Fantasy football managers who drafted Austin Ekeler this year have likely spent several weeks cursing the Los Angeles Chargers running back’s name. While Ekeler has been one of the most productive all-around tailbacks in recent years, the truth is, his 2023 production just hasn’t matched his typically high standard of play.
Just a year ago, Ekeler was averaging 4.5 yards per carry, which is identical to his career average. But this season, Ekeler’s averaging just 3.5 YPC, a new career low.
Ekeler shouldn’t be the only one to blame, as the entire Chargers offense has fallen off this season, and no other LA running back has been considerably better. Yet, that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming anyway.
Head coach Brandon Staley may not be in charge of the offense, but he does provide input for offensive coordinator and play-caller Kellen Moore. On Wednesday, Coach Staley faced questions about the Chargers’ offense, and he revealed adjustments are currently in the works.
“Competition for carries is going to be something that you can see happening. We’re going to keep exploring, making adjustments, so that we can find that rhythm that I’ve been talking about. That’s certainly one way to do it. We know that Austin is a good running back. We just haven’t found any rhythm in the last couple of weeks in the run game. Just need to keep after it and keep working hard in practice.”Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley on Austin Ekeler’s touches
If Ekeler’s playing time is set to decrease, fans can expect to continue seeing more of backup Joshua Kelley. While the 2020 fourth-round pick doesn’t have nearly the same NFL accomplishments as Ekeler, he is averaging 4 YPC on 94 attempts this season.
At this point, the Chargers are willing to try just about whatever they can to create a spark. Perhaps making changes to the backfield can be part of the solution ahead of Week 14.