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Fantasy football waiver wire considerations after Austin Ekeler injury

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler injured his hamstring in Week 4 and is uncertain for Week 5. We break down the fantasy waiver replacement options on LA’s roster and elsewhere.

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is checked on after an apparent injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first quarter of a NFL game at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Monday update: Ekeler suffered “what is considered a serious hamstring injury” and is likely to land on injured reserve with the hope of a return this season, per Ian Rapoport.

The Los Angeles Chargers blew a 24-7 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and the loss was compounded by injury. Running back Austin Ekeler strained his hamstring and could miss some time. Following the game, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told the media, “I’m not sure how bad it is, but it looked pretty bad.”

Ekeler was on crutches and wearing a brace for a hyperextended knee to go along with the hamstring injury. He will undergo an MRI on Monday and Adam Schefter is reporting he will miss “multiple weeks.”

Chargers replacement options

If Ekeler does miss any time, the Chargers will likely go to a platoon between Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson. By the end of Sunday’s game, Kelley had 30 snaps while Jackson had 21 snaps, per PFF. Kelley had nine carries for seven yards and caught three passes for 26 yards, while losing one fumble. Jackson had six carries for nine yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.

Kelley has had fumble issues, which could cost him more work in place of Ekeler. Neither of the two backups is a strong fantasy option at the moment. If Ekeler is looking like he’ll miss some time, Kelley gets the nod for now, but be wary of fumbles costing him a starting job.

Week 5 fantasy waiver wire considerations

The running back position isn’t exactly stacked on the waiver wire. This week brought a breakthrough from Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson. After Browns RB Nick Chubb got hurt, Johnson ended up with more carries than Kareem Hunt, the back many figured would get the bulk of the work if Chubb got hurt. It will likely be a split backfield if Chubb misses time, and Johnson — owned in almost no leagues — is worth a claim.

Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel are currently rostered in fewer than 50 percent of leagues, but we’ll get a better handle on both of their workloads if the Patriots and Chiefs get their game in on Monday.

Chase Edmonds could be worth a flier if he can pick up some more work with Kenyan Drake struggling. Burkhead and Michel have stronger floors right now, but Edmonds is a not so unrealistic lottery ticket.

Some high scorers in Week 4 readily available on waiver wires include Edmonds, Reggie Bonnafon, Tony Pollard, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Of that group, Vaughn has some upside if Leonard Fournette doesn’t recover soon. Pollard is firmly behind Ezekiel Elliott and Bonnafon is behind an impressive looking Mike Davis until Christian McCaffrey returns from his injury.