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Christian McCaffrey vs. Austin Ekeler: Fantasy football showdown

We go over the fantasy football outlooks of Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler and pick who we’d draft first.

2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games - Skills Competitions Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

With the start of the NFL season just around the corner, we’re taking a look at who you should target in your fantasy draft at each position. Two of the best running backs in the league will surely be at the top of most fantasy managers’ lists in Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler.

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

McCaffrey had a solid 2022 season as he stayed healthy all year long for the first time since 2019. He ended up with 1,139 rushing yards, 741 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns on the campaign. It didn’t take much for McCaffrey to adapt to his new team when he was traded to the 49ers early on in the season last year. In just his second game in a 49ers uniform, he racked up 94 yards and a touchdown off of 18 rush attempts while going 8-for-9 receiving for 55 yards and another score.

Even though the 49ers have a busy offense this year, McCaffrey remains the best fantasy option in San Francisco, and possibly the best running back option anywhere in the league in terms of fantasy.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Ekeler has been a heavy fantasy producer over the last few seasons, scoring the most touchdowns out of anyone throughout the last two years with 38 total. Last season saw Ekeler total 915 rushing yards, 722 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns to rival his 20-touchdown season in 2021. He was also one of Justin Herbert’s favorite targets, seeing 127 last year and catching 107 which certainly gave him a huge fantasy boost.

Austin Ekeler looks to remain the focus of the Chargers’ offense as he continues to rack up touchdowns both on the ground and in the air.

Fantasy football verdict

Christian McCaffrey holds the edge for me here assuming he can stay healthy all season long again. If you don’t end up with CMC on your fantasy team, Ekeler is a solid second option, but aim for McCaffrey as your first running back choice.