James Conner Fantasy Outlook & Injury Update 2022 (Was Last Season a Fluke?)
After back-to-back disappointing seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, James Conner had a 2021 campaign to remember with the Arizona Cardinals. He finished as the RB5 in PPR fantasy formats, averaging 17.2 points per game.
Having said that, health has always been a concern for Conner, who's missed an average of 3.2 games in each of his first five NFL seasons. Now, fantasy managers are wondering if he can stay healthy enough for an encore performance or if last year's work was a fluke.
James Conner Fantasy Football Outlook
A big part of Conner's bounce-back season came from his involvement in the Cardinals' top-10 offense that averaged 25.6 points (T-No. 10) and 363.1 total yards (No. 9) per game. The final result was him turning 202 carries into 752 rushing yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns on the ground.
Fast forward to 2022 and Conner is slated to be Arizona's No. 1 RB once again. Backup Chase Edmonds has been replaced by Darrel Williams, while third-stringer Eno Benjamin could see some work on passing downs as well.
Having said that, Conner's production might suffer at the beginning of the year due to star wideout DeAndre Hopkins' six-game suspension. With Hopkins out of the lineup, opposing teams won't have to focus on the Cardinals' passing game as much, which could hurt what Conner brings to the table, especially as a red-zone threat.
James Conner Injury Update
Even though Conner has dealt with a variety of injuries over his career, all signs point to him being as healthy as he can be at the moment. There haven't been any training camp reports of any injuries thus far, but anything can change between now and the beginning of the regular season.
Nevertheless, Conner has never played a full NFL season. The most games that he played occurred actually last year with 15. In other words, even if you draft Conner and aren't expecting the worst, it'd be wise to expect him to miss a couple of games. That's why it's a smart idea to handcuff him with Williams if possible.
James Conner Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook are all over the place for Conner. On one hand, he has +7500 odds (T-No. 32) to lead the league in rushing, which makes sense considering that he's yet to even hit the 1,000-yard mark in his career.
However, the one thing about Conner is that he's a TD threat. After reaching 12-plus rushing touchdowns in two of the last four seasons, the veteran rusher owns +2500 odds (T-No. 11) to lead the NFL in ground scores in 2022. His 12 rushing TDs last year ranked second best.
FanDuel has also set Conner's projected rushing yards total at 825.5 with -112 odds on both the over and under. Unfortunately, he's finished with the under in each of the last three seasons. Judging by his 3.7 yards per carry in 2021, Conner would need to see around a career-high 223 carries this year to hit the over.
Is James Conner a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
While Conner is a solid fantasy running back, it's important to remember that he is touchdown dependent. His 15-touchdown total was impressive, but he only had 10 combined over 23 games in the two previous seasons. It's entirely possible that he regresses this year.
For now, Fantasy Pros is ranking Conner as the RB15 in PPR formats, which is quite a drop from where he finished last year. He also has an average draft position of 29.4, making him someone likely to go in the third round if you managed to grab a top-5 RB in the first round, rolling with Conner in Round 3 or later isn't a bad choice.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. 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.