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Austin Ekeler's Usage in Chargers Offense Questioned by Fantasy Managers vs. Chiefs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 16, 2022

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Thursday's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers was supposed to come with plenty of offensive fireworks and fantasy points.

Someone must have forgotten to tell the star players.

The five offensive touchdowns in Kansas City's 27-24 victory came from Zander Horvath, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, Justin Watson and Jerick McKinnon, which is not what fantasy players relying on Austin Ekeler wanted to hear.

The Chargers star running back ended up with 14 carries for 39 yards and just 2.8 yards per attempt. He added nine catches for 55 yards at least, but the lack of a rushing attack combined with Sony Michel receiving a handoff at the Kansas City 1-yard line instead of him was reason for concern.

Fans on social media expressed some of that concern:

Nathan Jahnke @PFF_NateJahnke

Austin Ekeler - no goalline work, no third downs outside of short yardage, but most everything else <a href="https://t.co/8Vq8seEPEI">pic.twitter.com/8Vq8seEPEI</a>

Jacob Gibbs @jagibbs_23

Chargers first half RB usage<br><br>Snap rate:<br>63% — Austin Ekeler<br>20% — Joshua Kelley<br>17% — Sony Michel<br><br>Routes run (on 18 dropbacks)<br>7 — Ekeler 😬<br>2 — Kelley<br><br>Sony Michel was on the field for the only two red zone plays and handled the only red zone rushing attempt.

Scott Durbin @scottkdurbin

Why did I draft Austin Ekeler for my Fantasy Football team? I mean Sony with the goaline carry which he didn’t score on mind you. Ekeler is going to be the guy who gets 80-yards combined with no scores every game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ekelersedgenomore?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ekelersedgenomore</a>

Kevin @Daboys_22

Trying to find Austin Ekeler targets in this Chargers offense. <a href="https://t.co/E1mNdnXBAf">pic.twitter.com/E1mNdnXBAf</a>

code toke @ToKeNasty

I regret going all in on ekeler in every league

Lindsay Rhodes @lindsay_rhodes

I'm not going to freak out about Austin Ekeler. I'm not going to freak out about Austin Ekeler. I'm not going to freak out about Austin Ekeler. I'm a little freaked out about Austin Ekeler.

Tomer Azarly @TomerAzarly

So Chargers are just... not gonna use Austin Ekeler?

Jim Sannes @JimSannes

The lost goal-line work is a bummer. But Austin Ekeler's role actually is a smidge better than Week 1.<br><br>Snaps: 50.8% --&gt; 63.3%<br>Routes: 35.3% --&gt; 55.6%<br><br>Still bad relative to preseason expectations. But less catastrophic than it seemed earlier. <a href="https://t.co/Xxiwza8lYn">https://t.co/Xxiwza8lYn</a>

Fantasy Football Today @FFToday

What’s going on with Austin Ekeler? <a href="https://t.co/tPSkxS6qSS">pic.twitter.com/tPSkxS6qSS</a>

Ekeler had just 36 rushing yards and 36 receiving yards with no touchdowns in the Chargers' Week 1 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, so there is something of a troubling pattern emerging in the early portion of the season for those fantasy players relying on the No. 1 back.

Fortunately, there is a track record to fall back on after he scored 20 touchdowns a season ago, but the dominant fantasy playmaker from 2021 has yet to make an appearance in 2022.

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