The Duel

Would You Rather: Draft Josh Gordon or Calvin Ridley in 2019 Fantasy Football

Max Staley
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Josh Gordon might be the toughest player to evaluate in all of fantasy football. In 2013, he racked up 1,646 receiving yards, nine touchdowns and looked like a future Hall of Famer. The thing is, no one is really sure if he's still that player.

He didn't play football in 2015 or 2016, and has missed 17 of a possible 32 games since 2017 due to a variety of suspensions. While he flashed his talents after being acquired by the New England Patriots in 2018, tallying 720 yards on 18.0 yards per reception, he didn't show off the rare burst he had in 2013.

On the other hand, someone like Calvin Ridley, who currently has an average draft position (ADP) of WR22, could be a much safer investment after a promising rookie season. With that in mind, let's break down which WR you'd rather draft in the 2019 season.

Calvin Ridley Fantasy Outlook

Ridley exceeded expectations as a rookie, amassing 821 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns and 64 receptions. His 10 receiving TDs were tied for the sixth-best mark among all players. It's also fair to expect some improvement in 2019. This will be Ridley's second year in the NFL, and he's locked as the No. 2 WR in the Atlanta Falcons' explosive offense.

However, Ridley was not nearly as consistent as his impressive season-long totals would suggest. He racked up a total of 142.8 points in standard leagues, good for a finish of WR18 in 2018, but about 23.4 percent of his production came from a Week 3 explosion that saw him amass 146 receiving yards and three TDs.

He was also held below 50 yards receiving 10 times in 2018. Ridley could improve next season, but his shaky week-to-week consistency makes him a bit of a risky investment.

Josh Gordon Fantasy Outlook

While Ridley's consistency can be questioned, he's nowhere near as much of a gamble as Gordon. If Gordon has another misstep with his substance abuse, he's likely going to be gone for the season, leaving fantasy owners high and dry.

Still, it's hard not to get excited about Flash. With Rob Gronkowski now out of the picture, Gordon and Julian Edelman are the Patriots' clear-cut primary targets. In three games without Gronk in 2018, Gordon averaged 103.67 receiving yards on 4.33 receptions per game. That's a small sample size, but it would've put him on pace for about 1,658 yards, the second-best total in the NFL.

Additionally, when Tom Brady targeted Gordon last season, he averaged 11.3 yards per attempt. That's more than he's had when targeting any other player since 2006, including Randy Moss (9.2) and Gronkowski (10.3). If Gordon stays on the field and continues to build chemistry with Brady, a WR1 finish is certainly possible.

At the end of the day, both of these players carry some risk. Still, even if Ridley improves, his upside could be capped due to the presence of Julio Jones. Gordon likely has higher ceiling than Ridley, but he also owns a much lower floor.

Risk-averse owners may want to lean toward Ridley, while the more adventurous players could take the plunge on Gordon.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.