It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We finished our quarterbacks already; that means it’s time to get to the most frustrating position! That’s right, we’re on to the running backs. Today we take a look at a running back who will have a whole new coaching staff this season. What can we expect from 2021 Austin Ekeler for fantasy football?
Austin EkelerADP & AAV:
Average Draft Position (HPPR): RB10, Pick 14
Average Auction Value: $45.7 (RB11)
Austin Ekeler Statistics:
|Year||G||GS||Rush||Ru Yds||Ru TD||Tgt||Rec||Yards||TD||Touches||Opp||Total Yards|
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tch||HPPR Pts/Tch||PPR Pts/Tch|
2021 Austin Ekeler Fantasy Football Overview:
Austin Ekeler had a rough 2021. After all, in week one he had 20 touches but they were the wrong kind of touches (19 carries and one catch), so everyone freaked out. But, Austin Ekeler remained one of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL, reeling in 5.4 catches per game while increasing his rushing production, as well. Ekeler quietly topped 53 rushing yards per game in 2020, which doesn’t sound like a lot. But, he also came in third in receiving yards per game last year among running backs, after finishing 0.7 receiving yards per game behind CMC in 2019. He’s incredibly good, but people invent reasons to not like him.
Two years ago, he would lose out to Melvin Gordon. Then, Melvin Gordon came back and Ekeler still averaged 88 yards per game. Then, it was Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson, and we all saw how that worked out. Ekeler cast them both aside (quite easily). Now, it’s the offensive change, we don’t know how the new offensive staff will use Ekeler. We are fading Ekeler because we are worried an offensive staff won’t know how to use a guy who has done nothing but flourish in the NFL. That’s silly, and overthinking things.
The only fear I have is anecdotal; I can’t get the image of the slow-motion replay of his hamstring injury cascading through his pant leg out of my brain whenever I think of Ekeler. Fortunately, Ekeler was no worse for wear following his return, still averaging over 90 yards on 11.2 rushes and 6.2 receptions per game after his return. The best part? While I like Justin Jackson, nobody there is challenging for his throne as the RB1 in Los Angeles.
2021 Austin Ekeler Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
I’m loving his average draft price at the beginning of the second round. If I’m in that range, I’m making Austin Ekeler a priority. He’s one of the best pass-catching running backs in the entire NFL, and he is starting to add quality running production to that equation. He’s on the precipice of being an annual first-round pick, and if you can get that in the second round, then you get that in the second round. Period. Don’t overthink this because he has a new coaching staff. His offensive coordinator is Joe Lombardi, who leaned hard into running backs like Theo Riddick in his stint with the Lions.
Best Case Scenario:
Austin Ekeler challenges for 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards as the outlet valve for Justin Herbert, and the second-best player on that offense.
Worst Case Scenario:
Austin Ekeler challenges for 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards as the Joshua Kelley Truthers were right and the fact that he got That One Touchdown, once actually matters.
Check out all our 2021 player profiles, here.
Want more 2021 fantasy football draft discussion? Check out these links!
[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Image Source: Austin Ekeler on Twitter]