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5 months agoIn 13 games as a rookie, Justin Jackson put up relatively paltry numbers. This was due to the fact he was behind Melvin Gordon who has become one of the top running back in the NFL. He is also behind entrenched backup Austin Ekeler. This is all true, but only if Melvin Gordon is actually there. As of now, it looks more likely he won’t be. At least for the first number of weeks. In those 13 games he managed 206 yards and two touchdowns on 50 carries. He also caught 15 of 19 targets for an additional 135 yards. Not great numbers for sure. None the less they are numbers which show he is capable if given a chance in absence of Gordon to start the season. With an improved offensive line and a healthy Hunter Henry, Philip Rivers is in for a good season behind center. This is going to be good for Los Angeles and their playoff chances, but it helps the other back in Austin Ekeler more than it does Jackson. There is still value in taking Jackson late in drafts. He is going to have more usage this season than last. With Melvin Gordon out, the Chargers will give both backs close to equal touches, so both remain healthy. Yes, both are good enough to replace Gordon as a team. But if one were to go down it would be a disaster for the team. This is not something they will want to have to deal with. Whether the hold out of Melvin Gordon lasts a few games or all season, Jackson has earned a more substantial role in the backfield. Gordon will take time to get into game shape if he does come back it is likely he will injure his hamstring by seasons end anyhow. Austin Ekeler should be drafted ahead of Justin Jackson. He will the lead man. But in a supporting role on what could be a top-five offense. You can do worse than Jackson as a late-round pick.--Dominick Petrillo - RotoBaller
Week 7:  @ TEN
Matchup Rating:   PREMIUM   $3,300

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