Running back Austin Ekeler is the engine for the Los Angeles Chargers offense. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp is the go-to guy for the Los Angeles Rams attack. Cooper Kupp or Austin Ekeler PPR, you might ask? We have your answer.
Fantasy football players in PPR leagues are faced with quite the dilemma.
Better fantasy play: Kupp or Ekeler?
Through 10 weeks, Kupp has 864 scrimmage yards while Ekeler has 871. Kupp is a wide receiver who runs the ball a little. Ekeler is a running back who catches the ball a lot.
For your fantasy team and mine (“Coop de Grace” 3x league champs) who’s the better PPR fantasy football player, Ekeler or Kupp?
Let’s make the case for both.
All Hail King Kupp
When we say that Kupp is the go-to guy for the Rams offense, like, literally, in 2022, he’s been the one constant on the disappointing Rams. The Rams running game is among the worst in the NFL and even the return of Cam Akers isn’t going to help.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t clicked with new wide receiver Allen Robinson II.
The Rams scheme Kupp open every game and get him the ball on short flat passes and curls and occasionally deep. He is their go-to guy.
Kupp has 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns so far. The Rams have also used him on the fly (or jet) sweep this season. He’s run the ball six times for 51 yards and a score.
And remember, last year, all Kupp did was lead the NFL with 145 catches and 1,947 yards. He’s not quite on pace for that this year, but the Rams aren’t really on the same pace they were last year either.
Austin 3:16 Says I’m The Man
The 27-year-old Ekeler has confounded fantasy football players for years. When he’s healthy, he’s productive. He had a league-high 20 touchdowns last year (my FFL is slanted toward touchdowns), but the Chargers also like to rotate him in a lot, meaning he doesn’t get all the carries and catches you’d think a No. 1 back would get.
This season Ekeler has run the ball 104 times for 451 yards and six touchdowns. The Chargers running game isn’t scintillating, but it’s OK. Ekeler has split some carries with Sony Michel lately. Chargers No. 2 running back Joshua Kelley got hurt, but I swear there are times during Charger games where Ekeler like vanishes for a quarter.
In the passing game, Ekeler has been excellent. He has 67 catches for 420 yards and three touchdowns. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert loves to drop back 8-10 yards and when he sees no one open deep, he fires to Ekeler out of the backfield.
Ekeler has a unique gift of being able to make defenders miss in the open field. He’s that guy who turns the two-yard pass into a 10-yard gain. It drives defenses nuts.
Who’s The Better PPR Player?
I’m going to give you an answer, but first I’m going to say it all depends on just how your PPR league PPRs (is that a word?). If you get 1 point per reception then Kupp is your man because of volume, volume, volume. If it’s just a half-point, then I lean toward Ekeler, because what he does in the running game trumps what Kupp does.
At this stage of the season, Ekeler is the better choice to me. The Rams look old and sluggish, going through a definite Super Bowl hangover kind of year. At this point in the season, everyone knows that the best way to beat the Rams is stop Kupp or at least limit him. The injury is a concern too, even if it’s mild, Kupp isn’t super big, so the way he gets open is through his quickness. He needs those ankles.
Ekeler has no such injury concerns right now and even though the Chargers haven’t been consistent this season, they’re still in the mix for an AFC playoff spot and have an outside shot at the AFC West title
The other reason to go with Ekeler is his sheer number of touches is better. Through seven games, Ekeler has roughly twice the amount of touches as Kupp. You know how running backs can get hot and a team will just start to feed them the ball on the ground and in the air? That’s a dynamic that Ekeler offers that Kupp doesn’t. Ekeler is a better PPR player than Cooper Kupp for the rest of the 2022 NFL season.