The risk for fantasy owners who had Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott on their roster paid off when the Ohio State product ended his holdout with a six-year $90 million deal this week.
While Elliott owners were relieved, those counting on Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon are hoping for a quick resolution to his holdout. He hasn’t received a contract yet and has already asked for a trade with he and the team far apart.
What does that mean for Gordon fantasy owners? Doing the same thing as the Chargers and pray that the backup can fill the hole Gordon’s absence leaves.
The Chargers have two solid backs who will carry the load in place of Gordon — Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. They’re versatile backs who can run and catch the football.
“I’ve always used those guys in a tandem and that’s not going to change,” Chargers head football coach Anthony Lynn said.
Ekeler averaged 5.2 yards per carry last season on his way to a 554-yard season and three touchdowns in a supporting role. He’s a small, elusive back they liked to use as a third-down specialist and while having multiple backs in the backfield. He also nabbed 39 catches for 404 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a 958-yard performance, which is more than some NFL starters. He is owned in almost 90 percent of leagues at this time, but maybe your league is part of that 10 percent.
If not, Jackson is worth grabbing. He will share the duties with Ekeler and is owned in just 35 percent of fantasy leagues. As a rookie last season, he had 206 yards and two rushing touchdowns while adding 135 yards catching the football. Like Ekeler, he doesn’t have Gordon’s size, but open space is his forte.
Watch for both backs to get opportunities in the running and receiving game, and don’t be surprised if the tandem does enough as individuals to make fantasy owners happy.