Week 9: 84%
Week 10: 40%*
Week 11: 89%
Week 12: 86%
Week 13: 72%*
Week 17: 47%*
* Conner left Week 10 in 3rd quarter, came back, and then left again with concussion. He left Week 13 in 4th quarter with high ankle sprain. His first game back from high ankle sprain in Week 17. Game-time decision, and tested ankle pre-game before determining playing status.
Outside of the concussion and the high ankle sprain, there was no indication that the Steelers were going away from James Conner at the end of the year. Only McCaffrey, Zeke, Gurley, and Barkley averaged a higher snap percentage during the regular season.
The narrative that Conner can’t hold up is based on these injuries at the end of the year, but is a concussion or a high ankle sprain a result of a huge workload/overuse, or is it a result of the way he was hit/tackled on one particular play?
Mike Tomlin has always used a bell cow RB, but there have been talks amongst the coaching staff of potentially reducing that workload. However, Tomlin’s past has been steadfast; according to PFF, Le’Veon Bell averaged 59.7 snaps/game with the Steelers when healthy, while any other lead back averaged 54.7 snaps/game in games Bell has missed, which does not include James Conner.
If Tomlin continues with his ways, Conner’s ADP at the 1-2 turn in 12-team PPR leagues is a value. If he decides to reduce Conner’s workload, his ADP might be spot on as the RB9. Monitoring the usage in training camp and preseason will be key in determining whether Conner should be trusted as a bell cow going into 2019, but there’s no need to stay away if he’s being drafted as a low-end RB1.
Jaylen Samuels didn’t threaten Conner’s workload in 2018, and unless Tomlin feels comfortable with Samuels coming in on passing downs, Conner has a good shot at remaining in a nearly every-down role for the Steelers in 2019.
With all of the talent at the turn, who has to be off the board for you to consider Conner? Let me know 👇👇