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Austin Ekeler needs a bye week backup for himself | Ekeler’s Edge

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Yahoo Sports’ Fantasy Expert Liz Loza asks Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler to grade his fantasy performance over the first trimester of the season. Is it time to make-up or break-up with several former fantasy football stars? And Liz helps Austin scour the waiver wire for a running back to replace himself during his bye week in a ridiculously deep 20-team league.

Video Transcript

AUSTIN EKELER: Obviously, I'm on bye this week and I have myself and one of my teams and I'm in a deep league, so I need some deep help.

LIZ LOZA: This is like a sports media first where an active player is on a show asking a fantasy analyst for help for themselves and their own team. I love this.


LIZ LOZA: What is up, everyone. Welcome to Ekeler's Edge. I'm Liz Loza and this is, of course, Chargers running back, fantasy football superstar, and strawberry smoothie fanatic Austin Ekeler.

AUSTIN EKELER: I've been told that my strawberry smoothies that I make is terrible but I like it, so that's all that matters.

LIZ LOZA: Well, I appreciate that you haven't offered to make me one.

AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah. It's got raw eggs in it and so people, I think, are turned off by that. But anyways that's for a different segment.

LIZ LOZA: We've got a great show for you this week. We're going to ask Austin to grade his fantasy performance up to this point. Also, is it time to make up or break up with a few bewildering fantasy stars, and we'll comb through the waiver wire to find a bye week replacement for Austin himself.

AUSTIN EKELER: Let's do it.

LIZ LOZA: All right, Austin, after three straight wins in which your Chargers average 35 points per game, that high powered offense ran out of gas in a 34 to six loss at Baltimore.

AUSTIN EKELER: Man. Yeah, we always talk about team wins around the Chargers, that was definitely a team loss. It was brutal. It just seemed like we couldn't get anything going at any phase, whether it was offense, defense, or even special teams. So shout out to the Ravens for having a better plan than us and coming through and finishing and Yeah, we've got to get back on track, get healthy on this bye week, but we'll be back.

LIZ LOZA: A lot of people on Twitter were asking why you weren't on the field more. Do you want to address that?

AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah. I'm pretty open just with my performance and my play, and especially injuries, things like that. And, you know, I was dealing with an ankle injury. If you saw, I had like a big old like cast basically on my left foot just trying to keep my ankle straight. So this bye week is perfect timing as far as that to get my ankle back. Like there was one time I caught this ball over the middle and literally just fell down. I was so mad I punched my ankle. I was just like Oh, come on man, come on.

LIZ LOZA: Well, don't do that--

AUSTIN EKELER: Like, I was just so frustrated because we were struggling. I was like man, that was an opportunity to make a big play. Still ended up getting like 15 yards but still ankle problems so. It should be good after this bye week.

LIZ LOZA: Not surprisingly, the fantasy community had a lot to say about what happened Sunday against the Ravens, but there was one person who thinks that they may have been to blame. Take a look at this tweet from @TheJordanKeiser. He writes, I changed my fantasy team name this week in honor of you and I am very afraid I cursed you. With my deepest of hearts, I am so sorry. I will change our name back to Stafford & Sons.

AUSTIN EKELER: I think it's great, because people care so much. People care so much about their fantasy team and us doing well that even when people get mad, like I get it, some people are just toxic. They're in my DMs saying Oh you suck this week, come on. I'm just like, hey, Yeah you're right, you're right. I did suck this week. So if you guys want to get on me I honestly don't care. I think that's great because you guys are reaching out, you're spending the time to come and talk to me even if it's telling me to be better. Like I agree, I need to be better. So let's get it done. Let's keep that going. Keep that pressure on, I need that.

LIZ LOZA: So we're about a third of the way through the season, you and your Chargers are on your bye week as you mentioned. Right now in fantasy, you are second in the NFL. Behind only Derrick Henry with just over 115 total fantasy points. I want to know what grade you would give yourself so far this season.

AUSTIN EKELER: Well, I'll tell you what, Derrick Henry I just saw his last performance again. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, this man is amazing. In my opinion right now, definitely the best running back in the league hands down. Yeah I would definitely give him an A, A+ Like, that's what you expect. This man does it every single week too.

But going back to my grade, I'm going to give myself a B+ I think I've been somewhat consistent but my first game had a slow start, and then this last game just a little drop in consistency. I talked about it, battling injuries. It was a hamstrings beginning to the season, was ankle this last game. But regardless, I'm on the field, I got to perform, right? And that's the mindset for myself and that should be the mindset for my fantasy owners too. Hey, he is still on the field I expect production. And it's the same thing, it's the same mindset. So that's why I give myself a B+ just for a couple of inconsistencies. I want to see myself just being more efficient with my runs, making better decisions on the field, which in turn will turn to more fantasy points.

LIZ LOZA: I mean, I think you're being too hard on yourself. My man, you have managed nearly 600 scrimmage yards and what, seven touchdowns total on this season? That is not B+ territory, that is a solid A.

We are cruising into week seven and there are some players that fantasy managers are having trust issues with. I'm going to name a player and give you his pertinent stats and situation Austin and then you can tell me if you would make up or break up with this guy.

AUSTIN EKELER: OK. Yeah, let's do it.

LIZ LOZA: So let's start with the Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz may not have like the touchdown passes of Tom Brady or for the rushing touchdowns of Jalen Hurts, but he has nine scores and just one pick and he scored at least 17 fantasy points in five of his last six games. So what are you thinking, making up or breaking up?

AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah. I think, especially for this week with a lot of buys and a lot of quarterbacks that have been putting up a lot of points, if you have one of those quarterbacks I think Carson Wentz is a perfect quarterback who can step in that you can rely on to maybe not get you that type of production, just maybe limited on the upside and that might be just a situation of his team, but the thing is he has been consistent and he's been taking care of the ball, which is a big thing in the quarterback spot.

LIZ LOZA: I agree, Mr Right Now for Carson Wentz, especially in week seven with so many of these teams on bye. I have been playing make up or break up with the Bears since I was born frankly, but those feelings have never extended into my adoration for Allen Robinson until this season. A Rob, Oh, well, he had six receptions on 11 targets in week one but since then his high mark for receptions has been four. And in six games he's recorded just one touchdown, and that was an Andy Dalton not a Justin Fields game. So Austin, help me. Make up or break up with Allen Robinson?

AUSTIN EKELER: Oh, Yeah, I feel bad for my guy honestly. I think he's just-- he's in a situation where the Bears are committed to the run. They're running the ball. And I think that's because the quarterback situation, maybe there's not enough trust built there, maybe there's not enough comfortability, but for whatever reason they're running the ball. And so obviously it's going to affect your production from a receiver standpoint.

Oh man, I know, it's not that I don't like him because he's nice, but it's just the situation. So, I mean, I got to say break up. I got to say break up.

LIZ LOZA: Oh gosh. Austin, I mean, I appreciate this personal validation not just for my fantasy team but for my regular team. Here's the thing, if a manager has the luxury of benching Allen Robinson with so many people on bye this week, I agree with you. It is time to at least sit him down and use this week against Tampa Bay as a little bit of a litmus test because you are going to have to pass the ball more than 27 times if you're going to try to keep up with Tom Brady and the Bucs. And if Robinson can't get targets in this match-up then it's not going to happen.

Finally, let's turn to the backfield, and Eagles running back Miles Sanders. Phily's 24-year-old back who by the way, is pretty talented, has just carried the ball 57 times in six games, and 28 of those came in the first two weeks. He also has yet to reach the end zone so that's another thing, however, after the Eagles lost to the Bucs in week six, head coach Nick Sirianni did say there's no doubt we got to get the ball to Myles more and we got to be more balanced. So all of that being said Austin, make up or break up with Miles?

AUSTIN EKELER: Unlike the Bears, the Eagles are committed to the pass. They're past in that thing. What also has been hurting just the running back play in general is that it's like pass and then if there's nothing there Jalen Hurts is basically becoming the check down and just running the ball. Here's the thing, I'm going to save it to this game. Let's save it to this game. Because the Raiders, their defense, for whatever reason their linebackers like to stay up the ball like six or seven yards, which opens up some running lanes. So if he can get it done this week I'm going to say stay with him. If not, I might be looking to trade him as well or looking for other options.

LIZ LOZA: All right, so this is a get right game for Miles Sanders against the Raiders. You heard it here first, we're staying with him for one more week.

AUSTIN EKELER: Obviously I'm on by this week, and I have myself in one of my teams, and I'm in a deep lead. So I need some deep help.

LIZ LOZA: This is like a sports media first where an active player is on a show asking a fan at the analyst for help for themselves and their own team. I love this. All right, what about Rhamondre Stevenson? He's the rookie in New England, found the end zone in week six. It's good match-up against the Jets, might be enough left over for him and Harris to both find the end zone.

AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, let me pull up my app real quick to make sure.


AUSTIN EKELER: Like I said, 20 people, and these guys, few girls.

LIZ LOZA: 20 people league.

AUSTIN EKELER: 20 people.


AUSTIN EKELER: These people take it seriously. So, they are on top of it. And Yeah, no, he's not available.

LIZ LOZA: OK. What about either J.D. McKissic or Jarrett Patterson in Washington? Antonio Gibson dealing with the stress fracture in his shin was in and out of week six.

AUSTIN EKELER: Funny enough, someones team named Roger Goodell has McKissic, so.

LIZ LOZA: Oh, interesting. So McCarthy is not available. All right, what about Jarrett Patterson, the early Downs option, short yardage guy?

AUSTIN EKELER: Yep, not available either.


AUSTIN EKELER: I'm telling you.

LIZ LOZA: Jared Patterson is not avail-- all right, all right. All right, why don't you tell me who is available. That'll make this actually a little more efficient.

AUSTIN EKELER: All right, checking out the app in the free agent running backs right now. Malcolm Brown.

LIZ LOZA: OK. OK. Who else?

AUSTIN EKELER: Justin Jackson, my guy. Oh, he's on bias, so that doesn't work. Never mind. I know that guy.

LIZ LOZA: You know him. OK.

AUSTIN EKELER: I got Jalen Richard and then we have Travis Homer.

LIZ LOZA: OK. Seattle's running back run is a little banged up. Sure.

AUSTIN EKELER: Then we have Ty Montgomery.

LIZ LOZA: Oh, all right. This is deep. Now we're going deep. All right.

AUSTIN EKELER: I'm telling you.

LIZ LOZA: I'm going to say that probably Malcolm Brown is your best bet. You're just going to hope for a touchdown. Malcolm Brown obviously was on the Rams for a bunch of years. They loved him there. Went to Miami. Miami is a solid match-up against the Falcons. So, you know, it's definitely a crowded backfield in Miami but I think your best shot at a score is probably Malcolm Brown. Maybe he finds the-- he falls into the end zone as people like to say. So I think that if you're looking for a desperation on your personal team, Malcolm Brown is probably the way to go.

AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, I'm definitely in desperation mode so. Hey, one point right now, that's a plus. Let's go. So that's what I'm searching for. I appreciate the help though.

LIZ LOZA: That's going to do it for this edition of Ekeler's Edge. Austin enjoy your bye week. Rest up, get that ankle right, and Oh, Thanks for playing make up or break up with us. And also good luck on your fantasy squad there. Well, let's hope for a Malcolm Brown touchdown.

AUSTIN EKELER: Absolutely. I appreciate you Liz. Good luck to everyone with these crazy bye weeks going on this week. Yeah, looking forward to getting back, getting healthy, and we'll see you next week.

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