• Austin Ekeler

  • RB
  • , Los Angeles Chargers
  • 25
  • 195 lbs
  • 5' 10"
PtsRuYdsRuTDRecRecYds
217557392993
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Draft note
by John Paulsen
Ekeler finished the season as the No. 6 running back (half-PPR) after finishing No. 24 the year before. One of the most versatile running backs in the league, he caught 92 of 108 targets for 993 yards and eight touchdowns, so he would have been the No. 14 fantasy receiver if only his receiving numbers counted! Ekeler would probably be going in the first round if not for the quarterback change in L.A. Philip Rivers was known to pepper his running backs with targets, but Tyrod Taylor didn’t generate big receiving seasons for his backs when he started in Buffalo. (LeSean’s high-water mark in Buffalo was 59 catches in 2017.) I’m expecting Ekeler’s receptions to regress a bit, but he’ll still catch enough balls to have a very good shot to finish in the top 10 in PPR and half-PPR formats.

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Scouting report

by Bob Harris

LAC RB Austin Ekeler - 2020 Fantasy Football Outlook

Fantasy Upside
Austin Ekeler agreed to a four-year, $24.5 million deal with the Chargers early this offseason. Of course, as ESPN.com suggested, by letting Melvin Gordon walk, the Chargers had already committed to Ekeler, who emerged as a key contributor over the past two seasons -- even if he's not used in a traditional featured role. In case you missed it, in 2019 Ekeler ran 132 times and caught 92 passes while notching 11 overall touchdowns. Among all running backs last season, Ekeler finished at the top in receiving TDs (eight) and second in receptions. Beyond that, he led all NFL players in catches without a drop (92); his 993 yards receiving were 12th most ever by a running back; he had 10 games with five-plus catches, and was one of five running backs with 1,500-plus total yards and 10-plus total TDs. HC Anthony Lynn wants Ekeler to get 15 to 20 touches a game, a trend that should continue in 2020.

Fantasy Downside
Ekeler has yet to prove himself capable of handling a front-line role and may not be asked to this year either with rookie Joshua Kelley and holdover Justin Jackson standing by to handle early-down and between-the-tackles work as needed. In addition, the departure of Philip Rivers, who clearly locked in on Ekeler regularly last year, opens the door to concerns about this year's QB, whether it's Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert, having the same locked-in connection that Ekeler enjoyed with Rivers.

2020 Bottom Line
Whatever the case, Ekeler finished fourth in fantasy points at the position last season. That's impressive. In fact, Ekeler averaged nearly 27 fantasy points a game over the first four weeks of the season and he finished with six top-5 performances -- tied for third-most in the league among running backs. And, as NFL.com noted, his seven 20-plus point games tied for second with Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry. These numbers will lead some to overpay; you should not be among them. Instead, viewing Ekeler as a very high-end RB2 seems like a wise course of action for us.

2020 Strength of Schedule - LAC

W1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W10W11W12W13W14W15W16W17
27
@CIN
25
KC
32
CAR
1
@TB
3
@NO
11
NYJ
26
@MIA
31
JAX
20
LV
BYE7
@DEN
17
@BUF
4
NE
9
ATL
20
@LV
7
DEN
25
@KC

Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.

2019 Game Stats

WeekOppRuAttRuYdsRuTDFumYPCRecRecYdsRecTDTgtsYPRSTDPPRSnaps%
1IND1258104.836962716.0033.439.448/6475.0%
2@DET1766113.886670611.1717.323.349/6773.1%
3HOU936004.00745076.438.115.149/7565.3%
4@MIA1860103.335621512.4024.229.248/6771.6%
5DEN37012.3315860165.737.322.346/7065.7%
6PIT514002.80314044.672.85.828/6245.2%
7@TEN57001.4071181816.8618.525.538/6459.4%
8@CHI33001.00219139.508.210.224/4553.3%
9GB1270005.83423045.759.313.324/7133.8%
10@LV619003.172291214.5010.812.835/7745.5%
11KC524004.80810801213.5013.221.246/8057.5%
12BYE--------------
13@DEN916001.784511512.7512.716.735/6653.0%
14@JAX81010012.6241121528.0027.331.331/6349.2%
15MIN719002.715620712.408.113.130/6248.4%
16LV411002.755580611.606.911.933/6154.1%
17@KC946005.119430114.788.917.945/7758.4%
Per game8.2534.810.190.134.225.7562.060.506.7510.7913.5619.3138.06/66.9456.79%
Totals132557324.2292993810810.79217309609/107156.79%
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