Fantasy Owners Rejoice: Melvin Gordon Is on Track to Suit Up in Week 16
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chargers running back Melvin Gordon
- Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has missed the past three games, but he looks on track to play in Week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.
- Gordon practiced in full on Tuesday and likely won't be eased back into action based on recent history.
- You can feel comfortable firing Gordon up as an RB1 in your fantasy football championship.
The Chargers are tentatively expected to welcome back stud running back Melvin Gordon for Week 16’s Saturday night matchup against the Ravens.
Gordon was listed as a full participant on Tuesday’s injury report, and head coach Anthony Lynn went as far to say he was approaching full health
Anthony Lynn said that Melvin Gordon was full speed at practice on Tuesday.
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) December 18, 2018
Not having Gordon during Weeks 13-15 was far from ideal for fantasy owners, but there should be zero hesitation in putting him back into lineups ahead of weekend’s fantasy championship.
Recency bias is a helluva drug, and Gordon’s dominance during the first 13 weeks of the season cannot be ignored. Only Todd Gurley (26.6) has averaged more PPR points per game than Gordon (25.2) this season, as the Chargers fed their workhorse back an average of 15.3 carries and six targets per game during his 10 starts.
Of course, the question is whether or not Gordon will receive his usual workload in wake of his injury predicament.
The continued absence of backup Austin Ekeler (concussion) would help Gordon’s outlook, but Justin Jackson has proved to be a serviceable three-down option, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and posting a receiving line of 8-88-0 during his limited action.
Still, this is hardly the first time Gordon has played at less than 100% over the past two seasons. History suggests Gordon should be in line for plenty of touches as long as he’s able to suit up Saturday night.
Melvin Gordon snap % and touch count when listed on the final injury report since 2017
2018 Week 12: 38%, 12 (blowout + Gordon was injured mid-game)
2018 Week 9: 88%, 17
2017 Week 17: 77%, 23
2017 Week 8: 59%, 15
2017 Week 7: 69%, 19
2017 Week 4: 74%, 11
2017 Week 3: 45%, 17
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 19, 2018
The Chargers have eased Gordon’s workload when game flow has allowed for it, but they’ve largely leaned on their featured back as much as they usually do whenever he’s healthy enough to suit up. It’d be surprising to not see them do the same this week, considering they still have an outside chance at earning the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
This week’s matchup against the Ravens’ second-ranked defense in overall DVOA is undoubtedly difficult, but there’s a chance the defense won’t be quite as well rested this week considering the Chargers represent Lamar Jackson’s toughest test to date.
Additionally, the likes of James Conner (29.3 PPR), Christian McCaffrey (21.6), Damien Williams (19), Spencer Ware (17.0), Peyton Barber (16.9), Doug Martin (16.2) and Alvin Kamara (15.5) each found a way to rack up at least 15 PPR against the Ravens’ stout front-seven.
Gordon easily has the highest median projection, projected ceiling and projected floor among all running backs in Saturday’s two-game slate in our FantasyLabs Pro Models.
Our ranking experts Matthew Freedman, Chris Raybon and Sean Koerner have Gordon as their PPR RB6, RB9 and RB8, respectively.
Fire up Gordon across all fantasy formats if he’s ultimately able to suit up this week.
Now let’s move on to hoping that Keenan Allen (hip, DNP Tuesday) will be able to do the same.