April 13, 2024

Austin Ekeler Signing: 3 Fantasy Questions

3 min read

Austin Ekeler has agreed to sign a two-year, 11.43 million-dollar contract with the Washington Commanders. Let's analyze the fantasy impact of the Austin Ekeler Signing and answer these 3 Fantasy Questions:

 

Is there an alpha receiver on the Commanders?

Currently, the Commanders have Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson lining up on the outside. Both receivers have yet to establish themselves as the offense's focal point. McLaurin has exceeded 1,000 yards in four out of his five seasons but has only exceeded five touchdowns once. In two seasons, Dotson has totaled 1,041 yards and 11 touchdowns. Neither player has established themselves as an "alpha" in the passing game, allowing someone else to step in and take the role.

Since entering the league in 2017, Ekeler has averaged 62 catches on 79 targets a season, with 2022 being his highlight season with 107 catches for 722 yards and five touchdowns. In his career, Ekeler has recorded three top-four PPR seasons. Although last season was not the best example of his abilities, Ekeler also saw his target share drop significantly, and the Chargers saw Justin Herbert finish the season early with a finger injury.

Does Austin Ekeler even run the ball?

Although Austin Ekeler is known for his prowess as a receiver coming out of the backfield, Ekeler will run the ball. Ekeler has been below 4.22 yards per carry in his seven seasons only once, which was last year at 3.51 yards per carry. In his 2021 and 2022 seasons, Ekeler had 25 rushing touchdowns. Don't get confused! I am not saying Austin Ekeler will magically turn into Derrick Henry overnight and record over 300 carries in a season with 1,600 plus yards. The Commanders already have Brian Robinson to run the ball for short-yardage situations.

 

 

With the right balance of runs and passes, Austin Ekeler can return to a fantasy-relevant form of himself and log a Top 12 season again. His value is low, and this is the time to buy! Our very own DynastyPros Trade Calculator suggests a mid-2nd round rookie pick. With his value suppressed after last season, you can get Ekeler for a late 2nd-round pick or even a third! Don't be afraid to make offers. If you are in "WIN-NOW" mode with your dynasty roster, Ekeler is an excellent buy at this price.

Who is playing quarterback?

The Washington Commanders have yet to jump into the free-agent frenzy and sign one of the quarterbacks available on the market. Although Justin Fields remains the market's top free-agent quarterback, the Commanders are content sticking with the second pick in the draft and selecting their top remaining quarterback.

If the Commanders wanted to make a splash, they could trade for Justin Fields and then draft Marvin Harrison Jr. with the second overall pick. Making this trade and draft pick would significantly improve the offense but could also suppress the other receivers. In this scenario, Ekeler hits the jackpot. He signs with the Commanders, doesn't have to endure a "rookie" quarterback season, and has help on the outside to draw the defense's attention away from him.

If the Commanders decide to draft a rookie quarterback, then Ekeler may see a lot of dump-offs and screens to help alleviate the pressures that a rookie quarterback sees in his first year. Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are both excellent runners at the quarterback position. However, Maye would be the better fit for Ekeler. Maye runs when necessary. Daniels has shown an instinct to run more than dump the ball off to a running back.

Quarterback Scenarios:

Trade for Fields: HUGE UPSIDE for Ekeler
Draft Drake Maye: provides solid upside for screens and impromptu plays
Draft Jayden Daniels: caps ceiling when Daniels decides to tuck-and-run

Thank you for reading my Free Agent Fantasy Impact on Austin Ekeler. Please follow me @JGoody77 or links by @DynastyProsFF in the "X" World and check out more of my articles at Dynastyprosfootball.com.

 

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