When the Cleveland Browns announced on Saturday they were making plans to release Josh Gordon Monday, the real Howard Bender Bender got a little sad. You root for people to beat addiction; to get their lives back on-track and be productive members of society. Unfortunately, fantasy Howard Bender was in control of the Twitter timeline at that point and sent the following message to fantasy football owners everywhere:


Now fantasy Howard Bender isn’t a soulless monster. He too was rooting for Josh Gordon to succeed. But knowing the deluge of tweets, emails and posts from all other social media outlets where people find him would be rushing in like a tsunami, he made a pre-emptive strike with the hope of avoiding such an onslaught. He succeeded and everyone had a good laugh.

OK, the mood is set. I’ll stop being a douche and referring to myself in the third person.

Let’s get to the big story of the day and that’s the Patriots trading a fifth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for Gordon and they also get the added insurance of a compensatory, late-round pick from the Browns should Gordon fail to be active for 10 games.


Like a punch in the face.

People are going absolutely nuts with comparisons to Randy Moss in 2007 and those who hastily dropped Gordon over the weekend are kicking themselves. Probably worse actually. Any other team and they’d be okay, but going to the Patriots…? Working with the GOAT…? You would have thought someone just won Powerball and now can’t find the winning ticket.

Is this really like winning the fantasy football lottery, though? Are we to believe Belichick has some mystical hold over players and is able to right their wrongs and get them to fly the straight and narrow? It certainly worked for Moss, but there’s a piece of me that fails to understand how or why people don’t see the difference between handling an immature kid and handling a drug addict who clearly needs more of an isolationist approach to holding onto his sobriety. If he hasn’t already lost his grip already.

But you’re not here for the life lessons, are you? You want to know what to do with Josh Gordon and your fantasy team. OK, so here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. If you already own Josh Gordon , you leave him on your bench and see how it pans out. If there is someone in your league who is willing to overpay for him, you make that deal. Should Belichick not have any mystical powers that fix Gordon, you’re making out like a bandit and even if he does “fix” him, how much do you really think Gordon is going to be able to do? Do you think he’s going to crack 100 yards every game he plays for them? Score a touchdown per game? Let’s be realistic, people. The Patriots aren’t the Browns and they’re not force-feeding him 15 targets per game.
  2. If you don’t own Josh Gordon and he is on your waiver wire, you make the move to pick him up. If it’s simple waiver priority then you just drop in a claim and take shot. You lose that back-up tight end or that extra defense you’re carrying around and free up a spot. If you have to drop a wide receiver, then make sure you’re not giving up a major commodity. I love Dante Pettis and Geronimo Allison , but the upside of a sober and successful Josh Gordon trumps both of them. Sterling Shepard , Tyrell Williams , Josh Doctson ? They gone. Quite possibly even as high as a Robby Anderson (no pun intended). If you’re waiting on anyone’s proverbial upside, you can swap them out. Now if it’s FAAB bidding, the same rules apply for who to drop, but just keep in mind, it’s going to require roughly 35-40% of your remaining budget. Yeah, that ain’t cheap so you better be sure he’s going to play enough to give you a positive return on your investment.
  3. If you don’t own Josh Gordon but feel like you have to trade for him…well…A. I hope you don’t because B. it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. Am I giving up a productive running back to acquire him? Absolutely not. What about a high-end wide receiver? Nope. I wouldn’t even offer the likes of Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen or even JuJu Smith-Schuster . You cannot pay a price that is based in speculation alone. Everyone who owns him wants to…nay…expects to see Gordon dominate on the field with the Patriots. They have visions of him being right there in the realm of Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins . You do not want to shop at that store. It will break you. But again, if you are compelled beyond resistance, just make sure you’re not paying retail prices.

So that should cover it as we head into our waiver period tomorrow. Be smart. Be sensible. There is no reason to get carried away after everything we’ve seen from Gordon over the last several years shows you the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Your entire fantasy season depends on how crazy you get with this. Be calm and sensible and you’ll be fine. Lose your head and everything goes up in smoke (pun intended).