LA Chargers: Five bold player predictions for the 2020 season

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(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Austin Ekeler gets 100 receptions.

Austin Ekeler finished 2019 with 92 receptions. With a starting role and more snaps coming his way, 100 doesn’t feel like a crazy number to break to me.

Christian McCaffrey has recorded 100 receptions in two of his three NFL seasons. Ekeler probably won’t get that type of usage rate, but now that he is the number one running back, he certainly could get eight more receptions than he did last year.

There’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the roles of Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. While some have pegged both as the bonafide backups, we don’t really know what type of snap counts they’ll get. It’ll likely depend on the opponent and style of defense the team is playing.

Jackson is also coming off of an injured season and Kelley is still a rookie. Currently, it feels like the Chargers might lean on Ekeler more than they’re letting on.

Taylor is also will use short to medium throws more than Rivers did, generally speaking. An uptick in designed screens and designed routes for Ekeler wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest. Ekeler is also great in short-yardage situations with the passing game.

Ekeler achieved a 17.4% target share last year with presumably fewer snaps on the field than he’ll play this year. Even if that number rose as little as 0.5%, that could easily put him 5-10 receptions over last year’s total. With Melvin Gordon no longer on the team, more reps and receptions should be coming Ekeler’s way.