So. Josh Gordon, one of the most undeniably talented wide receivers in the NFL, has just been traded to the team rostering one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. What does that mean for fantasy? It means good things. Very good things. Unless you’re playing against Josh Gordon and/or Tom Brady in the near future. Then it means bad things. Very bad things for you.
Gordon is entirely capable of being the most productive wide receiver in the league for the rest of the season. It may sound like an overstatement, but honestly, what’s holding him back? He’s the most talented receiver on the Patriots roster and as long as the hamstring injury doesn’t keep popping up in the future (he’s healthy enough to play this week), he’ll have every opportunity to be a fantasy monster. Gordon joining the Patriots is a match made in heaven and it skyrockets his value, while giving Brady a boost as well.
The thing about New England’s well-oiled machine of an offense is it supports so many fantasy-relevant players. In most leagues, you’ll see Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, Rex Burkhead, James White, Stephen Gostkowski, and Sony Michel all on rosters. Even Phillip Dorsett may be owned in your league after last week. So the question becomes, how are these guys affected by the Gordon trade? It’s nothing but positive for Gordon and Brady, what about everyone else?
We’ll start with the receivers. Hogan takes a pretty big hit here. It’s hard to imagine him maintaining the same touchdown production he’s enjoyed the past two seasons. He reeled in two this past week against the Jaguars and had 5 TDs last year in 9 games before getting hurt. Hogan became one of Brady’s preferred red zone targets, but that’s likely to change. It’s going to be hard to pass up the 6’3″, 225 pound athletic freak Gordon in the red zone in favor of Hogan. And obviously, Gronk is already there too. Hogan will still start for the Pats, and with Brady he should remain startable for fantasy purposes. But his weekly ceiling will likely be lowered a bit now that Gordon’s in town.
Edelman shouldn’t be affected too much. He’ll still be a target hog out of the slot once he returns. And aside from an outlier 2015 in which he scored 7 TDs in just 9 games, he’s never relied on TDs to be productive. He’ll still be a great option in PPR and a decent enough flex in standard leagues. As for Phillip Dorsett…well, sorry buddy. It’s hard to imagine Dorsett having a role as long as the entire WR corps is healthy. It’s a shame since he’s improved so much since last year, but he’s the clear #4 on the depth chart when Gordon and Edelman are both active.
The running backs shouldn’t be affected a whole lot, as Brady still loves to use them out of the backfield. If anything, the presence of Gordon may create some more space in the middle of the field for the RBs to operate. The problem with them is the same as it’s always been: picking the right guy to start. Burkhead, White, and Michel are all capable of leading the backfield in touches in any given week. Of course, that doesn’t change with the addition of Gordon.
And finally, Gronk. After Brady and Gordon, Gronk probably benefits the most from this deal. He’s the one defenses have to key in on, especially in the red zone. Now the Patriots have a guy who’s just as much of a downfield and red zone threat as Gronk is, so opposing defenses will have to figure out a new gameplan instead of just having everyone including the popcorn guy cover Gronk.
Overall, the Patriots offense is going to be on another level. Gordon has the potential to do some special things the rest of this season. If you own him, strap in. We’re in for a show.