James Conner's 2022 Projections & Outlook
#12 Running Back
201.1 Projected Points
DS 3D Projections
What You Need to Know:
- Conner posted a 202-752-15 rushing line and 37-375-3 receiving line in 15 games last season.
- He missed Weeks 16 and 17 with a heel injury.
- Conner finished RB9 in PPR points per game and RB5 in non-PPR points per game.
- His fantasy production was fueled largely by his 15 rushing TDs – 2nd league-wide to only Jonathan Taylor’s 18.
- Conner did that despite ranking just 17th in carries and 24th in rushing yards.
- But he ranked 2nd in expected rushing TDs (11.0).
- Conner ranked 8th among RBs in red-zone carries (41), 3rd in carries inside the 10-yard line (28) and 2nd in carries inside the 5 (16).
- Among 50 RBs with 100+ carries last season, Conner ranked 27th in Pro Football Focus’ rushing grades and 17th in Elusive Rating.
- Conner was super efficient as a receiver, hauling in 37 of 39 targets (94.9%) for 375 yards (10.1 YPC).
- Among 49 RBs with 30+ targets last year, Conner ranked 1st in yards per target, 8th in yards per route run and 3rd in PFF receiving grade.
- Conner played 6 games without RB Chase Edmonds last season. In those games, he averaged:
- 81.5% snap rate
- 16.7 carries
- 59.2 rushing yards
- 1.2 rushing TDs
- 5.3 targets
- 5.0 catches
- 51.7 receiving yards
- .5 receiving TDs
- Conner ranked 3rd among RBs in expected PPR points per game and 4th in expected non-PPR points per game across those 6 games without Edmonds
- He ranked 2nd in actual PPR and non-PPR points per game.
- Edmonds signed with the Dolphins in free agency this offseason.
- Meanwhile, the Cardinals gave Conner a 3-year, $21 million deal with $13.5 million guaranteed. He ranks 10th among RBs in average annual salary and 9th in guaranteed money.
- The Cardinals added RB Keaontay Ingram in Round 6 of this spring’s draft and signed RB Darrel Williams in May. RBs Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward return from last year’s squad. None of these guys is a threat to Conner’s starting job.
- Arizona will be without WR DeAndre Hopkins for the first 6 games of the season after he was slapped with a suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
- The 2021 Cardinals ranked 30th in PFF’s run-blocking grades and 26th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards.
- The only significant addition Arizona made on the line this offseason was G Will Hernandez, who ranked 57th among 70 qualifiers in PFF’s 2021 run-blocking grades.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
You can certainly argue that Conner is a bigger injury risk than most RBs. He’s missed 14 games over the last 4 seasons with ankle, shoulder, quad and heel injuries.
But Conner also looks like a good bet for RB1 production when he’s on the field. He actually scored as the #2 RB in all of fantasy football in 6 games last year without RB Chase Edmonds, who’s now in Miami. Conner should be in a similar role in 2022 with only Darrel Williams, Eno Benjamin and 6th-round rookie Keaontay Ingram behind him on the depth chart.
We like Conner as a target in Round 3 or later of fantasy drafts.