Fantasy
Six degrees of Josh Gordon
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - History was made on Sunday. And it happened in Cleveland of all places.

The first player in NFL history to record back-to-back 200-yard receiving games wasn't Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant. It wasn't A.J. Green either.

No, that record now belongs to Cleveland Browns second-year wideout Josh Gordon.

It's a staggering achievement and one that goes even deeper than you could imagine. I'd like to introduce to you, ladies and gentlemen, the six degrees of Josh Gordon.

1. Braylon Edwards

No, Braylon Edwards has not played for the Browns since 2009. In fact, he hasn't played for anyone since 2012. But that's neither here nor there. The fact is, his team record of 1,289 receiving yards is going down and it's going down in a hurry.

It took Edwards 16 games to reach that total in 2007. Gordon needs just 40 to tie it next week against New England. That would be his 11th game of the season. Barring an injury, Gordon's 2013 campaign will be the greatest ever by a Browns receiver.

2. Calvin Johnson

Megatron is the only receiver in football with more yards than Gordon this season (he leads Gordon by 50 yards) and that's with one more game under his belt (Johnson has played 11 games to Gordon's ten).

But here's something even more telling about Gordon's breakthrough 2013 season. If you stretch his 124.9 ypg average across a 16-game schedule, you'd have 1,998 receiving yards. That's 34 more than Johnson recorded during his record-breaking 2012 season.

As it stands now, Gordon is on pace for 1,749 yards, which would be the fourth-highest single season total in NFL history behind Johnson, Jerry Rice (1,848) and Isaac Bruce (1,781). At age 22, Gordon is younger than all three of those players were when they put up those numbers (33 for Rice, 27 for Johnson, 23 for Bruce).

3. Brandon Weeden

Gordon's emergence has raised plenty of questions but here's one you may not have thought about. What does it all mean for Brandon Weeden?

Weeden's first two years in this league have been a struggle but with Gordon making a mockery of opposing secondaries, things are finally looking up. Of course, Weeden will have to get over his concussion first, but when Gordon is on the field, the potential for a 20-point fantasy day will always be there.

Weeden's results over the last two weeks speak for themselves: 209 yards in a relief appearance last week versus Pittsburgh and then a career-best 370 yards on 40 attempts Sunday against Jacksonville. He may not have the talent of a Tom Brady or a Cam Newton but at least Weeden has a top- five receiver to throw to. For fantasy purposes, that makes him at least worth rostering.

4. Robert Griffin III

Gordon spent his first two seasons at Baylor before transferring to Utah in 2011. He never ended up playing for Utah and was later taken by Cleveland in the 2012 supplemental draft.

If Gordon had stayed in Waco for the 2011 campaign, the Bears could have been a title contender. Imagine Gordon lining up opposite Kendall Wright (now a receiver for the Tennessee Titans) with Robert Griffin III under center. They would have been unstoppable.

And who knows. Maybe it would have been enough to convince scouts that Griffin should be the No. 1 pick instead of Andrew Luck. Griffin wearing Colts blue and white instead of Redskins red and gold? It could have happened.

Or maybe the Colts, who had long had their eye on Luck, would have gone in a totally different direction ... by keeping Peyton Manning. GASP. Tim Tebow might still be the quarterback in Denver if that were the case. Double gasp.

Of course, we'll never know for sure what would have happened had Gordon stuck it out at Baylor. Maybe he would have become a top-five pick. But it's fun to think about.

5. Jordan Cameron

Most fantasy owners, myself included, love Josh Gordon. But not all of them do. The ones that don't probably own Jordan Cameron.

Cameron was dominant while Gordon was serving his two-game suspension earlier in the season (203 yards on 14 catches). And it got all our hopes up. With so few talented tight ends to choose from, Cameron's early season touchdown extravaganza instantly propelled him to TE1 status.

All he's done since then is disappoint. After going over 65 yards in each of his first four games, Cameron has done that just once in his eight games since. His only touchdown during that stretch came in a Week 7 loss to Green Bay.

Cameron's fantasy disappearance hasn't been a product of poor play. Cleveland quarterbacks just prefer throwing it to Gordon. In the ten games they've played together, Cameron has logged 52 targets to Gordon's 113.

On some teams, there are enough targets to go around. The Browns aren't one of those teams. While Gordon's value rises, Cameron's will continue to plummet.

6. Justin Blackmon

Blackmon and Gordon share a lot in common. Both entered the league in 2012 and both did it while playing for ... let's say "below average" teams. Blackmon's yardage total (865) was the highest among rookie receivers. Gordon's was the third-highest (805).

But what really makes them alike is that both players were suspended at the start of the year for violations of the league's substance abuse policy. Gordon came back after sitting out two games while Blackmon made his return two weeks later in Week 5.

Blackmon's return, though successful (he hauled in 415 yards in just four contests), was short-lived. Blackmon was once again suspended for substance abuse and will now have to apply for reinstatement if he wants to play again next season.

In the face of adversity, Gordon took the fork in the road while Blackmon went straight. Perhaps watching Gordon succeed after a misstep will inspire Blackmon to do the same, assuming the Jaguars are willing to give him a second chance.

Even on a 4-8 Cleveland team, Gordon is making his fantasy presence felt. Turns out, he's made his presence felt in a lot of other places too.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.