The Duel

Austin Ekeler Fantasy Value Remains High After Melvin Gordon Return Thanks to Pass Catching Numbers

Jason Schandl
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers / Harry How/Getty Images

Austin Ekeler has answered any doubts surrounding his fantasy football value following Melvin Gordon's return to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5.

Gordon seems to have immediately reclaimed his status as the Chargers' lead back in the ground game, tallying 12 carries to Ekeler's three, but the de facto backup played a massive role in the team's receiving game on Sunday afternoon. Ekeler caught 15 of his 16 targets for 86 yards.

Ekeler had 107.0 PPR and 83.0 standard fantasy points through the first four weeks of the season, sitting as a top-three RB in both formats. Gordon has been a top-10 fantasy back himself in each of the last two seasons, but early indications are that he's not going to come close to erasing Ekeler's fantasy value.

The Chargers spent the first half of their Week 5 matchup with the Denver Broncos playing from behind, trailing 17-0 at halftime, and we saw how this backfield share could be affected by game flow. Trailing and being forced to throw more allowed Ekeler to be a larger part of the team's offensive play calls. However, if the Chargers are heavy favorites or playing with a lead, we can likely expect to see a heavier dose of Gordon.

As it stands, it looks like the Chargers' offense has enough room for both Gordon and Ekeler to thrive in fantasy. Things could change with a more typical game flow, and with Gordon working off more of the rust, but it looks like both backs are viable starting RB options in fantasy football moving forward.

Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.