In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
Rookie running back Joshua Kelley only has two games on his professional resume. Still, he is already warranting increased ownership across all league formats and is someone we need to start paying attention to even more in the general fantasy community. Despite no preseason, Kelley continues to provide value.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie running back Joshua Kelley continues to be a valuable option for fantasy managers. Kelley entrenched himself as the No. 2 running back in Week 1 and continued the momentum against the Chiefs on Sunday. The rookie rushed 23 times compared to Austin Ekeler’s 16 attempts and put up 64 yards with a pair of catches for 49 yards. Ekeler remains the No. 1 runner in the backfield for the Chargers, but Kelley is getting enough run to warrant being owner across the board. Expect Ekeler to get most of the catches out of the backfield, but Kelley receiving seven more rush attempts was a positive sign. Kelley should be owned and considered as a flex in Week 3 versus the Panthers.
Collegiate Production and Comps
The fourth-round pick out of UCLA posted strong collegiate numbers during his final two seasons by totaling over 2,200 yards and scoring 24 rushing touchdowns. However, his production comps are eye-catching for a prospect who didn’t generate much offseason hype in the community. Many productive players jump off the page.
This is information we had back in April. His combine was also excellent. Like Miles Sanders, who Kelley was comped to in an offseason piece by Shawn Siegele, his athletic measurables don’t blow you away. He is, however, solid almost everywhere.
Need a bit more? Just looking at his athletic testing numbers, elite potential and upside are found in his closest comps.
The Chargers were going to look different this year, even without the addition of Kelley. The departure of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and the drafting of franchise hopeful Justin Herbert signaled the end of an era. The Chargers would lean on the running game, which led to discussions of whether Kelley or Justin Jackson would fill in the RB2 role behind Ekeler.
It’s safe to say that the job is securely Kelley’s.
Through two weeks, Ekeler has 40 touches on as many opportunities. Kelley has 37 touches on 38 opportunities. Jackson did not suit up in Week 2, which allowed Kelley to garner 23 rushing attempts (seven more than Ekeler), but the RB2 role appears to be genuinely his for the time being.
A last-minute switch to Herbert over Tyrod Taylor as the quarterback for Week 2 raised some questions, so the quarterback situation in Los Angeles will need to be closely monitored heading into next week. Regardless, Kelley fits the profile and seemingly has earned the opportunity to provide deeper-league fantasy relevance moving forward. He’s someone worth targeting before his value increases further.