Justin Herbert to start Week 3, which is great news for Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Justin Herbert starting means it’ll be a big fantasy day for Austin Ekeler.

With Tyrod Taylor out for a while with a punctured lung, that means it’ll be The Justin Herbert Show as the Los Angeles Chargers starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. He made his first career start vs. the Kansas City Chiefs last week, and nearly upset the defending Super Bowl champions. With him going against the Carolina Panthers, look for he and Austin Ekeler to go off.

The Fantasy Footballers were very impressed by the former No. 6 overall pick out of the Oregon in his first career NFL start last week. Though he is raw coming out of Oregon, Herbert gave the Chargers offense more viability than Taylor and perhaps even more than we could have ever imagined this early. With a bad Panthers team coming to town, look for the Bolts to get to 2-1.

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Carolina will be without its best player for the next several weeks in running back Christian McCaffrey. Though quarterback Teddy Bridgewater may be a fine quarterback, the Panthers defense can’t stop a nose bleed. This sets up for a big fantasy day potentially for Herbert and wide receiver Keenan Allen, but especially Ekeler out of the backfield. He’s going to shine in Week 3.

If the Chargers beat the Panthers, Herbert has to keep starting, right?

With a 2-1 start and seemingly one bad interception from being 3-0, the Chargers could be in a great spot heading into October. Though they have two strong teams in the division in the Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders, there are still seven playoff spots readily available in the AFC. It may not be perfect with Herbert under center as a rookie, but his ceiling is way higher than Taylor’s.

Because he’s only a rookie, look for Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn to devise a game plan that will accentuate his best traits as a quarterback. Herbert has a big strong arm, but is hit or miss with his accuracy. Though not nearly as mobile as Taylor, he can move a little more than you think as a quarterback. Just ask the Wisconsin Badgers how last year’s Rose Bowl went for them.

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Add in Gus Bradley being a phenomenal defensive coordinator and the Chargers are going to play ball-control football at home on Sunday. They will want Herbert to play with confidence. This means Ekeler will get a ton of carries out of the backfield, as well as a few check downs. Losing at home to Carolina would be a total momentum killer, so let’s hope the Chargers avoid that.