Austin Ekeler Fantasy Injury: Add Justin Jackson & These Other RBs As Waiver Wire Pickups
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers.
- With Austin Ekeler's status in question for Sunday, we run through what fantasy managers need to know.
- Find out which running backs to add on the waiver wire, including Justin Jackson.
Not all ‘Did Not Practice’ injuries on Wednesday are the same, but Austin Ekeler’s hamstring should have fantasy football managers planning ahead.
According to the Los Angeles Chargers official team injury report, Ekeler sat out with a hamstring injury, which is alarming because a hamstring injury limited the running back to just six games a season ago.
In some situations, a Wednesday DNP is nothing more than maintenance and rest during a long season, but for Ekeler managers, there’s enough time to plan ahead before panicking on Sunday morning.
The Chargers travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Football Team. Los Angeles opened up as a short favorite, but some books have flipped the line making Washington a 1-point favorite (follow real-time odds here).
Ekeler enters the season as the No. 14-ranked running back in standard scoring leagues according to The Action Network fantasy rankings.
For Week 1, Sean Koerner ranks Ekeler No. 13 for running backs, while fellow Action Network fantasy expert Chris Raybon is down on the back, ranking him No. 22.
The Action Network will continue to monitor Ekeler’s status heading into Sunday, with rankings changing as necessary. Instead of waiting until Sunday morning, fantasy analyst Samantha Previte has running backs on the waiver wire to consider adding right now.
Samantha Previte’s Waiver Wire Targets
Justin Jackson (13% rostered) would be next up on the Chargers’ RB depth chart, followed by 2020 fourth-rounder Joshua Kelley (1%) and 2021 sixth-rounder Larry Rountree (1%).
Jackson would be a valuable insurance policy, as would Kelley, should Ekeler miss any amount of time — even in a tough matchup. Jackson recorded 59 attempts for 270 yards last year and caught 19 of 24 passes for 173 yards as Ekeler’s backup. Kelley rushed 111 times for 354 yards and two touchdowns and reeled in all 23 targets for 148 yards.
Of the non-Chargers waiver wire backs available in more than 50% of leagues, I would also check out Ty’Son Williams (37%), J.D. McKissic (37%) and Darrel Williams (14%).
Ty’Son Williams is now the second man in the Ravens’ run-first offense behind Gus Edwards after the loss of J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill. McKissic may see a slightly increased role (this week and beyond) with receiver Curtis Samuel’s status up in the air. He is especially valuable in PPR formats and reeled in the second-most catches among running backs last season behind Alvin Kamara.
Darrel Williams will back up David Montgomery and will likely see increased involvement in the Bears’ passing game with Tarik Cohen on the PUP list.