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Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and Yahoo Sports’ Fantasy Expert Liz Loza check in on how Austin is feeling after hitting the COVID list. They also recap the Chargers' loss to the Chiefs and Donald Parham's injury. Liz and Austin rate the top waiver wire additions for Week 16 in a holiday themed game of Naughty or Nice. And Buffalo Bills TE Dawson Knox joins the show to talk about his fantasy team name, the Bills up and down season, and his gnarly hand after surgery. Dawson Knox launched an initiative called Knox Sox this season in partnership with For Bare Feet to raise money for P.U.N.T Pediatric Cancer Collaboration.
AUSTIN EKELER: I got to give you some insight since you're coming on the show. Um, we actually just talked about it because I'm on the COVID list this week.
DAWSON KNOW: Damn, I didn't know you were on the-- I didn't know you were on--
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah.
DAWSON KNOW: Wow, all right.
LIZ LOZA: Happy holidays everyone. Welcome to "Ekeler's Edge", I'm Liz Loza and this is, of course, Chargers' running back, fantasy football superstar, and Santa's favorite stand-in, Austin Ekeler.
AUSTIN EKELER: [LAUGHS] What's going on? Thanks for everyone coming back for another episode. Looking forward to it.
LIZ LOZA: All right, we got a great show for you. We'll talk about how Austin is feeling after entering COVID protocols, play a game of naughty or nice, and we'll check in with Bills' tight end, Dawson Knox.
OK, Austin, let's start with last Thursday's epic game versus the Chiefs. Unfortunately, your squad couldn't pull out the win, but you had a productive day with 82 total yards and a touchdown.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, uh, it was a battle for, you know, number one in the division. Just came down to who-- who had the ball last, uh, which in those tight games, you know, a lot of times it comes down to that, especially in overtime. I think we have to fix the overtime rules to give each team a chance, but that's a whole different conversation.
It was definitely one of the most memorable games that I'll have just because I felt like we really had a home crowd at SoFi and we put on a good show even though we didn't come out with the win. But, yeah, you know, looking forward to this week, you got a few more games, you got to make ourselves, uh, run.
Uh, we've got to win out, basically, to stay in the playoffs. So we're looking to do that.
LIZ LOZA: You showed your resilience in last Thursday's game after the Donald Parham injury. Do you want to talk at all about how you guys bounced back and maybe how Parm is doing?
AUSTIN EKELER: Parm's been doing well, um, as far as, you know, what happened. He hit his head on the ground, went unconscious. I was right there too, the entire time, like, I was trying to help him up and I thought he was just, like, mad that he dropped the ball and his arms were just stiff.
Greg grabbed his arm and he wasn't moving, I saw his eyes were just closed, it was actually super scary. He ended up taking him to the hospital, getting him in stable condition, but, yeah, he's back, he's responsive, he's good to go. And now he's in concussion protocol, he'll be in that until he feels, you know, good to go.
And, uh, yeah, just us bouncing back as a team, I just feel like we just have so many playmakers and we dropped a few balls in the end zone. I think we dropped like three touchdowns, if you do that, you're probably not going to win games and especially with Coach Staley because we're going for it. To be with the team we want to beat, we got to make these plays on a consistent basis. So that's-- that'll be the emphasis again this week, as it is every week, just continuing to build on what we did the previous week.
LIZ LOZA: Let's talk about this week, the question entering week 15 was about your ankle, but now the most important question is how you're feeling after being placed on the COVID list?
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, not-- not good. Don't recommend, zero out of 10 fun. Just dealing with this day to day, you know, we have new protocols in place, I had to get tested every day and have two negative tests, no symptoms. And so right now I can tell you, it's not looking good. Just because of the history of COVID and how long it usually takes to dissipate or at least for your body to beat it.
So, I'm just going to be chilling. Let's the body heal, I guess my ankle will be 100% when I come back, that's I guess, one positive out of it. But, yeah, I never like to miss games.
As a team you got to stay strong, hey, everyone chill out with the family stuff, as much as you can. I mean, let's make it through the season because, uh, we're in a spot where we have everything still in front of us and it-- we can't really let COVID take that over, but, you know, life happens so we have to adjust if it does.
LIZ LOZA: Well, we obviously want you healthy and playing, but if you aren't able to suit up on Sunday who would you, for your own fantasy squad, pick up to replace you? Justin Jackson or Joshua Kelley?
AUSTIN EKELER: I think both are good pickups, um, if one's not available definitely get the other because I definitely think they're both going to be seeing some action, but if I were to choose one I think it would be Justin Jackson.
He's crazy good when he's healthy and, like, he showed last week when he's healthy, he can-- he can, you know, make stuff happen, which I think he's going to do the same thing this week, especially against, uh, the Texans. We do have some injuries to the O-line-- or, not injuries, COVID, as far as our right game, that'll definitely play any in the passing game as well.
So, you know, Scott Quessenberry will have to step up there. But, yeah, I definitely take Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley, he's going to get some runs, he'll get burn too. So if you're in a situation where you need a running back either those would be good options this week.
LIZ LOZA: All right, Austin. We are in the fantasy playoffs right now and managers could still be making moves, so why don't you and I spread a little holiday cheer and play a game of naughty or nice with three of the waiver wire's buzziest names.
First up, we have Dolphins' running back, Duke Johnson, to the shock and awe of fantasy managers web-wide. He recorded a career high 22 carries for 108 rushing yards and two scores against the Jets. The Fins are taking on the Saints in New Orleans, so are we putting Duke on the naughty or nice list in week 16?
AUSTIN EKELER: I'd love to see him come off the practice squad and show, hey, I can still play, right? And took advantage of his opportunity, that's great. I think his opportunities are gonna a little bit tougher this week for a few reasons. He's playing a better defense and also Myles Gaskin, he was coming off of COVID. So I think this week, uh, I'm going to say naughty just because I think there's going to be a bigger split as far as the actual carries and production.
LIZ LOZA: Yeah, I'm 100% in agreement with you. I'm putting Duke Johnson, while it was a great story for week 15, on the naughty list for week 16 the match-up is tough. You mentioned Myles Gaskin, [? Silvana ?] [? med- ?] [? back, ?] Malcolm Brown could be activated off IR as well. So between the volume and the match-up, naughty.
Next step is Detroit rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, he had a team high 11 targets in the line, shocking upset over the Cardinals. He finished with eight catches for 90 yards, and a touchdown he travels to Atlanta in week 16. You going naughty or nice?
AUSTIN EKELER: He's been their guy for the past few weeks. The only thing, he only has two touchdowns on the year I'm just like, ah. So it's really hard for me to be like, ah, really excited about his production, uh, even though I think there are going to give him the ball.
I know he's playing the Falcons, which they've given up a lot of points to receivers, obviously their record has shown that they haven't been playing consistently, so I'm just like, ah. It's hard for me to go nice so I'm going to go naughty, even though I think they're going to try to get this man the ball.
LIZ LOZA: All right, I'm-- I'm going to lean nice, I'm going to be a little bit optimistic because St. Brown has drawn double digit targets for three straight weeks, they lose D'Andre Swift, TJ Hockenson also banged up. And so now they're using St. Brown in different ways. And that's working out nicely.
We know that Jared Goff likes that underneath stuff in St. Brown and he has showed a nice connection. So I'm not really worried about the Falcons pass rush, that should give him enough time to connect to St. Brown. Volume, match up, I'll say nice.
Finally, we have Jaguars' tight end, James O'Shaughnessy, who's been filling in for Dan Arnold since week 12. This past Sunday he posted top 12 fantasy numbers, converting all four of his looks for 60 yards, he faces a Jets team that's allowed seven scores to the position. So what do you think, naughty or nice?
AUSTIN EKELER: I think you should just call me the Grinch, um, because--
LIZ LOZA: Oh, wow.
AUSTIN EKELER: I know, I'm just not convinced. He's had a few catches, but still hasn't found the end zone so I'm going, again like I said call me the Grinch, because I'm going naughty. I'm handing out coal to everybody.
LIZ LOZA: All right, well, I'm going to go nice, again, here. James O'Shaughnessy was in my sleepers article heading into week 15 and he's been consistent, this is some of your analysis. I'm trying to find players that are consistent, so I think that O'Shaughnessy is going to continue to work as a safety blanket for the rookie quarterback over the middle and he should get enough volume to keep his fantasy floor high enough to, you know, find that top 15 range.
We are very excited to welcome Bills' tight end, Dawson Knox, to the show. Thanks for coming on, Dawson.
DAWSON KNOW: Yeah, absolutely, thank you guys for having me.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, man, do you have any history with-- with people in fantasy football? Do you play? Have you ever been associated with anything of it?
DAWSON KNOW: Yeah, so I'm actually in two leagues this year. Um--
LIZ LOZA: Yes, Dawson.
AUSTIN EKELER: Nice, let's go.
DAWSON KNOW: I got you on my team that I'm--
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah.
DAWSON KNOW: Playing against all my boys with on the Bills. Got a first round buy thanks to you. You know, we're-- we've been rolling.
AUSTIN EKELER: I've got to give you some insight since you're coming on the show. Um, we actually just talked about it because I'm on the COVID list this week, so, you better go pick up Justin Jackson, who's my backup. And if he's not available, pick up Joshua Kelley or if there's a better option, obviously, in the running back spot, but definitely Justin Jackson.
DAWSON KNOW: OK, that's good to know. Damn, I didn't know you were on the-- I didn't know you were on--
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah.
DAWSON KNOW: Wow, all right. Good to know.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, so.
DAWSON KNOW: So-- So, I'll-- I'll be making some moves.
LIZ LOZA: What's your team name? What's the name of your fantasy team?
DAWSON KNOW: D's Knutz.
LIZ LOZA: Oh, great. Great.
DAWSON KNOW: D's, you know, because [INAUDIBLE]
AUSTIN EKELER: Yes. I did K-N-U-T-Z, you know, like DK, my initials. I'm actually-- I'm-- I'm one of the more, uh, PG-rated names in our league. So I'll just-- I'll keep it just to my mine.
AUSTIN EKELER: Wow.
DAWSON KNOW: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
LIZ LOZA: Well, you mentioned that you have Austin on your fantasy team, I have you on a lot of my fantasy teams, so something that you may not know is that you're the tight end five overall in fantasy. It's been working out very nicely for me, how does that make you feel--
DAWSON KNOW: Oh, let's go.
LIZ LOZA: Such an incredible year?
DAWSON KNOW: I'm glad I can be helping you out a little bit. But no, it's been-- it's been a super fun year here. Um, it's been very up and down for us. It's kind of crazy, you know, I mean that's just how the NFL is. You can be riding high one week, next week, you know, lose a game that you feel like you were supposed to win.
But it makes you realize everyone's good, you know, everyone has superstars on their team everyone gets paid, um, it's been a fun year so far.
AUSTIN EKELER: Awesome, I definitely know about having a great quarterback, man. It just-- it makes playing offense so much more fun when it's like, man, we can-- we're rolling.
DAWSON KNOW: Yeah, I think I actually got Justin on my, uh, on my other team. So he's been-- he's been killing it.
AUSTIN EKELER: Oh, yeah.
LIZ LOZA: Dawson, you have eight touchdowns on the season, which is really impressive considering you missed two weeks with a hand injury. You want to show everyone you're gnarly hand, by the way?
DAWSON KNOW: [LAUGHS] Yeah, check it out.
LIZ LOZA: Look at that.
DAWSON KNOW: Ignore the pinky, the pinkie isn't really part of it. That's kind of jacked up too, but got, uh, 17 screws in here. Yeah, so it's, um--
AUSTIN EKELER: What?
DAWSON KNOW: Not too pretty.
LIZ LOZA: Dawson, can you talk to us about Knox Sox?
DAWSON KNOW: It's been a pretty awesome little initiative we started this year. Um, I've got a bunch of help with a company called For Bare Feet, but it's awesome because this company is making these, um, these cool, like, Bills-themed socks. Some of them has like a cartoon bee on there, some of them has like [? Air ?] [? France, ?] the mascot.
But basically $5 from every pair of socks that's purchased goes to the PUNT Foundation, which is a charity I work with. They work with pediatric cancer patients and they basically work with families that can't either afford to pay for treatment or there are some families who can't even afford to park at the hospital. So it's pretty incredible to raise some money for them. So the company is called For Bare Feet, just F-O-R bare feet, but I think the easiest way is just to go to my either Instagram or Twitter. Just Dawson Knox on both of them.
AUSTIN EKELER: That's great, that's great. Uh, I have a sock too, I was just curious. Your cartoon figure on your sock, how is it? How is it? Does it look like you or they do you dirty?
DAWSON KNOW: Um, you know, I wasn't mad about it, like, I think-- I think it looks all right.
LIZ LOZA: Thank you so much for joining us, Dawson. Happy holidays to you and your family and good luck against New England this weekend.
DAWSON KNOW: Absolutely, yeah, thank you guys for having me. It was fun.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yeah, absolutely. Please beat them.
DAWSON KNOW: Yeah, that the, uh, that's the goal.
AUSTIN EKELER: Yes, beat them. Let's go.
LIZ LOZA: That is going to do it for our holiday edition of "Ekeler's Edge."
AUSTIN EKELER: Yes, thank you, everyone for tuning in and till next week, enjoy the holidays and we'll see you then.