NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -
We're halfway through the month of August. So there's no time to wait. We're going to dive into one of the most difficult decisions fantasy football owners are running into: Do you pick up Melvin Gordon with an early round selection?
My short answer: I would not take Melvin Gordon without doing the proper planning first.
The long answer involves a few different factors (don't worry, this isn't a long read).
The prime spot, in my opinion, to take Gordon is in the third round after you've secured an elite RB1 or WR1, or maybe both. That provides you with a little bit of security if Gordon pulls a Le'Veon Bell and sits out or holds out well into the season.
The pros, if he plays, are the possibility of having an unreal combination of running backs that's capable of easily carrying your team, looking like genius for pulling the trigger, and if you if you continue to take running backs and receivers through the fifth round, your flex position should be really strong.
The cons are obvious, but their impact can be lessened if you're smart. Obviously, if Gordon sits out a significant amount of time, you spent a prized pick on a player that's not going to give you anything. There's no getting around that. However, he depth behind Gordon will produce, and you can take advantage of that.
If you go for Gordon, it's an absolute must that you take Austin Ekeler and/or Justin Jackson in later rounds. I've typically seen Ekeler go off the board in the seventh or eighth round. You probably have to reach for him in the sixth or seventh to make sure you have him to lessen the risk on Gordon.
Would it sting to have to reach on a back-up RB? Yes. But Ekeler has a defined role within the offense whether Gordon is there or not. If Ekeler is the lead back, great, you’ve got him within a strong offense where he should get at least 15 touches per game. And if Gordon returns, you have both. It’s smart practice to have the back-up anyway, plus, at times last season, I used both Gordon and Ekeler in my lineup as a RB1 and Flex with excellent results (winning nine games and finishing runner-up).
Unfortunately, tying up two of your first eight picks in one RB role does mean the rest of your roster may suffer a bit. I don't love having to draft Ekeler so early. You'd likely be missing out on WR and TE depth, and your flex would definitely suffer a bit more if Gordon sits out.
So, bottom line: If you're a gambler (you are because you're playing fantasy football), Gordon may be worth it for you with the upside. But is it safe? Probably not because you're going to be playing with one hand tied behind your back if one or two injuries hits your team.
For much more fantasy advice, be sure to use the Final Word feature in our Final Play app. I'm happy to answer any and all questions.
Good luck drafting! It’s all downhill from there.