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Song Remains the Same: Josh Gordon Tempting Fantasy Players in Seattle

When the Patriots placed Josh Gordon on injured reserve before Week 8, fantasy football players had a challenging decision to make on the unreliable (but always alluring) wide receiver. They were considering cutting him because his production had been disappointing to this point in the season and his knee problems were still an issue. Because of bye weeks and other injuries, you cannot always keep everyone on your roster that you want to, especially in 10-team leagues.

But there were reports a few hours after Gordon was placed on IR that he could be waived by the Patriots and become available as a free agent. That’s exactly what happened Monday as he was claimed by the Seattle Seahawks. Some fantasy owners had already cut him, however, and he is now a free agent in 34 percent of Fleaflicker leagues. Now the Gordon guessing game begins anew.

Despite his many past issues -- legal, health, or otherwise -- that make him a risk to be pulled from action at any time, fantasy owners will take their chances on Gordon once again because of his incredible athletic ability and his erratic-but-impressive fantasy production in the past. Now on his third NFL team, the big tease can begin again.

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A New Outlook In Seattle

Gordon obviously will not play in Week 9 against the Buccaneers, but the expectation seems to be that he will be ready to make his Seattle debut in Week 10 in a marquee matchup with the undefeated 49ers. But he was not highly productive as a Patriot this season in six games, and he will likely operate as a third wideout in the Seattle offense behind Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf.

Gordon had only one TD catch in his first five games with the Patriots before injuring himself in the sixth game, which turned out to be his final appearance with the team. That score came in the season opener. Between Weeks 2 and 5 he never found the end zone again and he finished with over 60 receiving yards only once during that span.

As always, Gordon teased his owners with his ability to win contested catches and gain good chunks of yardage after the catch. But he didn’t seem to be able to put it all together for a full outing of impressive production after Week 1. Then came the knee issues and his ensuing release amid rumors of punctuality problems.

Now he gets another opportunity to tantalize fantasy owners with his potential upside, this time working with Russell Wilson, arguably the best downfield passer in the NFC. Like Metcalf, Gordon is a size/speed combo that should, in concept, work ideally with Wilson’s willingness to look for big gainers. When he uses play-action or breaks the pocket and goes downfield, the results are often positive.

Wilson also offers up 50/50 jump balls to his receivers very frequently, often doing so in situations near the goal-line. Those are two areas where Gordon has regularly shined, whereas Metcalf is not winning most of those contested battles at this stage in his career.

The Seahawks also needed to replace the big tight end target Will Dissly, who thrived on key downs and in scoring situations near the end zone. If he can stay out of trouble, healthy, and on the field, Gordon enters a very friendly situation for his skill sets.


Don’t Worry Too Much About DK

Gordon is not going to vault past Metcalf on the depth chart and Seattle remains heavily committed to the running game. The Seahawks rank 27th in pass attempts, yet the incredibly efficient Wilson is the second-highest scoring QB in fantasy football. Wilson and his pass-catchers don’t waste many opportunities to make plays. Gordon will likely be third on the WR depth chart and that will adversely affect the number of opportunities he'll get to make splash plays. At the same time, he won’t need to be targeted too often to deliver some possible big gainers and/or TDs. He won’t have an adequate fantasy floor, but the ceiling will always be there as a Seahawk.

Gordon figures to be an inconsistent but potentially productive fantasy WR4 with Seattle if everything works out. He’ll be a possible high upside play in any given week but could just as easily disappoint. The Seahawks did well to acquire him to further strengthen their receiving corps, as David Moore is someone the team likes internally but is better suited to be their fourth wide receiver in a “get richer” scenario like this one. Jaron Brown was not dependable at all.

The one concern for Metcalf owners is that Gordon will cut into his production. That may turn out to be a minor concern. As noted in this terrific breakdown by ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps, Metcalf is quickly progressing.

Metcalf is averaging 17.5 yards per catch and will continue to be a featured big-play guy and goal-line area target for Wilson. The team traded up to get him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and sees him as a long-term standout as he evolves. Wilson will keep him heavily involved in the passing game, and the addition of Gordon can only help Metcalf face less defensive attention. Also, if Metcalf deals with any of the injury problems that he sometimes battled in college, Gordon can step in as a starter and would immediately get fantasy WR3 consideration in such scenarios.


More Weaponry For Wilson

The addition is an obvious bonus for Wilson, who never had a true quality size/speed combo at WR previously in his career before Metcalf was drafted. Now he has two of them. Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been more focused on getting sizable playmakers for Wilson since the end of Super Bowl XLIX. They acquired Jimmy Graham the following season but he did not produce as hoped.

Wilson’s receiver cupboard is now full of enticing options and he will remain a top-level fantasy QB. The Seahawks are apparently depending heavily on their offense to push them to more success this season, as the defense has been very shaky. Expect high-scoring affairs ahead, which will make the team a very useful DFS resource.

Gordon should certainly be a waiver priority in your league if he is a free agent. Reliability will be an issue, of course, both on and off the field. But as it always is with Gordon, the superb talent is still there to boost your fantasy fortunes in any given week. Just don’t count on it. Gordon will be a fine streamer and DFS GPP play if and when he is available for usage on game days.

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