- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and Yahoo Sports’ Fantasy Expert Liz Loza discuss the ankle injury Austin suffered against the Giants, and the potential he’ll be on the field Thursday night, in a showdown for first place in the AFC West against the Chiefs. The fantasy playoffs have arrived, and Liz and Austin play a game of Would You Rather to help managers with a few difficult decisions. And finally, Packers all-world wide receiver Davante Adams joins the show. D.A. dishes on his future, A-Rod’s future, his ability to get open against double teams, and his partnership with Snickers. Davante Adams joined Ekeler’s Edge thanks to Snickers, to submit a rookie mistake and learn more, fans can head to snickersrookiemistakes.com and follow along on social using #SNICKERSROOKIEMISTAKE.
LIZ LOZA: But I have to ask you if Aaron Rodgers has offered you an ownership stake in the Chicago Bears yet.
- He hasn't. And I've [INAUDIBLE] I'm gonna leave that to him. He's been conquering the Bears a lot longer than what I have, so I'll leave that that title to him.
LIZ LOZA: Oh, I know. I grew up in Chicago.
What is up, everyone? Welcome to "Ekeler's Edge." I'm Liz Loza, and this is, of course, Chargers running back, fantasy football superstar, and athletic tape boot fashionista, Austin Ekeler.
AUSTIN EKELER: All right, all right. Yeah, you know, sometimes you got to rock the athletic boots so you can get out there and continue to play. So don't like to do it often, but hey, whatever-- whatever it takes to get on there and score some points, stay on the field, you got to do it.
LIZ LOZA: And we're gonna do whatever it takes to give you a great episode like this one. We'll talk about the showdown for supremacy in the AFC West on Thursday night, play a little game of Would You Rather, and none other than Packers all-pro wide receiver Davante Adams joins the show.
All right, Austin, let's start with your Chargers 37 to 21 victory over the Giants. You collected 84 total yards and a 1-yard touchdown run. So your fantasy managers were happy.
But then about halfway through the third quarter, you suffered an ankle injury and did not return. Is it the same ankle that you mentioned on last week's show? And most importantly, how are you feeling?
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, same ankle. I just took a knee to my ankle. That's never good, especially if your ankle is already on the edge as far as being sprained. I went over and got my boot, as you said, put a couple of pounds of tape on there just in case I had to go back in. We were already up by then, so I kind of got the message like, hey, you're only an emergency.
LIZ LOZA: This week, you have a pretty quick turnaround facing the Chiefs on "Thursday Night Football." We're actually taping this on Monday prior to the game. Do you think you'll be ready to play by Thursday?
AUSTIN EKELER: If this was a whole week, I would say yeah, absolutely. This is something that I could definitely get managed in the week. But with a shorter week, as far as me playing, I feel like I will play. But as far as the limitation on me playing, that's to be determined, whether my pain's in check or if it's ready to go.
I'll probably put one of my fashion boots on it and go run around just to kind of get used to it. Because you don't think about it, but for us, it throws off our balance, you know? When you have-- all of a sudden, I have, you know, half a pound of tape on my left foot, and my right foot doesn't.
It actually affects me. It's just things to get used to. It's all a bunch of little, tiny things that add up to having a full production of play usually on Sunday, but this week, on Thursday.
LIZ LOZA: Well, I imagine you're feeling the pressure to play, because the winner of the Thursday night showdown between your Chargers and the Chiefs will be in first place in the AFC West and have the inside track at a division title.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, I mean, there's always pressure to play for multiple reasons. But yeah, when you are getting to the end of the season, playoffs are on the line, and hey, we got a good chance to go in as long as we keep winning, yeah, that's a little bit more motivation to push through some stuff.
LIZ LOZA: Way back in week three, you guys beat the Chiefs 30 to 24 at Arrowhead. But, you know, as we've all talked about, this is a different team. The Chiefs have won six straight.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, they're a different team, but so are we. I think, at the beginning of the season, we were a little bit more undisciplined than we are now. I think Justin's getting in a rhythm. I think our offensive line's getting a rhythm with protecting him, which is always going to be a plus for us.
Both of us have people that are banged up and not there anymore, whether it's COVID, whether it's injury. And, you know, when we get to this part of the season, who do we got? All hands on deck. It's gonna be an amazing game. I'm looking forward to it.
LIZ LOZA: The community definitely loves you, especially because on last week's show, you recommended that fantasy managers pick up Josh Palmer with Keenan Allen on the COVID list. Both Palmer and Jalen Guyton had big days and found the end zone. So I have to ask you, who do you think is going to show out this Thursday night against these red hot Chiefs?
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, I finally got one right. You're welcome. [LAUGHS] No, but I think Jalen is a little bit more of a vet than Josh Palmer. I think he's gonna continue to be our deep threat. But I think Josh Palmer is really gonna have another big opportunity stepping up as far as underneath routes and things that Keenan used to do for us and stepping into that role.
So yeah, I'm looking at Josh Palmer again. I mean, this part of the season, pretty much got a routine. So I think he's gonna get it done, and he's going to have to. Because, you know, everything's on the line, I feel like, right, for this game.
LIZ LOZA: All right, Austin, the fantasy playoffs are here, and the margin of error is slim, to say the least. Managers have to make some really tough decisions. So we are here to help them break ties with a game of Would You Rather.
AUSTIN EKELER: Oh, boy, all right. Let's try it out.
LIZ LOZA: Let's start with two receivers that have each cleared 100 yards for three straight games. This Saturday, the Raiders' Hunter Renfrow faces the Browns in Cleveland, while on Sunday, the Bengals' Tee Higgins will be in Denver to battle with the Broncos. Who would you rather have in your lineup?
AUSTIN EKELER: This one is tough. This one's tough. I like Tee Higgins in Denver. I think they're both gonna be able to score points. They're both a big part of each other's offense.
But I think Tee Higgins is gonna have a good day against Denver. Denver's coming off a win. I'm just hoping he has a big day, because I need them to lose, honestly, too. So [LAUGHS] that's a little bias in there.
LIZ LOZA: [LAUGHS] When I think about the match-ups, I think about the Browns' pass rush, and I think about Derek Carr's proclivity towards checking down the ball, and I think about the guaranteed volume that therefore Hunter Renfrow should have. So I think for that reason, I just think he has the higher floor. And I'm going to lean towards him.
All right, let's move to the backfield now. Sunday night, Leonard Fournette and the Bucs host Alvin Kamara and the Saints. This is a match-up of two top 12 running backs, both of whom cleared 130 total yards a week ago. Now, they face the other's top-ranked run defense. So Austin, would you rather have Fournette or Kamara?
AUSTIN EKELER: This was another tough one, because both of these players have been used in similar ways this season. Fournette has been involved in a lot more in the passing game than we expected, and he's really shown up this year. So shout out to Fournette for doing his thing.
And we all know Kamara was involved in every part of the offense, whether it's passing or running the ball. But I think the Bucs and Fournette got the upper hand. It's just his time of possession and gonna give them more opportunities to get him the ball. And he's gonna have more opportunities to rack up some fantasy points.
LIZ LOZA: In week eight when these two teams played, the New Orleans Saints defense held Leonard Fournette to under 50 scrimmage yards. I absolutely buy into the angry Tom Brady narrative. I think that'll extend to Leonard Fournette, who actually leads all running backs in targets. So you're right about his involvement in the passing game.
In this situation, I am going to take the running back that is attached to the GOAT, who is also averaging 42 pass attempts per game. I'll take Fournette. For our last one, let's stay in the backfield. In fact, just one backfield, the Packers dynamic duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
This has become a pretty straight time share, particularly after Jones sprained his knee back in week 10. Dillon has nearly doubled Jones in touches over the last four games. But Jones can be much more prolific as a receiver. So who are you taking in week 15?
AUSTIN EKELER: Watching AJ Dillon on "Sunday Night Football" just reminded me how big this man actually is. And he was just barreling through the Bears, and just running them over. I was like, yeah, that is a big human being. 250 pounds. It's crazy that we play the same position.
But then Aaron Jones came in, and as you said, down the red zone, you know, he was getting the touches down there. And look, if he's healthy, you know, I think he's gonna have more upside and actually get more of the carries, get more of his balance back. I'm gonna say Aaron Jones, so I'm gonna to lean more towards him. Although AJ Dillon is definitely going to be a part of the scheme.
LIZ LOZA: Matt LaFleur likes a timeshare. When Jamaal Williams was on the squad and both he and Aaron Jones were healthy, they split in a 60 to 40 snap share pretty much. So it makes sense that AJ Dillon is going to be involved.
And when Aaron Jones isn't available, we're gonna see him involved in the passing game. But I'm not going to overthink this one. I'm going to take the Packers number two receiver who happens to play running back, Aaron Jones.
I am very excited to welcome Packers superstar wide receiver Davante Adams to "Ekeler's Edge." Thanks for coming on our show, Davante.
DAVANTE ADAMS: Appreciate you having me.
LIZ LOZA: I wish Austin could be here, but he's actually at the Chargers team facility getting ready for TNF. I imagine you know how that goes.
DAVANTE ADAMS: Yeah, yeah, it's a little bit more important things to worry about at the moment. Not that this isn't important, but definitely got to lock in this week with a Thursday night game.
LIZ LOZA: I appreciate the understanding there. But because this is a fantasy football show, I have to start off by asking you if you play fantasy.
DAVANTE ADAMS: I don't. And I don't know if that's gonna disappoint any fans out there.
LIZ LOZA: Well, I don't think you could ever disappoint anyone who plays fantasy given your production. 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. And I haven't dove into that. I'm gonna leave that to him. He's been conquering the Bears a lot longer than what I have. So I'll leave that title to him.
LIZ LOZA: Oh. I know. I grew up in Chicago. But I still adore you. I still love what the Packers are doing. So nothing but love. All joking aside, you're in the last year of your contract with the Packers. Do you think you will be in Green Bay next year?
DAVANTE ADAMS: I don't know. I'm just-- I'm enjoying my time day by day right now. Not too sure how everything will work out. I've had the most success when I just focused on the moment, lock in, and just enjoying my time playing ball with my teammates, and just let the rest of that stuff figure itself out whenever it's time.
LIZ LOZA: Nothing wrong with living in the moment. Aaron Rodgers seems to be doing the same thing. But any hunches about whether he'll be back in Green Bay next year?
DAVANTE ADAMS: There's a lot of uncertainties. Obviously, it's a wild off season as far as a lot of news with he and I. But at this point, I'm not lying. I truly don't know. I wish I did.
You know, that would help me out a lot as far as shaping my mind frame right now. But I think he kind of has the same mindset as me right now is just enjoy what we're doing. We're the number one team in the NFC right now, so we kind of are in the driver's seat. So pretty much at this point, just enjoying our time with each other, and go out there and try to win the Super Bowl. And when it's time to figure that stuff out, we'll do that.
LIZ LOZA: There's no denying that you two are locked in. It's kind of surprising, because everybody has to know that the ball is coming your way. And yet, you continue to produce. How are you getting open game after game?
DAVANTE ADAMS: Great plan, great preparation. I mean, I'm aware of what teams are trying to do. They're finding ways to beat the doubles and just put them on their toes. At this point, it's just when I do get those one on one, I got to win every single one and be able to produce still.
LIZ LOZA: Can you tell me about what you're doing with Snickers Rookie Mistake of the Year?
DAVANTE ADAMS: Doing a cool new Snickers launch at the beginning of season, a new campaign. Basically, fans the opportunity to send in their life rookie mistake, I guess. And did a cool new thing then where I was a painter, and I kind of turned some of their rookie mistakes that were submitted into works of art.
Bought a boat, forgot to put the boat plug in. Check this out. They say the best art comes from pain.
So true. It's a cool deal, because it's giving the fans an opportunity at the end of the year that they can submit videos throughout the year by going to Snickersrookiemistakes.com. And they submit their video. And at the end, they have the opportunity to win two tickets to Super Bowl LVI.
LIZ LOZA: Are you an artist? Do you paint like you do and that Snickers commercial?
DAVANTE ADAMS: Yeah, I try. I was better when I was young. I went on a hiatus for a while, and I think I lost my power.
LIZ LOZA: I don't think you're low on any sort of powers. You might just be the most creative skill position player in the NFL.
DAVANTE ADAMS: I appreciate. Well, got to keep them guessing. So that's why I got my Picasso thing going on now just to keep them on the toes.
LIZ LOZA: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck this week at Baltimore and for the rest of the season
DAVANTE ADAMS: Appreciate you. Thank you for having me.
LIZ LOZA: Austin, I was so bummed you couldn't join me for that interview with Davante Adams. What a cool human being and an amazing football player.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, definitely a bummer. But you know how it goes. Got to keep the main thing the main thing.
Regardless, everyone going forward in the playoffs or getting into playoffs, good luck this week. I hope you enjoyed the show. And we'll see you next week.