Where to Draft Austin Ekeler If Melvin Gordon Continues to Hold Out

Zach Brunner
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

As NFL training camp begins, the Los Angeles Chargers will be without star running back Melvin Gordon. The fifth-year back is holding out of camp until he receives a new contract or is traded.

If Gordon isn't on the field for the Chargers, it creates a big opportunity for his backup Austin Ekeler.

Ekeler was already relevant in fantasy, locked into the change-of-pace role for the Chargers. He has averaged an incredible .12 catches per snap in his career and if Gordon is not with the team, Ekeler could see his 35-percent snap share from last season spike.

The question will be where to draft Ekeler in fantasy drafts, if the Gordon situation is still a giant question mark. This scenario is very similar to the one we saw last season with Le'Veon Bell and James Conner with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Currently, Gordon is being drafted as RB7, while Ekeler is going as RB39 in PPR scoring. While we really don't what's going on regarding the Gordon situation, we likely need to split the difference between the two and take Ekeler sooner rather than later.

Somewhere between an RB2 and RB3 feels right for Ekeler, but we'll have to wait and see that happens with Gordon before opening day. If you take Gordon with a first-round pick, you could end up in the same boat as Bell owners last season.

Ekeler is an essential handcuff for anyone that drafts Gordon and could end up being an RB1 before season's end.

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