How fantasy owners could replace Josh Gordon

First, let us say that Josh Gordon performed better than we forecasted before the season. He was a marginal fantasy asset, scoring double-digits more than half the time he played (seven out of 12 games).

Yet he still didn’t live up to expectations of those who drafted him. He topped 15 PPR points just once — Week 9 against the Packers. He was just the 39th ranked fantasy wide receiver — which put him in the Allen Robinson/Mohamed Sanu/John Brown/Taylor Gabriel realm.

And he played in 12 of the Patriots’ 14 games before being suspended, again, by the league on Thursday. It is obvious he has his own personal demons, and we’re not here to judge him. But as fantasy owners, you also can’t ignore how those demons affect his performance or availability.

So though we wish Gordon the best in his personal battle, we also heartlessly move on and address any roster ramifications his suspension levies on our championship-week fantasy rosters.

Hopefully, because of his pedestrian production, you found suitable alternatives during the season. But if you somehow survived having to rely on his 9.9 per-game fantasy output and you’re stuck with nothing but scrubs on your bench, well, the bad news is: That is a tough spot to be in during title week.

The good news is, 9.9. points is not as difficult to replace as, say, those who in the waning weeks of the season have lost Kareeem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Odell Beckham Jr., James Conner, Cam Newton, Emmanuel Sanders, Aaron Jones, Kerryon Johnson, etc., for various lengths at crucial times.

There are some options possibly on your waiver wire who have the potential to provide you with the replacement value you need, or similar upside. There always was the possibility Gordon could go off, but was that possibility any more possible than, say, if Robby Anderson happens to have a big day Sunday against the Packers? Probably not.

Anderson is available in about half of leagues at various sites. Obviously, the more competitive your league, the less likely you will find him. If you can’t, you could look for Josh Reynolds. The Cardinals’ secondary has been no picnic for opposing fantasy WRs, but you figure he will get far less attention from the defense than Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.

You could turn to Jordy Nelson, who has averaged 15.1 PPR points over the past three weeks. But he also had a three-game stretch earlier in the season when he averaged 20.5 per game, and followed that up by averaging 1.6 over the next six games (two of which he missed).

Denver’ s DaeSean Hamilton is averaging 14.6 in his past two, stepping up after Sanders’ injury. Buffalo’s Robert Foster has two-straight 100-yard games. Miami’s Kenny Stills has a terrible matchup, but he is always just one broken tackle away from a long fantasy-boosting TD.

Gordon wasn’t going to be the reason for winning your fantasy title, so just make sure he isn’t the reason for losing it, either.

The Decision

Each week Post fantasy Madman Drew Loftis and Roto Rage Jarad Wilk debate whom you should start:

Leonard Fournette vs. Dalvin Cook

Drew: Fournette — It has been a terrible year for Fournette, though Cook’s hasn’t been much better (at least until recently). Cook’s big game last week came against the same Dolphins squad Fournette is facing this week. Expect Fournette to eat, and eat a lot. Cook has a nice matchup, too, and could make up some of the difference in the passing game. But Cook cost $6,900 at DraftKings, Fournette just $6,000.

Jarad: Cook — Over the past three weeks, Cook has averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and Detroit’s defense is allowing 4.88 yards per carry and 106.36 yards per game to opposing running backs. Running backs facing the Lions have also seen five or more targets in six of the past seven games, and Cook is averaging 3.7 per game (4.8 over his past six games). Cook, who finally looks healthy, is coming off a game in which he got 20 total touches, and the Lions just lost Da’Shawn Hand to the IR, so Cook should find success against a team he has had decent success against in the past (6.7 yards per carry, 155 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown in two games).

Last week: Drew 3.8 (Benjamin Watson — 1-28 receiving), Jarad 3.7 (C.J. Uzomah — 1-27 receiving)
Season: Drew leads series, 9-6

Big weeks

Taylor Heinicke QB, Panthers, vs. Falcons
(FanDuel $6,000/DraftKings $4,000)
Can’t imagine a championship roster that would need to take this risk in seasonal leagues, but as a DFS flyer? Why not. He once threw for 730 yards — in one game — while at Old Dominion. He is fleet of foot and is playing a weak Falcons defense. Yeah, he could be the next Nathan Peterman, or …

Jordan Howard RB, Bears, at 49ers
(FD $6,000/DK $4,300)
Has 19 carries in two straight games — one with 100 yards rushing, the other with a TD. San Fran run defense is to his benefit.

Elijah McGuire RB, Jets, vs. Packers
(FD $5,700/DK $4,700)
You get him for the volume — 20 touches in each of the past two games, with a TD in each.

Calvin Ridley WR, Falcons, at Panthers
(FD $5,500/DK $5,100)
Julio Jones is dealing with a hip issue, so he could sit or be limited. Panthers were surprisingly strong last week, but have been shredded in previous weeks through the air.

Small weaks

Philip Rivers QB, Chargers, vs. Ravens
(FD $8,200/DK $5,600)
The Buccaneers were able to mount an effective rush attack vs. the Ravens last week. The Buccaneers! The only team with a worse per-carry average is Arizona. With a healthy Melvin Gordon, but a banged up Keenan Allen (hip), the game plan likely will be grounded.

Adrian Peterson RB, Redskins, at Titans
(FD $5,700/DK $4,200)
Has been held to single-digit fantasy output five of the past seven games. Now faces a Titans team that is the stingiest against opposing fantasy backs.

Tevin Coleman RB, Falcons, at Panthers
(FD $6,400/DK $4,800)
Had the kind of game last week we thought would be commonplace after Devonta Freeman went down. Even with full workload and Ito Smith now also injured, the Panthers have been solid against the run.

Sterling Shepard WR, Giants, at Colts
(FD $5,000/DK $4,800)
Hasn’t scored double digits since Week 10, including the past two weeks with no Odell Beckham Jr. Evan Engram, not Shepard, is filling the void. The Colts won’t make it easier.

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