In fantasy football, there are always going to be differing opinions on certain players. For whatever reason, there are narratives that can drive a player’s value up or down depending on what the fantasy community thinks of that player. One player that seems to drive a wedge between fantasy players everywhere is Melvin Gordon.
Gordon came into the league as a first round pick (15th overall) to the San Diego (now LA) Chargers in 2015. He was one of the more highly touted prospects of that draft, right behind Todd Gurley. Fantasy players rejoiced as Gordon was joining a good offense with an established QB. The hope that he was going to be an instant contributor to fantasy teams his first season. Unfortunately, his rookie year was lackluster. Gordon played in 14 games while carrying the ball 184 times for 641 yards and totaling 0 touchdowns. He did manage to add 33 catches for 192 yards to help in PPR leagues, but this was not what fans expected.
By the time September 2016 rolled around, Gordon was being drafted as the RB 12 with an ADP of 57.83 according to DLF’s ADP. While he was still being drafted as an RB1, which what was mostly due to age, he had guys like Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and Doug Martin being drafted ahead of him. This spot would prove to be a value for owners holding on to him and those looking for a buy low opportunity. He turned it around in the 2016 season by improving in every stat. Gordon tallied 254 carries for 997 yards while adding 10 rushing touchdowns. That was a drastic difference from his 0 just one year prior. He also improved on his receiving totals by grabbing 41 receptions and 419 yards to go with 2 receiving TDs over 13 games played. By the end of the season, he had moved up to RB6. That’s much more respectable for the year that Gordon put up.
By August of 2017, Gordon had moved up to RB4 in ADP, and was poised to have another very successful season. He did not disappoint. This season he played 16 games toting the rock 284 times for 1105 yards and 8 TDs, while adding 57 receptions for 470 yards and 4 TDs. His once again improved almost across the board, showing he is one of the few three down backs in the NFL. He gets all of the volume you want out of your RB1 and he backs it up by being productive for your fantasy team. This leads to just one question: Why has his ADP dropped since the start of the season?
The first thing that many will point to is the resurgence of the RB position as a whole. The bounce back campaign of Todd Gurley and the historic 2017 rookie RB class has given new life to the top tier RB group. Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, and Leonard Fournette all had great years. Dalvin Cook looked great in the game action he had before going down with a torn ACL. By the time the season was over, Gordon’s January ADP was RB9, behind all four of those players. All but one did outscore Gordon in 2017, but it was just their first season in the league. Now in February, Gordon has dropped once again to RB11, moving behind Christian McCaffrey who was behind him the previous month and the new super-prospect, Saquon Barkley.
Gordon just finished the 2017 season as the RB5 in PPR formats ahead of the likes of Fournette, McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook(inj), and even Ezekiel Elliot, though he missed 6 games due to suspension. All of those players are being drafted above Gordon. Dalvin Cook, who only played in 4 games this season before getting injured, is being drafted over 7 slots above Gordon, who played in 16 games.
Outside of the numbers, people like to knock on Gordon because he only weighs 215 lbs while being 6’1”, or that he has “skinny legs.” While he is slightly undersized for his height, he has been known to handle large workloads and still produce. He has also had ankle problems, perhaps due to that immense workload, but played more games this season than the two prior. He played a few games this season with that ankle injury, and performed fine. In Week 17 this past season, he totaled 124 yards on 23 touches on the injured ankle. The injury issues are overblown. The truth is, Gordon is one of just a few backs in the NFL that is tied to a good offense, and is all but guaranteed volume each and every week. He carries the ball a lot, but is also a very good receiver out of the backfield as he had the 9th most receptions of all RBs last season. Gordon should be valued as a top tier RB option in startups, and be drafted much higher than he is right now. I would be taking him in the early 2nd round ahead of McCaffrey, Cook, Hunt, and Fournette. If someone in your league has Gordon, see what it will take to get him. I’ve seen Gordon sell for the 1.03 straight up, which is a bargain. He is a prime target for me this offseason as he continues to be undervalued.