Fantasy 5: Josh Gordon’s low fantasy stock drops again
Jeff Ratcliffe highlights the top fantasy football news of the day, including position battles in Minnesota and New York.
Fantasy 5: Josh Gordon’s low fantasy stock drops again
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)
We’re going to hit the ground running today. That means no fancy introduction. No anecdotal story. No parables, allegories, or tales of whimsy. Just the facts. Here’s the news fantasy players need to know from the last two days:
1. Josh Gordon denied reinstatement
Here we go again. The troubled receiver’s most recent petition for reinstatement was denied by the NFL Thursday. Gordon hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since Week 16 of the 2014 season. He’s eligible to reapply again in the fall.
There’s no denying Gordon’s immense talent on the field. He exploded into the fantasy consciousness in 2013 when he finished as the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver with a massive 1,646 yards and nine scores on 87 catches in just 14 games. Of course, off-field issues have plague him throughout his career, and he’s been suspended for a total of 45 games over the last four seasons.
The book isn’t entirely closed on Gordon’s career, as he’s still just 26 years old. The Browns also reportedly would welcome Gordon back if he’s able to get things on track off the field. However, a recent split with his agent suggests that isn’t a likely outcome. There’s a glimmer of hope that Gordon may eventually get back on the field, but it isn’t advisable to take a flier on him in redraft leagues this year. Those in deep dynasty leagues can hold onto him, but the staff here at PFF wouldn’t fault you if you cut him outright.
2. Expect a committee in the Minnesota backfield
Word out of the Vikings beat suggests the dreaded committee will be in place in the backfield during training camp. Minnesota spent a second-round pick on Dalvin Cook, but also signed Latavius Murray during free agency. While Cook would seem to have a leg up on lead back duties, Murray appears to be in the mix for early-down and short-yardage work. Jerick McKinnon is also expected to have a role as a receiver.
There certainly were better landing spots for Cook. In Minnesota, he not only joins a moderately crowded house, but he also will run behind a suspect offensive line that will potentially feature rookie center Pat Elflein along with free agent signees Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff. Cook offers upside as an explosive playmaker, but he’s best viewed as an RB2 in redraft leagues.
3. The Jets No. 1 receiver is …
Quincy Enunwa? Yikes. Not to knock the fourth-year man, but he’s not the prototype No. 1 type. However, word out of the Jets beat suggests Enuwa could be in store for an increased role as the lead receiver depending on Eric Decker’s recovery from hip and shoulder surgeries.
A quick glance at the Jets depth chart shows this isn’t an ideal team for fantasy production with one of the worst quarterback situations in the league. Fantasy drafters also should be wary of Enunwa’s low-upside profile as a hybrid tight end type who mans the slot. That being said, Enunwa is currently going undrafted in standard 16-round fantasy drafts, so there is value to be had. At the same time, fantasy drafters may want to take their chances and shoot for more upside with one of the Jets rookie receivers. Third-round selection ArDarius Stewart has received positive reviews for his performance in rookie mini-camp. He’s an intriguing late-round dart if he manages to work his way into the Jets’ top three receivers.
4. Vikings sign Michael Floyd
Insert yawn emoji here. There was a time not too long ago where Floyd appeared to be turning a corner on the field. During the 2015 season, he scored six times from Week 6 on and managed to put up WR2 numbers over that span. The former first-rounder then was cut following two DUI arrests, one of which was an extreme DUI. He landed with the Patriots and won a Super Bowl ring, despite being a healthy scratch for the Conference Championship and the Super Bowl.
Much of the chatter surrounding this signing is regarding the impact on second-year man Laquon Treadwell. While we certainly could read this as a “message” being sent to Treadwell, perhaps this is just a simple depth move. The Vikings are thin at receiver and the wide receiver free agent market has all but dried up. Provided he can stay healthy, Floyd will compete for a roster spot, but he’s well off the fantasy radar. On the other hand, Treadwell remains a player to monitor in redraft leagues and a buy-low candidate in dynasty formats.
5. Cardinals cut bait on Daryl Washington
Washington was once one of the most dynamic off-ball linebackers in the league. But after three years of suspension, he now finds himself without a team. Arizona released the 30-year-old linebacker Thursday.
Washington entered the 2013 season on the heels of a massive season where he racked up 134 total tackles and a jaw-dropping nine sacks. Those numbers placed him in elite IDP territory with only Luke Kuechly scoring more fantasy points in 2012. Washington opened the 2013 season on suspension, and wasn’t quite able to recapture his previous form, finishing 22nd among linebackers in fantasy scoring over the final 13 weeks of the season.
Those would be the last weeks we’d see Washington, as he’s been suspended ever since for violating the substance-abuse policy. He has also yet to be suspended for a 2013 domestic-abuse charge. Of course, Washington claims to be in the best shape of his life, but three years away from the game may be too much to overcome. Optimists in IDP circles may want to reconsider holding out hope for Washington.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.