The Duel

Austin Ekeler Fantasy Outlook Gives Him Elite Upside in Great Week 3 Matchup Against Texans

Dan Israeli
Los Angeles Chargers v Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Chargers v Detroit Lions / Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
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With Melvin Gordon holding out to start the season, many were high on the prospects of Austin Ekeler leading the Los Angeles Chargers backfield and being a valuable asset in fantasy football. So far, the diminutive RB has delivered big time, with 287 scrimmage yards and four total touchdowns through two weeks.

With Gordon not expected back until at least Week 6, if he returns to the Chargers at all, Ekeler should continue to have tremendous value as borderline RB1, as he has out-touched Justin Jackson by a margin of 41 to 15 in the early goings. The Chargers' backfield may be in store for another big game in Week 3, with the Houston Texans on the schedule.

Ekeler has carried the ball 29 times through two games, gaining 124 yards with two rushing scores. While those are solid rushing numbers, he really thrives as a receiving back and has racked up 13 receptions while averaging 81.5 receiving yards per game in Weeks 1 and 2.

The Houston Texans defense has been stingy against fantasy running backs in recent years, but the loss of an elite talent in Jadeveon Clowney looks like it has sprung a leak in the team's once stout front seven.

Ekeler has upside to finish as a top five fantasy back this week, as he is currently second in standard leagues (behind Dalvin Cook) and first in PPR leagues in fantasy scoring at the RB position. As long as Gordon is out, Ekeler will continue to be featured heavily in the Chargers offense. We have him sitting fifth among running backs in our Week 3 PPR fantasy football rankings.

If you are thinking of selling high on Ekeler due to Gordon's possible return, you may want to wait a bit longer and continue to reap the rewards of your top-tier fantasy RB. Next on the schedule in Week 4 is a date with the hapless Miami Dolphins, who stand next to no chance of slowing Ekeler down.


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