Austin Ekeler started the 2023 season right where he left off in 2022. Fantasy football's top running back put together a great scoring game in Week 1 despite the Chargers losing to the Miami Dolphins.
Unfortunately, the typically durable Ekeler suffered an ankle injury late in Week 1's loss. Ekeler did not practice at all leading into Week 2 and did not travel with the team. After not practicing leading into Week 3, Ekeler has been ruled out against the Minnesota Vikings.
This is a huge hit for fantasy football owners as the Vikings are a great defense for a running back to play. Some Ekeler fantasy owners may have already turned to Joshua Kelley, who should be able to have a bounce-back game against a bad Vikings defense.
With several injuries to top running backs (Ekeler, Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley) there undoubtedly are fantasy football managers who are scrambling and are looking at this Chargers running back room as an opportunity. While starting Kelley might be a great play, there is one Chargers running back that no fantasy owners should take the gamble on.
Fantasy football players should stay away from Chargers' RB Isaiah Spiller
Isaiah Spiller is a familiar name for college football fans and it would seem plausible that he would be in line for RB2 duties with Ekeler out. Kelley was the RB2 of the team in Week 1 and had a massive game, so some may view Spiller as an intriguing flier to take in deep leagues or multi-flex leagues.
Spiller is not worth the risk in any format. The Chargers have showcased very little faith in the second-year running back thus far in his career. Spiller was not NFL-ready in his rookie season and hardly even made the active roster for the Bolts.
Spiller was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and only played four snaps in Week 2. That had nothing to do with the Tennessee Titans' stout run defense. Spiller is the RB4 on the Chargers depth chart and will be the RB3 in this game behind Kelley and Isaiah Dotson.
If you absolutely have to take a flier and Dotson is available that has far more upside than taking a risk on Dotson or another fringe running back like Rashaad Penny.