"Ekeler's Edge": Athletes as content creators
When consensus first-round fantasy draft pick Austin Ekeler isn't slicing through defenses this fall, he'll be moonlighting in a gig that feels rather appropriate, if not a little meta: fantasy football analyst.
Driving the news: The Chargers running back's weekly fantasy football show, "Ekeler's Edge," is returning to Yahoo Sports for a second season starting Sept. 7.
- The video and podcast series will run on 18 consecutive Wednesdays as Ekeler and co-host Matt Harmon, a Yahoo fantasy analyst, interview players and provide fantasy insight.
- Guests last year included Rob Gronkowski, Justin Herbert, Travis Kelce and more.
What they're saying: Ekeler is among the select few NFL players who actually cares about fantasy — at least 95% of players don't pay any attention to it, he tells Axios — but for him it's more about community than the game itself.
"It's not that I love fantasy, that I can't wait to do my mock draft, but I love the community. I love that so many people care about it. That's what draws me to it. I just want to hang out, be competitive, talk some ball, talk some life."— Ekeler
The big picture: Ekeler's in a generation of athletes — including Draymond Green and C.J. McCollum, to name a few who have their own podcasts — that grew up with social media, where creating content feels normal.
- In fact, the predecessor to "Ekeler's Edge" was just him going on Twitch to tell fans how he felt about his upcoming matchup, and he thinks more athletes should do the same.
- "It's more beneficial for people to hear who you are from yourself," he says. "That's where the real value lies in content creation."
The last word: Anyone stressing about their upcoming fantasy drafts may want to take a page out of Ekeler's book.
"There's a lot of great players in the league, man. If I get them, great. If I don't, I'll still be excited to watch my team do their thing and compete against everyone else. For me, that's really what it's about."