RB James Conner - Pittsburgh Steelers

6-1, 233Born: 5-5-1995College: PittsburghDrafted: Round 3, pick 2017

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Conner left the Week 11 game after aggravating his shoulder injury

News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 18): Conner aggravated his shoulder injury vs Cleveland and his Week 12 status and beyond is up in the air.

General News (Wed Nov 20): did not practice on Wednesday.

General News (Mon Nov 18): appears to be in line for a questionable tag for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He reportedly did not cause any more damage to his AC joint before leaving the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns, but his overall status versus the Bengals is "up in the air," according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals

All RB vs CIN

FBG says: Great matchup. The Steelers' roster-wide injury epidemic hasn't dodged the backfield, leaving this unit constantly up in the air. James Conner has battled a shoulder injury for weeks, and he may have reached a breaking point with last Thursday's aggravation. He looks questionable at best for Sunday, which would again the ground game to a duo of Jaylen Samuels and Trey Edmunds. Over the past 3 weeks with Conner limited or out, Steelers backs have combined for just 167 yards over their 59 rushes (a 2.8 average). To make matters worse, they'll move forward without star center Maurkice Pouncey, who will sit three games after Thursday's brawl. With the Steelers in such devastating transition on all levels of football, chasing their ground game seems unwise, even in such a cherry matchup. It's hard to project much by way of volume, efficiency, or touchdown opportunity for anyone here. Week in, week out, there's arguably no more attractive matchup on the NFL schedule than a date with the Cincinnati run defense. To put it simply: teams that want to run on the Bengals do so without much resistance at all. They're giving up the league's most yardage per game, and they've allowed a runner to top 90 yards in 5 of their last six. (Four of them actually topped 100.) The Bengals just lack the front-seven talent to slow dedicated ground attacks. They waived starting linebacker Preston Brown last week, hoping to create some addition by subtraction, but the results were no better in surrendering 112 yards to the Raiders' Josh Jacobs. Nick Vigil is the core linebacker here, and he's been one of football's worst in pursuit and tackling all season. Last Sunday's opening play was a perfect snapshot of this unit's struggles, with Vigil and new starter Germaine Pratt blown out of the lane and Jacobs capitalizing for 21 easy yards. The Pittsburgh ground game may be punchless and very much in transition, but it's facing an ideal get-right opportunity.

Recent Stats and Projections

8 vs MIA 64 23 145 1 4 3.0 5 0 0 21
11 at CLE 13 5 10 0 2 1.0 6 0 0 1.6
12 at CIN PROJ-Tremblay * 0 * * 0.0 * * * *
12 at CIN PROJ-Bloom * 0 * * 0.0 * * * *

Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36

Percentile ranks

James Conner's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.

Recent Game Summaries

2019 Week 11 vs CLE (5 / 10 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)

In Week 11, James Conner returned from a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks prior. It was believed Conner was held out of Week 10's matchup to save himself for this game. Conner's night started off almost breaking a long run to the outside when he was taken down by a shoestring tackle. Conner even fell down on a route out of the backfield. He eventually got up and flashed as a checkdown for Mason Rudolph for a short gain. Unfortunately, similar to previous weeks, Conner's night was cut very short. He exited the game with an aggravation of his shoulder injury from two weeks prior.

2019 Week 6 vs LAC (16 / 41 / 1 rush, 7 / 7 / 78 / 1 rec)

With the exception of a Thomas Davis body slam, there wasn't much slowing down James Conner or the Steelers running backs in Week 6. Conner does not have gamebreaker ability, but his smoothness and patience are always on display, Conner is a reliable receiver out of the backfield, never goes down by arm tackles and is willing to take defenders on one on one to finish runs. Against the Chargers, Conner's abilities were on full display as he touched the ball on nine of the first eleven plays for the Steelers, including a touchdown run. On Conner's first touchdown a simple combination block when Vance McDonald chipped at his first defender, disengaged and took on a second defender at the second level spring Conner for his long touchdown. Conner followed McDonald perfectly through the hole and was untouched on his first score. Conner's second score of the night was a reception out of the backfield. Like most of the night, defenders were bouncing off of Conner or weren't able to get a good grip on him. In the third quarter James Conner was finally hit and he was hit hard. As he was hurdling a defender, Thomas Davis caught Conner in mid-air and slammed him to the ground. Conner immediately left the game and was used sparingly for the remaining time.

2019 Week 5 vs BAL (14 / 55 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

The rushing totals are a start, but in a game where Conner had multiple big runs and the starting quarterback exited the game, Conner's usage was low. In fact, since becoming the starter in 2018, this is the first time James Conner has not received at least one target and the second time in 17 games he hasn't received at least three targets. To make matters worse, Conner didn't even see a touch until the third possession of the game. When Conner did touch the ball on the third drive, he touched the ball three times for more than five yards each time. Conner did not have a highlight run on the night, but he also did not have a bad run on the night. Conner was consistently pushing the pile, getting small through the hole at the line of scrimmage and showing the patience always get the yards available to him.

2019 Week 4 vs CIN (10 / 42 / 0 rush, 8 / 8 / 83 / 1 rec)

It isn't always about the big flashy plays. Sometimes it is about letting your playmakers find their footing and allowing them to make plays and not being the reason, those players can't make plays. During most of the game Rudolph had handcuffs on. Passes being throw were all within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Late in the second half the short throws began going for large gains. The pass-rush wasn't getting to Rudolph and simple screen passes being taken for large gains. Rudolph's first touchdown of the game came on a screen pass to James Conner on a spring right. Rudolph was able to hit Conner in traffic and place the ball in a place where he could work after the catch. There wasn't much downfield throwing in this game, but Rudolph did take two deep shots downfield. The first was to Johnny Holton incomplete, but the second was for a touchdown to Diontae Johnson. Johnson was lost in the mix in coverage and Rudolph was able to hit him on a deep post. It wasn't a perfect throw as Rudolph almost overthrew Johnson, but it was just good enough.

2019 Week 3 vs SF (13 / 43 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 14 / 0 rec)

There was nothing flashy about Conner's performance against the 49ers, but he was reliable until he wasn't. Throughout the game Conner was showing well. Consistently running through contact, being an outlet for Mason Rudolph with pressure coming and picking his way through traffic with great patience. Conner's best run of the game came on his first run of the third quarter. It was an outside zone run and Conner showed solid explosion and finish the run strong. Unfortunately, with the Steelers winning by three points and trying to grind out the clock, Conner fumbled the football giving the 49ers great field position to score their winning touchdown.

2019 Week 2 vs SEA (11 / 33 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 12 / 0 rec)

It looked like early on in the game James Conner was going to be a focal point of the game. The Steelers were using the Seahawks aggressiveness against them as Roethlisberger, and Rudolph, were allowing oncoming rushers to get close and then hit Conner in the flat when they over pursued their angle. James Conner, by both quarterbacks, handled significant punishment when targeted. On a reception in the third quarter Conner didn't catch, he was hit hard immediately after missing the catch and again late in the third quarter before leaving with a knee injury. Conner had multiple runs where he was close to breaking off a bigger run than what he had. Conner's best run of the night came on a run up the middle. It looked like there wasn't any room, but Conner got small and navigated himself through the Steelers line for a 10+ yard run.

2019 Week 1 vs NE (10 / 21 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 44 / 0 rec)

After touching the ball on four out of the first five plays of the game, it looked like the Steelers were planning on feeding Conner a healthy workload against the Steelers. Conner did not have any big gains to start the game, but was picking his way through the Patriots defense patiently and taking what was given. After the first five plays of the game, James Conner did not see another touch until the second quarter of the game, when he was stuffed on a third and short, forcing the Steelers to punt the ball. On their fourth possession of the game, Conner received three straight toss plays. On the first, Conner picked up five yards and followed his pulling guard perfectly. The second, was a quick toss to the left from shotgun where Conner caught the ball and picked his way through the center of the Patriots offense. On the third straight toss, which looked identical to the first, linebacker Jamie Collins cut through the Steelers offensive line and tackled Conner for a four yard loss on third down, stalling another Steelers drive. Conner's best run came in the second quarter. He was lined up in the slot and ran a drag route. Conner made the defender miss and was able to take advantage after the catch. Conner looked to be removed from the game early when it was out of hand.


Latest News

Steelers | James Conner misses practice (Thu Nov 21, 04:12 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 21.

Our View: Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell are set to split the work in Cincinnati this week, Samuels is a PPR RB2 and Snell a what the heck flex.
link to story   

Steelers | James Conner misses practice (Wed Nov 20, 04:02 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Our View: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he "doesn't know the availability" of Conner for Week 12 against the Bengals. It looks like they'll go with Jaylen Samuels as their top back once again.
link to story   

Steelers | James Conner's Week 12 status unknown (Mon Nov 18, 02:34 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) appears to be in line for a questionable tag for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He reportedly did not cause any more damage to his AC joint before leaving the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns, but his overall status versus the Bengals is 'up in the air,' according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Our View: It's a great matchup against the Bengals in Week 12, but Fantasy GMs are going to have to watch the injury report closely. We'll know more about Conner's status later in the week.
link to story   

Steelers | James Conner ruled out (Thu Nov 14, 09:55 PM) - Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) has been ruled out for the remainder of the Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns after suffering a shoulder injury.

link to story   

Steelers | Shoulder bothering James Conner (Thu Nov 14, 09:24 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) exited against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 after injuring his shoulder and is questionable to return.

Our View: Conner aggravated an existing injury and said he wasn't 100% coming into the game. He might miss a prime matchup with Cincinnati next week. Jaylen Samuels should be added in all leagues if he was dropped upon Conner's return.
link to story   

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