When it comes to Chargers games, there are only a few things I can count on happening every single week. Philip Rivers is going to contort his face in a hilarious way at least one time on the sideline; Los Angeles will lose with seconds left on the clock due to some strange sequence of events that will seem completely improbable; and, most important for our purposes, both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler will have major roles in the offense. The great thing about Gordon and Ekeler’s partnership is that they’re two completely different archetypes at the position, however both are not limited to being one-note fantasy assets. Gordon’s a between-the-tackles runner, but he’s able to catch a pass in open space and produce. Ekeler’s almost more of a receiver than anything else, yet he’s been valuable as a goal line back when pressed into spot duty. Both are just talented guys and their diverse skill-sets allow them to share the field and increase each other’s floor.
Still, its Gordon who clearly possesses the higher week-to-week fantasy ceiling. After holding out to begin the season, the Wisconsin product needed a few live games to get back in the flow, yet Gordon’s looked much stronger and well-conditioned in the Chargers’ past four contests. In fact, within that span, the 26-year-old’s garnered 20-plus rushing attempts on three occasions, while also averaging 110.5 scrimmage yards. Plus, Week 14’s matchup could not be more oriented towards putting Gordon in a position to succeed. Not only does Jacksonville own the AFC’s worst run defense according to DVOA, but the Jaguars have conceded a whopping 185.7 opponent rushing yards per game dating back to the beginning of Week 11 - the second-worst figure of any NFL team in that stretch of time.
Fantasy Football Analysis, Los Angeles Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler
With Gordon essentially clocking in as a fringe top-five option at running back this weekend, let’s focus on Ekeler’s viability. Among the 35 RBs in 2019 with at least 100 carries, no one is producing more PPR fantasy points per touch than Ekeler (1.38). In terms of Chargers’ players, Ekeler is second to only Keenan Allen in overall targets (79), red zone targets (12) and receptions (69). His role may not be as large as it was when Gordon was inactive and he may not share the upside of his teammate, but, in PPR formats, Ekeler remains a low-end RB2 each and every Sunday.
Start Gordon. Start Ekeler.