Need Fantasy Football lineup advice? Talk to CBS Sports on your Google Assistant to get insights on the best sleepers and to help decide between players. Just start with, “Hey Google, talk to CBS Sports.”
The Browns and receiver Josh Gordon are parting ways, the team announced Saturday. Whether he will be released or traded will likely be decided by Monday.
Either way, his time in Cleveland is done.
In a statement, Browns general manager said “we are going to release him on Monday.” But the NFL Network reported that the Browns might trade Gordon before then and “as many as five teams” are interested in him. Three of those teams could be Dallas, New England and Buffalo — all of which could use receiver help.
However, one reason the Browns might be getting rid of Gordon, who has been suspended multiple times for problems with substance abuse, is “there was concern that perhaps he was struggling again with his sobriety or on the verge of relapsing,” according to cleveland.com.
Before news of his release, Gordon was ruled out for Sunday’s game at New Orleans because of an injured hamstring. The cleveland.com report says Gordon showed up at the team facility for treatment early Saturday and was “not himself,” which was cause for concern given his history.
Gordon, 27, has played in only 11 games since the end of 2014 and has been suspended for 56 of a possible 97 games in his career. He also missed the start of training camp this season after spending an extended period of time in treatment at the University of Florida. It was at least his fifth known time in treatment.
Clearly, there is a lot to still determine with Gordon, which brings us to his Fantasy value and what’s next for the Browns. First and foremost, we hope his struggles with substance abuse are not a reason for his release, and hopefully he’s not facing another suspension.
For now, Fantasy owners should hold onto Gordon, who played in Week 1 against Pittsburgh but had just one catch for 17 yards and a touchdown on three targets. If he lands in the right situation, he could still be a quality Fantasy option in the majority of leagues.
Based on the reports with Monday’s potential release, unless a trade happens sooner, we could have an answer on his next team by Tuesday when waivers run in Fantasy leagues, and you can make a decision on dropping him then — if it comes to that. While he may never return to the form he showed us in 2013 when he had 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns, he could still perform like a No. 2 Fantasy receiver.
It’s a story that’s still developing for Gordon. But the Browns are moving on with Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins as their top three receivers — for now.
The team will likely add another receiver, and veteran free agent Dez Bryant could be an option, although ESPN reports the Browns don’t seem to have an interest in the former Cowboy. Still, Bryant to Cleveland will be a popular rumor over the next few days, and it might be worth it to stash him if you have an open roster spot in deeper leagues. Bryant is currently owned in 36 percent of leagues on CBS Sports.
Landry is locked in as the No. 1 receiver in Cleveland, and his value improves with Gordon gone. The same goes for tight end David Njoku, so both should see increased targets, especially in Week 2 at New Orleans. Duke Johnson will hopefully also benefit with a bigger role in the passing game.
Fantasy owners interested in Gordon’s replacement should consider Callaway, and he’s owned in just 10 percent of leagues on CBS Sports. For now, just add Callaway in 12-man leagues with deeper rosters, but he should be picked up in all 14-team leagues or larger.
Callaway only had one target in Week 1 against the Steelers for no catches, but he figures to be a prominent option in the passing game for Tyrod Taylor. And we’ll see how much he’s used against the Saints, which will be a good indication of his role moving forward.
Higgins (1 percent owned) also gets a bump in value, but he’s not as talented as Callaway. He operated as the No. 3 receiver against Pittsburgh and had one catch for 38 yards on three targets, but he’s not someone to add right away outside of the deepest of leagues.
As for Taylor, he remains a good streaming option heading into Week 2 against the Saints, and he’s still someone to consider as a low-end starter in deeper leagues for the rest of the year. Even without Gordon, Taylor can get by in the passing game with Landry, Njoku, Johnson and potentially Callaway. Taylor’s a threat with his legs — he ran for 77 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 — and that makes him a valuable Fantasy asset, especially in leagues where passing touchdowns are just four points.
We’ll see what the Browns do to replace Gordon, and where Gordon ends up. This was unexpected news on Saturday, and Gordon’s story just added another interesting chapter to it in Fantasy and reality.