This article is part of our Job Battles series.
Pretty much all week I was baffled to the point of sputtering confusion by the number of people who seemed to think Jackson was better than Ekeler, because there was just a complete absence of evidence for the idea. I understand the impulse to hastily dismiss a player like Ekeler when you pay up your FAAB just to see him have a bad game against the Steelers, but it's important to maintain historical perspective on these players if you don't want them to catch you by surprise.
One bad game, and particularly one bad game against one of the league's better run defenses, is something that can happen to almost any runner. Ekeler gave his owners a complete dud against Pittsburgh, no doubt about it, but it was easy to spot it for the anomaly it was. This is a guy whose 145 career carries netted 756 yards (5.2 YPC) and four touchdowns, and whose 87 career targets yielded 66 receptions (75.9 percent catch rate) for 683 yards (7.9 YPT) and six touchdowns. Ekeler probably can't be a workhorse like Melvin Gordon, but in terms of the threat he poses from scrimmage, Ekeler is simply one of the best. That convincing production can't be dismissed over one bad game.
Ekeler's case only gets stronger when you delve into his prospect background. He played for tiny Western Colorado, but his production there was excellent even when adjusting for level, totaling 5,857