Fearless Forecast: 1699 TOTAL YDS, 79 REC, 13 TD
Projected Rank: 3
MATT HARMON: There's going to be some, you know, regression-based analysis with Austin Ekeler this year because he's not going to score that many total touchdowns. But who cares? I mean, Austin Ekeler is a great player. He's involved in the passing game, on a great offense with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Justin Herbert. And this coaching staff has been a little bit more, we'll say, open-minded, a little bit less limited with their deployment of Austin Ekeler. They don't shy away from using him at the goal line, like the old Anthony Lynn staff did, just because he's small.
Ekeler's a good goal line runner. And more importantly, Justin Herbert likes to throw him those little cheapo passes towards the goal line inside the red zone. That should continue. That should continue to keep Austin Ekeler's touchdown totals up. They added Isaiah Spiller this year in the NFL draft. I think Spiller will take some of that, like, meaningless between the 20s early down rushes to kind of keep Austin Ekeler fresh. To me, I see him as a top three pick in fantasy drafts this year. I'm totally comfortable taking him as my RB 3. I think he gets over 16,000 yards from scrimmage, and again, scores double digit touchdowns, even if it's a little lower than last year.