Steelers HC Mike Tomlin called RB James Conner a "featured guy" and "proven runner when healthy" in a recent conference call with reporters. “I’m a featured-runner type guy by mentality,” Tomlin added. “I think that when you have a featured runner, it gives him the opportunity to drop a stake in the ground and allows others to rally around him, and it gives him a set of core base run plays that he specializes in, and you find a rhythm that way.” Tomlin has had a RB top 240 carries in 7 of his 13 seasons with the Steelers. But Conner has had trouble staying healthy; the Steelers have added Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland to the backfield over the last 3 drafts; and longtime Steelers insider Ed Bouchette expects more of a committee backfield this season. It'll be a situation to monitor closely throughout the summer. Right now, Conner carries a wide range of 2020 outcomes, making him a risk/reward pick in the 4th or 5th round of fantasy drafts.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin is "extremely confident" QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) will be ready for Week 1. Big Ben is recovering from September surgery on his throwing elbow. “We like where we are," Tomlin said. "He’s throwing on a rehab schedule, and it’s going well, and we fully anticipate him being ready to go for that opener.” A healthy Roethlisberger is the key to a bounce-back season for WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and the rest of Pittsburgh's offense.
The Athletic's Ed Bouchette expects the Steelers to go with a committee backfield this season. That'd be a change from what Pittsburgh has usually done under HC Mike Tomlin. But RB James Conner has had trouble staying healthy as lead back. And the Steelers now have depth at the position with Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell and rookie Anthony McFarland alongside Conner. "The room is crowded, but there really is not a leader of the pack," Bouchette writes. "Conner will get every chance to show he can stay healthy, and they’re likely to cut back on his carries even if he remains injury-free for two reasons: to help save him and to use some of their other backs." Conner remains the best fantasy bet here by a pretty big margin. Just don't expect him to get the RB1-level volume folks who drafted him in the 1st or 2nd round last summer thought they were getting.
The Steelers selected Maryland RB Anthony McFarland in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Watch McFarland’s 298-yard, 2-TD dismantling of Ohio State back in 2018 and you’d think he’s 1 of the top backs in this class. That was part of an impressive redshirt freshman season that saw him tally 1,034 yards on 7.9 yards per carry. 39 of his 131 carries went for 10+ yards that year. McFarland took a colossal step back this past season, though, battling through a high-ankle sprain and totaling just 614 yards on 114 carries (5.4 YPC). He’s also fairly inexperienced in the passing game, with only 24 catches across the past 2 years. But McFarland’s flashes are exciting. And the 5’8, 208-pounder confirmed his big-play ability with a 4.44-second 40 time at the Combine. He’s an intriguing addition to Pittsburgh’s backfield alongside James Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels.
Steelers RB James Conner (thigh) is out for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. That leaves RB Benny Snell as Pittsburgh’s lead ball-carrier, with RB Jaylen Samuels the best bet for targets. RBs Kerrith Whyte and Trey Edmunds also figure to mix in.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin admitted Tuesday that RB James Conner's (quad) availability for this weekend's game against the Ravens is "very much in question." Conner has seemingly been battling injuries all season. We're not expecting him to suit up on Sunday, leaving Pittsburgh's backfield to Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte.
Steelers RB James Conner suffered a thigh injury in the 1st half of Sunday's game against the Jets. He's officially questionable to return. We'll update Conner's status when we learn more.
Update: Conner has been ruled out.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) is active for tonight’s game against the Bills. He’s expected to draw the start but cede some work to RBs Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels. Consider Conner a RB2 with upside vs. a below-average Buffalo run defense.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) is expected to play tonight against the Bills and "should be treated as the starter," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He adds, however, that we should expect Conner to "split carries" with Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell. Conner is certainly in play as a potential fantasy starter. Just don't expect workhorse-level touches as he got when healthy early in the year.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game against the Bills. He put in a full week of practice, though, and is expected to play. We'll look for confirmation on Sunday morning.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) put in a full practice on Wednesday. That puts him on track to return for Sunday night's game against the Bills. Conner should slide back in as Pittsburgh's lead back -- although he'll come with elevated risk after lasting just 13 snaps the last time he tried to return from this shoulder injury.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) ruled himself out for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. He's been a limited participant in practice lately but seems to be playing it safe after re-injuring the shoulder last time out. Consider him questionable for Week 15. Conner's absence means another game as lead back for Benny Snell this weekend. He tallied 37 carries but just 2 targets over the past 2 games.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) put in a limited practice on Wednesday. He was limited in the final 2 workouts last week before missing the Browns game, so this doesn't tell us a whole lot. We'll get another update on Conner tomorrow.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said RB James Conner (shoulder) "has a chance" to practice on Wednesday but remains questionable for this weekend's game against the Cardinals. Conner put in a pair of limited practices last week but didn't seem close to play vs. the Browns. RB Benny Snell will remain a volume-based fantasy starter if Conner misses Week 14.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) is inactive for today’s game against the Browns. Benny Snell should operate as Pittsburgh’s lead back after handling 21 carries in last week's win over the Bengals.
The Steelers list RB James Conner (shoulder) as doubtful for this weekend's game against the Browns. He got in a couple of limited practices this week but evidently isn't quite ready to go yet. Benny Snell should again serve as Pittsburgh's lead back on Sunday after handling 21 carries in last week's win over the Bengals.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) put in a limited practice on Thursday. It gives him a shot to return for this weekend's game against the Browns. Check back tomorrow for another update.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) suggested in a Monday radio appearance that he's not expecting to return for this weekend's game against the Browns. "It’ll be a little longer,” Conner said “I’m definitely making progress on it. Getting a lot more strength in there, more stabilization. It’s one of those things that as a player I have to be smart with because if I continue to play without it being stable, then eventually surgery will need to be done. So, I just need to wait till I have enough stabilization and strength and that tendon gets a little bit stronger." Rookie Benny Snell stepped in as Pittsburgh's lead back last week, taking 21 carries for 98 yards. He'll be in the RB2 mix for Week 13 assuming Conner is out again.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) is out for Sunday's game against the Bengals. Jaylen Samuels will again serve as Pittsburgh's lead back after totaling 22 carries and 20 targets in 2 full games without Conner. He's a RB2 with upside vs. Cincinnati's 29th-ranked RB defense. Benny Snell is set to return from his knee surgery and figures to operate as Pittsburgh's #2 RB this weekend.
Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) won't play against the Bengals on Sunday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That'll again leave Jaylen Samuels as Pittsburgh's lead back. He totaled 22 carries and 20 targets across Weeks 9 and 10 with Conner out and is a RB2 with upside vs. Cincinnati's 29th-ranked RB defense.
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