Fantasy Football Running Backs to Target – Number 15: Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler finished as RB6 last year and there’s not really a great reason for a big drop projection. He lands quite a bit lower than his finish last year in the rankings here mainly just due to other newcomers or guys who may have finished with fewer points due to injury last season.
Naturally, a production increase should be expected if anything for Ekeler this season since he won’t be having to deal with competing with Gordon, but again, it’s not that a big regression is likely, just some other guys assuming full health seem more likely to jump him in fantasy production this season.
There’s definitely a lot to like about Ekeler after proving that he is capable of being a workhorse RB1 last season. The offense is also likely to be more run based this season with Tyrod Talor running the show, but could be less effective overall, so that change could be looked at as a pro or a con for Ekeler.
Either way, drafting Ekeler somewhere in the area of RB15 will be a lot safer than the RB6 range this season and if you can get a running back with top-six upside as the 15th overall running back that’s always a plus.
Fantasy Football Running Backs to Target – Number 14: Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette finished as RB9 this year and, unlike Ekeler, a slight regression is likely with him. He did make great leaps in the receiving game last season and played 15 games last year, which was the most in his career.
The addition of Chris Thompson will have a huge negative impact on his receiving stats and the injury risk isn’t going away even after stringing together a 15 game season last year.
Jacksonville is probably not going to be very good, which is going to result in playing from behind and throwing the ball frequently late in games. This will also be a big hit to Fournette’s workload, especially due to the aforementioned Thompson being the passing down running back.
The decision between Fournette and Ekeler at 14 and 15 was tough. Ekeler’s situation looks to be better than Fournette’s, but Fournette if healthy is the overall better talent, so Fournette gets the higher ranking, although it is very close. Fournette has a pretty solid floor if healthy.