Melvin Gordon’s much-awaited return to the Los Angeles Chargers lineup finally occurred last Sunday in Week 5. However, it was not the type of performance fantasy owners had hoped for after stashing the Bolts running back on their bench for the first month of the season.
Gordon failed to find the endzone in his 2019 debut, while also being out-touched by fellow running back Austin Ekeler. Will Gordon get things rolling in Week 6, or has he fallen behind Ekeler in the Chargers pecking order moving forward? Let’s discuss.
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Melvin Gordon’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Melvin Gordon put up just 7.8 fantasy points in Week 5 vs. the Denver Broncos. A far cry from his per game average of 23 points just one season ago. Gordon averaged an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry last week. Yes, that’s a horrendous average, but we have to remember the type of running back Gordon has been over the past few years. If you eliminate his 5.1 yards per carry from last season, the former Wisconson Badger has averaged just 3.7 ypc over his NFL career. So what does that tell us about Gordon’s fantasy value moving forward? That he is somewhat of a touchdown-dependent play, especially with the presence of Ekeler.
While Los Angeles made it abundantly clear that Gordon is their preferred option on the ground in Week 5, out attempting Ekeler 12 to just three, they also showed their hand in terms of who will be featured in the passing game. Despite hauling in 108 receptions over the past two seasons, it was Ekeler who starred in a receiving role last week. Ekeler reeled in an absurd 15 receptions vs. the Broncos. In fact, Ekeler has averaged an impressive 7.8 receptions per game this season, a number that will likely not waiver much moving forward even with Gordon’s role likely to expand as he gets back into game shape.
So let’s take a look at the Chargers opponents this week from a strictly run defensive perspective. The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to allow a running back to eclipse 68 rushing yards this season. They have, however, struggled with keeping them out of the endzone. The Steelers have surrendered four rushing touchdowns to running backs over their past four contests. This is great news for Gordon owners, as the Chargers RB has accumulated 40 total touchdowns over the past three seasons.
Should You Start or Sit Melvin Gordon in Week 6?
While not much has gone right in Pittsburgh this season, their front seven has remained stout against the run. In fact, they’ve allowed an average of just 7.92 fantasy points to starting running backs over the first five weeks of the season.
Still, with Pittsburgh be susceptible to allowing rushing touchdowns and Chargers coach Anthony Lynn stating that we “could see Melvin’s rep count going up,” Gordon is worthy of a starting spot in your fantasy lineups this week.
Pittsburgh will be down to their third-string quarterback when these two teams take the field on Sunday night. One would expect the Steelers will have issues moving the ball, meaning more opportunities for the Chargers offense and more carries for Gordon as the team tries to chew up the clock.