Jaylen Samuels Fantasy Football News 2019

Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels is expected to play a big role in the team's passing game this season, according to The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. "The Steelers have been so enamored with his route-running ability that a good chunk of their post-Antonio Brown offense has been modified to incorporate Samuels’ best skills: running routes, catching footballs and creating mismatches," Kaboly writes. Samuels racked up 195 receptions over his final 3 seasons at North Carolina State and then posted a 26-199-3 receiving line on 29 targets as a rookie. He ranked 14th in Pro Football Focus' receiving grades among 62 RBs with 20+ targets last season. Antonio Brown leaves behind 168 targets from a year ago, and it sounds like Samuels is in line to soak up a bunch of those. He has a shot at RB3 value in PPR leagues -- even behind a healthy James Conner.

The Steelers have been using RBs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels in the same backfield during some plays in OTAs, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think that could be kind of special with me and [Conner] in the backfield," Samuels said. "Me and him in the game, period. We’re just building on from that right now… He’s more of a runner and a catcher, as well, but I can get outside and run routes, as well. To have that dual threat with me and him in the game, it could be really scary for defenses.” Conner was excellent as Pittsburgh's feature back for 13 games last season. But Samuels also impressed when given a shot, racking up 223 yards on 5.3 yards per carry and a 12-105-1 receiving line in 3 starts late in the year. There are touches to go around this season with Antonio Brown's departure, and Samuels has the receiving ability to capture some of them. He's an intriguing later-round pick in fantasy drafts.

The Steelers selected RB Benny Snell in Round 4 of the NFL Draft. The 5'10, 224-pounder posted big rushing numbers at Kentucky, topping 1,000 yards in each of his 3 seasons en route to career totals of 3,873 yards and 48 rushing scores. He caught a just-decent 29 passes but flashed worthwhile hands on tape. In Pittsburgh, Snell will have to battle Jaylen Samuels to back up James Conner. Samuels showed well late in 2018, with Conner out. The starter will be in the final year of his rookie contract in 2020, giving Snell a bit of appeal later in dynasty rookie drafts. He doesn't look like an asset to chase, though.

2:12pm EST 12/30/18

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) is active for today’s game against the Bengals. He put in 3 practices this week and passed his final test in pregame warmups. We’re expecting Conner to step back in as Pittsburgh’s lead back, with RB Jaylen Samuels in a change-of-pace role.

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bengals. He was a full-go in practice all week, though, putting him on track to play. Conner might cede some passing-down work to Jaylen Samuels, but we’re expecting him to step back in as Pittsburgh’s lead back.

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's practice. That presumably puts him on track to return for this weekend's game against the Bengals. Conner might lose more work than he had been to Jaylen Samuels, but that matchup will make him a strong Week 17 fantasy play.

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) remained sidelined all week and is out for Sunday’s game against the Saints. So Jaylen Samuels gets another game as lead back. It’s a tough draw against a stout Saints run defense, but Samuels can do damage in the passing game. He’s a RB2 with more value in PPR lineups.

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) remained sidelined on Thursday. He's shaping up as a long shot to play against the Saints this weekend. Look for Jaylen Samuels to again serve as Pittsburgh's feature back in the Superdome.

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. He admitted to reporters afterward that he's still having trouble cutting and that his injured ankle "isn't ready yet." Conner now seems worse than 50/50 to play against the Saints this weekend. That'd again leave Jaylen Samuels as Pittsburgh's lead back. Check back tomorrow for another update.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Steelers RB James Conner is not expected to play against the Patriots tomorrow. Conner's officially questionable but has practiced just once (Friday) since suffering the initial injury. Conner's expected absence keeps RB Jaylen Samuels in starter territory. Stevan Ridley carried just 5 times last week at Oakland, with Conner out -- and shouldn't be on the fantasy radar.

Update: The Steelers have downgraded Conner to doubtful.

Steelers RB James Conner (knee) is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game against the Patriots. He returned to a limited practice on Friday after sitting out the previous 2 days. We’re still not expecting Conner to play vs. New England, but we’ll look for updates on his status Sunday morning. Steelers-Patriots doesn’t kick off until 4:25 pm ET.

Steelers RB James Conner could remain sidelined for next weekend's game against the Patriots, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Conner didn't practice at all this week and will be re-evaluated on Monday. We'll see what Pittsburgh's Conner-less backfield looks like against the Raiders today. It's worth noting that Rapoport said RB Jaylen Samuels will get the "bulk of the carries."

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that RB James Conner will miss Sunday's game at Oakland. Tomlin said the injury is more significant than originally believed, deeming it a sprain rather than a contusion. For what it's worth, Dr. David Chao tweeted Sunday night that it looked like a "mild" high-ankle sprain from his video review. Conner's absence will put rookie Jaylen Samuels and veteran Stevan Ridley in charge of the backfield. We're not likely to know ahead of time exactly how the work will be split. Samuels, who played multiple positions in college, is the more deft pass-catcher and higher-upside fantasy play between them. He scored Pittsburgh's final TD on a 10-yard reception Sunday night after Conner left. The Steelers have also promoted RB Trey Edmunds from the practice squad.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirms that Steelers RB James Conner's lower-leg injury is "not considered major at all." He's reportedly dealing with just a contusion. "How much it swells will be telling," Rapoport adds. Conner avoided a long-term injury here, but he still shouldn't be considered a lock to be ready for Sunday's game against the Raiders. We'll keep a close eye on him all week. Conner's absence would leave Pittsburgh's backfield to Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley.

Steelers RB James Conner left Sunday night's game on the team's final drive with an apparent right ankle injury. We'll watch for updates on his status. Rookie Jaylen Samuels replaced him and scored Pittsburgh's final TD on a 10-yard catch. He'd be the guy if Conner misses further time and is worth a look on waivers this week -- even if Conner returns for Week 14.

Update: HC Mike Tomlin called it a lower-leg contusion. We'll see about the severity, but that doesn't sound like an injury likely to cost him further game time.

Steelers RB James Conner is in the concussion protocol, HC Mike Tomlin announced after Thursday night's win over the Panthers. The relative good news is that Conner has 10 days to get cleared for Week 11's game against Jacksonville. We'll keep a close eye on his progress. If Conner can't play vs. the Jags -- and RB Le'Veon Bell doesn't show up -- Pittsburgh would be down to RBs Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley.

 
 
 

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