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.
Two TDs cap off historic season
RBLos Angeles Chargers
January 9, 2022
Ekeler registered 16 carries for 64 yards and also caught five of his 12 targets for 35 yards to go along with two total touchdowns in Sunday's 35-32 overtime loss to the Raiders.
ANALYSIS
Ekeler tied the Colts' Jonathan Taylor for the most total touchdowns this season despite playing one fewer game. The dynamic running back asserted himself as one of the premier red-zone specialists in the NFL and answered his critics by remaining mostly healthy despite a massive increase in workload. The fifth-year running back did fall short of his lofty projections in terms of receptions, but that's in large part because Ekeler was forced to take on far more carries than anticipated. The Chargers are expected to aggressively target a complimentary back to Ekeler this offseason either through the draft or free agency, but after a career year nearly across the board in his first season in Joe Lombardi's system, it's hard to imagine the genie getting put back in the bottle.
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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.
  • Air Yards Per Game
    The number of air yards he is averaging per game. Air yards measure how far the ball was thrown downfield for both complete and incomplete passes. Air yards are recorded as a negative value when the pass is targeted behind the line of scrimmage. All air yards data is from Sports Info Solutions and does not include throwaways as targeted passes.
  • Air Yards Per Snap
    The number of air yards he is averaging per offensive snap.
  • % Team Air Yards
    The percentage of the team's total air yards he accounts for.
  • % Team Targets
    The percentage of the team's total targets he accounts for.
  • Avg Depth of Target
    Also known as aDOT, this stat measures the average distance down field he is being targeted at.
  • Catch Rate
    The number of catches made divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Drop Rate
    The number of passes he dropped divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Avg Yds After Catch
    The number of yards he gains after the catch on his receptions.
  • % Targeted On Route
    Targets divided by total routes run. Also known as TPRR.
  • Avg Yds Per Route Run
    Receiving yards divided by total routes run. Also known as YPRR.
Broken Tackle %
10.7%
 
Positive Run %
85.0%
 
% Yds After Contact
57.2%
 
Avg Yds After Contact
2.5
 
Rushing TD %
5.8%
 
Touches Per Game
17.3
 
% Snaps w/Touch
40.1%
 
Air Yards Per Game
10.9
 
Air Yards Per Snap
0.25
 
% Team Air Yards
3.5%
 
% Team Targets
14.2%
 
Avg Depth of Target
1.9 Yds
 
Catch Rate
74.5%
 
Drop Rate
6.4%
 
Avg Yds After Catch
8.8
 
% Targeted On Route
0.5%
 
Avg Yds Per Route Run
0.03
 
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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
#% of Team Snaps

68857%
6532%
21718%
10753%
13511%
3216%
1008%
00%
50%
00%
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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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2021 Austin Ekeler Split Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Austin Ekeler
Week 18 Observations
6 days ago
Justin Herbert and the Chargers didn't make the playoffs, but made an epic number of 4th-and-long conversions with the game on the line each time.
NFL Game Previews: Week 18 Matchups
9 days ago
Erik Siegrist previews the Week 18 matchups with game predictions, fantasy projections and DFS picks as the Chargers face the Raiders with a playoff spot on the line.
FanDuel Fantasy Football: Week 18 Picks
9 days ago
Kevin Payne makes his picks for the final week of the regular season and likes the budget-friendly Allen Robinson playing a Vikings team that ranks 31st against the position.
Exploiting the Matchups: Week 18 Start/Sit
9 days ago
D'Andre Swift was a huge disappointment last week, but he should fare better in his second game back from injury, especially if the Packers rest starters at some point.
Weekly Rankings: Week 18 Value Meter
12 days ago
Jonathan Taylor looks to finish the regular season in style against the Jaguars.
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
Tops century mark once more
RBLos Angeles Chargers
January 2, 2022
Ekeler (illness) tallied 17 carries for 58 yards and one touchdown to go along with three receptions for 54 yards in Sunday's 34-13 win over the Broncos.
ANALYSIS
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Activated off COVID list
RBLos Angeles Chargers
December 27, 2021
Ekeler has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list, per the NFL's official transaction report.
ANALYSIS
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Not cleared for Week 16
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Illness
December 25, 2021
Ekeler announced on Instagram that he tested positive for COVID-19 again Saturday and won't play Sunday against the Texans, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
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Not confident in playing Week 16
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Illness
December 24, 2021
Ekeler (illness) acknowledged earlier this week during his weekly appearance on Yahoo Sports' "Ekeler's Edge" fantasy football show that his chances of returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to Sunday's game against the Texans aren't "looking good." "Just dealing with this day to day, you know, we have new protocols in place, I had to get tested every day and have two negative tests, no symptoms," Ekeler said, recounting his experience since testing positive for the virus earlier this week. "And so right now I can tell you, it's not looking good. Just because of the history of COVID and how long it usually takes to dissipate or at least for your body to beat it."
ANALYSIS
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Tests positive for COVID-19
RBLos Angeles Chargers
Illness
December 22, 2021
The Chargers placed Ekeler on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday after he tested positive for the virus, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
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