Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (hamstring) worked with trainers off to the side at practice yesterday, but the team is optimistic he can play Week 1 barring any setbacks, per a source.
Ekeler missed six games with a hamstring injury last season, so it’s a situation worth monitoring.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) September 9, 2021
Ekeler was present but didn’t participate in practice Wednesday and Thursday and was listed as limited in practice and questionable to play Week 1 on Friday’s injury report.
On Friday after practice, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley emphatically said, “Yes,” in that he expected Ekeler to play against the Washington Football Team.
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“We’re listing him as questionable,” Staley said. “We’ll see how it goes when we get out there. We have to fly and all of that. He looked good out there today — optimistic, for sure.”
Ekeler missed six games last season with a hamstring injury suffered in early October. There’s a 70% recurrence rate on hamstring injuries in the calendar year, according to PFF injury expert Mario Pilato. Pilato believes Ekeler shouldn’t be limited in Sunday’s game as long as he’s active.
A high-end RB2: Ekeler's hamstring injury has to push him down the Week 1 fantasy football rankings, with concerns he doesn't see a full workload.
The RB18 in PPR: Ekeler is the RB18 in PPR points, per PFF's fantasy projections, which assume a lighter workload for the stud running back in Week 1.
Ekeler has a tough matchup: The Washington Football Team boasts PFF's second-ranked defensive line, so Ekeler will have to stay heavily involved as a receiver to score fantasy points. Do not expect much in the way of rushing production. Click here to view PFF's OL/DL Matchup Chart.
Unmatched as a receiver: Ekeler's 93.9 receiving grade over the last three seasons is the highest of any player — at any position — who has run 500 routes over that span.
As productive as they come: The Chargers back has averaged 2.23 yards per route run since 2018, making him the only running back to eclipse 2.00 yards per route run over that period.
Don't worry about his hands: Ekeler has the seventh-lowest drop rate (2.4%) among all players with at least 350 snaps since 2019.
Austin Ekeler Three-Year PFF Grades
|Season||PFF Overall Grade||PFF Rushing Grade||PFF Receiving Grade|
|2020||77.0 (18th)||74.8 (31st)||81.5 (5th)|
|2019||85.2 (4th)||68.8 (33rd)||93.6 (1st)|
|2018||82.8 (6th)||79.9 (12th)||84.6 (5th)|
Chargers Win Total: The Chargers sit 23rd in PFF's against the spread power ratings, despite Justin Herbert ranking as the 12th-best quarterback. The betting market is more optimistic about the Chargers' chances than PFF's simulation, as we show value on under 9.5 win total. Ekeler's injury shouldn't impact their futures outlook, but he's a top-two skill position player for the Chargers, so any time missed could be detrimental to Herbert avoiding the sophomore slump. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.
Justin Herbert Player Props: PFF's Fantasy Projections see Herbert dropping back to pass more than the betting market expectation. This is driven by our projected game script but does benefit Herbert's raw passing yardage numbers. Our projections have him finishing almost 200 yards over his modest prop total. Lock in the over 4,450.5 passing yards with the expectation that Ekeler requires only a short stint as an injury designation. Click here for PFF's Fantasy Projections.