James Conner is back at practice after missing the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 9 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, but he's only been a limited participant this week, leaving his status up in the air for a Week 10 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.
This not only clouds his own fantasy outlook, but it muddies the waters for Jaylen Samuels as well.
It's no surprise that Conner was limited, as that's what head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday. Tomlin was unclear about expectations for Conner on Sunday, though, simply saying that he is "optimistic" that Conner will play.
The Steelers went with a pass-heavy approach sans Conner in Week 9, though part of that was simply using the passing game as an extension of their rushing attack. Samuels led the team with 13 of the 34 targets, catching all 13 for 73 yards. He added only 10 yards on eight carries on the ground, while Trey Edmunds led the team with 12 carries and 73 rushing yards.
Edmunds missing Wednesday's practice throws yet another wrench into the mix as well, and could force Samuels to serve as a true every-down workhorse if Conner doesn't return.
If Conner does return, this backfield could see a somewhat even split. The last full game Conner and Samuels played together was in Week 4, when they each saw 10 carries and eight targets.
This week's matchup is a lot tougher than that Week 4 game against the Cincinnati Bengals when they both thrived, and Conner's return would leave them both offering reduced fantasy value.
Accounting for Conner sitting out, Samuels sits at RB16 in our Week 10 PPR fantasy football rankings. If Conner does return, that's about where he will rank, while Samuels will become more of a fringe RB3/FLEX option.
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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.