Josh Gordon's Updated Fantasy Outlook After WR Agrees to Chiefs Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 27, 2021

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2019, file photo, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) sets up against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Frequently suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon has applied to the NFL for reinstatement, a person with knowledge of the move tells The Associated Press, Thursday, June 18, 2020. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL does not publicly announce such moves.  (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
AP Photo/Brian Blanco

Whenever someone who once led the NFL in receiving yards is on the waiver wire, fantasy football managers are sure to pay attention.

On Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported wide receiver Josh Gordon is signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. However, it's probably premature to rush to the waiver wire to grab him.

Schefter reported Gordon would be eligible to play in Week 4, but that isn't likely to happen. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted Kansas City is initially signing him to its practice squad and hopes to eventually have him on its active roster down the line.

That means Gordon won't be an immediate option for fantasy football managers looking to turn around early struggles or build on their success in the season's first three weeks. Those who have the patience to use a roster spot on him and hope he finds his way into a productive role might have to wait for some time.

In January, ESPN's Brady Henderson reported that the NFL had rescinded Gordon's conditional reinstatement and suspended him indefinitely because he violated terms of the league's substance-abuse policy. His December 2019 suspension was his sixth since the 2013 campaign.

He is now headed back to the field, though, and fantasy football managers may be dreaming of acquiring the wide receiver who was unstoppable in his second season in the league for the Cleveland Browns.

After putting up 805 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a rookie in 2012, Gordon followed with 87 catches for an NFL-best 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.

It seemed as if he was well on his way to a dominant career, but he played only five games in 2014 and five games in 2017 while missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons. Gordon also put up more pedestrian numbers in 2018 and 2019 when he played for the Browns, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

There are plenty of positives for Gordon in Kansas City, starting with the fact Patrick Mahomes will be throwing him the ball. He also won't face many double-teams with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce occupying much of the defense's attention.

That would make him worthy of an immediate waiver-wire pickup if he was the clear-cut No. 3 option, but he isn't. Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson all have touchdown catches through the first three games and figure to see many of the targets that don't go toward Hill and Kelce.

While those top two pass-catchers each have 26 targets through three games, Hardman (15), Pringle (10) and Robinson (eight) have been involved to varying degrees. That isn't going to change with Gordon on the roster, even if he was unstoppable eight years ago.

In other words, don't go after Gordon unless you are in a deep league with the roster space to exercise patience and stash him on the bench. There are too many other options in Kansas City to expect consistent results.