|ADP:||Round: 9, Pick: 11|
|Ht / Wt:||5'9" / 191 lb.|
|College:||Western State (CO)|
|Born:||May 17, 1995|
|Drafted:||2017 / UDFA|
Ekeler recorded no carries and hauled in three of five targets for 19 yards Sunday in the Chargers' 41-28 divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
Analysis: New England scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the game, which effectively forced the Chargers to abandon the run. That left limited work available for top back Melvin Gordon (nine carries), while Ekeler's usage was restricted exclusively to passing downs. Though Ekeler made little impact in his final game of the 2018 season, it was still a relatively successful campaign for the second-year player. Over his 16 appearances (including two postseason contests), Ekeler was supremely efficient with 5.0 yards per carry and 9.5 yards per reception on 163 total touches.
Ekeler (groin) rushed 11 times for 29 yards and brought in all four of his targets for 14 yards in the Chargers' 23-17 wild-card win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Analysis: Ekeler shook off the groin issue that had him listed as questionable heading into the contest to put together an unremarkable but serviceable final line. The change-of-pace back essentially handled a normal workload, and his availability became even more valued when backfield mate Melvin Gordon had to exit the game for a time with a knee injury. Ekeler will now look to manage his physical condition carefully over the next week ahead of next Sunday's divisional-round clash against the Patriots.
Ekeler (groin) is officially active for Sunday's playoff game against the Ravens.
Analysis: This was the expected outcome after Ekeler practiced throughout the past week, albeit in a limited fashion. The 23-year-old is thus slated to work in a complementary/change-of-pace role behind lead back Melvin Gordon in Sunday's wild-card contest. In doing so, Ekeler should maintain PPR utility in postseason fantasy contests.
Ekeler (groin) is slated to be active for Sunday's game against the Ravens, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: Ekeler, who practiced this past week in a limited fashion, is thus poised to be available for Sunday's wild-card game. He'll continue to work in a complementary/change-of-pace role behind lead back Melvin Gordon, an assignment that provides Ekeler with a degree of PPR utility.
Ekeler (groin) is listed as questionable for Sunday's wild-card game at Baltimore.
Analysis: Contained to only some activity in practice this week due to a groin injury, Ekeler could be in danger of sitting out for the third time in four games. That said, he'll serve in a complementary role to Melvin Gordon this weekend, if Ekeler is active. That gig translated to 8.5 touches for 73.7 scrimmage yards per game for Ekeler in the 11 contests in which both running backs were active this season.
Ekeler (groin) logged a limited practice again Thursday.
Analysis: Ekeler's groin issue has limited him in each of the first two practice sessions to begin the week, leaving his status somewhat unclear. Friday's injury report should provide a bit more clarity on his status, though Melvin Gordon figures to lead the way for the Chargers' backfield regardless.
Ekeler was limited at Wednesday's practice by a groin injury.
Analysis: Ekeler sat out Weeks 15 and 16 due to a pair of health of concerns -- a stinger and concussion -- but returned for the regular-season finale in Denver, tallying eight carries for 58 yards and one touchdown while failing to haul in his only target. His ability as a receiver helps him gain reps in a Melvin Gordon-led backfield, so with no receptions since Dec. 9, Ekeler is an iffy prospect heading into Sunday's wild-card game at Baltimore. Further hurting Ekeler's case is Gordon, who managed to practice fully Wednesday just three days removed from injuring his ankle against the Broncos.
Ekeler posted eight rushes for 58 yards and one touchdown but didn't haul in his only target during Sunday's 23-9 victory in Denver.
Analysis: Most of Ekeler's production came after Melvin Gordon's final touch early in the fourth quarter, including a 41-yard dash around right end and a one-yard TD on the same drive to put the game out of reach. Afterward, Gordon told Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com that he "tweaked" his ankle but expects to be fine for a wild-card game in Baltimore. The preceding could result in more first-team work than normal for Ekeler in the coming days, but he would take a back seat to an active Gordon in the do-or-die setting next weekend.
Ekeler (concussion/neck) was a full participant in practice Wednesday.
Analysis: Unable to practice in any capacity last week, Ekeler was held out of Saturday's 22-10 loss to the Ravens but should be back for a Week 17 contest in Denver. He'll return to his usual role behind Melvin Gordon, with potential to handle more work after halftime if the game between Oakland and Kansas City isn't close. Of course, the Chargers may turn third-string back Justin Jackson if it appears they don't have any shot to jump from No. 5 to No. 1 in the AFC playoff seeding. The only path to improvement is a Chargers win combined with a Chiefs loss.
Ekeler (neck/concussion) practiced Wednesday, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Ekeler is thus trending in the right direction as Sunday's game against the Broncos approaches. If he is able to play this weekend, Ekeler would be in line to work in a change-of-pace role behind top back Melvin Gordon.
Coach Anthony Lynn expects Ekeler (neck/concussion) to return Sunday at Denver, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: Lynn may be hinting that Ekeler has gained clearance from the concussion protocol, but official word on that front has yet to emerge. Perhaps working in Ekeler's favor was his limited listing on the final Week 16 injury report before he was ruled out for Saturday's eventual loss to the Ravens. In the end, his activity level will be watched closely to get a bearing on his potential to play in the Chargers' regular-season finale.
The Chargers downgraded Ekeler from doubtful to out ahead of Saturday's matchup with the Ravens.
Analysis: Coach Anthony Lynn essentially admitted Thursday that Ekeler wouldn't be able to play this week while he remained in the concussion protocol and was still dealing with weakness in his shoulder as a result of the neck injury, so the Chargers to decision to rule the running back out a day before the game hardly comes as a surprise. With Melvin Gordon (knee) set to return from a three-game absence, Ekeler would have been stuck in a change-of-pace role had he gained clearance to suit up. Instead, those duties will now fall to rookie Justin Jackson in Week 16.
The Chargers list Ekeler (neck/concussion) as doubtful for Saturday's game against the Ravens.
Analysis: Per Sam Fortier of The Athletic, coach Anthony Lynn effectively ruled Ekeler out for the second straight game after meeting with the media Thursday, though the running back will technically carry the doubtful designation into the weekend. Ekeler was unable to practice at any point Tuesday through Thursday, with Lynn relaying that the 23-year-old remains in the concussion protocol and continues to deal with weakness in his shoulder. Fortunately for the Chargers, top back Melvin Gordon (knee) will be available Saturday after a three-game absence, leaving Justin Jackson to fill the complementary role that has typically fallen to Ekeler.
Ekeler (neck) did not practice Wednesday, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Back-to-back missed sessions do not bode well for Ekeler's chances of playing Saturday against the Ravens, though his Week 16 status is of less import than it has been of late, with Melvin Gordon on track to return to action this weekend.
Ekeler (neck) did not take part in practice Tuesday, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Ekeler's status appears to have gone unchanged from Monday, which isn't a great sign in regards to his availability for Saturday's game against the Ravens. With Melvin Gordon (knee) practicing for a second straight day and being presumably set to return, Ekeler would likely move back into an ancillary role even if he clears the NFL's concussion protocol. However, he would likely need to get in at least some limited work Wednesday if the third-year back wants a chance to suit up this week.
Coach Anthony Lynn said Monday that Ekeler (head/neck) is still in the concussion protocol, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: On the other hand, Melvin Gordon (knee) was nearly able to play in Thursday's 29-28 win over Kansas City and is now scheduled to practice Monday afternoon. Ekeler still has time to join his backfield mate on the path toward Week 16 active status, hoping to return to action for Saturday's game against the Ravens. In addition to the concussion, Ekeler acknowledged last week that the neck injury was making it hard to move his head. Another absence would leave Justin Jackson as the No. 2 running back, assuming Gordon returns.
Ekeler (neck/concussion) has a chance to return for Saturday's game against the Ravens, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: Ekeler was unable to play in Thursday's 29-28 win over the Chiefs just four days after suffering a neck injury and concussion. He does have a shot to make it back with the Chargers on a long week this time around, but a return won't necessarily equate to a starring role in the offense, as Melvin Gordon (knee) also has a chance to suit up.
Ekeler (neck/concussion) has been ruled out for Thursday night's game against the Chiefs.
Analysis: Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon (knee) is listed as questionable and his Week 15 status figures to go down to a game-time call. With Ekeler unavailable, Justin Jackson would be next up for the Chargers' carries Thursday if Gordon is limited or out.
Ekeler (neck/concussion) didn't participate in Tuesday's practice.
Analysis: After suffering a bruised nerve in his neck on an onside kick recovery attempt late in Sunday's 26-21 win over the Bengals, Ekeler entered the concussion protocol after developing symptoms of a head injury during Monday's team walk-through. Per Sam Fortier of The Athletic, the two injuries make it unlikely Ekeler is able to rally in time for Thursday's game in Kansas City, potentially leaving the Chargers perilously thin in the backfield. On a more fortunate note, workhorse Melvin Gordon (knee) returned to practice Tuesday in a limited fashion and is angling to return from a two-game absence, but if he can't gain clearance to play, seventh-round rookie Justin Jackson and undrafted free agent Detrez Newsome would be the lone available backs for Los Angeles.
Coach Anthony Lynn said he's "not optimistic" that Ekeler (neck/concussion) will be available for Thursday's game against the Chiefs, Steve Wyche of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: Lynn offered a similar assessment for the outlook of Melvin Gordon (knee), so it's expected the Chargers will be without their top two running backs in a matchup that could effectively decide the AFC West. Ekeler exited late in Sunday's win over the Bengals with a neck stinger -- an issue that has bothered him at various points in recent weeks -- and also entered the NFL's protocol for head injuries Monday after experiencing concussion-like symptoms during a team walk-through session, per Joe Reedy of the Associated Press. With Ekeler not trending toward gaining clearance for Thursday and Gordon seemingly on track to miss a third straight contest, seventh-round pick Justin Jackson is expected to head the Chargers' backfield in Week 15, making the Northwestern product worthy of rostering in most leagues in the short term. Undrafted rookie Detrez Newsome is also on hand to offer depth, but with just 11 career offensive snaps to his name, it's tough to imagine him having a sizable role in the game plan.
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