JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner Injury Update Opens Up Touches for Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels in Week 13

Max Staley
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be without two of their top skill-position players for a pivotal Week 13 divisional clash with the Cleveland Browns. JuJu Smith-Schuster has officially been ruled out, and James Conner is currently listed as doubtful, despite getting in a limited practice on Thursday and Friday.

JuJu's absence creates fantasy value for Pittsburgh's other wideouts, including James Washington and Diontae Johnson. Washington feels like the safer play, as he had three receptions for 98 yards and a score last week without JuJu, while Johnson only had three catches for 29 yards.

Still, with Devlin Hodges set to make his second start of the season, it's going to be tough to trust any of the Steelers' pass-catchers. In Hodges' one career start earlier this season in Week 6, he threw for 132 yards and a single score. He was held below 120 passing yards in his other two appearances this season as well.

Steelers Running Back Depth Chart

While JuJu's absence clearly benefits Johnson and Washington, the hierarchy in Pittsburgh's backfield is much less clear.

For most of the season, Jaylen Samuels was the clear-cut No. 2 back for the Steelers, though that seemingly shifted last week. With Conner out, it looked like Samuels was in line for a big day, but it was actually rookie Benny Snell Jr. who received the lion's share of the work in Week 12. Snell saw 21 carries to Samuels' two, and even Kerrith Whyte recorded six carries.

For now, Snell looks like the preferred play, in the event that Conner is ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Browns, but Samuels could hold some value in PPR formats due to his ability as a pass-catcher. Washington is Pittsburgh's only RB or WR to crack the top 36 in our Week 13 fantasy football PPR rankings, checking in at WR35.

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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.