Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler
26-Year-Old Running BackRB
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Last year Ekeler got a chance to prove he could be a bell cow after Melvin Gordon departed for Denver, but instead he may have created more doubt about his small frame holding up under that kind of workload. Lower-body injuries cost him six games, but when he was in the lineup he produced, maintaining good efficiency on the ground with increased volume and still shining as a receiver. Ekeler runs with surprising power and his low pad level makes him tough to bring down, but elusiveness is his best asset, helping to make up for his lack of breakaway speed. Justin Herbert's emergence last year kept defenses from keying on Ekeler, but poor offensive line play prevented him from fully exploiting the emptier fronts he saw. The Chargers brought in a new coaching staff this offseason, and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has a lot of experience feeding a dynamic pass-catching back from his time featuring Alvin Kamara for the Saints. With Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson and sixth-round rookie Larry Rountree representing his backfield alternatives, Lombardi figures to depend on Ekeler, so long as the 26-year-old holds up physically. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#11.07
ADP
$Signed a four-year, $24.5 million contract with the Chargers in March of 2020.
Scores touchdown in season debut
RBLos Angeles Chargers
September 12, 2021
Ekeler (hamstring) carried the ball 15 times for 57 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 20-16 win over Washington.
ANALYSIS
Notably, Ekeler wasn't even targeted in this contest as quarterback Justin Herbert rarely saw enough pressure to force any checkdowns. Considering the running back was listed as questionable heading into Sunday's contest after a mid-week hamstring injury, fantasy managers still have to be happy with Ekeler's explosiveness, particularly after contact. The Chargers notably used a plethora of two-back sets with Larry Rountree mixing into the rotation, so any hopes of Ekeler having a monopoly on the backfield opportunities predictably were dashed. However, it seemed incredibly unlikely such a situation would occur under new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi anyhow. Expect more production next week against a Cowboys defense that was picked apart Week 1.
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NFL Stats
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Fantasy/Red Zone Stats
See red zone opportunities inside the 20, 10 and 5-yard lines along with the percentage of time they converted the opportunity into a touchdown.
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Advanced NFL Stats
How do Austin Ekeler's 2021 advanced stats compare to other running backs?
This section compares his advanced stats with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average. The longer the bar, the better it is for the player.
  • Broken Tackle %
    The number of broken tackles divided by rush attempts.
  • Positive Run %
    The percentage of run plays where he was able to gain positive yardage.
  • % Yds After Contact
    The percentage of his rushing yards that came after contact.
  • Avg Yds After Contact
    The average rushing yards he gains after contact.
  • Rushing TD %
    Rushing touchdowns divided by rushing attempts. In other words, how often is he scoring when running the ball.
  • Touches Per Game
    The number of touches (rushing attempts + receptions) he is averaging per game
  • % Snaps w/Touch
    The number of touches (rushing attempts + receptions) divided by offensive snaps played.
Broken Tackle %
46.7%
 
Positive Run %
80.0%
 
% Yds After Contact
73.7%
 
Avg Yds After Contact
2.8
 
Rushing TD %
0.0%
 
Touches Per Game
0.0
 
% Snaps w/Touch
0.0%
 
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2021
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2021 NFL Game Log
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2020 NFL Game Log
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
Snap Counts
Snap %
Los Angeles ChargersChargers 2021 RB Snap Distribution See more data like this | See last season's snap counts
A.Austin Ekeler
#% of Team Snaps

474%
111%
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Receiving Alignment Breakdown
See where Austin Ekeler lined up on the field and how he performed at each spot.
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This Week's Opposing Pass Defense
How does the Cowboys pass defense compare to other NFL teams this season?
The bars represents the team's percentile rank (based on QB Rating Against). The longer the bar, the better their pass defense is. The team and position group ratings only include players that are currently on the roster and not on injured reserve. The list of players in the table only includes defenders with at least 3 attempts against them.
DAL
vs Cowboys
Sunday, Sep 19th at 4:25PM
Overall QB Rating Against
93.5
 
Cornerbacks
94.3
 
Safeties
101.4
 
Linebackers
94.8
 
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2021 Austin Ekeler Split Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Austin Ekeler
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Christian McCaffrey always projects as one of the highest-scoring players whenever the Panthers play, but RotoWire's Ryan Belongia explains why the running back is a good fade on Sunday's main DraftKings slate.
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3 days ago
Juan Carlos Blanco previews the Week 2 slate on OwnersBox. Will Russell Wilson have a big outing against the Titans?
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4 days ago
Erik Siegrist previews Week 2 in the NFL as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs head to Baltimore for a titanic clash against the Ravens on Sunday night.
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East Coast Offense
5 days ago
5 days ago
Chris Godwin's fumble near the end of Thursday night's game (which almost cost Chris Liss an expensive survivor pool entry) helped him see randomness and luck in larger context.
Weekly Rankings: Week 2 Value Meter
5 days ago
Clyde Edwards-Helaire isn't a top-15 back in Week 2 against the Ravens.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
Melvin Gordon's holdout last season opened the door for Ekeler to show what he could do in a consistent lead role, and he racked up 490 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns in the first four games before Gordon slunk back on to the roster. Ekeler's usage fell after that, but he still had moments to shine later in the year, including a 213-yard eruption against the Jaguars in Week 14. Heading into his fourth NFL season, the undrafted rookie out of Western State Colorado seems set as the Chargers' new No. 1 back with Gordon now a Bronco, giving Ekeler his chance to dispel the notion - once and for all - that he's only a passing-down specialist. His agility and low pad level have always made him difficult to bring down on first contact, and his broken tackle rate was 14th in the league among backs with at least 100 carries - comparable to bulky runners like Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. Ekeler may need to find extra production on the ground, however, as Philip Rivers' departure for Indianapolis will give the Bolts offense a different look this season. The scheme won't change with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen returning, but Rivers' penchant for flipping passes to his backs is legendary - something that neither Tyrod Taylor nor Justin Herbert is likely to match. Ekeler will hope to make up for it with additional rushing volume and potentially more snaps, taking the lead over Justin Jackson and rookie fourth-round pick Joshua Kelley in the Chargers backfield.
Ekeler continued to impress for the Chargers in 2018, finishing just shy of 1,000 scrimmage yards despite missing two games late in the season with a concussion. He gets typecast as a scatback due to his size, but Ekeler has more than proven himself on the ground --- he posted at least 5.2 YPC in both his NFL campaigns thanks to a low center of gravity and strong leg drive through contact. Ekeler has plus elusiveness and balance as well, allowing him to find extra yards in traffic even if he doesn't have breakaway speed. His 3.8 yards after contact per carry ranked second in the league to Nick Chubb's 4.3. Ekeler is not a natural receiver when it comes to running routes, but he has soft hands and any back with some skill will see plenty of targets from Philip Rivers. Ekeler is entrenched in the No. 2 spot behind Melvin Gordon, but with Gordon playing 16 games only once in his career, odds are good that Ekeler will find himself in a starting role at least a couple times in 2019. Those odds improved a step further when Gordon decided to hold out from training camp, hoping to gain leverage in negotiations for a contract extension. As a result, Ekeler and Justin Jackson are handling first-team reps during the early portion of training camp.
If there's one thing Philip Rivers likes, it's an undersized receiving back. Over the last decade, players like Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead have built their careers running wheel routes around frustrated linebackers and providing a security blanket for the quarterback. Last year it was Ekeler's turn to fill that role, and while it took the undrafted rookie a while to earn Rivers' trust, by Week 10 he was an integral part of the Chargers' attack, catching 12 of 13 targets for 171 yards and two touchdowns over a four-game span before a broken finger cut short his productive run. At 5-10, 200, Ekeler isn't going to supplant Melvin Gordon on early downs, but he runs with some surprising power for his size and can contribute a bit on the ground, even if his bread-and-butter will always be catching passes and making defenders miss in space. The team drafted Justin Jackson in the seventh round to provide extra depth in the backfield, but if Ekeler stays healthy his role should only grow.
An undrafted rookie out of Division II Western State, the 195-pound Ekeler surprisingly survived roster cutdown day in early September, slotting in behind Melvin Gordon and Branden Oliver on the initial depth chart. The Chargers might still add more talent in the backfield, but if not, Ekeler could get some touches early in the season.
More Fantasy News
Active for season opener
RBLos Angeles Chargers
September 12, 2021
Ekeler (hamstring) is listed as active for Sunday's game against Washington.
ANALYSIS
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Expected to play Sunday
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Hamstring
September 12, 2021
Ekeler (hamstring) is on track to suit up Sunday against Washington, barring any pregame setbacks, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
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Optimism regarding Sunday's status
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Hamstring
September 10, 2021
Coach Brandon Staley noted Friday that he's optimistic Ekeler (hamstring) will play in Sunday's season opener against Washington, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.
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Questionable for Week 1
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Hamstring
September 10, 2021
Ekeler (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Sunday's season opener against Washington after returning to a limited practice Friday, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.
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Spotted at practice
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Hamstring
September 10, 2021
Ekeler (hamstring) participated in the media-access portion of Friday's practice, Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports.
ANALYSIS
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