James Conner Injury Update Provides Huge Boost for Jaylen Samuels Week 12 Fantasy Outlook vs Bengals

Jason Schandl
Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers /

The Pittsburgh Steelers' backfield has not been fully healthy in a long time, as James Conner and Jaylen Samuels haven't played a full game together since Week 5. It looked like they might have been healthy last week, but Conner played only 13 snaps before aggravating his shoulder injury.

He still hasn't practiced since then, suggesting he may be a long shot to suit up against the Cincinnati Bengals, giving Samuels' fantasy outlook a huge boost.

When both backs are active, it's Conner that has a clear edge as a fantasy play. Through Week 5 he had averaged 11.6 carries and 4.0 targets per game, compared to just 3.6 carries and 3.0 targets per game for Samuels.

When he took over as a lead back for Weeks 9 and 10, Samuels did continue to see somewhat limited rushing volume, though he more than made up for it in the passing game. He saw a combined 22 rush attempts with 20 targets across those starts.

This week's matchup positions him well to turn that workload into big production, as the Bengals rank 31st overall in Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA metric, checking in at 24th against the run and 31st against the pass.

If Conner can't go, Samuels should be considered a must-start option this week, especially in PPR leagues where his receptions alone give him a tremendous floor.

Accounting for Conner's absence, we have Samuels at RB16 in our Week 12 PPR fantasy football rankings.

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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.