Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Melvin Gordon Returns: Fantasy Scenarios to Consider

Controversy reigned throughout the preseason during the Melvin Gordon holdout. No one knew if and when it was going to end, and when was exactly the right time to take a shot on him during a fantasy football draft. Ultimately, it did not turn out to be a Le’Veon Bell season-long holdout, but it was not a happy Ezekiel Elliott ending either.

So, some controversy and uncertainty is brewing again, although now we have a timeline of when this will all end. As first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Gordon intends to end his holdout and will report to the Chargers on Thursday. The watch for his return to the Los Angeles lineup now begins, and with it will come the impending end to Austin Ekeler’s short-lived run as a top fantasy running back.

Ekeler’s owners truly knew he could be removed from his featured back role with the Chargers at any time. As proved by the varying lengths of the Bell, Elliott and Gordon holdouts, every one of these situations is unique. So those who roster Ekeler simply had to enjoy and benefit from his production while they could. They should still get high-quality totals from Ekeler for at least two more games. What should we expect of Gordon the rest of this year though?

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Automatic RB1? Not So Fast

According to ESPN, the Chargers will likely seek a two-game roster exemption for Gordon as they evaluate his physical condition and game readiness. As head coach Anthony Lynn pointed out, we cannot expect Gordon to immediately come in and be ready to emulate his past production or Ekeler’s current output.

"I don't think you just walk in camp and just play right away without going through any practice," Lynn told reporters Wednesday. "You can run and do all the drills you want, but it's hard to simulate real football."

Gordon will not play this week against Miami and it appears the earliest he may return is Week 6 against Pittsburgh. After missing the entire preseason and the first six or more of the regular season, it remains to be seen how soon he can regain his better form. Also, missing so much time and trying to play catch-up to get into game shape makes him an injury risk. Gordon has already failed to finish four of his first five pro seasons because of injuries.

Ekeler is currently the third-highest scoring RB formats, behind only Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffery. He has rushed for 160 yards and two TDs and caught 19 passes for 208 yards and two scores. Ekeler has averaged 4.2 yards per carry but has been boosting his production with his receiving skills. Gordon is more of a workhorse runner than Ekeler can be, even though Ekeler has more than adequately filled the void.

The San Diego Union Tribune, however, which still covers the Chargers, noted that while Ekeler has been posting quality Fantasy numbers, the absence of Gordon has been felt in some negative ways on offense. The Chargers rank 21st in points, and in the second half of their Week 3 loss to Houston, they only had 16 runs and 46 passes. Last season Los Angeles ranked seventh in the league in points scored.

As good as Ekeler has been, there is a sense that Gordon simply makes the offense better, as he may be considered a bigger threat and more of a superstar talent at RB that defenses have to account for. Ekeler is a more distinctive type of threat, arguably more so as a receiver than a runner. Opponents do have to prepare for him differently.


Back to the Bench

The Chargers, especially in light of Lynn’s comments, won’t rush Gordon back into action too quickly and may conceivably utilize him in a timeshare with Ekeler upon his return. So we could be looking at Gordon not being a true starter until Week 7 against Tennessee. Still, if you originally drafted him to stash him, you can look forward to getting your fantasy return from him in the second half of the schedule.

Ekeler’s owners will now be looking at him returning to fantasy RB4 status within as soon as three weeks, Last season he averaged just over 10 touches per game. Even if Gordon did not hold out he would have been drafted as a prime RB4 or handcuff. Noting Gordon’s injury and the risk he is after his holdout means that Ekeler could still be pushed into a starting role again at some point.

The return of Gordon makes Justin Jackson a cut candidate, as he was the clear RB2 behind Ekeler while Gordon was out. Now he obviously has no appeal at all. QB Philip Rivers remains a very good and underrated fantasy asset. He should continue his steady play in the midst of any RB change.

Gordon would have been drafted as a fantasy RB1 this season if he did not hold out. He may not retain that sort of value until later in the schedule. If you happen to not own Ekeler and do own Gordon, now is a good time to trade for Ekeler. His current owner will only be too willing to ship him off at a reduced rate. In the short term, you will get the bonus of a matchup against Miami this week.

If you do have Ekeler and not Gordon, do not expect much in return in a trade. You’ll likely have to include him as part of a larger package to get rid of him. If you cannot, then keep him on your roster for possible bye week usage and for his value to potentially rise again in the event of another Gordon injury. Missing the entire preseason and possibly six games raises Gordon’s status as an injury risk as we have indicated.

More Fantasy Football Analysis

More Recent Articles


Bases Loaded Podcast: Early Round Values

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) and Zach Braff (@BraffZ) and they discuss early round values. They go through and highlight a few players that are going inside the top 150 in ADP that offer a great chance to return profit. Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast... Read More

Second Year Pitcher Preview: Fantasy Baseball 2020 ADP Analysis

Host Anthony Aniano of RotoBaller Radio discuss the 2020 fantasy baseball season and keeps you updated with all the latest news and analysis Be sure to tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, every weekday afternoon from 1-2 PM ET, Saturday nights from 9-11 PM ET... Read More

Relief Pitchers to Target for Holds

Hold on... there are fantasy leagues that reward middle relievers, not just starters and closers? Yes, there are, and leagues that reward holds are one of the fastest-growing segments of fantasy baseball as real baseball continues to diminish the role of the starter in favor of building deep bullpens with multiple relievers that throw 95+... Read More

2020 Second Base Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs),... Read More

ADP Showdown – Matt Olson vs Paul Goldschmidt

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More

2020 Second Base Rankings - Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Leagues

As the season draws near, we realize more and more that it's draft season. There is a large portion of fantasy baseball busy with mock drafts, rankings, sleepers, and more mock drafts. The Dynasty community, on the other hand, is looking to continue their dominance, rebuild, or in a worst-case scenario, stick their hands up... Read More

Six Undervalued Draft Targets for Mixed Leagues

Heading into 2020, there are a number of players who had poor 2019 campaigns that should bounce back strong. Some of these players are presently undervalued by fantasy owners for one reason or another. In this article, I'll identify a few such players who should outperform their current ADP in 2020. While each of these... Read More

Josh Hayes' 2020 Best Ball Draft Targets (Premium Content)

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. The fantasy baseball season is here! For those fantasy players looking to get an edge on their 2020 leagues, Best Ball formats are a great way to get a head start on the players that look to be ADP risers this season. One key... Read More

Josh Hayes' 2020 Best Ball Draft Avoids (Premium Content)

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. The fantasy baseball season is here! For those fantasy players looking to get an edge on their 2020 leagues, Best Ball formats are a great way to get a head start on the players that look to be ADP risers this season. An underrated... Read More

Nine AL Rookies Ready to Leap Into Starting Lineups

Every year, there are those rookies who we expect to make a splash right away. Think Kris Bryant, Ronald Acuna, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge--those guys. Once we make it through all the service time manipulation shenanigans, there are always youngsters ready to snatch roster spots immediately, and 2020 is no exception. Below are nine of... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Spin Rate

Spin rate has become one of the most recognizable Statcast metrics, with supporters of a given pitcher highlighting his spin rates to make their case. Unfortunately, the baseball world has done a lousy job conveying what spin rate really means. The result has been a ton of owners who know that spin rate exists, but... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Khris Davis

The Oakland Athletics finished 2019 with a record of 97-65, which was good for a second-place finish in the AL West and a second-consecutive wildcard birth. They did this despite a statistically down season from their superstar, Khris Davis. Davis struggled mightily in 2019 by slashing .220/.293/.387 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, 61 R, and... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis: Trey Mancini vs. Christian Walker

One of the most important skills in a fantasy draft is the ability to identify a player with similar value at a lower ADP. When you're able to find similar production at a lower cost, this allows you to use an earlier pick to fill out other areas of your roster, resulting in a stronger... Read More

MLB Closers and Saves: Fantasy Baseball Depth Charts

Saves are an important component for many fantasy baseball leagues. Closers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball, and one of the highest turnover positions in MLB. Each year, closers drop like flies and many MLB teams make in-season changes due to injuries or poor performance. Stay on top of all closer depth... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More