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Austin Ekeler - Fantasy Points Outlook

Basic Stats Basic Stats

Austin Ekeler
LAC

RB LAC

#13 Running Back

204 Projected Points

ADP: Not Available
Bye: 7
Experience: 4 Yr(s)
Age: 26
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 195
40 Time: 4.67

Weekly Outlook

Week 21 Projections

This player does not have a weekly prediction

Rest Of Way Outlook

Week 14
Ekeler rushed for 67 yards and a TD on 12 carries, adding 2 receptions and 17 yards in the easy win over the Giants in Week 14. He was strong for the early part of the game but rolled his ankle in the 3rd quarter. With the game already in hand, Ekeler got the rest of the day off.

He was limited in practice on Tuesday and HC Brandon Staley seems confident he will suit up Thursday against the Chiefs in a crucial AFC West tilt. We expect him to play, and we hope he contributes with the same vigor from Week 3 where he totaled 107 yards and a score.
Week 11
keler had an absolutely massive night on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers. He was heavily involved in the rushing and passing attacks and the Steelers could not seem to keep him out of the end zone. He was able to score TDs in all 4 quarters. He led the team in carries and finished 2nd on the team in targets and receptions. Ekeler finished the night with 11 carries for 50 yards (4.5 YPC) and 2 TDs, adding 6 receptions (on 7 targets) for 65 yards and another 2 TDs. Ekeler now has seen 14+ touches in each of the Chargers last 4 games and has scored 6 TDs over that span. Ekeler is our RB2 this week against the Broncos. The Broncos’ defense has allowed 498 rushing yards to opposing RBs over their last 4 games so there should be more opportunities for Ekeler to find running room. The next three games on the schedule for the Chargers are @DEN, @CIN, and NYG.
Week 10
Ekeler never got into much of a rhythm in this game. Although he had 11 carries and 6 targets, the Vikings’ LBs were doing a great job of not missing tackles. As a result, Ekeler was unable to post a play of longer than 9 yards. As often is the case, he lost a red-zone TD to Larry Rountree, but on their other trip deep in Vikings’ territory, Justin Herbert threw a perfect pass in traffic that Ekeler was able to secure for a 3-yd TD that salvaged his fantasy day.

He should continue to offer fantasy managers an excellent scoring floor, and it’s likely a matter of time until he starts stringing together big performances. He came into this game in a bit of a scoring drought, as he found the end zone once over his last 3 games after scoring 7 TDs in his first 5 games. Overall, his yardage has been solid, as he’s posted at least 82 combined yards in 6 of his last 7 contests. He also has a great schedule in the fantasy playoffs, as he’ll face 3 bottom-10 defenses against RBs between Weeks 13 and 17.
Week 8
After a down game vs. the Ravens in Week 6, Ekeler bounced back in a big way. Ekeler was the focal point of this offense, seeing 11 carries and 10 targets vs. the Patriots. Ekeler didn’t disappoint with those looks as he had a combined 124 yards and 1 TD. This elite usage helped vault Ekeler to the RB5 in fantasy even on a day where the Chargers offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
This week Ekeler has a shot to be the RB1 in fantasy as he faces and Eagles D that has allowed the 5th most points to the RB position this season. This includes a nearly 30 points to the Raiders RBs in Week 7 and a dominate 27.7 point performance from Leonard Fournette back in Week 6.
Week 6
With the Chargers trailing by double digits throughout the 2nd half, it would’ve looked like the recipe for Ekeler to have one of his stellar PPR performances. It never happened. With Justin Herbert under constant pressure, which had him out of sync, the entire passing attack never got on track. And although Ekeler led the team with 7 targets, the big plays were taken away by the aggressive defense. On the ground, a typically weak Ravens unit held him to just over 1 yard per carry.

Although Ekeler came into this game averaging 5 targets per game, which is less than what fantasy managers were hoping for when selecting him with a high draft pick, he has more than rewarded them for their investment by showing excellence as both a runner and receiver. Aside from Week 1, he posted over 100 combined yards in each game while averaging over a TD per contest. While doing this, they have kept him below 20 touches per game on average, which could allow him to stay fresh while producing as a high-end RB1.
Week 5
Ekeler through Week 5 sits as the RB2 in fantasy. Ekeler seems to be putting it all together as he currently ranks 5th in RB targets and 10th in carries inside the 5. In Week 5 this ceiling was on display as Ekeler finished as the RB1 on the week, scoring 3 total TDs and catching 5 passes.
In Week 6 Ekeler will once again be a threat for RB1 overall numbers as the Chargers take on the Ravens. The Ravens just allowed 169 total yards and 2 TDs to Jonathan Taylor. This should make Ekeler worth the price in DFS in Week 6.
Week 4
Ekeler rushed 15 times for 117 yards and 1 TD in the Chargers' Week 4 win over the Raiders, adding 3 catches for 28 yards and another TD on 5 targets.
Ekeler dominated this game, averaging 7.8 yards per rush and bouncing off several Raiders defenders throughout the game.
Ekeler scored in the 1st half on a wheel route against a LB and punched in a TD run late in the 4th quarter to seal the win for the surging Chargers.
Ekeler is an easy RB1 across fantasy formats and a potential top 5 RB in PPR leagues.
Week 3
Ekeler showed once again that his lack of Week 1 receiving usage was fluky. He caught all 6 of his targets for 52 yards and 1 score against Kansas City. He added 11-55 on the ground. Ekeler’s score came on a simple pass out of the backfield, as the Chiefs D simply didn’t properly pick him up. With Justin Herbert playing lights out, Ekeler is positioned to thrive going forward. Week 4 turns up a favorable draw vs. the Raiders.
Week 2
Ekeler had 9 carries for 54 yards against Dallas and ran for a 2-point conversion that enabled the Chargers to go into the closing seconds in a tie. He was more valuable in catching all 9 targets for 61 yards. LA’s running game produced 95 yards in just 19 carries.
Can the Chargers use their passing game for check-down and other through-the-air plays that emphasize Ekeler’s elusiveness as a ballcarrier? Or can they use him on running plays at Kansas City, which ranks last in rushing defense through 2 weeks. He’s likely to see the bulk of RB snaps. Backup RB Justin Jackson contributed 29 yards on 4 touches, but he hasn’t scored a TD since 2018.
Week 1
After seeing his targets from Justin Herbert dip over the last 2 weeks of last season, it was shocking that despite 47 pass attempts, Ekeler failed to see a single target. Fortunately, he was given 15 carries, including 1 near the goal line that he converted into a TD to salvage his fantasy day. He did cede some rushing work to Larry Rountree (8 carries), but in a tough road matchup, this floor game from Ekeler was respectable.

Although it’s tough to draw major conclusions after 1 game of data, if Ekeler isn’t going to be a featured part of the passing attack, he’ll have a tough time earning an ADP that had him going as high as the 8th overall pick in PPR leagues. However, he’s too accomplished and explosive as a receiver to be ignored in that area, so even if he’s seeing 5-6 targets per game instead of the 9+ he saw last year, he’ll still be able to function as an RB1 in PPR leagues, though his value is lessened a bit in other scoring systems.

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 has been activated from the COVID list. We'll keep an eye on the ankle injury that limited him back in Week 15, but the week off should have him healthier for Sunday's game vs. the Broncos.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler announced via Instagram that he tested positive for COVID still on Saturday and will miss Sunday's game against the Texans. That positions Justin Jackson to lead the backfield in a high-upside matchup. He will share work -- to an unclear degree -- with Joshua Kelley and perhaps Larry Rountree, though. So don't overrate the certainty of Jackson's fantasy outlook.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

The Chargers on Wednesday finally placed RB Austin Ekeler on the COVID list. The move was 1st reported Monday, but then the team didn't end up putting him on the reserve at that point. It would obviously help his chances of returning for Sunday's game against the Texans if Ekeler's window dates back to the beginning of the week. For now, we'll move ahead assuming that Justin Jackson will lead the Chargers in carries and that Joshua Kelley will follow. The Houston matchup makes both players more interesting than they'd be in just about any other spot.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

The Chargers placed 7 players on the COVID list on Monday, but RB Austin Ekeler was not 1 of them. There were multiple reports this morning that Ekeler was headed to the list. He wasn't at practice on Monday, per The Athletic's Daniel Popper, but the situation is unclear at this point. Stay tuned.

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler has been placed on the COVID list. It's unclear if he tested positive or was a close contact. We also don't know if Ekeler is vaccinated. There's a chance he's cleared in time for Sunday's game vs. the Texans, but fantasy owners should be operating for now as if Ekeler won't be available. His absence would leave Justin Jackson as Los Angeles' lead back -- and a viable RB2 in a plus matchup against Houston.

Update: According to NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti, HC Brandon Staley calls Ekeler “day to day.” So it sounds like he has at least a chance of being ready to play

View all Austin Ekeler Shark Bites »

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