NFL: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

Ever wonder how they came up with a price for Josh Gordon this week? $6,300. It seems reasonable, I suppose. It’s a price that lands him squarely between Odell Beckham, Jr. ($6,100) and DeSean Jackson ($6,500), and there is no reason I can say with any degree of certainty that he’ll perform a lot better, or a lot worse, than those guys. All the same, though, this price feels like a hedge.

What do I mean by hedge? Well, I guess what it means is that I believe it is much more likely that Gordon either dramatically outperforms or underperforms that price tag than that he simply lives up to it.

Josh Gordon finished last year as the #1 wide receiver in all of fantasy football. He had 150 more yards than Antonio Brown, who finished second. He had over 1,600 yards and 9 touchdowns, and he did it all in 14 games. And he did it with Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden under center. Calvin Johnson also played 14 games last year. A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown all played 16. Josh Gordon outscored them all.

In other words, he was not a $6,300 receiver – hardly ever. He was good, but he wasn’t just “had a couple of huge games” good. He was consistently REALLY REALLY good.  Week in and week out production. And all of this is my way of saying that this is not just some guy coming back this week. This is a guy who could swing countless fantasy leagues across the country, a guy who AVERAGED more than 23 fantasy points per game in a PPR format last season. Certainly, he’s a guy who could make a huge difference, one way or the other, in your daily contests this weekend.

So whether you’re starting him or not, you can’t ignore him. There is a decision to be made here. This is much like when Calvin Johnson returned from injury a few weeks back, and was $7,300. You could not ignore that price – you either took advantage of it and got him in your lineup, or you looked at it, and decided it was too soon and that’d you’d let someone else waste the roster spot on a decoy. But you noticed. (And, in case you forgot, those of you who trusted were rewarded to the tune of 7 for 113 and a TD, and a rapidly rising price tag).

Here’s what a few guys are saying about Gordon as he returns to the practice field this week:

Joe Haden (Browns corner with the privilege of trying to stop Gordon every day): “It wouldn’t surprise me if he went out there and had 250, even a little bit.”

Brian Hoyer (Browns QB with the privilege of trying to figure out how best to use his shiny new toy): “He’s a freak.”

And, finally, Gordon himself: “I am going to tear this league up.” (Gotta love confidence from a guy with the skills to back it up).

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

So the question you need to ask yourself is, do you take advantage of the low price tag now, before it skyrockets? If he doesn’t play well, you’ll be glad you left him alone, and you’ll have another week to decide, because the price will stay low. But if he does play well, the price is going up, and not slowly – once we see he is back, and himself, he’ll be priced as he should be, right at the top of the WR lists, and just become one more guy you can think about spending big bucks on.

For me, I take the shot – he’s in my lineups this weekend, because he’s a freak, who plans on tearing the league up, and is capable of dropping 250 on Atlanta, and most importantly, because I want one chance to see his name in my lineup NEXT TO, rather than INSTEAD OF, someone like Jordy, or Demaryius, or Antonio. You don’t have to agree with me, but you do have to admit my way is more fun.

Good luck.