Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler hoped to hit the ground running after missing six games last year due to injury. However, Ekeler was sidelined at practice with a hamstring injury on Wednesday, which has fantasy football managers on edge.
Ekeler's injury status could boost Justin Jackson's fantasy outlook heading into Week 1.
Austin Ekeler Fantasy
Big things are expected from Ekeler this year in a revamped Los Angeles Chargers offense. Being selected as RB7 in drafts leading up to Week 1, according to FantasyPros, managers are heavily invested in the fifth-year pro.
However, the running back dealing with a hamstring injury is a huge concern heading into the season. He missed six games last year with a strain in that same area and hyperextended knee. He also was knocked out of the season finale with a concussion.
Health will be the No. 1 factor for Ekeler to give managers the big return they're looking for in 2021. He was already facing a tough matchup in Week 1, and not being at 100% would tank his outlook even further.
Justin Jackson Fantasy
If Ekeler can't go, Jackson will suddenly be in line for a ton of work against the Washington Football Team.
In three healthy games while Ekeler was out last season, Jackson averaged a whopping 18.0 touches (12.3 rushes plus 5.7 targets) per game. His PPR point per game ballooned to 14.03 in that span, including an RB9 finish in Week 8.
If Ekeler is forced to sit in Week 1 and Jackson takes over as the lead back, that's appetizing given the workload available. The Chargers also boast an improved offensive line headlined by rookie Rashawn Slater and All-Pro center Corey Linsley, which should make an immediate impact.
Whichever back gets the nod will face a staunch opponent in Washington, though. WFT allowed the third-fewest PPR points per game to RBs last season (18.78).
Managers should keep a close eye on Ekeler's status ahead of Sunday. Jackson is a solid insurance option heading into Week 1, especially given that he's rostered in just 8.7% of ESPN fantasy leagues.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. 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.