Austin Ekeler tweaked his ankle against the Giants last week, and his status is up in the air for the Chargers’ Week 15 matchup against Kansas City. He will likely be “questionable,” at best, for the Thursday Night Football showdown, and his availability will have a big effect on fantasy RB rankings and start ’em, sit ’em decisions. Knowing the latest injury updates — and Ekeler’s handcuff(s) — will be key ahead of your first lineup call of the week.
We’ll continue to update this article with news on Ekeler up until the official active/inactive report comes out on Thursday around 6:50 p.m. ET. For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Austin Ekeler playing on Thursday night?
UPDATE: Ekeler was limited in practice on Tuesday, which is a good sign for his potential availability this week.
The Chargers did not practice Monday, but the injury report listed Ekeler as a “DNP.” It will be the Tuesday injury report that will tell us more about this situation, though it still might not tell us everything. There’s certainly a chance he doesn’t practice on a short week and plays, but he could just as easily log limited practices and not play, so we’ll just have to monitor this situation leading up to Thursday.
If he plays, you’re starting him, even at the risk of the Week 13 Darrell Henderson or Boston Scott situation where they were active but barely saw the field. We’d be surprised if the Chargers, who have real Super Bowl aspirations, decided to play with Ekeler’s health on a short week, so we’re comfortable taking that risk. Kansas City is just a neutral matchup for RBs, but we know Ekeler’s receiving work sets him apart from most other backs, especially in PPR leagues.
If he doesn’t play, we’ll likely see a close to even split between Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. Jackson appears to have a slight edge and has a better receiving profile, so he’s the best play here on paper. Of course, teams aren’t shy about doing something fantasy owners never expected (like the Lions featuring Craig Reynolds in Week 14), so we won’t pretend there is no risk involved here. Unfortunately, we’ll have to make some of those risky decisions no matter what happens here.
With Ekeler currently out of our rankings, we have Jackson as the RB29 in standard and RB25 in PPR leagues. Kelley comes in at RB36 in PPR and RB34 in standard. Again, it’s tough to know exactly what to expect here, as both could see goal-line touches and receiving opportunities.