Ekeler carried the ball five times for 14 yards and also caught three of his four targets for 14 yards in the 24-17 loss Sunday to the Steelers.
An early 14-0 deficit essentially forced the Chargers to abandon the run, as Ekeler and Melvin Gordon combined to receive just 13 carries. Still, it was a bit of a surprise to see the third-year back receive just four targets one week after recording a team-high 16 in a similar game script. It's clear the return of Gordon has essentially relegated Ekeler to his primary backup role, with the shifty running back attempting just eight carries over the last two weeks compared to 56 in Weeks 1-4. That hasn't meant a significant loss in playing time however, as the 24-year-old is still seeing close to 65 percent of the offensive snaps each week, but the lack of carries likely hinders the type of upside fantasy owners might have hoped for after such an impressive start to the season.
Ekeler carried three times for seven yards and caught 15 of 16 targets for an additional 86 yards during Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Broncos.
Ekeler did next to nothing on the ground, watching as Melvin Gordon received 12 carries in his season debut. He excelled as a pass catcher, however, leading the team in targets, catches and receiving yards while serving as a safety valve for Philip Rivers. This was an encouraging sign for Ekeler, who received a hefty workload of his own despite 16 touches for Gordon. He should hold onto a similar role for next Sunday's home matchup with the Steelers, but a similar output isn't guaranteed.
Coach Anthony Lynn said Friday that Ekeler will play "a lot" in Sunday's game against the Broncos, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.
Though the team's official site lists Melvin Gordon atop the depth chart at running back, Lynn suggested that the 26-year-old's role will be limited to some extent while he plays in his first game since mid-January. The introduction of Gordon into the game plan hinders Ekeler's fantasy outlook moving forward, but the latter could still offer plenty of value in Week 5 if he ends up taking on the larger share of backfield touches. In the Chargers' first four games sans Gordon, Ekeler has averaged 122.5 total yards and six catches per contest while finding the end zone six times.
Ekeler carried the ball 18 times for 60 yards while catching all five of his targets for 62 yards, finishing the contest with two total touchdowns in Sunday's 30-10 win over the Dolphins.
It remains to be seen how Ekeler will be used moving forward, but at least in the first week with Melvin Gordon back on the team, the diminutive speedster was still the main threat, splitting time with Troymaine Pope instead. The Chargers made it clear during the week Gordon would only be used in an emergency situation, something that never occurred with both Pope and Ekeler healthy throughout. Therefore, it's tough to really gauge how the team will operate their two-headed backfield. The third-year back has been incredibly productive as the leading ballcarrier for the Chargers, posting 220 rushing yards and 270 receiving yards along with six touchdowns through four games. However, head coach Anthony Lynn made it known Gordon would resume his lead-back role as soon as the team deemed him physically ready, which could occur as early as Week 5 against the Broncos.
Ekeler is in line to start Sunday's game against the Dolphins, but his workload remains in flux with Melvin Gordon active for the contest, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
While Rapoport suggests that Gordon will be used only in an emergency after only putting in two practices with the Chargers this week following his return from a 64-day holdout, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com suggests that Gordon should "still get touches." No matter what role Gordon holds in Week 4, the expectation is that it will be small, leaving Ekeler in line to handle the bulk of the backfield snaps. That's probably enough to make Ekeler a worthy play in nearly all weekly leagues, though his fantasy appeal will take a substantial hit in the contests to follow, as coach Anthony Lynn already declared that Gordon will reclaim lead-back duties once he has more time to get reintegrated with the team.
Ekeler is still expected to be the starter despite teammate Melvin Gordon being activated and available to play in Sunday's contest against the Dolphins, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Williams suggested Ekeler would still operate on the larger side of the time share this week, with Gordon sliding into the vacated snaps left by Justin Jackson's (calf) injury, meaning the fourth-year back should still expect to see his usual 45-50 snaps Sunday. It remains to be seen how Ekeler will fit into the offense moving forward, however, as head coach Anthony Lynn made it clear Gordon would "go back to being our No. 1 guy" as "soon as Melvin's ready."
Ekeler's teammate, Melvin Gordon, plans to report to the Chargers on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Per the report, Gordon won't play Sunday against the Dolphins, so those who had been rolling with Ekeler will get one more week worth of starter's production from him, before he presumably reverts to a complementary role in Week 5.
Ekeler carried the ball nine times for 36 yards in Week 3 against the Texans. He also added seven receptions on seven targets for 45 yards.
Ekeler was held in check for the first time this season but still managed a productive game thanks to his involvement in the passing attack. Even though he continued to clearly work ahead of Justin Jackson, it was surprising to see Ekeler earn only nine carries, particularly because the Chargers led throughout the first half. Despite the down performance relative to his massive production through the first two weeks of the season, Ekeler has 368 total yards and four touchdowns through three games. Furthermore, he should have a great chance to return to the end zone in Week 4, as the Chargers draw a matchup against the lowly Dolphins.
Ekeler tallied 17 carries for 66 yards and one touchdown while hauling in all six passes for 67 yards during Sunday's 13-10 loss in Detroit.
Once again, Ekeler handled the lion's share of the running back reps, seeing 23 touches to Justin Jackson's eight. The result was Ekeler's second consecutive outing with at least 130 yards from scrimmage and one TD. Moreover, Ekeler ranked second on the team in targets behind top wideout Keenan Allen, who received a whopping 15. As long as Melvin Gordon's holdout lasts, Ekeler appears to the favored option out of the Chargers' backfield.
Ekeler carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards and registered six receptions for 96 yards to go along with three total touchdowns in the 30-24 overtime win Sunday over the Colts.
It's safe to say the Chargers didn't miss Melvin Gordon (contract holdout) on Sunday, as Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 215 total yards. Ekeler in particular was a dynamic force, picking up four separate plays of 10 or more yards throughout the contest, including a beautifully set up screen that turned into a 55-yard touchdown thanks in large part to impressive balance from the diminutive offensive weapon. Ekeler capped off his impressive day with the go-ahead touchdown in overtime -- one of a number of red-zone looks he received throughout the afternoon. The 24-year-old out-touched his backfield competition 18-to-7 despite Jackson's impressive 9.5 yards-per-carry average, essentially slotting into the same type of usage that made Gordon a top fantasy option at running back the past three seasons. It's possible the Chargers could operate with a more balanced attack in future weeks, but there's no question that Ekeler will remain a focal point regardless.
Ekeler could be in store for an extended run as the Chargers' starting running back with top option Melvin Gordon (contract dispute) potentially extending his holdout until late November, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
As Schefter notes, Gordon would only have to show up 30 days prior to the Chargers' regular-season finale in order for his contract not to toll over into 2020, making it likely that he'll report to Los Angeles at some point before the Dec. 1 game in Denver. Of course, Gordon may end his holdout well before that date if the Chargers trade him or meet his demands on an extension, but he'll at least be unavailable for the Week 1 matchup with the Colts, and quite possibly, additional games to follow. While Gordon is away, coach Anthony Lynn has expressed a desire to use a backfield timeshare of Ekeler and Justin Jackson, though the distribution of snaps and touches should tilt in favor of Ekeler. The 24-year-old thrived in a change-of-pace role behind Gordon the previous two seasons, averaging an efficient 5.3 yards per carry and 10.3 yards per reception.
Coach Anthony Lynn hinted that he'll likely have Ekeler share the backfield snaps with Justin Jackson in Sunday's game against the Colts, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports. "I've always used those guys as a tandem," Lynn said. "That's not going to change. We're going to put guys in good positions to do what they do best.
With Melvin Gordon's holdout continuing into the regular season, Ekeler is on track to receive the Week 1 start, but he apparently won't be asked to fill the high-volume role that the former has filled when available. Though Ekeler averaged a robust 5.2 yards per carry on 106 attempts in 2018 while also showcasing utility as a receiver, he hasn't logged more than 17 touches in any game during his two-year career. By not asking Ekeler to handle the overwhelming share of the backfield work, the Chargers are likely hoping he can maintain the efficiency he's displayed in the past and ensure the Los Angeles offense doesn't lose much potency without its top back in the fold.
Ekeler rushed four times for 11 yards and brought in two of three targets for 22 yards in the Chargers' 23-15 preseason loss to the Seahawks on Saturday.
Ekeler was thoroughly stymied on the ground save for one carry, a nine-yard run. However, he also notched an impressive 17-yard grab in what was likely his final tune-up for the regular season. The third-year pro increasingly appears set to start the season as the Chargers' No. 1 running back with Melvin Gordon still holding out, although backfield mate Justin Jackson should also see a solid complementary workload while Gordon remains out.
Ekeler carried the ball three times for nine yards and caught his only target for six yards in Sunday's preseason loss to the Saints.
He got the starter treatment in this one, seeing minimal snaps with the first-team offense before giving way to other backs the coaching staff wanted to get a better look at. Ekeler remains on track to be the No. 1 RB for the Chargers in Week 1 if Melvin Gordon is still holding out or not yet up to speed, but whether he would see the bulk of the backfield touches in that scenario, or be first among equals in a committee with the likes of Justin Jackson, isn't yet clear.
Ekeler rushed five times for 40 yards and brought in all three targets for 29 yards in the Chargers' 17-13 preseason loss to the Cardinals on Thursday. He also lost a fumble.
Ekeler's first official 2019 audition as the lead back in the wake of Melvin Gordon's ongoing holdout had only one blemish, a lost fumble that short-circuited the Chargers' first drive at the Cardinals' two-yard line. The third-year back otherwise shined through both the ground and air, flashing his signature skills with the ball in his hands. The extent of Ekeler's role this coming season naturally depends on Gordon's status, but the Western State product did inspire confidence in his ability to help keep the run game afloat Thursday, his one miscue notwithstanding.
Ekeler stands to benefit from the absence of Melvin Gordon, who announced Wednesday that he won't be reporting to training camp until he receives a long-term extension, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.
Gordon's negotiations remain a fluid situation, but it seems clear the 2015 first-round pick is willing to sit out the entirety of training camp and the preseason in order to secure a new deal. Considering the Chargers' championship aspirations along with the fact that Gordon is still under contract through 2019, it seems likely both sides will come to a resolution before Week 1. In any event, Ekeler should be a prominent figure in the backfield, though his outlook would undoubtedly brighten if Gordon's stalemate with the Chargers should drag into the regular season. The preseason might yield valuable information as to how the Chargers might deploy their backfield sans Gordon, but Ekeler likely won't be in store for excessive usage regardless as the team aims to preserve his health for the regular season.
Ekeler said he will focus on his route running this summer.
Ekeler often replaces Melvin Gordon on passing downs, though the latter also gets plenty of work as a receiver. Their roles should look much the same in 2019, considering undrafted rookie Jeremy Cox was the only offseason addition to the Los Angeles backfield. Ekeler's career marks of 5.3 yards per carry and 7.8 per target rank as elite by RB standards, but he was limited to 3.2 YPC and 3.8 YPT in three starts last season, failing to approach his usual efficiency when tasked with a larger workload (40 carries, 20 targets in those three games).
Ekeler recorded no carries and hauled in three of five targets for 19 yards Sunday in the Chargers' 41-28 divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
New England scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the game, which effectively forced the Chargers to abandon the run. That left limited work available for top back Melvin Gordon (nine carries), while Ekeler's usage was restricted exclusively to passing downs. Though Ekeler made little impact in his final game of the 2018 season, it still was a relatively successful campaign for the second-year player. Over his 16 appearances (including two postseason contests), Ekeler was supremely efficient with 5.0 yards per carry and 9.5 yards per reception on 163 total touches.
Ekeler (groin) rushed 11 times for 29 yards and brought in all four of his targets for 14 yards in the Chargers' 23-17 wild-card win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Ekeler shook off the groin issue that had him listed as questionable heading into the contest to put together an unremarkable but serviceable final line. The change-of-pace back essentially handled a normal workload, and his availability became even more valued when backfield mate Melvin Gordon had to exit the game for a time with a knee injury. Ekeler will now look to manage his physical condition carefully over the next week ahead of next Sunday's divisional-round clash against the Patriots.
Ekeler (groin) is officially active for Sunday's playoff game against the Ravens.
This was the expected outcome after Ekeler practiced throughout the past week, albeit in a limited fashion. The 23-year-old is thus slated to work in a complementary/change-of-pace role behind lead back Melvin Gordon in Sunday's wild-card contest. In doing so, Ekeler should maintain PPR utility in postseason fantasy contests.
|7||10/20/19||@ TEN||4:05 pm|
|8||10/27/19||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|10||11/7/19||@ OAK||8:20 pm|
|Bye: Week 12|
|13||12/1/19||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|14||12/8/19||@ JAC||4:05 pm|
|17||12/29/19||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||47||260||5.5||35||2||3||12|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||3||106||554||5.2||41||3||4||25|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||6||5||64||241||3.8||19||3||0||17|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||27||279||10.3||38||3||3||0||12|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||3||39||404||10.4||44||3||5||1||18|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||6||5||42||370||8.8||55||3||3||1||17|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||5||85||17.0||22||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||6||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||19||15.0||4||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||9||9.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||6||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Chargers||14||1||1||0||2||0||0||2||0|
|2019||Los Angeles Chargers||6||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|