Preseason Player Analysis
What You Need to Know:
- Conner posted a 215-973-12 rushing line and 55-497-1 receiving line in 13 games back in 2018. He finished RB7 in PPR points per game and RB6 in non-PPR.
- It’s been downhill ever since.
- Conner’s ranks among RBs with 100+ carries in Elusive Rating from 2018-2020: 9th, 14th, 21st.
- His ranks in Pro Football Focus’ rushing grades: 25th, 37th, 33rd.
- And his ranks in Football Outsiders’ rushing DVOA: 21st, 38th, 34th.
- Conner was excellent as a receiver in 2019 but sunk to 33rd in yards per route run and 30th in PFF receiving grade among 37 RBs with 30+ targets last year.
- Injuries have been a problem during those 3 seasons.
- Conner missed 3 games in 2018 with a sprained ankle. He also sustained a concussion that year.
- A sprained shoulder cost him 5 games in 2019. He missed a 6th game with a concussion. Conner also dealt with knee, ankle and quad issues that year.
- He missed 1 game last year with a quad injury and 2 more on the COVID list. He was also knocked out of the season opener with an ankle injury.
- And if that wasn’t enough, Conner needed toe surgery this offseason after an ATV accident.
- Conner inked a 1-year, $1.75 million deal with the Cardinals in April -- about a month into free agency.
- Arizona is looking to replace the departed Kenyan Drake, who handled 239 carries and 31 targets last year. That was 49.9% of the team’s carries and 5.4% of the targets.
- Conner and Chase Edmonds will battle for the vast majority of the Cardinals’ RB work this season.
- Conner actually beat Edmonds in Elusive Rating and PFF rushing grade last year.
- He also has more than 20 pounds on Edmonds and is probably the favorite for goal-line duties. Edmonds received just 1 carry inside the 5-yard line last year. Conner got 9 and scored on 5 of them.
- Edmonds racked up 67 targets, 53 catches, 402 yards and 4 TDs last season and easily beat Conner in yards per route run and PFF receiving grade.
- The Cardinals upgraded the offensive line by trading a 3rd-round pick to Vegas for C Rodney Hudson, who ranked 8th among 32 qualifying Cs in PFF’s 2020 run-blocking grades. That’s a big improvement over last year’s starter, Mason Cole, who ranked 21st.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Conner waited about a month into free agency before landing a cheap, 1-year deal with the Cardinals. That tells you how the league feels about him at this point. He’s dealt with a bunch of injuries over the last 3 seasons and hasn’t been very effective the past 2.
He finds plenty of opportunity in Arizona, where the Cardinals are looking to replace Kenyan Drake’s 239 carries and 31 targets from a year ago. Conner might be the favorite to lead Chase Edmonds in carries for as long as he can stay healthy. But it’ll be a committee backfield -- and we’re expecting Edmonds to handle most of the pass-catching work.
That leaves Conner looking like just a RB3 for your fantasy squad.