With a starting job in Pittsburgh from 2018-20, James Conner missed 12 games, making him a challenging player to manage in the fantasy market. He played well in 2018 (1,370 yards with 13 touchdowns and 55 catches over 13 games. His success placed him sixth in running back scoring (282.0 fantasy points) in PPR leagues.
Last year in a split role for the Cardinals, Conner gained only 3.7 yards per rush, with three of his 202 carries gaining 20 yards or more. He made the best of his opportunity by scoring 15 rushing touchdowns. In the passing game, Conner looked more explosive (10.1 yards per catch) with an exceptional catch rate (94.9). Most of his success in the passing game came over four matchups (5/77/1, 5/37, 9/94, 6/41/1) over the second half of the year.
Conner gained over 60 rushing yards in only five contests. His best value came from Weeks 9-13 (72/272/4).
Fantasy outlook: Entering 2022, Conner appears to have a much cleaner opportunity for the Cardinals. His ADP (38) in the NFFC in late June ranks him as the 16th running back. His scoring success helped him finish fifth in running back scoring (257.7) in PPR leagues. When pairing his injury risk and minimal impact plays in the run game, Conner has a trap feel. His scoring doesn’t look repeatable, with Kyler Murray expected to be more active in the run game. With 300 touches, Conner would gain 1,350 combined yards with double-digit scores and 50 catches. His downside would be an injury-plagued year with multiple missed games.
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