Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (hamstring) is inactive for this morning's game in London against the Titans. He reportedly injured that hammy in Friday's practice. He'll get a Week 8 bye to heal up. Gordon's absence today leaves the Chargers with RBs Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, who was just promoted from the practice squad on Saturday. Ekeler obviously gets a huge bump here -- although it's worth noting that the 5'10, 200-pounder hasn't topped 11 carries in an NFL game. He, of course, will play a big role in the passing game, so we'd expect 15-18 total touches today.
Chargers HC Anthony Lynn told ESPN's Dan Graziano that he'd like to get RB Melvin Gordon more work in the passing game this year. That's following a year that saw Gordon rack up 57 catches for 470 yards and 4 scores -- all top-9 marks among RBs. Lynn's comments are particularly noteworthy considering Gordon's target volume took a hit when RB Austin Ekeler emerged last season. He averaged 3.7 targets during Ekeler's busiest 7-game stretch vs. 6.3 in the other outings. It's tough to expect Gordon's receiving production to grow significantly from last year's 57-470-4 line. But even if he can match that, he'll safely finish inside fantasy's top 12 RBs.
The Chargers spent a 7th-round pick on RB Justin Jackson. The Northwestern alum spent 4 years as a workhorse, averaging 285.5 carries, 1,360 yards and 10.5 total TDs per season. Jackson added 122 receptions for 858 yards for his career, including 35 and 44 catches the past 2 years. He joins a backfield that saw Austin Ekeler flash as Melvin Gordon's #2 last season, but there's room for Jackson to battle for touches. The diminutive back ran a decent 4.52-second 40 at the Scouting Combine but crushed the explosion and agility tests: 89th percentile vert, 78th percentile broad, 85th percentile 3-cone, 93rd percentile short shuttle. Jackson will be worth watching this summer and beyond and belongs on the dynasty radar late in rookie drafts.
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler will play through his broken hand today vs. the Jets, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. But he'll only play on special teams. Branden Oliver will assume #2 RB duties, but Melvin Gordon will dominate backfield touches.
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler will miss the rest of the season with a broken hand suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Chiefs. The rookie averaged 5.1 carries and 2.8 targets over the past 8 games. The majority of that action figures to go to RB Melvin Gordon over the final 2 weeks. Branden Oliver will step in as the #2 RB.
Update: HC Anthony Lynn said Monday that Ekeler could play the final 2 games of the season with a cast on his broken hand. He obviously wouldn't be an asset in the passing game, though.