How do the LA Chargers’ running backs play out in fantasy football in the first season without Melvin Gordon?
Austin Ekeler is the new lead back for the LA Chargers. The former undrafted free agent will also be joined in the backfield by Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley, barring something drastic and unexpected.
Some fantasy players are weirdly tentative about Ekeler in a starting role, despite his production last year. It also might be difficult to make heads and tails of the battle for touches between Jackson and Kelley. Let’s start with RB1 himself:
RB Austin Ekeler
Ekeler is a bonafide mid second-round pick. Perhaps he’s a little lower if you’re playing in a non-PPR league, but he’s a top running back nonetheless. In terms of average draft position, Ekeler has been taken with the 17th pick in PPR formats, 20th in Non PPR.
Ekeler’s passing game production is really what separates him from the pack. He was only second to Christian McCaffrey in receiving yards amongst running backs. 92 receptions, 993 yards, and eight touchdowns in the air is the type of production some wideouts hope for.
That’s why Ekeler is a safe option as well. He may struggle on the ground occasionally, but he’s always a threat to break off an insane 50 yard gain on a screen or quick pass.
77% of Ekeler’s fantasy points came through the air in 2019. Expect an uptick in in rushing yards with Melvin Gordon’s departure to Denver. With the inexperience of the receiving group, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him have more rushing yards AND keep at least a comparable amount of his 2019 receiving production.
Like I wrote about with Keenan Allen, don’t overthink drafting Ekeler. Take him high.