Would You Rather: Own Melvin Gordon or Austin Ekeler for Rest of 2019 Fantasy Football Season

Zach Brunner
Los Angeles Chargers v Oakland Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Oakland Raiders / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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It was big news this week when Melvin Gordon ended his holdout, re-joining the Los Angeles Chargers at practice yesterday.

While this is seemingly great news for the Chargers and Gordon's fantasy owners, it does raise questions about the value of Austin Ekeler, who has been fantastic through the first three weeks of the 2019 NFL season. With Ekeler playing so well – he ranks as the No. 3 RB in PPR leagues – it raises the question as to which running back is better to own in fantasy moving forward.

Melvin Gordon Fantasy Outlook

We know what the ceiling is for Gordon, who averaged 23.0 fantasy points per contest in PPR leagues in 12 games played last season. He proved to be a duel-threat back, rushing for 885 yards and catching 50 passes for 490 yards in 2018.

Once he returns to the field, in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos, Gordon is likely to give up some work in the passing game due to Ekeler's prowess as a receiver out of the backfield. However, Gordon is expected to resume his lead-back role in the Chargers' offense, which should still feature the Wisconsin product on early downs.

Austin Ekeler Fantasy Outlook

However, Ekeler should still thrive in passing situations for the Chargers. He caught 39 passes on 53 targets for 404 yards and three TDs last season and has already grabbed 19 balls for 208 yards and two touchdowns in three games so far this season. This should be enough to give Ekeler standalone fantasy value as a flex play, especially with the run of bye weeks through Week 12.

With Gordon set to return to his early-down role, along with the increased likelihood of short-yardage carries, Flash is the running back to own for the Chargers for the remainder of 2019, slotting in as a low-end RB1. But, if you own Ekeler, he will retain enough value to remain on your roster – just as a low-end RB2 or flex option. Try to enjoy his Week 4 matchup against the Miami Dolphins as this could be the last time Ekeler is ranked as an RB1 for the rest of the season.


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