Kelley carried the ball seven times for 21 yards in the 29-21 loss Sunday to the Dolphins.
After seeing a season high in snaps last week, Kelley completely fell to the wayside in favor of Kalen Ballage. At this point, it's clear the Chargers are trying to pivot away from giving meaningful opportunities for the rookie running back, which makes sense considering Kelley is averaging just 3.2 yards-per-carry across nearly 100 attempts this year. With the imminent return of Austin Ekeler (hamstring), it wouldn't be surprising at all to see Ballage replace Kelley as the between-the-tackles back, essentially rendering the 22-year-old tough to roster in most fantasy formats.
Kelley carried the ball nine times for 28 yards during Sunday's 31-26 loss to the Raiders. He also caught all five of his targets for 31 yards.
Even with the Chargers offense missing two of its essential players, Justin Jackson (knee, injured in first quarter) and Austin Ekeler (hamstring), Kelley did not put up the numbers that some would have expected. While Kelley was unsuccessful in making it to the end zone, he did have the highest number of snaps (43) among running backs and tied for his season high in snaps as well. Still, it wasn't enough to surpass Saturday's practice-squad callup, Kalen Ballage, who dramatically took advantage of the opportunities vacated by Jackson's injury to the tune of 84 total yards and a team-high 15 carries in the loss. It's clear Kelley has a defined role within the rushing attack, though the rookie is essentially locked into a second-fiddle role to whoever is healthy among the group of Ekeler, Jackson, Troymaine Pope (concussion) and now Ballage. There's likely too much uncertainty regarding the Chargers' injured backs to know who will be the leading rusher this Sunday, but it's becoming clear Kelley won't be the answer.
Coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday that Kelley has been "running timid lately," Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports.
Kelley appears to be working behind both Justin Jackson and Troymaine Pope (concussion) in Los Angeles' backfield at this point. Jackson led the way with 17 carries in Sunday's loss to the Broncos, while Pope logged 10 and Kelley ran seven times for 32 yards. Aside from an early 22-yard gain, Kelley was held to 10 yards on his other six carries, and he took a seven-yard loss on his lone reception. Lynn noted that he remains confident Kelley will "turn it around," but the rookie will need to improve his per-touch efficiency before fantasy managers are able to rely on him with much confidence.
Kelley carried the ball seven times for 32 yards in Week 8 against the Broncos. He added one reception for -7 yards.
Kelley finished with the fewest carries out of a trio of backs for the Chargers that also included Justin Jackson and Troymaine Pope. He did manage a 22-yard gain on the team's third drive of the game, attacking behind the left side of the offensive line. Kelley was otherwise held in check, managing only 10 yards on his six other carries combined. Though Austin Ekeler (hamstring) isn't on the verge of a return, Jackson has overtaken Kelley in terms of efficiency across the past few weeks.
Kelley rushed 12 times for 29 yards and caught all five of his targets for 24 yards in Sunday's 39-29 win over the Jaguars.
Kelley out-touched Justin Jackson 17-10, but neither running back contributed much in the high-scoring affair. It's encouraging to see the rookie wrestle back the majority of the workload after Jackson posted 94 scrimmage yards to Kelley's 38 last week, but Kelley's averaging just 3.1 yards per carry on 75 totes through his first six games. Kelley will look to improve that efficiency at home against the Broncos in Week 8, while Jackson should continue to be his primary competition for playing time with Austin Ekeler (hamstring) still on IR.
Kelley rushed 11 times for 29 yards and caught his lone target for nine yards in Monday night's 30-27 overtime loss to the Saints.
Kelley was bottled up against a consistently stout Saints rush defense. In contrast, fellow tailback Justin Jackson rushed 15 times for 71 yards, but 36 of those came on one play. While that evidences the tough sledding on average Monday, Jackson's comparatively hot hand enabled him to get involved more in the passing game as well, as he finished with five catches for 23 yards. As long as usual starter Austin Ekeler (hamstring) is sidelined, the production split between Kelley and Jackson will be worthwhile to monitor. After a decent start to the season, the rookie Kelley has tailed off due to a combination of fumbles and hard matchups lately. While those struggles along with Jackson's performance Monday leave him on the slide, Week 6's matchup against the winless Jets could be just what Kelley needs to get going again.
Kelley could see more opportunities with top running back Austin Ekeler (hamstring) expected to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Kelley wasn't particularly impressive in relief of an injured Ekeler in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers, as he carried the ball nine times for seven yards while also committing an egregious fumble near the end of the first half, which allowed Tampa Bay to gain momentum in its eventual come-from-behind win. The fumble was the rookie's second in as many weeks, but coach Anthony Lynn didn't seem to lose much confidence in Kelley, who still played a season-high 57 percent of the offensive snaps. While Ekeler is sidelined, the Chargers may not view Kelley as a true bell cow but instead as more of an Option 1A ahead of Justin Jackson, who should factor in much in the same way Ekeler did when Melvin Gordon served as the team's lead tailback in past seasons. Both Jackson and Kelley have proven to be useful pass catchers out of the backfield, so whomever gets the majority of the work may boil down to the hotter hand between the two each week. With three straight matchups on tap against bottom-tier run defenses in the Saints, Jets and Dolphins, both Kelley and Jackson might be relevant fantasy options even in shallower leagues.
Kelley rushed nine times for seven yards and brought in all three targets for 26 yards in the Chargers' 38-31 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. He also lost a fumble.
The rookie fourth-round pick had an opportunity to assume control of the backfield after Austin Ekeler exited the game for good in the first quarter due to a hamstring injury, but Kelley found the sledding to be extremely rough versus the Buccaneers' typically stalwart front seven. Additionally, his late first-half fumble at the Chargers' eight-yard line helped ignite a Buccaneers comeback that led to Tampa Bay scoring 35 points from that point onward. Kelley did appear to soak up some of Ekeler's usual passing game work by logging a modest but nevertheless season-high three targets, and he could be in line for a heavy workload in a Week 5 road matchup versus the Saints if Ekeler remains sidelined.
Kelley carried the ball eight times for 43 yards and also caught both of his targets for nine yards in the 21-16 loss Sunday to the Panthers. He also lost a fumble.
Kelley took a back seat to Austin Ekeler in this one as the Chargers fell behind early. Part of that reason was because of the rookie's second-quarter fumble off a 16-yard run. That turnover set up the Panthers' lone touchdown and also a two-score lead. It's possible Kelley might find tough sledding again next week with the Chargers set to square off against a high-powered Buccaneers unit.
Kelley carried the ball a team-high 23 times for 64 yards and caught two of three targets for 49 yards in Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City.
It's noteworthy that Kelley saw a bigger workload than Austin Ekeler in a close game, with the rookie getting 25 touches to the more senior back's 20 -- although Ekeler was more productive with 148 scrimmage yards. The Chargers' backfield increasingly looks like a 1A/1B arrangement rather than Kelley being confined to backup duties, but that could still lead to big numbers for both backs in Week 3 against a Panthers run defense that's already been lit up by Josh Jacobs and Leonard Fournette this season.
Kelley is expected to serve as the top understudy to Austin Ekeler in Sunday's game against the Chiefs with Justin Jackson (quadriceps) listed as doubtful and not expected to play, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Kelley enjoyed a productive NFL debut in the Chargers' Week 1 win over the Bengals, playing only 24 percent of the offensive snaps and finishing with 12 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers may not have the luxury of operating a run-heavy game plan versus a heavily favored Chiefs team, so Kelley could struggle to replicate his Week 1 usage with Ekeler working as the clear top pass-catching back on the roster.
Kelley carried the ball 12 times for 60 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 16-13 win over the Bengals.
Kelley was a crucial factor in the team's offense after the first half, registering all 12 carries over the final 24 minutes. Kelley was in contention with Justin Jackson for the backup job all throughout training camp, and while Jackson did see two carries in the first half, it was quickly apparent Kelley's nimble running style was the more productive option. Kelley was bumped up to the No. 2 role when Jackson left the game with an injury. Perhaps not surprisingly, Kelley took a similar role to now-Broncos running back Melvin Gordon later in the contest, working in a one-two combo with Austin Ekeler that resulted in a couple of red zone carries, including his first career touchdown on a well-designed zone run. Ekeler should still be considered the primary running back moving forward, but it's clear Kelley absolutely has utility in deeper leagues regardless of Ekeler's or Jackson's health.
Kelley remains in a tight battle with Justin Jackson for the No. 2 running back spot behind Austin Ekeler, Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports.
It was a tremendous week of practice for Kelley, who began Monday on the third unit ,only to eventually see first-team action by Thursday. The nearly 6-foot running back brings a bit more power to his game -- which ultimately could make him a more optimal No. 2 behind the sturdy yet smaller Ekeler -- but Jackson has been impressive in brief stints at the NFL level as well, especially as a change-of-pace back.
The Chargers selected Kelley in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, 112th overall.
A natural runner with 4.49 40-yard dash speed, Kelley compiled 1,060 rushing yards as a senior at UCLA. Impressive balance and quick acceleration could bring Kelley success as an interior runner at the next level, though it's worth noting that he didn't see much usage as a collegiate receiver (11 receptions for 71 yards in 2019). He stands to immediately compete for a role behind Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in Los Angeles' backfield.
|1||Sun 09/13||@ CIN||W 16-13||12||60||1||0||0||0|
|2||Sun 09/20||vs KC||L 20-23||23||64||0||2||49||0|
|3||Sun 09/27||vs CAR||L 16-21||8||43||0||2||9||0|
|4||Sun 10/04||@ TB||L 31-38||9||7||0||3||26||0|
|5||Mon 10/12||@ NO||L 27-30||11||29||0||1||9||0|
|7||Sun 10/25||vs JAC||W 39-29||12||29||0||5||24||0|
|8||Sun 11/01||@ DEN||L 30-31||7||32||0||1||-7||0|
|9||Sun 11/08||vs LV||L 26-31||9||28||0||5||31||0|
|10||Sun 11/15||@ MIA||L 21-29||7||21||0||0||0||0|
|11||Sun 11/22||vs NYJ||W 34-28||4||-2||0||2||4||0|
|Career Rushing Stats|
|Career Receiving Stats|