As we get closer to the end of the year, setting rankings days ahead of kickoff is getting tougher and tougher. We have a whole team affected by COVID-19 (the Baltimore Ravens) as well as multiple important players returning from or currently on the COVID-IR (James Conner, Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, and Mark Andrews, among others). We have multiple quarterback situations up in the air as we await the status of Daniel Jones and Lamar Jackson. And on top of all of that, we have our regular injuries that come with the late-season playoff push.
One thing we do know, however, is that Justin Herbert is playing well and that he likes to target his running backs in the passing game. That makes Austin Ekeler a natural fit, and in his first game back from injury he saw all of the work that he could handle. Ekeler caught 11 balls on 16 targets in a wild game against the Bills and even carried the ball 14 times on his own. As we see Alvin Kamara‘s pass-catching volume plummet, it’s nice to see a similarly talented pass-catcher return to fill his void in PPR leagues. Ekeler comes in as the RB5 in my rankings this week behind only the elite of the elite at the position, and if you survived this long without Ekeler you have to be liking your chances going forward.
Keep an eye out for our Sit/Start podcast around lunchtime Friday where I will go in-depth on all of my rankings, and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us for our Sunday Live Stream where you can have all of your last minute roster questions answered. Good luck this week, and I hope to see you all next week for the playoffs.
Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)