​Cover Photo: Will Newton/Getty Images

After fantasy owners got some good news about Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner just yesterday, when he got in a limited practice. Today is a very different story with the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport now reporting that Conner isn't expected to play in Week 15 against the New England Patriots.

​​This is how Conner was trending after barely practicing this week. But the limited reps he got in on Friday put him on track to return in Week 16 at the Saints.

The Steelers will give Jaylen Samuels another start against the Pats, with Stevan Ridley playing a short-yardage/red-zone role. Both Ridley and Samuels should be rostered in all leagues at this point, but Samuels is the higher-upside option as he's expected to see the bulk of the carries, if Conner does ultimately sitSamuels didn't exactly light it up last week, rushing for just 28 yards on 11 carries, but he salvaged his day by adding seven receptions for 64 yards.

Samuels gets a juicy matchup against a Patriots' defense that just surrendered 176 yards and two touchdowns to a Dolphins trio of Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake and Brandon Bolden. The inability to stop the run has been a disturbing trend for the Patriots, who allow opponents to gain 4.9 yards per carry (27th in the NFL). Look for the Steelers to attempt to control the clock and keep Tom Brady off the field by exploiting the Patriots' leaky run defense.

All in all, with Conner likely out this week, fantasy owners would be wise to start Samuels as an RB2, and Ridley as a FLEX option, in their fantasy semifinals. 

Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.

Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.