Austin Ekeler’s Dynasty Value | Fantasy Outlook, Ranking, and More

Has Father Time claimed another victim? The Austin Ekeler dynasty conversation is as interesting as any with managers beginning to prepare for 2024.

The dynasty fantasy football dialogue surrounding former Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler was once that of a foundational piece, but that narrative has swung in the opposite direction following a season that saw him miss three games, set a career low in yards per carry (3.5), and look just as bad as the numbers imply.

Hope for a rebound was not aided by his signing with the Washington Commanders this offseason, a team that has a two-down back they like in Brian Robinson Jr. and one that they have developed nicely.

Has the hate gone too far on the former All-Pro with him experiencing a change of scenery, or is Ekeler the type of asset that win-now fantasy managers should be asking about in trade negotiations heading into 2024, irrespective of where he ultimately landed in free agency?

Austin Ekeler’s Dynasty Outlook

There comes a time for every manager in a dynasty league where the opportunity to push all of the chips into the middle of the table is there, and you can make a true run at a title with a single acquisition.

These spots need to be properly identified, as mislabeling a window will have both short- and long-term ramifications that can cap the ceiling of your team.

Usually, it involves the selling of future assets to build a win-now super team — championship flags fly forever!

I have no problem mortgaging the future to support your title window if you do it the right way, but what is the right way?

I expect Ekeler’s name to pop up in conversations like that this offseason. He turns 29 in May and is coming off of a down year, but his fantasy résumé is impressive enough for many to be blinded by a single poor season.

The thought is that “if I can squeeze one more RB1 season out of Ekeler, at his current cost, I’m getting extreme value and putting myself in a position to win right now.”

I get it. I’m not going there.

If you think banking on a declining RB to put you over the top keeps you up at night, what do you think it does for the owner of an actual NFL team who has millions, if not billions, invested?

Some will say that the decline we saw in 2023 wasn’t that bad, and that with a lead role, Ekeler could thrive again. Yet, I’m not sold we get a look at Ekeler in a role like that ever again.

In a new situation, perhaps he can rediscover his form and give us one more big season — the type that can put a fantasy team in contention, given his suppressed value across the industry right now.

I’m not sold.

In 2023, Ekeler had one game with 70 rushing yards (Week 1). Now, big rushing days have never been the basis of his fantasy value, but a 40% decline in yards per carry before first contact from 2022 suggests to me that the ability to find/hit the holes is fading.

Proof of that is the fact that he didn’t have a carry of more than 10 yards after Thanksgiving. The only thing more depressing than Ekeler’s lack of splash plays in the running game is his inability to rip off those big gains in the passing game.

As long it’s been since we’ve seen a long run from Ekeler, it’s been one week longer since we saw him record a 20-yard catch. He’s transitioning into a volume-reliant option that isn’t assured of volume in the short term, given the tread on his tires.

The explosion is seemingly gone, and I don’t think changing the color of his jersey fixes that. Ekeler’s posted a negative aDOT (average depth of target) in three of his past four seasons, a trend that hints at the Chargers wanting to get him in space.

But does that hold much value anymore? Will the Commanders use him in a similar fashion? Does he have the physical tools to take those targets and make them productive?

Ekeler’s Dynasty Ranking

Where does Ekeler land in the dynasty RB landscape going into the 2024 offseason? Here are Soppe’s latest rankings, featuring where Ekeler lands in comparison to other top names at the position.

1) Bijan Robinson | ATL
2) Christian McCaffrey | SF
3) Breece Hall | NYJ
4) Jonathan Taylor | IND
5) Jahmyr Gibbs | DET
6) Saquon Barkley | PHI
7) Travis Etienne Jr. | JAX
8) Kyren Williams | LAR
9) James Cook | BUF
10) Kenneth Walker III | SEA
11) De’Von Achane | MIA
12) Isiah Pacheco | KC
13) Alvin Kamara | NO
14) Javonte Williams | DEN
15) Rhamondre Stevenson | NE
16) Josh Jacobs | GB
17) Rachaad White | TB
18) Derrick Henry | BAL
19) Tony Pollard | TEN
20) Zamir White | LV

21) D’Andre Swift | CHI
22) Nick Chubb | CLE
23) Aaron Jones | MIN
24) Brian Robinson Jr. | WAS
25) Najee Harris | PIT
26) Blake Corum | FA
27) Austin Ekeler | WAS
28) Tyjae Spears | TEN
29) Trey Benson | FA
30) David Montgomery | DET
31) Jaylen Warren | PIT
32) Joe Mixon | HOU
33) Keaton Mitchell | BAL
34) Jonathon Brooks | FA
35) Raheem Mostert | MIA
36) James Conner | ARI
37) Devin Singletary | NYG
38) Gus Edwards | LAC
39) Kendre Miller | NO
40) Khalil Herbert | CHI

Should You Trade Ekeler in Dynasty?

As you can see by my ranking, I don’t think Ekeler is done as a fantasy asset, he’s just done being the top-tier fantasy RB that he has been over the past couple of seasons.

This happens more at the running back position than any other in dynasty — a situation where the sheer power of a name exceeds any realistic expectations.

KEEP READING: Dynasty Fantasy Football Trade Value Chart 

Ekeler wasn’t going to rank well for me if he had stayed with the Chargers; his move to the Commanders only lessened my optimism. He should be rostered, but that’s about as much of a silver lining as I can offer — he needs an injury to get enough work to matter.

Even then, given the decline we saw in 2023, there’s no guarantee that a best-case scenario even has him on fantasy radars. I’m happy to not be in the Ekeler business in 2024.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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