Suspended in 2015 for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Gordon was reinstated last November and played the final five games of the season. Projecting his 2017 numbers over a full season, you’d get 58 catches for 1,067 yards. Gordon is a remarkable physical specimen with a rare combination of size (6-3, 225 pounds) and speed (he reportedly clocked a 40-yard-dash time of 4.35 seconds last year). He posted mind-boggling numbers in 2013, when he had 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games. The Browns inked Gordon to a one-year contract in the offseason.
Gordon has a troubling history with drugs and alcohol, and last year he admitted in an interview with GQ magazine that he played under the influence of alcohol or drugs “probably every game of my career.” Any further drug or alcohol violations would likely result in a lifetime ban. Gordon was impressive late last season, but his numbers were hardly mind-blowing. Jarvis Landry signed with the Browns in the offseason and is sure to claim a big share of team targets, and Cleveland still has a very unsettled situation at quarterback.
The ultimate high-risk, high-reward pick in fantasy drafts, Gordon comes with a wide range of possible outcomes. He’s going to have a lot of people pulling for him this year, and for good reason. That said, pragmatic fantasy owners should contemplate the risk before drafting Gordon.