The Los Angeles Chargers could be without one of their best players for the foreseeable future, as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Monday that running back Austin Ekeler is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury as well as a hyperextended knee. According to Schefter, Ekeler is now seeking a second opinion on his injuries as well as his recovery timeline. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that no firm decision has been made yet, but injured reserve could be a potential landing spot for him.
In the first quarter of the Chargers' Week 4 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ekeler received a first-down carry and was dragged back by Lavonte David before being brought down by Antoine Winfield Jr. at the end of the play. Ekeler grabbed his left hamstring and needed assistance to be helped up, not walking under his own power. A cart came out onto the field for the Chargers running back, as he struggled to get onto the vehicle before heading into the locker room.
In four games this year, Ekeler has rushed for 248 yards and one touchdown while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The dual-threat weapon has also caught all 17 of his targets for 144 yards. The former undrafted free agent is coming off of a career year, as he recorded 1,550 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns in 2019. A large majority of those totals came via the receiving game, as he caught 92 of his 108 targets (85.2 catch percentage) for 993 yards and eight scores. His performance warranted a four-year extension, which included $15 million in guarantees.
With Ekeler out, rookie running back Joshua Kelley should step into the primary role, but you should also keep an eye on Justin Jackson if you're looking for a new replacement in fantasy football. CBS Sports Fantasy senior editor Chris Towers published a piece on Sunday night examining who you should target on the waiver wire if you are an Ekeler owner. Check it out, here.
It appears this won't be an issue that will knock Ekeler out for the remainder of the 2020 season, but it does seem as though he will miss some time.