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Is Melvin Gordon The Real Deal?


I’ll admit it, I was one of the Melvin Gordon haters. After his dismal season last year, I didn’t have any faith in him. I didn’t draft him in any of my leagues, because I thought he would be a repeat of last year, especially with Woodhead taking carries and passes. And it wasn’t just me that counted him out. Many analysts didn’t have him ranked very high in their pre-season projections.

But, I was proven wrong. We’re now 10 weeks through the season, and Gordon has shown since Week 1 that he’s changed. Call it a Donald Trump, out-of-nowhere comeback. I don’t know what made him a different player from last year to this year (maybe it was having Adrian Peterson as a mentor), but I like it.

Note: I’m writing this purposefully on Gordon’s bye week, so that way I can’t be blamed for if he gets injured. I’m not the jinxer, I swear!

So why has everyone been so skeptical of Gordon? Let’s break it down.

Low Yards-Per-Carry (YPC)

People have pointed out Gordon’s low YPC as a reason that he would regress. But that hasn’t been the case. Even if his YPC is low, he’s touched the ball at least 20 times in each of his last four games, and has racked up at least 100 yards.

His overall YPC average after 10 games is 3.9, which is already an improvement over his 3.5 average of last year. While 3.9 isn’t an incredibly good YPC, it’s not terrible either. That 3.9 YPC puts him in 30th place out of all NFL running backs (Jay Ajayi is in first with 5.7).

Other important stats to consider: Gordon is currently third in the NFL in total rushing yards with 838, and, so far in November, his YPC is 4.8.

I don’t care who the running back is, anyone that is getting that type of volume every week is going to produce, and is someone you want in your starting line-up, no matter the matchup.

Touchdown Dependent

It’s no secret that Melvin Gordon is getting all the touchdowns. So far he has NINE touchdowns, which is the second most scored by one player this year.

The question: He is obviously a touchdown machine, but is he touchdown dependent?

The answer: I don’t think so.

Take his Week 10 performance for example. He carried the ball 24 times for 70 yards and also had five catches for 62 yards, but has ZERO touchdowns. In a standard fantasy league, that’s 13.20 points, which is not too shabby for a running back going against the Dolphins tough run defense.

Gordon is ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 83.8. If you take away all the touchdowns, that’s a pretty decent floor for a running back.

Also, is being touchdown dependent really a bad thing? In fantasy football, you want your player to score so you can get more points. Why wouldn’t you start a player that is hoarding all the touchdowns?

The Verdict

Even though he doesn’t have a stellar YPC and he may seem touchdown dependent at times, I really believe that Melvin Gordon is the real deal. Danny Woodhead’s season-ending injury was a blessing in disguise for Gordon (sorry Woodhead owners), and he’s shown that he is one of the best backs in the league.

Disagree? Agree? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment, or tweeting at us. While you’re here, check out our starts and sits, player rankings, and our weekly podcast.


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