Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and Yahoo Sports’ Fantasy and NFL Analyst Liz Loza discuss the Chargers win and you’re in Sunday night matchup with the Raiders. A new year is here, and Liz and Austin share their fantasy resolutions for 2022. Fantasy managers who won a title with No. 30 on their squad tweeted their thanks to Austin. And we’ll look back at all the amazing moments we had with an incredible group of guests from the first season of Ekeler’s Edge.
LIZ LOZA: Basically, it comes down to win and you're in.
AUSTIN EKELER: This is it. This is do or die. Season's on the line. You're going to be the only game on at the time. Everyone's watching. Man, I'm looking forward to that game for sure.
LIZ LOZA: What is up, everyone? Welcome to the final episode of "Ekeler's Edge" for this season. I'm Liz Loza, and this is, of course, Chargers running back fantasy football superstar, and as I've learned over the course of the last 19 or so weeks, just an all-around amazing guy, Austin Ekeler.
AUSTIN EKELER: Wow. Wow. I appreciate that, Liz. Man, it's been great getting to know you as well. It has been a pleasure. I would like to call you my friend in the fantasy world, and just in the media world. I think you've opened, and actually taught me some things on how to just be a better broadcaster and host, so I appreciate your time. And yeah, last show, let's get into it.
LIZ LOZA: Well, we've got a great show for you to close out this season. We'll preview the Chargers' Sunday night showdown with the Raiders. A postseason berth will be on the line, so that's pretty exciting. Austin and I will share our fantasy New Year's resolutions Austin led numerous fantasy teams to a title this season, and we'll hear from some grateful managers. And we'll look back at all of the incredible guests who have joined the show.
Austin, your Chargers' 34-13 victory over the Broncos on Sunday put you guys back in the AFC playoff picture. It's not a simple picture, as they rarely are. But basically, it comes down to win and you're in. How's that sound?
AUSTIN EKELER: Aw, yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Hey, it's not the most ideal way to try to get into the playoffs. But to me, it's actually the most exciting. Like, this is it. This is do or die. Season's on the line. You're going to be the only game on at the time. Everyone's watching. Man, I'm looking forward to that game, for sure.
LIZ LOZA: We'll talk about the match-up with the Raiders shortly. But to get to this point, you had to play out against the Broncos in your return from COVID, and you did. You cleared my fearless forecast by 20 yards, recording 112 scrimmage yards and a three-yard score on the game's opening drive.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, you know, I felt like your forecast was like right around my average, right around there. And you know, sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm below it. As I said, I was like, you know what? I need to get above the 100 mark. And we were able to get it done. Had a couple on passes that really helped out, too. So yeah, it was good to you finish strong for the Week 17 championships out there in fantasy.
LIZ LOZA: Well, now let's look ahead to your showdown with the Raiders. It's the final game of the regular season. Way back in Week 4, you had 145 total yards and two scores in a 28-14 victory over Vegas. Do you think you and your team can repeat that performance?
AUSTIN EKELER: I mean, I'd like to say yeah. We all know that's not how the NFL works. You know, you got to show up. It's a new game, new opportunity for both teams to prove that they have what it takes to win. But that's honestly what I like about it, right? It's not just like, oh, you know we beat them before, we can beat them again. It's actually really hard to beat a team twice. So yeah, it's going to be a battle, no doubt. Like, both of us are hanging on to our season right here.
What I'm looking forward to most is when we run out of the tunnel, and it's all black, and everyone is just booing as loud as they can, and we're like, yeah, let's go! That just gets me so juiced. Oh, cannot wait.
LIZ LOZA: Awesome motivation.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, I love it.
LIZ LOZA: It's a new year. And as is the tradition, Austin and I made a few fantasy resolutions that we thought we'd share with you. Austin, why don't you kick us off?
AUSTIN EKELER: As far as some technical things, because I run some deep leagues, like, all my leagues are 20 people deep, actually looking into some legit backups. With 20 people deep, injuries are huge, right? And so even getting backups to people that are my starters, I think, would be a good strategy. And also, I want to get myself. That's number one. Try to get Austin Ekeler on my team. Those are some of the things that I've learned.
LIZ LOZA: But everybody else's trying to get you, though. For myself, I did go to the Super Bowl, the fantasy Super Bowl, with two of my teams, both 14-team leagues. And one team won and one team lost. And if I looked at the team that won, they were full of my favorite players. Players that I write about, players that I hype. Anyone who knows my work knows that I am invested in these players. I think they're talented. I think they're in great situations. I think they're good humans. Dak Prescott, Austin Ekeler, Najee Harris, Ja'Marr Chase. You know how much I love Ja'Marr Chase.
AUSTIN EKELER: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
LIZ LOZA: Michael Pittman. And so it felt so great, to, your point to root for all of these players throughout the season. And then to win with them was the cherry on top. The team that lost had some players that I definitely just filled in. I'm going to be honest, I had Antonio Brown on that squad. He probably lost me the ship. Well, I shouldn't have had him on the team, right?
Like, I want to draft and roster players that I am excited to cheer for every week, and not feel sneaky about or conflicted about. So I think my resolution is to go get my guys, plant my flag, and believe in my ability as an analyst to guide this team, and recognize players and trends throughout the season, and win with players that I'm really excited about.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, I really love that. Honestly, like, man, that touches me. Because like, then you're invested, right? You're invested more than just like, this is my fantasy team. Like, these are my guys out there. These, I'm watching them every Sunday, really rooting for them as just a person. And then man, it just really makes that connection so much stronger. And that's what I love about fantasy football.
LIZ LOZA: Well, Austin, I appreciate your resolving to do something differently in 2022, but I don't think there's a whole lot you need to improve upon on the field. You are the RB2 on the season. And so with that being the case, we asked all those who won a fantasy championship with Austin Ekeler on their roster to send a thank you message. Here are a couple of our favorites.
This first one is from Alec DC and he tweeted, "yo Austin Ekeler, thanks for the outstanding season, and helping me secure my first ever first place and most points scored. You've been my keeper since your second year, so we'll see you back again next year for a hopeful repeat."
AUSTIN EKELER: Since my second year? That is some research right there. That's a lot of investment into my second year, when I was still running down on punts.
LIZ LOZA: Shea Castle tweeted, "shout out to the king for leading my team all year long and taking me to the promised land, and for the Justin Jackson advice last week."
AUSTIN EKELER: Let's go, man! I see you rocking the jersey, too. I appreciate that, man, yeah. That's why you come to the show. Get advice from Liz and I, hey, we're going to help you out, just like we're trying to help everyone else.
LIZ LOZA: All right, Austin, it's been an incredible first year of "Ekeler's Edge". And we've had a ton of really wonderful guests. I mean, we've had current NFL superstars, Pro Football Hall of Famers, as well as several celebrities from the entertainment world. Who may just be the biggest fantasy fanatics of them all?
We are very excited to say that we are now joined by Travis Kelce.
Welcome to "Ekeler's Edge". Thanks for joining us.
RAINN WILSON: Liz and Austin, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be with you guys.
TRAVIS KELCE: You know, I appreciate you guys having me on. I think we might be on a few fantasy football teams together. You never know.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, for sure. Probably thousands.
TRAVIS KELCE: In some households.
ROB GRONKOWSKI: Well, I'm all about fantasy football. I think it's great for the league. I think it's great for the fans. I mean, I think it's just a great way to bring people that love football and bring them together.
TOM EVERETT SCOTT: So, much to the chagrin of my wife, I'm in 12 leagues.
LIZ LOZA: 12.
AUSTIN EKELER: He was in 12 leagues?
TOM EVERETT SCOTT: It didn't start out this way.
AUSTIN EKELER: I don't think you're a fan anymore. I think there's a problem.
TOM EVERETT SCOTT: It's a hobby.
AUSTIN EKELER: Oh, right, right.
JUSTIN HERBERT: My dad drafted me last year in his fantasy football league, and I think he actually got second in this league. To hear him and how excited he was about the whole thing, it was awesome.
AUSTIN EKELER: That is awesome.
BRIAN BAUMGARTNER: Rainn talks more trash than anyone.
RAINN WILSON: Guilty. We have a good time now.
JEROME BETTIS: I used to play a lot of "NFL Street" with you, and I used to run everybody over and stiff-arm everybody.
AUSTIN EKELER: Hey, you know what? You make me feel so old. But I appreciate the fact that you chose to rock the 36.
LIZ LOZA: But I have to ask you if Aaron Rodgers has offered you an ownership stake in the Chicago Bears yet?
DAVANTE ADAMS: He hasn't. I've been open to that. I'll leave that to him.
LIZ LOZA: What's the name of your fantasy team?
DAWSON KNOX: D's Knutz.
LIZ LOZA: Oh, great, great.
DAWSON KNOX: D, apostrophe, S. You know, because my name starts with a D.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yes.
DAWSON KNOX: I did "K-N-U-T-Z", you know, like "DK", my initials. I'm one of the more PG-rated names in our league. So I'll keep it just--
AUSTIN EKELER: Wow.
DAWSON KNOX: Yeah, yeah.
ROB GRONKOWSKI: It would probably be not even appropriate enough to even say my fantasy team name. I'm glad there was really no social media yet when I was a freshman in college.
AUSTIN EKELER: Well, Joe, we've had a lot of great tight ends on this show.
JOEL MCHALE: Yeah, so you've had a lot of great tight ends, and I guarantee I am the worst.
RAINN WILSON: I went to the mat for you, man. I way overpaid. This is an auction league.
AUSTIN EKELER: Overpaid? Man!
JAMES RODAY: I'm in at least 12 leagues. And again--
AUSTIN EKELER: 12 leagues?
JAMES RODAY: It shows, it shows. I got a lot of stinkers out there, Austin, I'm not going to lie to you.
AUSTIN EKELER: 12 leagues, that's a lot to manage. You know, I have three.
JAMES RODAY: Plus, I have a new job. I mean, what are you doing all week? Let's be honest.
AUSTIN EKELER: I'm trying to score you fantasy points.
LIZ LOZA: Tom, do you have Austin on any of your teams, any of these 12?
TOM EVERETT SCOTT: None.
AUSTIN EKELER: None. Wow.
TOM EVERETT SCOTT: That's why I'm losing, Austin.
RAINN WILSON: I traded you.
AUSTIN EKELER: You traded me? Oh my goodness.
AUSTIN EKELER: For sure. How many people do you have in your league?
MELVIN GORDON: Uh, I think we got 10? Because I'm ranked nine, so--
AUSTIN EKELER: Oh, no. Oh, no.
LIZ LOZA: We got to end the show on Austin, Melvin. My goodness.
MELVIN GORDON: Oh, no. I'll make it right, I'll make it right, I'll make it right.
AUSTIN EKELER: I don't know if you figured out a way to get USAA insurance yet.
ROB GRONKOWSKI: No. You want to know what's funny? Every game I go out the tunnel, a home game or away game, people are yelling at me, "you're special, Gronk, you're special! We all know you are!"
LIZ LOZA: Wow, what a season! That Dawson Knox, man, he gets me every time, I tell you.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, we had a lot of great guests. For me, you know, I think the highlight of the season was really just the journey that we went on. Really set out to give some type of value back to the community, when it comes to fantasy football and comes to engagement. And I really want to thank you, because I think you've made that really easy for me, and really helping me by being my co-host to kind of hold my hand through this whole process. And looking forward to more to come.
LIZ LOZA: Thank you, Austin. You have reinvigorated a lot of my passion and joy in not just this sport, but also in the day-to-day of it. So thank you for the connection for the community. It's making it all worthwhile. And that's going to do it not only for this week, but for the inaugural season of "Ekeler's Edge".