By now you’ve heard the news that Josh Gordon is a Patriot, but we actually saw him suit up in his new No. 10 uniform and practice in Foxborough on Wednesday afternoon. Gordon was limited due to a hamstring injury, but there’s a chance he’ll be healthy enough to play Sunday night in Detroit. We will take a glance at will Patriots Josh Gordon play against the Lions here.
Here’s the fantasy impact of the Gordon trade from all angles:
JOSH GORDON’S VALUE – Will Patriots Josh Gordon play against Detroit?
While this is the most encouraged we’ve ever been by Gordon’s fantasy potential on paper, his ability to get on the field and stay on the field will determine if he actually has any concrete value. Obviously, Gordon won’t have time to grasp the playbook by Sunday, but he could see a few snaps in which he runs routes against the Lions — particularly if New England is working with a sizable lead. The most bang for your buck with daily fantasy is with Yahoo.
Gordon isn’t a safe fantasy play this week, though, and will remain a wait-and-see case for the rest of the season. There are just so many variables here that stand in the way of him becoming that WR we saw that post an electric 87-1,646-9 line in 2013, and it starts internally.
Gordon’s issues are well documented. Proving his sobriety and availability are step one to contributing in a Patriot uniform. Assuming he clears that hurdle, which is no sure thing given his track record, Gordon will also have to prove he’s buying in on his new team and willing to give the effort — something he was ridiculed for in Cleveland. Finally, he’ll also have to grasp the offense in New England — something big-name receivers have failed to do in the past.
In the end, the Patriots took this gamble because of the talent. Even if Gordon goes off for a huge game over the next couple of weeks, it doesn’t make him a lock to be a fantasy stud the rest of the season. We know things could still come crashing down at any time, because we’ve seen it too many times.
If you own Gordon in your fantasy league, he’s certainly worth waiting on. I wouldn’t trade him for any mid-tier value, however, if someone in your league wants to immediately crown him as an elite WR yet again and offer someone you can start in your lineup every week, I’d jump on that. The odds are much higher for Gordon to be Chad Ochocino than they are Randy Moss, but that’s not to say the potential for a monster season doesn’t exist.
THE PATRIOTS VALUE – Will Patriots Josh Gordon play against Detroit?
You can probably tell that for now I’m very iffy on what Gordon’s contributions will actually be. There’s a reason the price tag for New England was simply swapping a fifth-round pick for a seventh-rounder with Cleveland. So until we see anything from Gordon, I’m valuing each of the Patriots exactly the same.
Tom Brady’s value is clearly safest of all the Pats in this situation. Gordon can’t do anything to hurt him, only help — and potentially help a lot if he actually reaches his potential. Phillip Dorsett stands to be the biggest loser in this spot. While Dorsett is a decent WR, Gordon’s talent shouldn’t have much trouble taking over for him as one of the outside receivers. Off to a good start with 12 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets, Dorsett should see a sizable drop off if and when Gordon becomes a featured piece on offense.
The rest of the Patriots shouldn’t change much. Rob Gronkowski will remain Brady’s favorite target, and top target in the red zone. There’s just too much trust there. Gordon could have some big games that limit Gronk’s ceiling for a week here and there, but overall I wouldn’t worry. The same goes for Chris Hogan. While Gordon could take away some of his production in some instances, you could argue with the defense focused on Gordon, Hogan will get some extra opportunities.
The final piece here is Julian Edelman, who won’t play until Week 5 due to his suspension. Like Gronk, Brady trusts Edelman too much. A completely different WR than Gordon, they should work well together with getting Edelman open on short routes. Edelman’s return should only hurt Hogan’s fantasy value to a degree.
THE BROWNS VALUE – Will Patriots Josh Gordon play against Detroit?
While Jarvis Landry remains the top option in Cleveland’s offense, and pretty sizable WR2 position just opened up. The major name to focus on here is rookie Antonio Callaway. If you watched Hard Knocks on HBO, you know Callaway has some issues of his own — many labeled him as the most talented WR in the draft, but personal struggles caused him to slide to the Browns in the fourth-round. Above is more on will Patriots Josh Gordon play against the Lions.
After playing just 17 percent of the snaps in Week 1, Callaway jumped up to 81 percent of the snaps in Week 2, hauling in three passes for 81 yards and a score. Callaway has very real fantasy value the rest of the way out, considering how quickly he was plugged in and performed.
The other WR worth mentioning here is Rashard Higgins, who slides firmly into the WR3 role. He played that position in Week 1, but with Callaway no longer breathing down his neck, his role is more clear. Higgins jumped from 61 percent of the snaps with three targets with Gordon on the field, to 74 percent of the snaps and seven targets with Gordon off the field.