NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Recap: Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) runs with the ball as Houston Texans cornerback Steven Nelson (21) defends during the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Ekeler: 13 carries, 60 yards, 2 touchdowns, 6 receptions, 49 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Dameon Pierce: 14 carries, 131 yards, 1 touchdown, 6 receptions, 8 receiving yards

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Sell high on Austin Ekeler: Ekeler put together by far his best game of the season, but he continues to not see the same usage he received last season.

    • All three of his touchdowns were for 10 or more yards.
    • Nine of his 20 touchdowns last year were for 10 or more yards. The other 11 were from six or fewer yards.
    • Los Angeles hasn’t created a goal-line opportunity in the past two weeks, but Sony Michel was the primary goal-line back in Week 2. 
    • Ekeler received only a slight majority of snaps on early downs, which has been consistent this season, and was only in for a fraction of the third-down snaps. His only big advantage was taking most of the two-minute drill snaps.
    • He will still be a clear fantasy starter considering his talent, the offense and his OK playing time, but we’re still not seeing the same usage as last season.

Sell high on Gerald Everett: Everett caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown, but his playing time remains somewhat limited, and the situation could get worse.

    • His playing time remains generally lower than what it was in Seattle due to sophomore tight end Tre’ McKitty also seeing passing-game work.
    • Donald Parham will likely be ready to return next week, according to head coach Brandon Staley.
    • He returned to practice for the first time this season a week ago, and on Friday he was a full participant in practice for the first time.
    • Parham is 6-foot-8, making him an interesting red-zone threat. Everett will still make a few catches each week, but those touchdowns might disappear.

Dameon Pierce’s career high in catches: Pierce put together another excellent game, in part thanks to a 75-yard run. He succeeded despite the negative game script.

    • Houston remains committed to getting the ball to Pierce early, which is making him more resistant to the game script.
    • They tried to get him involved in the passing game, leading to six receptions. He didn’t do much with those catches, but it’s a promising sign they could get him more involved in the passing game in the future.
    • He still wasn’t used on third downs or two-minute drills, which could come back to bite fantasy managers if the Texans get blown out in worse games.
    • How the Texans are using him and relying on him is similar to the Titans and Derrick Henry.
    • He is worth starting regardless of the matchup at this point due to how much the offense relies on him.
    • He could be a consistent top-five fantasy back based on his usage if the Texans become a winning football team.

Ignore the Texans' tight ends: Houston didn’t have Brevin Jordan or Pharaoh Brown, leading the team to rely on backups.

    • Jordan Akins was the biggest beneficiary of the injuries last week, scoring a touchdown on three catches.
    • O.J. Howard was the leader Sunday, but that resulted in only two catches for 27 yards.
    • Jordan and Brown remain the likely starters once they are healthy, but it will remain a two- or three-man rotation. The offense isn’t good enough to support a consistent fantasy starter when there is a rotation.

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