Excuse me while I rant.
Too many times this week have I seen people say “Josh Gordon is a must-start wide receiver.” Sure, the statement isn’t dumb by any means, but have those same people been watching this kid since last season?
Drawing comparisons to All-Pro Brandon Marshall, Gordon has all the physical tools and talent to become a top-10 wide receiver in both fantasy and real life football. We’ve seen the mass potential out of this undrafted receiver, and he’s putting it all together in year two. The purpose of writing this is to help people realize that Gordon’s breakout 2013 shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
He’s very much legit, folks.
Gordon in 2013
Seven. Just seven wide receivers have scored more fantasy points than Gordon this season. Those players include what I like to call the “duh” category. However, the interesting about Gordon’s 8th-most 128 fantasy points in ESPN scoring leagues is the fact that he is doing it with a shuffling situation at the quarterback position. Whether it’s been Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell, Gordon has continued to produce top-10 numbers. Oh, he also missed two games. He’d likely be a top-five scoring receiver if he played an entire season. Let’s look at his week-to-week numbers, just to show how awesomely awesome he’s been.
That’s right. I just double-awesomed you.
So there you have it. In nine games this season, Gordon has posted a top-15 fantasy finish in six games. And that’s only in standard scoring formats. I don’t understand the whole boom-or-bust concept that is sometimes associated with Gordon. He’s been a top-tier fantasy wideout, and that’s all while missing two games, having an ugly quarterback situation and leaving some points on the board.
As for his total numbers in 2013, Gordon is just as elite. In fact, despite playing just nine games, only Calvin Johnson is averaging more receiving yards per game than Gordon (109.8). He’s fifth in the league in receiving yards (988) and is averaging a very healthy 18.3 yards per catch. People may see him as just a big play guy who won’t give you anything if he doesn’t make that big play. Stop it. It’s true that Gordon is a big-play caliber wideout, posting a strong 16 catches of 20 yards or more. However, there is safety here that people still (somehow) have yet to realize. Gordon has posted six double-digit fantasy outings, despite playing just nine games. And usually boom-or-bust guys lack volume in the target department (we’re looking at you, Kenny Stills). However, Gordon has been targeted 98 times this season, which is the 14th-most in football. He’s also had six games where he’s seen at least nine targets, including three where he’s been targeted over a whopping 15 times.
Pro Football Focus knows just how good he is. According to the site, Gordon is averaging a healthy 0.23 fantasy points per snap, which is the third-most among wideouts. And according to FantasyData.com, Gordon is scoring 22.1 fantasy points per every 100 snaps, which is the fourth-most among receivers. So, after all of these numbers, a question remains.
What’s not to like?
A skilled wideout, who is arguably the only weapon in a Cleveland offense that ranks first in pass attempts per game with 43.4. People don’t realize that this team throws the ball that much. Gordon is as safe as it gets, just as long as he keeps his head on straight. As of right now, he is a top-10 fantasy wideout for redraft leagues.
Now just imagine if he had a viable quarterback tossing him the football. This Thanksgiving, I’d be thankful for that.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.