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2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Standard | PPR

Leave it to Josh Gordon to make the receiver position more interesting in the middle of Fantasy Football drafts.

He played 21 snaps and was thrown at two times on deep routes. He caught both targets from Robert Griffin III for 87 yards and a touchdown, towering over 5-foot-9 cornerback Brent Grimes on both plays.

Gordon hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2014 when he came back from a 10-game suspension and grossly underwhelmed. His 2016 season won’t start until Week 5 because of another suspension. But there he went, running deep at good speed, adjusting to RG3’s passes and hauling them in for large gains. The touchdown catch showed off Gordon using his unique size to block out Grimes to make the play. It was 2013, his breakout year, all over again.

Josh Gordon WR / Cleveland Browns (Week 3 preseason stats at TB)

TAR: 2REC: 2YDS: 87TD: 1

Fantasy owners should be comfortable drafting him when the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward. He is certainly in the right place at the right time — the Browns offense figures to throw a lot this year as it plays from behind. Their defense is not good. That means a lot of targets. And he sure looks like he’s in good enough physical shape to be a regular part of the offense. These are good things.

But this is also an offense with the most concerning quarterback situation in the league. Robert Griffin III is known for getting knocked around, Josh McCown is known for being a hit-or-miss passer and Cody Kessler is known for … well, who knows. He’s a rookie. Plus the Browns have an offensive line that is, at best, as good as it was last season (53 sacks allowed). Oh, and Gordon is one suspension away from playing in the Canadian Football League for the rest of his life. These are bad things.

For Gordon to get to 1,000 yards this year he would need 83.3 yards in each of his 12 games.

Not impossible.

Touchdowns would follow if he got enough targets to rack up 83.3 yards per game. Perhaps 1,000 yards and, say, seven touchdowns is on the high side. Given the state of his quarterbacks, would 900 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games be considered reasonable? If so then he’d be a better Fantasy choice than receivers with a similar projection because he’d put the numbers up in 12 games and theoretically have more impactful Fantasy weeks than those who play 16 games.

Knowing all the risks, it seems like the safest place to draft him is in Round 7. That’s about the same time most people would willingly draft shaky running back Arian Foster and stellar-but-suspended quarterback Tom Brady. Your decision to draft him will come down to whether you trust him and the Browns offense.

No one would blame you for passing on Gordon … but someone else in your league can’t wait to get his or her hands on him.

Source: CBS Sports / 2016 Fantasy Football Strategy: Here’s when you should draft Josh Gordon