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Austin Ekeler Fantasy Football News 2020

The Chargers added UCLA RB Joshua Kelley in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Kelley was a workhorse for the Bruins over the past 2 seasons, tallying rushing lines of 225-1,243-12 and 229-1,060-12. He averaged a mediocre 5.1 yards per carry, though, and doesn’t look like anything special on tape. Kelley ranked 17th among 21 of this year’s top RBs prospects in Pro Football Focus’ 2019 rushing grades and dead last in Elusive Rating. The 5’11, 212-pounder did test reasonably well at the Combine, posting a 4.49-second 40 time and a 6.95-second 3-cone. He finished with a 47th percentile SPARQ score. We heard one scout compare Kelley to the Packers’ Jamaal Williams. He’ll compete with Justin Jackson for ‘big-back’ duties behind Austin Ekeler in Los Angeles.

The Chargers selected Oregon QB Justin Herbert with the 6th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Herbert made 42 starts across the past 4 years, leaving the Ducks with a career 64% completion rate, 8.2 yards per attempt and 95 TDs vs. 23 INTs. After a disappointing 2018 campaign, he bounced back to chuck for 3,471 yards with 32 TDs vs. 6 INTs on a 67% completion rate and 8.1 yards per attempt this past year. Herbert’s accuracy is spotty, but he’s a 6’6, 235-pounder with a big arm. And his rushing upside makes him an intriguing fantasy prospect. Although he totaled just 216 yards and 6 scores on the ground over the past 2 seasons, Herbert ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and earned a 92nd percentile SPARQ (athleticism) score. He could produce Josh Allen-like rushing numbers as a pro. Herbert joins Tyrod Taylor in the Chargers’ QB room. HC Anthony Lynn is a big Tyrod fan, but we’d expect Herbert to take over at some point this season.

The Chargers are "still very high" on RB Justin Jackson, according to The Athletic's Daniel Popper. The 2018 7th-rounder has struggled staying healthy even in a limited role over the past 2 seasons but has averaged a strong 5.1 yards per carry. Popper doesn't expect the Chargers to add an early-round back later this month to replace Melvin Gordon. If that's the case, Jackson could be in for a sneaky-big role behind undersized Austin Ekeler, who hasn't topped 132 carries in an NFL season.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers and RB Austin Ekeler have agreed to a new 4-year deal worth $24.5 million. The contract reportedly includes $15 million guaranteed. Ekeler had been on track for restricted free agency. Instead, he looks locked in as the team's top back -- even if the Chargers add to the backfield this offseason, as we expect them to do. The terms seem low enough to make finishing this contract seem realistic. At the least, this top-7 RB across fantasy formats in 2019 looks poised for another run at RB1-level production.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) is listed as questionable for this weekend's game against the Bears. He didn't practice on Thursday or Friday after not being on the injury report at all on Wednesday. Allen appears to be in real danger of missing Sunday's game. We'll look for updates on his availability throughout the weekend and will get his official game status by noon ET on Sunday. Allen's absence would leave Mike Williams as Los Angeles' clear #1 WR and would also likely push more targets toward TE Hunter Henry and RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.

Chargers HC Anthony Lynn said Friday that RB Austin Ekeler will play "a lot" vs. the Broncos this weekend and that RB Melvin Gordon will get a limited workload. The plan makes sense after Gordon held out all summer and September. Plans can change once the game starts, but we're now projecting something close to a 2-to-1 split in favor of Ekeler this week.

Chargers RB Justin Jackson (calf) is out for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. He was added to the injury report on Thursday and spotted in a walking boot on Friday, so this might be a significant injury. Jackson, of course, was already set to drop off the fantasy radar with Melvin Gordon back. Jackson’s absence this weekend locks in Austin Ekeler as an every-down back — at least until the game gets out of hand. RB Troymaine Pope is next up on the depth chart. We’ll see if the Chargers call up RB Detrez Newsome from the practice squad.

Chargers RB Justin Jackson was added to Thursday's injury report as limited with a calf. We'll see if he's able to practice tomorrow and then how he's listed on the final injury report. Jackson's absence would make RB Austin Ekeler an even more elite fantasy play vs. Miami.

The Chargers announced that TE Hunter Henry suffered a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee in Sunday's win over the Colts. For what it's worth, this is the opposite knee in which he tore his ACL last spring. Henry will "continue to be evaluated" and a timetable for his return "has not yet been determined," per the team's statement. There are 3 instances of a tibia plateau fracture in Sports Injury Predictor's database. Those guys (Nate Burleson, Anthony Hitchens and Daniel Sorensen) missed anywhere from 1 to 3 months. We should learn more about Henry's status over the next few days, but fantasy owners obviously need to plan to be without him for a while. Virgil Green is currently the Chargers' backup TE. (We'll see if they try to bring Antonio Gates back.) Henry's absence will push even more targets to WR Keenan Allen and RB Austin Ekeler.

Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers are expecting Henry to miss 4-6 weeks.

Chargers GM Tom Telesco told reporters during a Sunday conference call that the team has suspended contract-extension talks with RB Melvin Gordon until after the season. That doesn't seem to help the chances of Gordon reporting to the team anytime soon. Of course, moving on to another team via trade would change that situation. Drafters should continue pushing Gordon down the board this week until/unless something changes. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, meanwhile, have only gained draft value this week.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Chargers have given permission to RB Melvin Gordon's representatives to seek a trade. That obviously doesn't bode well for Gordon and the team working something out to get him back for the season. We'll see whether it can get him onto someone else's field soon. If you're drafting this weekend, Gordon carries plenty of risk anywhere inside the 1st 5 rounds. This news certainly doesn't hurt the value of Austin Ekeler or Justin Jackson, though.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (knee) isn't listed on the final injury report after putting in a full practice on Friday. He was never missing this weekend's game against the Patriots but won't be anywhere close to 100%. Gordon has sprained both knees and twisted an ankle over the past month and a half. He's a risky DFS play this week. We prefer the cheaper Austin Ekeler.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport describes the injury Chargers RB Melvin Gordon suffered in Sunday's win over the Ravens as "a little knee sprain." Rapoport adds that it's similar to the right knee injury he suffered in Week 12. That cost him 3 games -- but Gordon returned to Sunday's contest in Baltimore and is expected to play against the Patriots this weekend. "Just may not exactly look like his old self," Rapoport cautions. Gordon averaged just 2.4 yards per carry vs. the Ravens and was out-snapped 39 to 32 by Austin Ekeler. Don't be surprised if Ekeler plays an expanded role again this weekend.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon injured his left knee in the 1st quarter of Sunday's game against the Ravens and limped back to the locker room. This is the opposite knee from the one he injured back in Week 12. We'll update Gordon's status as we learn more. His absences leaves the Chargers with RBs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson.

Update: Gordon has returned to the game.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (groin) is active for today's game against the Ravens. He was limited in practice all week and listed as questionable, so he comes with added risk in fantasy lineups -- beyond the difficult matchup.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (groin) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Ravens after a limited week of practice. This is a new injury for Ekeler. (He missed time late in the season with a neck injury and concussion.) If Ekeler is unable to play this weekend, the Chargers would turn back to rookie Justin Jackson as the change-of-pace back behind Melvin Gordon.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (neck) put in a full week of practice and will return for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. He figures to see a handful of touches behind Melvin Gordon and is just a DFS tournament flier.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (knee) isn't listed on the final injury report after putting in 3 full practices this week. He'll return for Saturday night's game against the Ravens. Both Gordon and HC Anthony Lynn have admitted that the RB isn't quite at 100%. That, plus the tough matchup, makes Gordon more of a low-end RB1 for Week 16. RB Austin Ekeler (neck) is doubtful, so Justin Jackson will serve as the #2 RB.

The Chargers believe that there's a "legitimate chance" RB Melvin Gordon (knee), RB Austin Ekeler (concussion, neck) and WR Keenan Allen (hip) are all ready for Saturday's game against the Ravens, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. We'll get the team's 1st official practice report tomorrow. The Chargers still have plenty to play for, with the AFC's #1 seed still in sight.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (knee) is listed as questionable for Thursday night's game against the Chiefs. He put in limited practices on Tuesday and Wednesday and did travel with the team to Kansas City. It looks like Gordon will be a game-time decision. We'll find out his official status around 7 pm ET tomorrow. RB Austin Ekeler (neck, concussion) is out. So if Gordon can't play, rookie Justin Jackson will serve as the Chargers' lead back.

 
 
 

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