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Austin Ekeler Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

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Chargers RB Austin Ekeler logged just 4 carries for 5 yards in Sunday's lopsided loss to the Jaguars. The score might have been a factor in the 2nd half, but Ekeler carried just twice through the entire 1st half of a game that stood at 16-10 early in the 3rd quarter. Ekeler did lead the Chargers with 8 receptions (for 48 yards) to salvage some PPR value. But he was splitting opportunities with Sony Michel early in the game. Ekeler wound up running 26 routes to 13 combined for Michel and Joshua Kelley, but that pair played just 7 fewer snaps overall. Ekeler ranks just 25th in the league in carries through 3 games, with Ezekiel Elliot close enough to pass him Monday night. Ekeler ranked 16th in the league in rushing attempts last season; 20th in carries per game.

After underwhelming usage and production in the opener, Chargers RB Austin Ekeler turned in a more promising Week 2. He carried 14 times for just 39 yards but added 9 catches on 10 targets for 55 yards. Ekeler's snap rate climbed from 49% in Week 1 to 63% in Week 2; his route rate from 37% to 60%. If he can stick around that level of usage, Ekeler will be an easy PPR RB1.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Chargers WR Keenan Allen's hamstring injury is not expected to be a "long-term" deal. But Pelissero confirms that Allen is "unlikely" to be ready for Thursday night's showdown with the Chiefs. That's obviously a big loss for the Chargers but frees up targets for Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer and Gerald Everett. See where all those guys sit in the Week 2 Rankings.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler registered a 49% snap rate and 18 opportunities (carries + targets) in the Week 1 win over the Raiders. He played 58+% of the offensive snaps in all 14 of his healthy games last season. Ekeler averaged 19.1 opportunities across those 14 games, dipping below 18 just 5 times. We'll continue to monitor Ekeler's usage going forward. He remains an obvious must-start but might not be the elite fantasy RB he was last year if the Chargers are serious about scaling back his snaps and touches.

The Chargers list Sony Michel and Joshua Kelley as co-#2 RBs on their Week 1 depth chart. It feels notable that Michel has already climbed that high just a week after joining the Chargers. Rookie RB Isaiah Spiller remains 4th on the depth chart. We'll have a better feel for what this backfield looks like behind Austin Ekeler after Week 1, but Michel looks like the Chargers RB to target in remaining fantasy drafts behind Ekeler.

The Chargers announced Wednesday that they have signed RB Sony Michel. Cut this week by the Dolphins, Michel now has a chance to quickly work his way to the #2 role in a Chargers backfield that has looked bad behind Austin Ekeler. The Chargers released RB Larry Rountree in a corresponding move, leaving Michel, Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller behind Ekeler.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler doesn’t expect his role to change significantly in 2022. “As far as my load, yeah, maybe it could be altered a little bit but I don’t think it’ll go down. I think it’ll just look a little different, if anything.” OC Joe Lombardi is on the same page. “I’m not expecting any kind of dip in usage with him,” the long-time coach said. “But, like any running back, unless you’re 250 pounds, sometimes there’s a pitch count on those guys. (Ekeler) isn’t someone you want to lose halfway through the season because you overused him. Just being smart with how many times he’s getting hit every game is something that you have to keep any eye on.” Ekeler saw a career-high 206 carries in 16 games last season. Perhaps that’s scaled back a bit, but there’s no reason to alter 2022 expectations here.

Speaking on the Move the Sticks Podcast, NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks said he believes rookie RB Isaiah Spiller is a “true #1” type of talent. “I would not be surprised to see him emerge as a star-quality player for the Chargers,” Brooks added. The long-time analyst pointed out Spiller’s size and pass-catching ability. (The 217-pounder caught 74 balls across 3 college seasons.) He’s the clear favorite for #2 duties entering the summer, but note that Austin Ekeler’s under contract for 2 more seasons.

The Chargers added Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He surprisingly ends up as the 9th RB off the board – likely because of his disappointing Combine. The 6’0, 217-pounder ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash and also bombed the vertical and broad jumps. Spiller led the Aggies backfield in all 3 years on campus, though, racking up 2,993 rushing yards, 25 rushing TDs and 74 catches. You can see Spiller’s underwhelming speed on tape, but he’s a smart back with good vision and contact balance. Spiller has a chance to immediately win the ‘big-back’ role in Los Angeles behind Austin Ekeler. Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree are underwhelming competitors.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler has been activated from the COVID list. We'll keep an eye on the ankle injury that limited him back in Week 15, but the week off should have him healthier for Sunday's game vs. the Broncos.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler announced via Instagram that he tested positive for COVID still on Saturday and will miss Sunday's game against the Texans. That positions Justin Jackson to lead the backfield in a high-upside matchup. He will share work -- to an unclear degree -- with Joshua Kelley and perhaps Larry Rountree, though. So don't overrate the certainty of Jackson's fantasy outlook.

The Chargers on Wednesday finally placed RB Austin Ekeler on the COVID list. The move was 1st reported Monday, but then the team didn't end up putting him on the reserve at that point. It would obviously help his chances of returning for Sunday's game against the Texans if Ekeler's window dates back to the beginning of the week. For now, we'll move ahead assuming that Justin Jackson will lead the Chargers in carries and that Joshua Kelley will follow. The Houston matchup makes both players more interesting than they'd be in just about any other spot.

The Chargers placed 7 players on the COVID list on Monday, but RB Austin Ekeler was not 1 of them. There were multiple reports this morning that Ekeler was headed to the list. He wasn't at practice on Monday, per The Athletic's Daniel Popper, but the situation is unclear at this point. Stay tuned.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler has been placed on the COVID list. It's unclear if he tested positive or was a close contact. We also don't know if Ekeler is vaccinated. There's a chance he's cleared in time for Sunday's game vs. the Texans, but fantasy owners should be operating for now as if Ekeler won't be available. His absence would leave Justin Jackson as Los Angeles' lead back -- and a viable RB2 in a plus matchup against Houston.

Update: According to NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti, HC Brandon Staley calls Ekeler “day to day.” So it sounds like he has at least a chance of being ready to play

7:01pm EST 12/16/21

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (ankle) is active for tonight's game vs. the Chiefs. NFL Network's Taylor Bisciotti reported earlier today that Ekeler "won't get a full workload" tonight, but we've yet to hear anything concrete on a snap count or touch count. It's also worth noting that RB Lary Rountree is a healthy scratch, which can only be taken as a positive for how confident the Chargers are in Ekeler holding up tonight.

NFL Network's Taylor Bisciotti hears that Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (ankle) "won't get a full workload" against the Chiefs tonight. He's experiencing "more soreness than originally expected," Bisciotti adds. We'll look for more clues on exactly how much action Ekeler will see tonight. He could get 60-70% of his usual volume and still be worth using in fantasy lineups. But you shouldn't be expecting a ceiling game from him tonight.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (ankle) is expected to play vs. the Chiefs tonight. Ekeler got in 2 limited practices this week and is listed as questionable. Pelissero confirms that Ekeler is "banged up" but "the plan is to give it a go in a huge game against Kansas City." Ekeler will come with more risk than usual in Week 15 but would be extremely tough to keep out of fantasy lineups.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (ankle) is listed as questionable for Thursday night's game vs. the Chiefs. He got in limited practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. HC Brandon Staley labeled him a game-time decision, which is a little surprising after Staley expressed little concern about Ekeler's status earlier in the week. We'll find out whether he's playing around 7 pm ET tomorrow. If not, we'd likely see a 3-man committee with RBs Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree. Jackson would be the best fantasy bet -- but just a RB3 or flex play.

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