Starting Josh Gordon in fantasy football is like playing Russian roulette.
If you had the wherewithal to start the 21-year-old wide receiver these past two weeks, there's a good chance you came out with two victories. If you start him in Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts, you're going to get your head blown off.
Gordon's worth on the gridiron is clear: Run straight, run fast and catch the ball. That strategy has worked over the past two weeks—he's pulled in five catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns. That's a healthy 36.2 yards per reception and a score once every 1.67 times he touches the ball.
Can you say efficient?
Those huge plays have made this year's supplemental-draft prize one of the most popular players in fantasy football. He's been the second-most added player in Yahoo! leagues and fourth-most in ESPN leagues.
With six teams on a bye in Week 7, there's also a good chance that most of those owners have inserted Gordon into their starting lineups with what they assume is a tasty matchup at Indianapolis.
But don't mistake this team for the Colts of yore. And by "yore," I mean last year.
Indy has been the third-most stingy squad in the NFL against the pass, giving up just 200 yards per game through the air. Throw in the fact that they are at home and boast one of the most effective pass rushes in the NFL (sack percentage of 8.39, which ranks third in NFL), and Cleveland's ability to rack up any explosive plays will be limited.
Moreover, as Shonn Greene and the normally-lifeless Jets rushing attack proved last week, anyone can run on the Colts, who are 29th in the NFL at 5.0 yards per carry allowed.
If Greene, who had combined for 123 yards in his past four games, can run for 161 on the Colts, then Trent Richardson can run for about 600.
The less throws from Brandon Weeden, the less chances for Josh Gordon to pull in a long bomb.
Considering the Devery Henderson clone—to be fair, Gordon has much more potential than Henderson. But at this point in his career, his route running is limited. He's dependent on the big play—has racked up just 12 catches in six games, a conservative game plan doesn't bode well for fantasy owners.
Gordon will get a few deep chances from the big-armed Weeden, but the risk is too high in this matchup. If you don't want to kill away your Week 7 fantasy hopes, go with a more consistent, less is-this-the-week-I-bite-the-bullet option.