (forever, for all intents and purposes). That should scare you. So, when can you move him? There is no doubt Gordon’s fantasy value is very volatile if he is reinstated. The news of this will travel fast. If he makes it into the preseason unscathed, signed with a team that will actually use him, people in your league will begin to ask about him. Despite his clearly unfavorable long-term outlook you will get trade offers for him, and as the season goes along and he plays significant time his value will climb proportionate to his production. This is because all owners remember 2014 like it was yesterday. If this scenario plays out, all you need to do is wait for this moment and make your move. Personally, I hope he turns his life around. I truly do. But, as a dynasty owner I am done with the Gordon dilemma. It is a gamble with which I am done.