NFL Nation Fantasy Update: What to expect in Austin Ekeler’s return


Each Tuesday and Saturday during the season, ESPN fantasy analyst Eric Moody asks our NFL Nation reporters the most pressing fantasy football questions heading into the weekend and what to make of the fallout after games are played.

Who is primed for a big performance, who is impacted by injuries and what roles might change?

Here’s what our crew had to say about some of the biggest storylines heading into the weekend of Week 6.

Taylor is expected to enjoy an expanded role this week after getting just seven touches last week in his season debut against the Tennessee Titans. Taylor played that game after only two practices following his stint on the PUP list in Weeks 1-4. This week, he’ll have the benefit of more practice time, including his first padded practice on Wednesday. Still, Zack Moss is likely to wind up with more touches in this game than Taylor given his recent performances. Moss has averaged 111.3 yards this season and is coming off a career-high 165 yards against the Titans. — Stephen Holder

Will Austin Ekeler receive his normal workload in his first action since Week 1?

Ekeler has indicated that it will be business as usual on Monday night. He said that he felt good enough to play during the bye week and no longer wears the thick brace he sported on his right ankle when he first returned to practice. Ekeler has still worn tape on the ankle but said he doesn’t have pain when making cuts or running on an angle, which was the issue before. With receiver Mike Williams out for the season with an ACL tear, Ekeler will be a big help for the Chargers’ passing offense and will boost their run game. — Kris Rhim

Despite a tough matchup, do you expect Chris Olave to get back on track after two straight quiet performances?

Olave was getting double-digit targets until Derek Carr injured his shoulder, and it’s possible the performance against the Patriots was just what the team needed to reset things after struggling to start the season. Expect the Saints to make Olave a big part of the game plan, and with Alvin Kamara back to help open things up, it’s possible he gets back to his form at the start of the season. — Katherine Terrell

If Miles Sanders (shoulder) is unable to go on Sunday, will Chuba Hubbard get plugged into a three-down role?

Yes. Coach Frank Reich said Hubbard will get the “bulk of the carries” with Sanders ruled out with a shoulder injury. Hubbard’s role already increased last week because of his production and a lack of production from Sanders, who is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. also will play a role in the backfield. Shenault is more of a power back, so he could take over short-yardage situations. He had five rushes for 27 yards last week. — David Newton

Are any Browns offensive players worth starting in fantasy with PJ Walker under center?

Against the San Francisco 49ers? Probably not. The Browns did virtually nothing offensively two weeks against the Baltimore Ravens with Dorian Thompson-Robinson behind center. Cleveland should be better prepared to play with Walker. But the 49ers are elite defensively. Walker started taking first-team snaps only this week (he wasn’t with the Browns in training camp, either). And Cleveland is banged up offensively elsewhere. Wideout Amari Cooper and running back Jerome Ford might be worth a look. Just don’t count on a lot of points. — Jake Trotter

How do you anticipate the touches will be distributed in the Cardinals’ backfield?

Arizona will deploy a running back by committee, but with Keaontay Ingram returning from a neck injury, the Cardinals will largely rely on him and Emari Demercado to handle the load, with the likes of Tony Jones Jr. and Corey Clement to spell them when necessary. — Josh Weinfuss



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