• Austin Ekeler
  • RB
  • , Los Angeles Chargers
  • 24
  • 195 lbs
  • 5' 10"

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Scouting report

by Pete Behnke

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - Week 4 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 4 at Miami Dolphins

Take advantage of Ekeler as the lead running back while you can because Melvin Gordon is back with the team and on track to play in Week 5. In Week 3, Ekeler out-snapped Justin Jackson 65% to 37% and out-touched him 16 to 9. Ekeler finished with seven receptions for 45 yards and had nine rushing attempts for 36 yards. Ekeler continues to be used heavily in the passing game but was not able to find the end zone against the Texans.

Ekeler is a must-start in all league formats against an abysmal Dolphins defense. Miami is dead last against running backs, as shown by our signature schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric. 4for4 rankings expert John Paulsen has Ekeler ranked as the Half PPR RB1.

Justin Jackson is OUT against the Dolphins. He was added to the injury report and seen wearing a walking boot. Jackson's absence should increase Ekeler's usage and playing time.

by Pete Behnke

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - Week 3 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 3 vs. Houston Texans
In Half PPR scoring, Austin Ekeler is the top fantasy running back with 56.7 points. For comparison, Dalvin Cook is second with 51.6 points, and Derrick Henry is third with 44.7 points. Ekeler was heavily involved in Week 2 and finished with six receptions for 67 yards and had 17 rushing attempts for 66 yards and one touchdown. Believe it or not, Ekeler could have had a better performance if he didn’t lose a fumble at the goal line when he attempted to jump over the pile.

Ekeler is a must-start in all league formats against the Texans in Week 3. The Texans defense is good against running backs as shown by our signature schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric that has them ranked eighth-best. However, the matchup should not deter fantasy owners because 4for4 rankings expert John Paulsen has Ekeler ranked as the PPR RB4.

by Pete Behnke

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - Week 2 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 2 at Detroit Lions

Austin Ekeler took full advantage of the opportunity provided by Melvin Gordon’s contract holdout. Ekeler was clearly the lead back for the Chargers as he finished with 48 snaps compared to only 16 snaps for Justin Jackson. As expected, Ekeler was heavily involved in the passing game against the Colts with six receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns and had 12 rushing attempts for 58 yards and one touchdown. He finished as the second-best running back, behind Christian McCaffrey, with 36.4 Half PPR fantasy points. 

Ekeler could be heavily involved in the passing game for the second week in a row. Hunter Henry suffered a tibial plateau fracture and will miss 4-6 weeks and Mike Williams is questionable against the Lions. 4for4 rankings expert John Paulsen has Ekeler ranked as a fringe RB1 and is a must-start in all scoring formats.

by Pete Behnke

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - Week 1 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 1 vs. Indianapolis Colts
In his third season, Austin Ekeler has a golden opportunity to showcase his rushing and pass-catching ability. In 2018, Ekeler rushed for 554 yards and three touchdowns and caught 39 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns. These numbers don’t stand out on paper because he was the backup to Melvin Gordon who finished as the RB7 in half PPR leagues.

All signs indicate Melvin Gordon will continue his contract holdout into Week 1, which opens the door for Ekeler to shine. During the offseason, the ESPN reported a potential 50/50 split between Ekeler and Justin Jackson but the usage in the preseason indicates a 60/40 split in favor of Ekeler. 4for4’s rankings expert John Paulsen, has Ekeler as the PPR RB14 in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts with a median projection of 16.0 fantasy points. The Colts defense schemes toward playing zone coverage which opens up short passes to running backs. Phillip Rivers has shown a preference for shorts passes to tight ends and running backs which makes Ekeler is a must-start in PPR leagues.

by Bob Harris

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - 2019 Fantasy Football Outlook

Fantasy Upside
As CBSSports.com recently pointed out, Austin Ekeler has been wildly efficient as a change-of-pace back behind Melvin Gordon. He's averaged better than 5 yards per carry and more than 10 yards per reception each of his first two seasons in the NFL. He has been one of the rare NFL backups who have fantasy value even with the starter healthy. And if Gordon goes down again -- or if the contract squabble that has Gordon promising a training camp holdout (and requesting a trade if unresolved), Ekeler should become an instant starter.

Fantasy Downside
The concern for fantasy owners will be whether Ekeler actually gets a majority of the workload even if Gordon isn’t available. When Gordon was hurt last year, the Chargers' backfield became another committee between Ekeler and Justin Jackson, and Ekeler's efficiency suffered while Jackson at times looked like the better back. As it stands there is just no guarantee Ekeler, who missed time down the stretch last year due to concussion issues, beats out Jackson for the secondary role, and certainly no guarantee either will be must-start if Gordon goes down. Detrez Newsome, who was impressive last preseason, would also be in the mix here.

2019 Bottom Line
Nonetheless, Ekeler appears to be the best bet to see playing time if Gordon is signed, healthy and on the field. His role as a receiving back and change-of-pace makes him a viable RB3 or Flex option in PPR leagues.

by Steve Andress

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - Week 19 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 19 at New England Patriots

The Chargers go west to east for the second consecutive week to take on the Patriots in New England with a trip to the AFC Championship game on the line. The Bolts have the second-lowest implied team total of the eight remaining teams, however, at just 21.5 points. New England ranks 15th in aFPA to RBs. However, Melvin Gordon gets most of the volume in this backfield, making Ekeler nothing more than a contrarian play.

by Steve Andress

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - Week 17 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 17 at Denver Broncos

The Chargers offense will be at full strength in Week 17 with a chance to go from wild-card playoff team to home field advantage and playing against a potential lame duck coach in Denver's Vance Joseph. This is an offense to trust in the final week of the regular season, with an implied team total of 24 after being installed in Vegas as 6-point favorites. Nevermind that the Broncos are ranked third in aFPA to RBs, because Melvin Gordon is averaging 19 touches per game and 23 PPR points per game. That's the reason Austin Ekeler should not be a starting consideration in Week 17.

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