Player Outlook
Ekeler had a breakout season in 2021, and he will look to build on that campaign this year. We like Ekeler as a top-five running back in all leagues, with his value higher in PPR, and Ekeler is worth drafting as early as No. 2 overall. Last season, Ekeler set career highs in carries (206), rushing yards (911) and rushing touchdowns (12). He also tied his career high in receiving touchdowns (eight) while catching 70 passes for 647 yards on 94 targets. He might have competition for touches from rookie Isaiah Spiller -- the new handcuff in Los Angeles -- but Ekeler isn't expected to come off the field for significant stretches. He's a huge part of the Chargers offense, especially in the passing game, and Los Angeles has a standout offensive line. There's a lot to love about Ekeler once again in 2022.

Fantasy Stats

rushing receiving fantasy
Year yds
Rushing Yards
avg
Average Yards per Rush
td
Rushing Touchdowns
fl
Fumbles Lost
rec
Receptions
yds
Receiving Yards
td
Receiving Touchdowns
fpts
Fantasy Points
fpts/g
Fantasy Points per Game
2022
2021 911 4.42 12 3 70 647 8 27317.1
2020 530 4.57 1 54 403 2 11111.1
3y Avg. 666 4.41 5 2 72 681 6 19614
Projections Powered by
Fantasy Performance by Week
98%
Roster
87%
Start
#4
RB Rank

Fantasy News

  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Continues to lead backfield

    Ekeler, who logged 1,558 scrimmage yards and 20 total TDs in 16 games last season, remains firmly atop the Chargers' RB depth chart as training camp approaches, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN and Daniel Popper of The Athletic. As long as the 27-year-old remains healthy, he'll be a valuable fantasy asset, especially given his usage as a pass-catcher out of the Chargers' backfield. With Justin Jackson no longer on the roster, Isaiah Spiller, Larry Rountree and Joshua Kelley are in the mix to handle complementary work, and though the team's No. 2 role hasn't been handed to Spiller, it's one that the 2022 fourth-rounder has a solid chance to claim. If so, he'd be the player to target in the event that Ekeler misses any time this coming season.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Two TDs cap off historic season

    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. 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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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Tops century mark once more

    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. A week after testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequently missing the demoralizing loss to the Texans, Ekeler came right back and continued to build upon his touchdown streak, extending his consecutive games-scored total to seven. The emergence of Justin Jackson (60 total yards on 15 touches) should help the dynamic jack-of-all trades running back get a bit of rest throughout next week's game, but expect Ekeler to remain the Chargers' top weapon in the red zone.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Activated off COVID list

    Ekeler has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list, per the NFL's official transaction report. With Ekeler back in the mix and in line to reclaim his starting running back duties, look for Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley to revert to their usual complementary roles when the Chargers face the Broncos on Sunday.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Not cleared for Week 16

    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. Until Ekeler, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, is able to clear COVID protocols, Justin Jackson is poised to head the Chargers' backfield, with Joshua Kelley a candidate for added touches and Larry Rountree likely to be active in a depth role against Houston.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Not confident in playing Week 16

    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." If vaccinated, Ekeler is eligible to play so long as he clears league protocols, but based on his comments on his situation to this point, he's preparing as though he won't be able to go Week 16. In his interview with Yahoo Sports' Liz Loza, Ekeler went as far as recommending that fantasy managers pick up his backup, Justin Jackson, who will likely be primed for a larger workload in the event Ekeler sits. Joshua Kelley also looms as a depth option out of the Los Angeles backfield and should have a role in the game plan if Ekeler sits out for the first time this season. It's worth noting that as of Friday, coach Brandon Staley said everyone on the Chargers' COVID-19 list still has a chance to play Sunday, aside from Joey Bosa and Kemon Hall, Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Tests positive for COVID-19

    The Chargers placed Ekeler on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday after he tested positive for the virus, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Reports surfaced Monday suggesting that Ekeler was headed to the list, but it wasn't until Wednesday that the running back was officially deactivated. According to Daniel Popper of The Athletic noted Monday that Ekeler is day-to-day, which suggests that he's vaccinated and therefore has a chance to play Sunday in Houston if he can test out of the NFL's COVID-19 protocol. If not, Justin Jackson would be the top candidate to replace Ekeler as the Chargers' lead back.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Not practicing Wednesday

    Ekeler wasn't spotted at practice Wednesday, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. Ekeler was absent from Monday's unofficial practice session, with head coach Brandon Staley seemingly hinting afterward that Ekeler was likely headed to the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Popper. However, Ekeler wasn't among the players placed on the list that today, perhaps suggesting some uncertainty about a positive COVID-19 test result. Later Wednesday, Los Angeles will release its first Week 16 practice report, which will provide an explanation for Ekeler's absence.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Misses practice, Week 16 status cloudy

    Ekeler didn't practice Monday, but he wasn't among the seven Chargers placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. Popper reported earlier Monday that Ekeler was headed to the list, but the Chargers elected to forgo deactivating the running back, at least for the time being. Los Angeles won't release its first Week 16 injury report until Wednesday, so it won't be known until that time why Ekeler was kept off the field Monday. In any case, coach Brandon Staley told Popper that Ekeler is day-to-day, so the 26-year-old seemingly has a chance to play Sunday against the Texans.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Headed to COVID-19 list

    The Chargers are expected to place Ekeler on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. Ekeler is one of several Chargers headed to the list, though it's not yet clear whether the running back has tested positive for the virus. His status for Sunday's game against the Texans has yet to be determined, but Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley should see increased playing time if Ekeler isn't cleared for Week 16.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Logs 12 carries Thursday

    Ekeler (ankle) carried the ball 12 times for 59 yards and a score in Thursday's 34-28 loss to the Chiefs. He also caught all four of his targets for 23 yards. In Thursday's divisional matchup, the Chargers elected to not feature Ekeler -- who has been dealing with ankle soreness -- in the red zone at critical junctures. Meanwhile, the duo of Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley combined for 20 carries, as the team managed the workload of Ekeler, who was considered a game-time decision approaching the contest. On the heels of a short week, the star back will now have some added time to rest and recover in advance of the Chargers' Dec. 26 road game against the 2-11 Texans.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Suits up Thursday night

    Ekeler (ankle) is listed as active for Thursday night's game against Kansas City, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports. The Chargers' lead back will give it a go Thursday, and while Taylor Bisciotti of NFL Network previously suggested that Ekeler may not handle his normal workload level, we'd imagine he'll still get a share of touches in the absence of any in-game setbacks. Also in the team's Week 15 backfield mix are Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley, who could mix in more than usual as Ekeler works through his ankle issue.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Likely to suit up Thursday

    Ekeler (ankle), who is listed as questionable for Thursday's game against the Chiefs, is expected to play, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. The Chargers won't decide on Ekeler's status until after evaluating him in a pregame workout, but barring a setback, he'll avoid the inactive list and start at running back as he usually does. However, Taylor Bisciotti of NFL Network notes that head coach Brandon Staley mentioned that Ekeler is experiencing more soreness than expected with the ankle he sprained in last Sunday's win over the Giants. With that in mind, Bisciotti, citing a source, has been told that Ekeler won't handle a full workload while he plays through the injury, so reserve backs Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree could be in store for more snaps than usual. Even if that's the case, Ekeler is still the odds-on favorite to lead the group in snaps and touches, so fantasy managers outside of the shallowest of leagues shouldn't have too many reservations about including him in weekly lineups.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Dealing with ankle soreness

    Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said Ekeler (ankle), who is listed as questionable for Thursday's contest against Kansas City, is "just sore" and is being viewed as a game-time decision, Gilbert Manzano of The Orange County Register reports. "We're going to make sure before the game that he's feeling OK," Staley said. After going down as a limited participant on the practice reports the Chargers released Tuesday and Wednesday, Ekeler looks to be trending toward an active status for Week 15, barring a setback in pregame warmups. Even so, fantasy managers planning on using Ekeler this week will still want to verify that he avoids the Chargers' inactive list, which will be released 90 minutes prior to Thursday's 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff. If active, Ekeler could still be at risk of having his snap count and touches managed more carefully than usual.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Deemed game-time decision

    Ekeler (ankle), who is listed as questionable for Thursday's game against the Chiefs, is slated to go through a pregame warmup before the Chargers decide on his status for the contest, Field Yates of ESPN reports. Safety Derwin James (hamstring) and cornerback Asante Samuel (concussion) will also go through workouts before the Chargers determine their availability, though Ekeler's involvement in practices Tuesday and Wednesday would appear to bode well for his chances of gaining clearance prior to Thursday's 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff. If Ekeler ends up sitting out Week 15 or takes on a lighter workload than normal, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley and possibly Larry Rountree could all have enhanced roles in the offensive game plan.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Questionable for Thursday

    Ekeler (ankle) is listed as questionable for Thursday's game against Kansas City. After being listed as a non-participant on Monday's practice report, Ekeler was limited Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said that Ekeler could have returned to this past Sunday's game against the Giants after sustaining a sprained left ankle, so the running back is seemingly trending toward active status Week 15. Either way, Ekeler's availability will be confirmed approximately 90 minutes before Thursday's 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff, when the Chargers release their inactive list.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Practicing Wednesday

    Ekeler (ankle) is participating in practice Wednesday, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. Ekeler was listed as a non-participant on Monday's estimated practice report before being upgraded to limited participation Tuesday. Receiver Mike Williams (heel) and tight end Jared Cook (quad) also are practicing Wednesday, so if those two and Ekeler are both able to gain clearance for Thursday's game against the Chiefs, quarterback Justin Herbert could have a healthy group of pass catchers at his disposal for the highly anticipated AFC West matchup.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Gets limited tag Tuesday

    Ekeler (ankle) was limited at Tuesday's walkthrough. One day removed from being estimated as a non-participant on the Chargers' initial practice report of Week 15, Ekeler managed some activity as the team gears up for Thursday's divisional showdown with Kansas City. He appears to be trending in the right direction after getting forced out of the team's Week 14 win versus the Giants with an ankle injury that coach Brandon Staley considered to be "nothing major" Monday, per Daniel Popper of The Athletic. Still, Ekeler's status is one to monitor considering his standing in L.A.'s offense. If Ekeler ends up being inactive or limited, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree could all see bumps in their workload.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: DNP on practice estimate

    Ekeler (ankle) was listed as a non-participant on Monday's practice estimate, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports. That said, coach Brandon Staley has indicated that Ekeler's ankle issue is "nothing major," and that the Chargers' top back is expected back at practice in advance of Thursday night's game against Kansas City.
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  • Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Limited by ankle issue

    Ekeler (ankle) was a limited participant at practice Wednesday. Per Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Ekeler emerged from the Chargers' Week 13 win over the Bengals dealing with "bumps and bruises," according to head coach Brandon Staley. Wednesday's injury report indicates that the running back's ankle is the specific concern in play, but the fact that he practiced in some capacity suggests that he has a chance to remain in the lineup this weekend against the Giants, a notion that would be solidified by Ekeler participating in Thursday's session as well.
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