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The Commanders’ offense will look different in 2024. They hired Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator. They’re almost certainly drafting a QB with the second overall pick. They let Antonio Gibson walk on Monday and immediately replaced him with Austin Ekeler. Ekeler will team up with Brian Robinson to form a classic thunder-and-lightning RB duo. Let’s dig into the fantasy implications.

 

AUSTIN EKELER

Old ranking: 90th overall on Underdog

New ranking: 118th overall on Underdog

  • Ekeler signed a two-year deal worth up to $11.4 million. That’s around the same investment the Giants made on Devin Singletary. In other words, there wasn’t a super robust market for Ekeler like there was for other RBs who have been elite within the past few seasons (e.g., Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs). That’s not surprising given Ekeler turns 29 years old in May and is coming off the least effective season of his career, but it serves as a reminder that this is not the Ekeler we’re used to seeing.
  • Still, he’ll immediately slot into the primary pass-catching role for the Commanders and should split carries with Brian Robinson on early downs. Robinson is the significantly larger back and figures to get the bulk of the goal-line carries, but Ekeler’s receiving ability can make him a viable fantasy asset despite not getting red-zone carries.
  • Ekeler has been affordable in drafts this offseason and boasts the archetype we’re looking for in a mid-round running back (a successful pass catcher on an offense with upside). At age 29, after the season he just had, drafting him takes some faith that he has something left in the tank. Still, it’s at least worth noting that he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1, an injury notorious for limiting players long after the initial event. Hopefully Ekeler is fully healthy entering 2024.

 

BRIAN ROBINSON

Old ranking: 81st overall on Underdog

New ranking: 103rd overall on Underdog

  • Ekeler is stronger competition than Gibson simply because he’s succeeded over a long period with a high-level workload. Robinson will get respectable rushing volume and the lion’s share of goal-line work, but he needs the pass-catching work or an outlier TD season to hit a truly elite outcome. That’s possible, especially if Ekeler misses time, but it takes some projection since we haven’t seen it from him at the NFL level yet.
  • There’s also some chance Ekeler is just completely cooked — and the NFL might think so given he got fewer years and dollars than Devin Singletary — which opens the door for Robinson to ascend into a bigger role throughout the season.

 

CHARGERS RBS

  • The Chargers signed Gus Edwards on Monday and still have Isaiah Spiller on the roster. The addition of Edwards and Will Dissly further indicates they want to be a power running team, and you’d expect more RB additions (whether through free agency or the draft) to be coming soon. Edwards has an intriguing path to relevancy as a powerful back who specializes near the goal line, but which other back(s) they add in the coming months will be key for his value.