• Mike K

Reinforcements Are Here

Adrian Kraus / Associated Press

The 2020 NFL season has been an unprecedented one to say the least and much of that has trickled down into the world of fantasy sports as well. Parsing through various weekly injuries is nothing really new; however, the hit to elite fantasy talent has seemingly been a crucial minefield to avoid.

Depending on which ADP resource you use, the top echelon of picks from this past draft season is littered with players that have either missed significant time due to injury (CMC, Saquon, Michael Thomas, Chubb, Mixon, Julio) or have proven inept due to team collapse also because of injury (Zeke). In fact, over half of the top 20 players selected have missed at least one game this season. Quality depth can be achieved in a variety of ways, but this season presents a unique angle in that so many potentially league altering players are returning from injury just as the fantasy playoff stretch run is about to be under way.

Austin Ekeler is a player that re-arrives (if that wasn't a word, it is now) onto the 2020 fantasy scene in a situation that remains highly conducive to his overall strengths as a football player, and also one that possesses the type of league winning upside fantasy owners covet. In his only two games prior to a hamstring injury that sidelined him for almost two months with rookie phenom QB Justin Herbert at the helm, Ekeler had amassed a whopping 43 touches and if you include his Week 12 return that total climbs to an insane 68 touches on 73 opportunities!

There was some concern coming into Ekeler's Week 12 activation that the Chargers would limit his snaps and try to ease him back into action. While, it probably would have been smart to do so considering Ekeler looked like he was out of gas towards the end of the game, his performance and volume is important to acknowledge. Another minor concern was that since Ekeler had been out for so long, it gave the Chargers offense an opportunity to gel without him and potentially take on a different identity. With Herbert showing so much polish and poise early on, it was fair to wonder if this offense would continue to look to push the ball vertically down field, leaving Ekeler's pass game production in the dust. These noisy concerns have been silenced and now the only thing potentially holding Ekeler back from a path to dominance is a competent coaching staff.

His final stretch of games to close out the fantasy season? vs. NE, vs. ATL, @LV, vs. DEN, and if your league is a sick, sick glutton for punishment - @KC in Week 17. Hardly a murderers row of defenses. Big Ek is well positioned to eat a nine course meal at a three Michelin star restaurant for his fantasy owners. Fitting for a player whose teammates have nicknamed "Pound for Pound."

If you've made it to this point in the season with Ekeler stashed away and have already clinched a playoff berth, are still in the hunt or even took advantage of an obvious dynasty buy-low situation - getting a shot in the arm to your fantasy roster like this is simply a cherry on top. Appreciate you taking the time to read and good luck all in Week 13.