Back in Week 5 when Melvin Gordon played his first game since finishing his holdout things didn’t look bad in Los Angeles. Gordon was going to be eased in, and Ekeler would supposedly maintain his workload at a relatively high level. By the weekend’s end, Gordon had 16 touches to Ekeler’s 18, but the latter clearly out-performed Gordon with his 24.3 fantasy points in comparison to Gordon’s 7.8. Then Week 6 arrived and everything seemed to change for the bad. Gordon saw fewer targets than in Week 5 (four to six) and carried the ball only eight times (12 in Week 5) for an exact same 7.8 points. Ekeler rushed the ball two more times but was targeted on just four occasions. Obviously, both—and the Chargers—lost the day.
After those two games, Melvin Gordon said he expect more carries going forward to help his rhythm. Ekeler is going to be faded in favor of Gordon sooner rather than later—he already has—but what happened against the Steelers is a little inexcusable, favorable game script or not. This week against Tennessee both will need to step up. Gordon needs to have a definitive game in which he shows he truly deserves that RB1 role, and Ekeler must keep proving everything he’s done to date was not a fluke—hard to believe it was at this point, though—and that he can keep up with Gordon no matter the weight of his name.
Fantasy football analysis, Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler
The Titans are a slightly tougher team against running backs than the Steelers. Tennessee is giving up only 22.4 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, and remember the Chargers one works by committee, so that is 22.4 to share between two different players—not great. In the last four weeks, no backfield except Denver’s (104) has rushed for more than 75 yards against the Titans, and only the Broncos and Falcons were able to score a touchdown. Tennessee has yet to give up a score through the air to a running back, so Ekeler’s upside gets cut from the get-go. As far as Gordon, considering how solid this defense has been lately and how he’s not finding himself comfortable sharing time with Ekeler, I’d stay away from both of him until he truly becomes the clear bearer of the RB1 role or gets traded from Los Angeles.
Melvin Gordon: Start (borderline Flex)
Austin Ekeler: Sit