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James Conner Fantasy Outlook Makes Him a Valuable RB Handcuff in 2021

Larry Rupp
James Conner's fantasy outlook makes him a valuable RB handcuff in 2021.
James Conner's fantasy outlook makes him a valuable RB handcuff in 2021. / Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals made sure to solidify their offensive backfield by signing running back James Conner to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million in free agency. The fifth-year pro has a history of outperforming expectations and is a valuable handcuff to starter Chase Edmonds in fantasy football.

James Conner Fantasy Outlook

Conner spent his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and rushed for over 2,300 yards and scored a total of 26 touchdowns during that span. He averages a reliable 4.3 yards per attempt during his career. The only thing holding Conner back over the years has been his health.

The 26-year-old has missed at least three games due to injury in each of the last three seasons. However, Conner has proven in the past that he can excel as a complementary back when healthy. He has a career catch percentage of 81.0% and is always willing to take on 15+ carries when needed.

While Edmonds is expected to be named the starting RB, nothing is set in stone quite yet. Conner could work his way into splitting snaps if he balls out during training camp. The 2018 Pro Bowler could also take on the short yardage work along the goal line given his size (6-foot-1, 233 pounds) compared to that of Edmonds (5-foot-9, 210 pounds).

It wouldn't come as much of a shock to see head coach Kliff Kingsbury ride the hot hand in this backfield like he did during the 2020 season. That reason alone makes Conner one of the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy football and one that should be drafted immediately after the starters.

Conner's average draft position is No. 102 overall and No. 38 amongst RBs in PPR leagues, according to FantasyPros. He checks in as the RB47 in The Duel's 2021 fantasy football rankings.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. 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.