James Conner Injury Update Boosts Fantasy Outlook, Downgrades Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell for Week 13

Jason Schandl
Miami Dolphins v Pittsburgh Steelers
Miami Dolphins v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/Getty Images

James Conner's return from a two-week absence due to a shoulder injury was a short-lived one. He made it through 13 snaps in Week 11 before aggravating the injury, which then kept him on the shelf in Week 12.

He got in a limited practice on Thursday though, and he looks to be on track to return again for a Week 13 matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers' backfield has had real troubles staying healthy this year. Jaylen Samuels got banged up early in the year, then returned just in time for Conner to go down. Benny Snell also missed some time, but he returned with a big workload in Week 12.

We only have a five-game sample with both Conner and Samuels healthy to analyze, but the two really cut into each others' volume. In that sample Conner averaged 11.6 carries and 4.0 targets per game, while Samuels averaged 3.6 carries and 3.0 targets.

There's a new wrinkle in things, though, with Snell's increased role. He had a total of six carries (with no targets) in those first five games, but he's since burst onto the scene. Last week he served as the Steelers' lead back, rushing 21 times and playing 35 snaps to Samuels' 21.

So while returning to action does give Conner a better outlook than we've seen recently, this could be a true committee backfield, which hurts his upside significantly. On the other side of the coin, his return destroys both Samuels' and Snell's value.

Accounting for Conner suiting up, our Week 13 PPR fantasy football rankings have him at RB20, while Samuels and Snell are unranked.

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