In early May of 2017, the NFL chose not to reinstate Josh Gordon, denying him from returning to play for the Cleveland Browns for the first time in since 2014. Yet, David Gonos, in his infinite wisdom, has found a handful of reasons why Fantasy Football owners should still draft Josh Gordon with your 16th-round pick.
But Gonos, you say, let’s not forget that Gordon’s entire adult life has been surrounded by suspensions! Let’s review the tape, shall we?
In 2010, Gordon was suspended at Baylor after he and a teammate were found sleeping in car in a Taco Bell drive thru with a car full of weed(come on, who hasn’t done that?).
In 2011, Baylor suspended Gordon indefinitely for a failed drug test. So he transferred to Utah – sitting out a year. The next year, I’m sure the Utes were excited to hear he decided to put his name in for the 2012 Supplemental Draft, where the Browns chose him in the second round.
Brown came into the league the same time, give or take a year, as fellow Baylor wide receivers Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams.
In 2013, the NFL suspended Gordon for the first two games of the season for violating their substance-abuse policy. He would later finish as one of the best Fantasy wide receivers in the game, catching 200-yards worth of passes in back-to-back games!
In 2014, Gordon was arrested for DWI, and then later suspended for another substance abuse violation. That year-long suspension was reduced to just 10 games, and he only played five games that year, looking like a shadow of his 2013 self.
In 2015, Gordon was suspended for the entire year after testing positive for alcohol use (he was not allowed to drink because of his earlier DWI that had not run out).
In 2016, Gordon’s request to rejoin the NFL was denied, plausibly because of another drug test violation. The NFL reinstated him (and this is key!) and dropped the suspension to just the first four games. Of course, toward the end of that four-week period, he decided to enter rehab, probably because of yet another drug test violation.
In May of 2017, Gordon was denied reinstatement by the NFL, and his agent has reportedly left him. He can re-apply for reinstatement later this coming fall.
So, Mr. Gonos, why the heck would I want to draft a 19-time suspended football player, like Gordon, in the 16th round?
5 Reasons You Should Draft Josh Gordon in Round 16
These aren’t meant to change your entire Fantasy Football draft strategy, but to help you understand the risk/reward with Gordon at this point.
1. The NFL is Predictably Unpredictable
We really have no idea what they’re going to do (see 2014 reinstatement after a four-game suspension, see Tom Brady, see Ray Rice, see concussions, see unrealistic suspensions for marijuana use). Gordon could plausibly change his life in the next four months and get back in their good graces. They want to see him succeed.
2. With Josh Gordon Comes Stephen Gostkowski
Most Fantasy Football leagues go 14 to 16 rounds deep, and most Fantasy Football owners are smart enough to draft a kicker with their last pick. If you know you will take Gordon in Round 16, then you can take your kicker in Round 15 – and you’ll likely get the very best kicker, which is still Gostkowski, in spite of his 2016 efforts.
3. The Browns Still Have a Spot For Him
The Browns are still reeling from Johnny Manziel and other front office mistakes over the years, and despite drafting Corey Coleman and signing Kenny Britt, the Browns would welcome Gordon back in a heartbeat as their No. 1 wide receiver.
Not only that, but Gordon would also be helped by an adept run game that should take pressure off whomever plays quarterback (my vote is DeShone Kizer by midseason).
4. People Remember Awesome-ness
The last non-kicker pick is usually a throwaway pick, by which I mean, you’re drafting a sleeper you’ve already passed on for 15 rounds. He’s likely the first player you’ll cut for a hot Week 1 free agent. So burn that pick on a high ceiling longshot like Gordon!
Just think of how you’ll revel in everyone’s hate if Gordon gets reinstate in September! They’ll all run to the website to pick him up, but they’ll see your team name emblazoned across his player page! Victory!
5. His Value Doesn’t Warrant a Higher Pick
With all that said, let’s not be stupid and pick Gordon a few rounds earlier, just because I over-convinced you on how he’s still a great final pick. If someone else drafts him in Round 14, then you should certainly mock that person mercilessly (and don’t mention this article!).
Let me just say – I took Gordon in Round 12 of the 2017 Athlon Fantasy Football Magazine Draft Preview – but I did that draft the day before his reinstatement was denied! RATS!!!
If he was suspended the day before, I probably still would want to draft Josh Gordon just a few rounds later anyway. Ha! Tell me when/if you would draft Josh Gordon in 2017 Fantasy Football leagues by tweeting me @DavidGonos.)
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.