Both of the players in focus today offer mouthwatering upside and exciting elite skill sets. The question remains, however: Who should you draft? Tyreek Hill or Josh Gordon? The ADP for both as of this writing according to Fantasy Football Calculator is 3.06. This has the potential to be a burning question throughout the off-season and one that carries huge fantasy implications as your potential third pick in this year’s upcoming fantasy football draft. As daunting of a task as it can be to decide between the two, that is why The Fantasy Whisperers are here for you. So worry not, as Big Travy has your back! I will dive into each player’s current situation and outlook for the 2018 season and explain why you should feel confident in drafting Josh Gordon as the more likely to return value from this current risky ADP.
Let’s start with former gadget player turned WR1: Tyreek Hill. Last year Tyreek found himself finishing with the 7th most receiving yards in the NFL with 1,183. What may be more shocking and evokes questions of sustainability is that 628 of those yards were by way of the deep ball. Even more concerning is the fact that 69% of his career TDs have come from balls thrown from 20 or more yards out. Hill has had amazing success with the long bomb, home run type throws and because the Chiefs have given the keys to the offense to bazooka-armed Patrick Mahomes, many are projecting possibly the same or even more success. I encourage those people to temper expectations. It does not seem likely that Hill can continue this type of success based solely on his speed and Mahomes’ arm alone. The fact remains that he only got 105 targets last year and the Chiefs have not only added Sammy Watkins to the already stacked receiving options, they are also being very vocal this offseason about getting Kareem Hunt more receiving work out of the backfield this year. Although I will admit the idea of Patrick Mahomes’ arm talent gets me excited about Hill’s fantasy prospects there is much more evidence to suggest that a young quarterback is more likely to lean on his tight end especially when your tight end is Travis Kelce. The unknown here is what will the target split look like between new addition Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill? Mahomes will have no allegiance to either and this could spell danger for Tryeek’s already questionable volume.
Josh “Flash” Gordon returned to the field once finally eligible last year for the final 5 games of 2017. You have to look back to 2013 to see when Gordon was last in his peak fantasy football form. Coming into this year he is being drafted at an ADP that suggests the fantasy community believes he will be a WR1 again. In limited work last year with a inexperienced and inconsistent QB Gordon avearged a healthy 18.6 yards per catch. The Browns, partially due to game script, targeted Gordon 41 times over his 5 games last year. The Browns this year, although they project more wins and overall team improvement, will likely with have similar season long game scripts that will force them to play catch up and throw more than the league average. The argument here is that Tyrod Taylor has been at his best with receivers like Sammy Watkins in 2015 where Taylor’s average depth of target was 10.7 and among the league leaders. In 2015 and 2016, prior to the Bills essentially giving up on Taylor in 2017, he posted back to back top 15 passer rating seasons on throws that travelled further than 20 yards down the field. Similar to Hill’s situation above with Mahomes, Josh Gordon will look to capitalize on a quarterback that throws the deep ball with efficiency and effectiveness. What is different in Cleveland is that Gordon’s main competition for targets will be Jarvis Landry and his volume based short and intermediate work. It is important to remember that no receiver in a Tyrod Taylor led team has seen more than 96 targets in a season and although this could be dangerous for Gordon it is much more detrimental for Landry’s style of play as he did significantly less with his catches, averaging 10.5 yards per reception. That is 8.3 less than Gordon’s.
Decision time! You are on the clock, you need a wide receiver and both of these top receiving options for their respective team’s are staring back at you. These two share the same higher-arching concern: they are the top option on a team that has seen their supporting cast improve. They will be asked to do more with less and both have been effective in that regard. The stark difference is that Tyrod Taylor has a proven track record in this league of getting a WR with similar skills to that of Josh Gordon’s involved in an offense at an above average level. 2015 saw Tyrod’s main weapon Sammy Watkins finish as a top 15 wide receiver in fantasy. This Cleveland roster will be better than that Buffalo one and this should only benefit Gordon’s fantasy prospects. Tyreek Hill on the other hand will have a second year quarterback who has played one NFL game, a meaningless week 17 contest last year. The weapons around Hill are much better and reliable than those around Gordon in Cleveland and Hill relies way too much on the deep ball to rely on for week to week fantasy starting WR purposes. If you’re stuck, draft Gordon over Hill.