Player Outlook
Kelley will compete to be the No. 2 running back for the Chargers this season behind Austin Ekeler, and Kelley could be worth a late-round flier in that role. Most likely, Kelley will compete with Larry Rountree to be the No. 3 running back for the Chargers behind Ekeler and Isaiah Spiller. Keep an eye on what happens in training camp, and the No. 2 running back behind Ekeler could have value. However, Kelley has a lot to prove to move ahead of Spiller and possibly Rountree for that role.

Fantasy Stats

rushing receiving fantasy
Year yds
Rushing Yards
Average Yards per Rush
Rushing Touchdowns
Fumbles Lost
Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
Fantasy Points
Fantasy Points per Game
2021 102 3.09 1 5 38 111.1
2020 354 3.19 2 2 23 148 574.1
3y Avg. 228 3.17 1 2 14 93 332.8
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Fantasy Performance by Week

Fantasy News

  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Compiles 44 total yards in opener

    Kelley rushed three times for 16 yards and secured all three targets for 28 yards in the Chargers' 29-22 preseason loss to the Rams on Saturday night. Kelley opened the game as the starter with Austin Ekeler inactive and logged the first two rushing touches for the Chargers. The 2020 fourth-round pick's production was impressive on a per-touch basis, and he'll continue his battle with rookie Isaiah Spiller and Larry Rountree for the No. 2 running back job in next Saturday night's preseason home matchup against the Cowboys.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Mediocre second season

    Kelley tallied 33 carries for 102 yards and five catches for 38 yards across the 2021 campaign. The 2020 fourth-round pick took a dramatic step backward after a disappointing rookie campaign, often waffling between the No. 3 and No. 4 back throughout 2021. At this point, Kelley may not be a lock to be retained in 2022, coming off consecutive seasons in which he averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry. The fact that the Chargers still lack quality depth behind three-down stalwart Austin Ekeler might give the UCLA product enough wiggle room to stick around in a depth role next season.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Does little with six touches

    Kelley had five carries for seven yards and caught his lone target for 14 yards during Sunday's 41-29 loss to Houston. Kelley played 27 percent of the offensive snaps and did little with his opportunities in the absence of Austin Ekeler (COVID-19 protocols), while Justin Jackson totaled 162 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Ekeler is back and should reclaim the every-down role for the final two weeks of the season, but it's clear Kelley is entrenched as the No. 3 tailback with Jackson serving as the top backup option.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Critical fumble in loss

    Kelley carried the ball seven times for 21 yards to go along with one fumble in Thursday's 34-28 overtime loss to the Chiefs. Kelley's fumble could have long-term ramifications considering the goal-line gaffe was simply an egregious mistake in a pivotal situation. While the second-year back has seen 17 carries over the past two weeks with the Chargers carefully managing Austin Ekeler's ankle injury, Kelley has struggled with the usage, averaging 3.2 yards per carry over that span. It's entirely possible Larry Rountree, who was a healthy inactive Thursday, could push for additional playing time in light of Kelley's latest miscue.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Ten carries off the bench

    Kelley ran for 33 yards on 10 carries against the Giants on Sunday. Kelley and fellow running back Justin Jackson (nine carries for 35 yards) saw elevated workloads due to starter Austin Ekeler suffering an ankle injury in the third quarter. It's not clear what Ekeler's status might be for Week 15, but if he misses time then -- based on Sunday's game -- Kelley and Jackson would get the first cracks at the vacated workload. Kelley and Larry Rountree (inactive, coach's decision Sunday) are probably the Chargers' best candidates to run between the tackles among their backup runners, with the lightly-built Jackson profiling best for the passing-down work.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Healthy scratch Sunday

    Kelley (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Steelers. Kelley recorded four carries for 12 yards while hauling in his lone target for four yards across the last two games, but he won't suit up in Week 11. Justin Jackson should serve as the primary backup to Austin Ekeler now that he's healthy.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Back in the mix

    Kelley is listed as active for Sunday's game against the Eagles. Kelley is back in the mix Sunday, with Justin Jackson out with a quad injury. In the process, he's in line to work in a complementary role along with Larry Rountree behind the Chargers' top back, Austin Ekeler.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Inactive Sunday

    Kelley is inactive for Sunday's game against the Patriots. With Kelley inactive Sunday, Justin Jackson and Larry Rountree are on hand to work in complementary roles behind top back Austin Ekeler.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Gets four carries in loss

    Kelley carried the ball four times for seven yards in Sunday's 34-6 loss to the Ravens. Kelley continued to serve as the backup behind Austin Ekeler for the second straight week. The Chargers struggled to move the ball on offense Sunday, resulting in a rough fantasy day for most of the team's skill-position players.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Unremarkable finish to preseason

    Kelley rushed three times for two yards and brought in his only target for 12 yards in the Chargers' 27-0 preseason loss to the Seahawks on Saturday night. Still looking to shake Larry Rountree for the No. 3 running back job, Kelley didn't get much of an opportunity to make an impression Saturday. The second-year back saw Rountree take six carries for 27 yards, record two receptions and gain 33 yards on a pair of kickoff returns, so the pendulum could well have swung away from Kelley ahead of final cutdowns.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Quiet day in preseason opener

    Kelley rushed eight times for 19 yards and caught one of three targets for minus-3 yards in the Chargers' 13-6 preseason win over the Rams on Saturday night. Kelley tied Larry Rountree for the team lead in carries, but he produced just 2.4 yards per rush while seeing his backfield mate rack up 7.9 yards per attempt. Kelley enjoyed a solid role early last season as a rookie with 173 total yards in the first two games, yet his production and involvement were typically both more modest from that point forward. Kelley is looking to fight off Rountree for the likely third running back role, and he'll have to make a better impression in the Chargers' second preseason game against the 49ers on Sunday, Aug. 22.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Roster spot not guaranteed

    Kelley could be competing for the final running back spot with 2020 sixth-round pick Larry Rountree, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. The presumed hierarchy according to Popper would see Austin Ekeler handle most of the work out of the backfield with Justin Jackson filling in occasionally as a change-of-pace option. That would leave Kelley and Rountree in an ultra-utility capacity, but the recent sixth-round pick profiles a bit better as a goal-line threat, something the Chargers seemingly lack at the moment. Kelley was a major factor at the start of his rookie season but dramatically tailed off toward the end of the year, finishing as a healthy scratch in two of the final four games. Considering Rountree also has experience playing special teams throughout college, it's entirely possible Kelley may be on the outside looking in when it comes to the running back depth chart.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Uneven rookie season

    Kelley, who was a healthy scratch in two of the Chargers' final four games, finished his rookie season with 502 total yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. Kelley's fall from fantasy grace came precipitously as the 23-year-old saw 47 touches in his first three games as a complement to Austin Ekeler before yielding time to Justin Jackson and then Kalen Ballage as the season progressed. By the time Ekeler (quad) returned from his multi-month absence, Kelley had completely fallen out of the rotation in favor of Ballage despite the two having nearly indistinguishably modest yards-per-carry averages. Looking ahead, the UCLA product could have a chance to increase his role in his second NFL season with a new coaching regime in store. That the Chargers have more invested in Kelley (a 2020 fourth-rounder) compared to Jackson and Ballage should at least guarantee him a spot on the active roster next season. However, until further context with regard to the team's 2021 offensive scheme and personnel emerges, it's hard to gauge whether Kelley will be a depth piece like he was toward the end of his rookie season or a crucial factor in the rotation, as he was early on.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Deemed healthy Week 16 scratch

    Kelley (coach's decision) is inactive heading into Sunday's game against the Broncos, Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports. Los Angeles will roll with Kalen Ballage and Justin Jackson as secondary backs behind Austin Ekeler during a Week 16 AFC West clash. Kelley's 3.2 yards-per-carry average is uninspiring, while his two lost fumbles on the season motivate the Chargers' coaching staff to search elsewhere for more reliable options.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Five offensive snaps in win

    Kelley carried the ball two times for eight yards in Thursday's 30-27 win over the Raiders. Kelley did next to nothing in this contest largely as a byproduct of just five offensive snaps. The return of Austin Ekeler and emergence of Kalen Ballage has made the rookie running back simply an afterthought, and it's hard to imagine that changing with just two games left to play, especially considering Kelley was a healthy inactive just one game prior.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Back in lineup

    Kelley is active for Thursday's game against the Raiders, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. Kelley was a healthy scratch for last week's win over the Falcons, but he'll return to the lineup for Week 15, taking the place of Justin Jackson. When Jackson suited up last week, he saw just two carries for eight yards, so it's unclear what sort of role Kelley will have in the offense. He'll join Austin Ekeler and Kalen Ballage as healthy running backs for the divisional clash.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Inactive Week 14

    Kelley (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Kelley avoided an injury designation for Sunday's contest after dealing with a foot issue, but he'll still be sitting out as a healthy scratch. Austin Ekeler will lead the backfield while Kalen Ballage and Justin Jackson serve as the backup options.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Ready for Week 14

    Kelley (foot) has been cleared to play in Sunday's game versus the Falcons. Kelley started the week as a non-participant, upgraded to limited status Thursday, and practiced at full speed to close out the week. The rookie has been cleared to play in Week 14. His role is yet to be determined, as Kelley, Austin Ekeler and Kalen Ballage haven't all stayed healthy for an entire game this season. Kelley, Ballage and Justin Jackson (IR - knee) are all candidates to handle the No. 2 backfield role for the remainder of the year.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Status takes positive turn

    Kelley (foot) was a limited participant during Thursday's practice session. The UCLA product was unable to participate in any capacity Wednesday, having been forced to exit Sunday's 45-0 loss to the Patriots after three offensive snaps. The injury-induced departure naturally led to a dip from Kelley's average of 26.2 offensive snaps per game, as he managed just two catches for three yards in the contest. His status is now trending in the right direction, however, as L.A. prepares to host the Falcons' 12th-ranked rush defense Sunday afternoon.
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  • Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Unable to practice Wednesday

    Kelley (foot) didn't participate in Wednesday's practice. Kelley was forced out of Sunday's loss to the Patriots with what was initially termed as an ankle issue, but the team clarified the nature of his injury with the release of its first Week 14 practice report. The rookie's absence from practice to start the week is a discouraging sign ahead of Sunday's game versus the Falcons, but he'll have two more opportunities to increase his on-field work. Troymaine Pope (neck) -- who was also limited Wednesday -- would be next in line to serve as Los Angeles' No. 3 back if Kelley is inactive.
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