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Fantasy Football Today

Josh Gordon can't be this bad in the red zone again

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

The Fantasy Football world marveled as Josh Gordon put up historic numbers despite missing two games and then playing with one average quarterback (Brian Hoyer) and two below-average QBs (Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell).

He led all receivers with 18.9 Fantasy points per game; scored 226 Fantasy points in standard leagues, one fewer than top finisher Demaryius Thomas; became the first receiver in NFL history with back-to-back 200-yard games; embarrassed New England's Aqib Talib; recorded an NFL-best 30 receptions of 20-plus yards; and set numerous Browns' records while averaging 117.6 receiving yards.

A whopping 53 of his 149 targets (36 percent) were uncatchable.

But this is what's remarkable: Gordon was awful in the red zone. And his quarterbacks weren't all to blame.

Gordon tied for 73rd among WRs in red-zone scoring. He drew 18 red-zone targets, tied for 15th-most, but caught just five for 44 yards and a touchdown. He corralled one of 11 targets inside the opponent's 10.

Some of those were bad throws. But in Week 16, Fantasy's championship week, Gordon cost his owners two touchdowns.

First he caught, then dropped a wide-open slant at the Jets' 20 that would have gone for a TD. Then he allowed Dee Milliner to knock a pass away from him at the goal line. Finally, Gordon juggled a 1-yard fade in the end zone before stepping out of bounds.

"I want to do the best that I can do and I never want to let anyone down and miss a play," Gordon told reporters afterward. "I always want to be a guy that can be relied on. It seems as though I've missed a few plays the past few games and it seemed out of character for me. I can't really say what it was. I don't even know, but it wasn't in my character."

At 6-3, 225 pounds, Gordon is a unique blend of size, power and speed. With improved quarterback play, running back Ben Tate and a better No. 2 receiver in Cleveland, Gordon could easily surpass Calvin Johnson as Fantasy's No. 1 wideout. (As it is, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank Gordon No. 2 behind Johnson).

One thing is certain -- Gordon won't be that bad in the red zone again.

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