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Austin Ekeler - Fantasy Points Outlook

Basic Stats Basic Stats

Austin Ekeler


#13 Running Back

203 Projected Points

ADP: 2.2
Bye: 7
Experience: 4 Yr(s)
Age: 26
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 195
40 Time: 4.67

2021 Projections & Outlook


#13 Running Back

203 Projected Points

ADP Rush Atts Rush Yds Rush TDs 100 Fum Rec Rec Yds Rec TDs
2.2 173 796 5 1 2 81 695 4

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Basic Stats Preseason Player Analysis

What You Need to Know:

  • Ekeler suffered a serious hamstring injury 3 snaps into Week 4 and missed the next 6 games. He was knocked out of the season finale with a concussion.
  • He was awesome in the other 8 games.
    • He averaged 13.4 carries for 62.5 yards -- a nice 4.7 yards per carry.
    • He averaged 7.1 targets, 5.9 catches and 46 yards.
    • His 18.2 PPR points per game would have ranked 7th on the season; his 12.4 non-PPR points 15th.
    • And that’s despite scoring just 3 TDs.
    • Ekeler scored as a PPR RB1 in 4 of those 8 games and at a top-24 level in 7 of 8.
    • Among 47 RBs with 100+ carries last year, Ekeler ranked 12th in Elusive Rating and 26th in Pro Football Focus rushing grades.
    • Among 37 RBs with 30+ targets, he ranked 5th in both yards per route run and PFF receiving grade.
  • Ekeler has been 1 of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL over the past 2 seasons.
    • He ranks 2nd behind only Christian McCaffrey with 53.7 receiving yards per game.
    • He ranks 3rd behind McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara with 5.6 catches per game.
    • His 8.07 yards per target is good for 2nd among 56 RBs with 50+ targets over the last 2 years.
    • Ekeler led all 43 RBs with 30+ targets in yards per route run and PFF receiving grade in 2019. (5th in both categories last year.)
  • Playing all 16 games in 2019, Ekeler finished RB4 in PPR points and RB7 in non-PPR.
  • Over the past 2 years, he ranks 6th in PPR points per game and 13th in non-PPR.
  • The Chargers have been reluctant to hand Ekeler the ball near the goal line. He carried 7 times inside the 5-yard line in 2019 and just twice last year. Other Chargers RBs combined for 25 carries inside the 5 over the past 2 seasons.
  • Perhaps that changes under a new coaching staff. The Chargers canned HC Anthony Lynn and OC Shane Steichen this offseason, replacing them with HC Brandon Staley and OC Joe Lombardi.
  • Lombardi served as Lions OC in 2014 and 2015. Those teams finished 19th and 20th in total yards.
  • More notably, he spent 12 years in New Orleans working under HC Sean Payton. The Saints were regularly among the league leaders in targets to RBs during that time. Most recently, RB Alvin Kamara has averaged 102 targets and 82 catches per season over the last 4.
  • NFL Network’s James Palmer confirmed that Lombardi “envisions using [Ekeler] in similar ways as Alvin Kamara was utilized when Lombardi was with the Saints.”
  • QB Justin Herbert returns in 2021 after an impressive rookie campaign. WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are also back.
  • The Chargers bolstered their offensive line this offseason, adding free-agent C Corey Linsley, free-agent G/OT Matt Feiler and 1st-round rookie OT Rashawn Slater.
    • Linsley led all 32 qualifying Cs in Pro Football Focus’ 2020 run-blocking grades. He ranked 12th in 2019 and 6th in 2018.
    • Feiler has experience at both OT and G. He figures to play LG for the Chargers. He finished 43rd among 63 qualifying Gs in PFF’s 2020 run-blocking grades.
    • Slater was a 3-year starter -- 2 at RT, 1 at LT -- at Northwestern before opting out of the 2020 campaign. He’s a 6’4, 304-pounder with elite athleticism, projecting as an immediate upgrade over last year’s starting LT, Sam Tevi.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Ekeler scored as the PPR RB7 and the non-PPR RB16 in his 9 healthy games last year. That followed a top-7 finish across scoring formats in a 16-game 2019 campaign. He’s been 1 of the best pass-catching backs in the league over the past 2 seasons, while also contributing plenty on the ground.

Ekeler heads into 2021 on an ascending Chargers offense. QB Justin Herbert is coming off a brilliant rookie season, the offensive line looks much improved, and new OC Joe Lombardi should maximize Ekeler’s pass-catching ability.

He’s an easy RB1 with top-5 upside in PPR. Consider him a borderline RB1 in non-PPR.


Recent Shark Bites View All Shark Bites »

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler sustained a concussion near the end of the 1st half of Sunday's game against the Chiefs. This shouldn't impact Ekeler's offseason, but it's worth filing away in case he suffers another head injury.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (quad) is active for tonight's game against the Raiders. Unlike WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, we never heard any real concern about Ekeler's status for this one. He's safe to get into fantasy lineups.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (quad) is listed as questionable for Thursday night's game vs. the Raiders. We've heard nothing to suggest that Ekeler is in any danger of missing this one, but check back around 7 pm ET tomorrow to make sure he's active.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (hamstring) is active for today’s game against the Bills. RB Kalen Ballage (ankle, calf) is inactive, so it’ll be Ekeler, Joshua Kelley and Troymaine Pope in the backfield. We’ll see just how much Ekeler plays in his 1st action since Week 4, but we’d lean toward getting him back into fantasy lineups. There’s big upside here in a likely shootout vs. the Bills’ 22nd-ranked RB defense.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (hamstring) is expected to get "significant carries" against the Bills today. We'll see exactly how much action he gets on the ground -- but Ekeler should also be busy in the passing game. He has RB1 upside today.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

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