Ekeler registered 16 carries for 64 yards and also caught five of his 12 targets for 35 yards to go along with two total touchdowns in Sunday's 35-32 overtime loss to the Raiders. Ekeler tied the Colts' Jonathan Taylor for the most total touchdowns this season despite playing one fewer game. The dynamic running back asserted himself as one of the premier red-zone specialists in the NFL and answered his critics by remaining mostly healthy despite a massive increase in workload. The fifth-year running back did fall short of his lofty projections in terms of receptions, but that's in large part because Ekeler was forced to take on far more carries than anticipated. The Chargers are expected to aggressively target a complimentary back to Ekeler this offseason either through the draft or free agency, but after a career year nearly across the board in his first season in Joe Lombardi's system, it's hard to imagine the genie getting put back in the bottle.
Ekeler (illness) tallied 17 carries for 58 yards and one touchdown to go along with three receptions for 54 yards in Sunday's 34-13 win over the Broncos. A week after testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequently missing the demoralizing loss to the Texans, Ekeler came right back and continued to build upon his touchdown streak, extending his consecutive games-scored total to seven. The emergence of Justin Jackson (60 total yards on 15 touches) should help the dynamic jack-of-all trades running back get a bit of rest throughout next week's game, but expect Ekeler to remain the Chargers' top weapon in the red zone.
Ekeler has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list, per the NFL's official transaction report. With Ekeler back in the mix and in line to reclaim his starting running back duties, look for Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley to revert to their usual complementary roles when the Chargers face the Broncos on Sunday.
Ekeler announced on Instagram that he tested positive for COVID-19 again Saturday and won't play Sunday against the Texans, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Until Ekeler, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, is able to clear COVID protocols, Justin Jackson is poised to head the Chargers' backfield, with Joshua Kelley a candidate for added touches and Larry Rountree likely to be active in a depth role against Houston.
Ekeler (illness) acknowledged earlier this week during his weekly appearance on Yahoo Sports' "Ekeler's Edge" fantasy football show that his chances of returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to Sunday's game against the Texans aren't "looking good." "Just dealing with this day to day, you know, we have new protocols in place, I had to get tested every day and have two negative tests, no symptoms," Ekeler said, recounting his experience since testing positive for the virus earlier this week. "And so right now I can tell you, it's not looking good. Just because of the history of COVID and how long it usually takes to dissipate or at least for your body to beat it." If vaccinated, Ekeler is eligible to play so long as he clears league protocols, but based on his comments on his situation to this point, he's preparing as though he won't be able to go Week 16. In his interview with Yahoo Sports' Liz Loza, Ekeler went as far as recommending that fantasy managers pick up his backup, Justin Jackson, who will likely be primed for a larger workload in the event Ekeler sits. Joshua Kelley also looms as a depth option out of the Los Angeles backfield and should have a role in the game plan if Ekeler sits out for the first time this season. It's worth noting that as of Friday, coach Brandon Staley said everyone on the Chargers' COVID-19 list still has a chance to play Sunday, aside from Joey Bosa and Kemon Hall, Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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Red Zone Trends
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