Josh Gordon was placed on waivers by the Patriots on Thursday, a move that was expected after the team put him on injured reserve last week. And, while it doesn't guarantee a future of Fantasy stardom, it does give him — and those Fantasy players who stashed him after last week's news — a glimmer of hope yet again.
Typically, wide receivers who leave teams in the middle of the season have a tough time being Fantasy relevant. It's hard enough to get up to speed with a new playbook and get on the same page with a new quarterback when you've got an entire offseason to prepare, let alone with a week or two of preparation. But Josh Gordon is not your typical wide receiver.
On two separate occasions, Gordon has joined a team midseason and managed to be a Fantasy contributor: In 2017, when he averaged 67.0 yards per game in five games after being reinstated from a suspension for the Browns' final five games; and then in 2018, when he was traded to the Patriots and averaged 65.5 yards per game over 11 games. That's not even counting his historic 2012 season, when Gordon was arguably the best receiver in football with three different starting quarterbacks.
Gordon was a disappointment to begin this season, but apparently the knee issue the Patriots placed him on IR with had been a lingering one, so it's possible he can bounce back if he is healthy. Gordon is sure to draw plenty of interest, either on waivers or once he becomes a free agent, and there is no shortage of teams who could use a big, fast playmaker. Here are five teams we'd like to see go after Gordon with an eye on his second half Fantasy potential:
Well, this could be one way to make up for the Antonio Brown blunder. The Raiders may be wary of taking on that risk after the way things went with Brown, but there's no doubt Gordon would be an upgrade. Tyrell Williams has done well as the top WR, while Darren Waller has emerged as a real playmaker as the de facto No. 1 option, but there would still be room here for Gordon. The only downside might be that the Raiders are averaging three fewer pass attempts per game than they did a year ago — though maybe the addition of a possible No. 1 wide receiver might help turn that trend around.
The Packers have found something that works in recent weeks, thanks to the individual brilliance of Aaron Rodgers, as well the work of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in the passing game. Jones especially has been a revelation working downfield, but this probably isn't sustainable. The return of Davante Adams will obviously help, but the Packers could still use another playmaker in the passing game, and ending up in a Rodgers-led offense would obviously be about as soft a landing spot as you could hope for.
Similar to the Packers, the Saints could use another downfield playmaker to go along with their No. 1 receiver. Michael Thomas is a model of efficiency, and they get a ton out of their running backs in the passing game as well, but the Saints aren't exactly overflowing with viable options otherwise. Ted Ginn is an effective field stretcher, but he isn't the kind of all-around weapon Gordon could be. The only downside here is, the Saints haven't thrown the ball enough over the last couple of years to truly sustain a second high-end Fantasy wide receiver, especially with Alvin Kamara's role in the passing game.
The Cardinals offense hasn't been quite what we were hoping for because Larry Fitzgerald seems to have taken another step back, and the young guys haven't quite stepped up as hoped. Gordon would immediately be the most talented receiver in this group, and he would have an opportunity to be the top option in a passing game on pace for nearly 600 attempts. The Cardinals could certainly use Gordon's field-stretching abilities, and he would be a good fit next to Christian Kirk and Fitzgerald on a team that wants at least three wide receivers on the field at pretty much all times.
The loss of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown has obviously hurt JuJu Smith-Schuster, and while I still strongly believe in his future as a dominant No. 1 wide receiver, there's no question he could use some help. Mason Rudolph has actually played decently, so it would be nice to see him with another established receiver to lean on, especially if he is going to be the Steelers quarterback of the future. Gordon might not have as much upside in Pittsburgh as some of these other spots, but he could make a far-reaching impact there, even if he doesn't become a Fantasy standout himself.