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Rapid Reaction: Melvin Gordon Lands With Broncos (2020 Fantasy Football)

Mar 18, 2020

Melvin Gordon faces a murky fantasy situation in Denver.

So that was unexpected. Despite overtures from several teams, Melvin Gordon shocked the NFL and fantasy world by signing on with the Denver Broncos. Entrenched in some sort of timeshare, what will Gordon’s fantasy outlook be in 2020? We have two of our top analysts on the case.

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Q1. What is the fantasy football impact of Melvin Gordon signing in Denver?

While the Broncos don’t exactly have the world’s greatest offensive line, the difference between their run blocking and the Chargers’ last season was night and day. From the time Gordon came back from his holdout, the offensive line was in such shambles that even Austin Ekeler only compiled 337 yards and 0 touchdowns on the ground in 12 games. So Gordon’s efficiency plummeted from year to year. With the move to a much better offensive line, we should again see this three-down back produce fringe RB1 numbers in 2020.
-Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)

Blerg. That is the official fantasy impact. Blerg. Fine, it’s not good for Gordon unless the Broncos trade both Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, which they are unlikely to do. The Broncos last year ran about as 50/50 a committee as they could among the backs, with Lindsay seeing 51% of the snaps and Freeman seeing 49% of the snaps. Gordon will likely get a bigger share of the running back pie with Lindsay as his backup, but he’ll never approach what he was in his heyday with the Chargers. He’ll be a startable fantasy running back (particularly when the Broncos face the Chargers) but an RB2.
-Dan Harris (@danharris80)

Q2. Who else is impacted by Gordon’s signing from a fantasy perspective?

This is an odd move on the surface considering both Phillip Lindsay (back to back 1,000 yard rushing seasons) and Royce Freeman are more than competent backs. With that said, the Broncos did decide to do it and will clearly be making Gordon their lead back. Perhaps he won’t be a bell-cow as we’ve seen from him in the past, but Lindsay will take a back seat and drops from my RB #28 to RB #44 in the Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida territory. Royce Freeman is likely to get traded or cut and is thus undraftable for the time being.
-Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)

One of Phillip Lindsay or Royce Freeman will be dealt now, and it’s almost certainly going to be the latter. Because Freeman had begun to be phased out toward the end of last season, finding a new home (Eagles, Bills) could be beneficial. Most likely, however, he’ll still be stuck on the wrong side of a platoon and at best someone who needs consistent touchdowns to be relevant. As for Lindsay, his >50% snap share and 16 touches per game likely decrease, as Gordon will surely take the lead in the backfield. Lindsay will be ownable, but not startable, in fantasy leagues.
-Dan Harris (@danharris80)

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