The Duel

Jaylen Samuels Fantasy Value Rises as Steelers Starting Running Back With James Conner Ruled Out

Max Staley

James Conner has been one of the few true workhorses in the NFL this season, averaging 13.9 carries and 4.4 targets per game across his first seven starts.

That massive workload has made him a valuable fantasy asset, but Conner has officially been ruled out for the Steelers' Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals due a shoulder injury, something that gives Jaylen Samuels a massive boost in fantasy football this week.

Samuels has been a monster when he's taken over for Conner, hauling in 16 of 20 targets for 84 receiving yards when Conner was sidelined in Weeks 9 and 10.

He's all but irrelevant when Conner is healthy, as Samuels averaged just 6.2 touches per game over the first five weeks of the season, but the 13.5 touches he averaged without Conner make him a viable RB2 option this week.

That workload will make Samuels extremely valuable as he draws a matchup with the Bengals, who are among the worst defenses in the NFL, on Sunday. Cincinnati is the ninth-worst run defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings, giving up a league-worst 167.0 rushing yards per game.

Even though Samuels is only averaging 9.5 carries per game in relief of Conner, his usage in the Steelers' passing game should make him a high-end RB2 in fantasy this weekend. Samuels checks in at RB16 in our Week 12 fantasy football PPR rankings.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.