We were all waiting for Josh Gordon to arrive, and Josh Gordon did. Until he faced the Miami Dolphins, who would have said that? After starting the season with a bang (three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown; 16.3 fantasy points) against the Steelers, the Dolphins and their rotten defense made for a game script that killed all of Gordon’s upside in Week 2. With New England running more than passing (35 rushing attempts to 28 pass attempts), and Antonio Brown a part of the attack, let’s say there weren’t many opportunities for Gordon to rack up points that weekend. Flip the page to Week 3’s game against the Jets, and things came back to the norm. A 14.4-point performance by virtue of catching six of 11 targets (two of them in the red zone) for 83 total yards on the day.
New England’s receiving corps is on a clear timeshare with all players in equally balanced roles. Julian Edelman (172), Phillip Dorsett (167), Gordon (172) all have virtually participated in the same number of snaps, and all of them have done so in between 75% and 80% of the team’s plays. While the targets show a little bit more difference with Edelman leading the way (25), Gordon has the second most (20) and has been as efficient as Edelman if not more, which pencils him as at least the WR2 of this group with clear upside to be a WR1 at any point during games. This is the perfect situation for a real-life GM, but it’s not the ideal one for a fantasy GM as any of the attack’s pieces can turn to be a boom-or-bust player depending on Tom Brady’s preferences that week.
Fantasy Impact: New England faces one of its toughest games of the season so far going against Buffalo in Week 4. Believe it or not, the Bills enter the game with a 3-0 record. Buffalo’s pass defense ranks fourth by DVOA through Week 3, and they’ve allowed an average of 35.8 fantasy points per game to WR so far (keep in mind three wide receivers take the field each week per team, so that is just over 10 points per player, a rather low mark). In fact, while New England has yet to give up a touchdown, Buffalo has only given up one in three games. If New England can get a lead early they will turn to the run game (which Buffalo has been equally good at stopping), but if that is not the case and the Bills can keep the score tight, look for Brady to go through the air more often than not. If Edelman is limited due to his injury or is forced out of the game, Gordon looks like a solid start. If he doesn’t, I’d rather look at other potential better matchups and less crowded receiving groups.
Recommendation: Start (at Flex)