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James Conner

James Conner

Running Back #30
ADP:Round: 3, Pick: 5
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Ht / Wt:6'1" / 233 lb.
College:Pittsburgh
Age:25
Born:May 5, 1995
Drafted:2017 / Rd. 3 (105)
Draft Team:PIT

James Conner: Likely leader of committee

Conner (quadriceps) projects as the leader of a committee backfield in Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Unable to build on his 2018 breakout, Conner missed six full games plus the majority of two others in 2019, and he also noticed a significant dip in yards per carry (4.0) and a smaller dip in yards per target (6.6). Both numbers were better than what the Steelers got from Benny Snell (3.9 YPC, three catches) and Jaylen Samuels (2.7 YPC, 5.4 YPT), but now there's another body -- fourth-round pick Anthony McFarland -- entering the backfield mix after the team devoted a middle-round selection to the position for the fourth consecutive year. Conner has plenty of time to recover from last year's assortment of injuries and still figures to take the first snap at training camp, but he'll likely have to play out the final season of his rookie contract without an extension.

May 4, 2020 5:38 AM EST

James Conner: Still viewed as starter

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert still views Conner (quadriceps) as a starting running back, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. "We hope James can regain it," Colbert said. "And, if he's healthy, there's no reason he shouldn't. We don't want to say we don't have a starting running back because we feel we do."

Analysis: Colbert said Conner was a disappointment in 2019 but also acknowledged that the running back was one of the top players at his position the year prior. There were still some flashes of good form last season, namely a four-week stretch from late September to late October in which Conner produced 449 total yards and five touchdowns. His season-end mark of 4.0 yards per carry fell a half-yard shy of his 2019 number, but it was still better than what Benny Snell (3.9 YPC) and Jaylen Samuels (2.7 YPC) managed. Conner is entering the final season of his rookie contract in 2020, while Snell and Samuels both are signed beyond the upcoming season. There hasn't been any substantiative update on the quad injury that prevented Conner from playing Week 17.

February 13, 2020 1:29 PM EST

James Conner: Not playing Week 17

Pittsburgh has ruled Conner (quadriceps) out for Sunday's game against the Ravens, Missi Matthews of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: With Pittsburgh needing some help in Week 17 to punch its ticket to the postseason, Conner's 2019 campaign may well be over after he experienced another setback on the health front coming out of last Sunday's loss to the Jets. He'll be sidelined for the sixth time this season in the regular-season finale, likely leaving Benny Snell, Kerrith Whyte and Jaylen Samuels to take on most of the snaps and touches out of the backfield. Conner concludes the regular season with 715 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns across 10 games.

December 27, 2019 11:24 AM EST

James Conner: Misses practice Thursday

Conner (quad) didn't practice Thursday.

Analysis: With Conner listed as a non-participant for second straight day, his status for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Ravens remains murky. If he's ruled out for the contest, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte would be in line to combine to handle the Steelers' Week 17 rushing duties.

December 26, 2019 1:08 PM EST

James Conner: Sidelined Wednesday

Conner (quadriceps) didn't practicee Wednesday.

Analysis: More on the running back's status Thursday, but coach Mike Tomlin previously noted that Conner Week 17 availability "is very much in question." If he's unable to go or limited Sunday against the Ravens, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte would handle added work out of the Steelers' backfield.

December 25, 2019 2:39 PM EST

James Conner: Status up in air for season finale

Coach Mike Tomlin called Conner's (quadriceps) status for Week 17 at Baltimore "very much in question," Missi Matthews of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: Conner has been unable to avoid the injury bug this season. At the moment, he's tending to a quad issue that he sustained on his final carry of Week 16, per Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com. While the results of an MRI are unknown, Tomlin's comments aren't exactly encouraging for Conner's availability for the season finale. If he misses his sixth game of the campaign Sunday, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels again will be in line for more prominent roles out of the Steelers' backfield.

December 24, 2019 9:24 AM EST

James Conner: Gets quad checked out

Conner underwent an MRI to assess the quad injury he sustained on his final carry in Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Jets, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: For now, Conner's status for this weekend's regular-season finale against the Ravens is unclear. If he's unable to go or limited, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte would handle the Steelers' Week 17 backfield duties.

December 23, 2019 10:44 AM EST

James Conner: Exits game with thigh injury

Conner was forced of Sunday's game against the Jets with a thigh injury.

Analysis: Prior to his exit from the contest, Conner carried six times for 32 yards. In his absence, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte are on hand to handle the Steelers' backfield duties.

December 22, 2019 11:05 AM EST

James Conner: Resumes lead back role

Conner (shoulder) rushed eight times for 42 yards and caught four passes (five targets) for nine yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Bills.

Analysis: Eight rushes may indicate that the team was taking it easy on their lead back in his first week back from action, but those eight carries led the backfield by a decent margin (next-highest total was two carries). The Steelers simply could not do much against Buffalo's tough defense, and it resulted in few opportunities for all of the team's skill players. Expect Conner to get more involved in an easier matchup against the Jets on Sunday.

December 15, 2019 9:16 PM EST

James Conner: Returns to action Sunday night

Conner (shoulder) is listed as active for Sunday night's game against the Bills, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Conner, who began the 2019 season as the Steelers clear lead back, will thus see his first game action since Week 11, though it remains to be seen how big of a workload he'll see in his return to the team's backfield. With that in mind, look for Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels - who had been filling in for Conner -- to remain in the mix in Week 15, a potential committee arrangement that makes all three backs hit-or-miss fantasy options Sunday night.

December 15, 2019 3:58 PM EST

James Conner: Likely to share load in Week 15

Conner (shoulder), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills but is expected to play, will likely split snaps and touches with Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell in his return to the lineup, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Though Conner logged full practices Wednesday through Friday, the Steelers are apparently inclined to ease him back into the mix after he sat out five of the team's last six games due to an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder. Snell has emerged as the lead option on the ground of late, but he'll likely notice at least a slight downturn in his carry count with Conner back in the fold after toting the ball no fewer than 16 times in any of the past three weeks. Samuels, meanwhile, profiles as the Steelers' top pass-catching option out of the backfield. If Pittsburgh does in fact go with a three-headed timeshare at running back, it could be difficult to extract fantasy value from any of the three against a tough Buffalo defense.

December 15, 2019 5:32 AM EST

James Conner: Expected to play Sunday

Conner (shoulder), who is listed as questionable on the official injury report for Sunday's game against the Bills, is expected to play, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Conner was a full participant in practices Wednesday through Friday, so this report continues the trend indicating he should play. The AC joint sprain in his right shoulder has sidelined him for all but one of the Steelers' previous six games. As a result, the Steelers could choose to ease him back into the mix with a more limited workload than he's typically handled when available this season.

December 15, 2019 12:11 AM EST

James Conner: Questionable, despite full practice

Conner (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills, Missi Matthews of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: Conner was a full participant in practices Wednesday through Friday, but he'll take an injury designation into the weekend nonetheless after the AC joint sprain in his right shoulder sidelined him for all but one of the Steelers' previous six games. Per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Conner previously told teammates that he believes he'll need surgery at some point to address the issue, but the running back looks like he'll attempt to play through the injury for now. Even if Conner is cleared to play this weekend, the Steelers could choose to ease him back into the mix with a more limited workload than he's typically handled when available this season.

December 13, 2019 11:45 AM EST

James Conner: Logs full practice Wednesday

Conner (shoulder) was listed as a full practice participant Wednesday.

Analysis: As was top wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), though coach Mike Tomlin has yet to totally sign off on the duo returning to action this weekend following their respective three-game absences. As it stands though, it looks like they'll probably both be back Sunday against the Bills, barring any setbacks. If Conner is indeed back in the mix, it remains to be seen how the team's Week 15 carries will be divided, with Benny Snell and Kerrith Whyte also on hand. A further unknown in that equations is the status of Jaylen Samuels, who missed practice Wednesday with a groin injury.

December 11, 2019 1:29 PM EST

James Conner: In line to practice this week

Coach Mike Tomlin expects Conner (shoulder) to practice this week, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Tomlin's proclamation isn't a surprise, as Conner has been listed as a limited participant on five consecutive injury reports. Still, Conner has appeared in just one of the Steelers' last six games (Week 11). Assuming he makes it all the way back for Sunday's contest against the Bills, he should retake the reins of Pittsburgh's backfield.

December 10, 2019 9:41 AM EST

James Conner: Expected back Week 15

Conner (shoulder), who has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Cardinals, is expected to return to action Week 15 versus the Bills, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Conner will be sidelined for the fifth time in six games due to the sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, paving the way for Benny Snell to carry the load on the ground for the Steelers, while Jaylen Samuels handles most of the passing-down work. Though it appears Conner may be ready to end his streak of absences in Week 15, Garafolo notes that the running back has previously told teammates that he didn't think he would be able to play through the injury without getting surgery first. With that in mind, Conner's fantasy managers should have some level of concern about his potential workload moving forward once he's active again, as he looks like he'll be at regular risk of exposing himself to another setback until surgery is performed.

December 8, 2019 9:47 AM EST

James Conner: Missing another game Sunday

Conner (shoulder) has been ruled out for Sunday's contest in Arizona, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: Conner's prediction from Thursday has come to pass, meaning he'll miss his fifth game in the past six weeks. While he continues to recover from an AC joint injury in his right shoulder, the Steelers will turn to Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels out of the backfield.

December 6, 2019 11:50 AM EST

James Conner: Says he won't play Sunday

Conner (shoulder) said Thursday that he won't play Sunday against the Cardinals, Missi Matthews of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: Per the report, Conner, who last suited up in Week 11, has been taking scout team reps this week and will thus look toward a possible return to action in Week 15 against the Bills. The running back approached Week 13 action with an official doubtful tag, so it's possible that could be the case again this week, but he can safely be removed from Week 14 fantasy consideration. In his anticipated ongoing absence, Benny Snell is in line to continue to head the Steelers' backfield Sunday, while added touches will also be available for Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte, to a lesser degree.

December 5, 2019 11:08 AM EST

James Conner: Limited practice Wednesday

Conner (shoulder) was limited at practice Wednesday.

Analysis: Conner, who last suited up in Week 11, is making progress, but his Week 14 status remains uncertain. If he's limited or out Sunday against the Cardinals, added snaps would be available for Benny Snell (who headed the team's backfield the last two games) as well as Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte, to a lesser degree.

December 4, 2019 1:43 PM EST

James Conner: Considered questionable

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Conner (shoulder) is "questionable as we stand here today" for Sunday's game at Arizona Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Analysis: Tomlin indicated Conner was improving but couldn't say if or how much he'd be able to practice this week. The 24-year-old finished last week with a pair of limited practices before being listed as doubtful, so he should be participating in some capacity this week if he truly is improving. Benny Snell rushed 16 times for 63 yards and one touchdown in Sunday's win over the Browns, and he figures to again work as the lead back should Conner be unable to return Week 14.

December 3, 2019 9:41 AM EST

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