NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: What signing Melvin Gordon means for Phillip Lindsay and Broncos offense

There were multiple places Melvin Gordon could have landed that would have created excitement, Tampa Bay chief among them. Denver was not. But here we are. 

The Broncos announced Friday they were adding Gordon on a two-year deal, adding him to a running back room that already included Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Complicating things, the Broncos have a new offensive coordinator in Pat Shurmur, who was praising Lindsay’s ability just a few short weeks ago. Let’s start with the usage we can expect in 2020.

Shurmur’s offenses have averaged 405 rush attempts and 120 running back targets over the past three seasons. That’s a bit misleading because of outliers (501 rush attempts in 2017 and 152 targets in 2018), but I’m actually more inclined to believe the rush attempts number because the Broncos defense could be better than the Giants defense in recent years, and the Broncos have an inexperienced quarterback. The targets could be doable as well, depending on what the Broncos add at wide receiver in the NFL Draft.

What’s more difficult to figure out is what the split will be between Gordon and Lindsay. I’m going to start with an expectation of Gordon getting 50% of the team’s rush attempts and Lindsay sitting at 30%. I’ve currently got Gordon at a target share of 13% and Lindsay at 8%. I’ll admit, there’s some guesswork here and I’ll be open to reevaluating when we get more information. This leaves Freeman with table scraps, or about 30 touches. 

What does that mean for Fantasy? That depends on how good the Broncos offense is. Right now I have Gordon projected for a slightly lower touchdown rate, which makes him a solid No. 2 running back. Lindsay is more of a flex option that has the upside of being Gordon’s handcuff. Here are the rest of my 2020 projections as of March 20: 

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