Austin Ekeler will prove to Commanders, Fantasy players that he's not 'washed'

Austin Ekeler has signed with the Washington Commanders and will still be a weapon in fantasy football.

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Following what many considered a terrible 2023 season, Austin Ekeler is no longer a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. Instead, he has signed a two-year, $11 million deal to join the Washington Commanders.

Last season, many fantasy football players lamented the choice to draft Ekeler to their team, mainly because they had spent a first-round pick to grab him. However, no one could fault that pick at the time as he was coming off of a 2022 season where he caught 107 passes while rushing for over 900 yards and 13 touchdowns. He scored 18 touchdowns in total.

His numbers took a massive dip in 2023, but he was also saddled with injuries. Soon to be 29 years old, you can take a quick scroll through many social media apps and find football fans trashing Ekeler, calling him "washed" and stating that they won't be looking to have him anywhere near their fantasy teams in 2024.

That's fine, go ahead and be that guy and become part of a large group that has doubted this man in his career.

Ekeler was never even supposed to play in the NFL. He was doubted out of high school and few even saw him as a running back. Tiny Western Colorado was the only school that gave him the chance to play that position and though he played it quite well, no one saw him.

He wasn't invited to the scouting combine and got zero consideration in the 2017 NFL Draft. But the Chargers signed him as an undrafted free agent. He wasn't supposed to make the roster. He was like No. 6 on the depth chart in the preseason. But that is where his ascent began.

By the end of the preseason, Ekeler was a player the team just could not cut. He soon rose the ranks and became the best running back on the team. And there is one key factor from those days that not many people are talking about now that he is in Washington.

With the Chargers, then head coach Anthony Lynn was one of Ekeler's biggest believers. He was the one to give him a chance as a pro. And now, Lynn just happens to be the running backs coach and run game coordinator for the Commanders.

That was a huge factor in Ekeler deciding to take this deal. The Commanders also have an opportunity in the backfield with Antonio Gibson leaving as a free agent. Lynn knows how to use Ekeler best and he will give him the opportunity to do that. Brian Robinson is going to be considered the starter but if you have followed Ekeler's career, expect him to push into his snap count in a big way.

The Commanders were not really a team on the radar for most Ekeler fans this offseason but because of the coaching staff around him and the opportunity to make an impact, it may be the best place he could have gone.

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Austin Ekeler is not finished as a football player. He's not done being a big contributor for your fantasy team. Have confidence in what he still can and still will do and shake your head at those naysaysers.