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FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS

James Conner showing no signs of slowing down

By Jared Smola | Updated on Tue, 04 Jun 2024, 8:48 AM EDT
James Conner Headshot

Cardinals RB James Conner turned 29 in May, which tends to be a dangerous age for RBs according to our aging-curve research. But Conner has shown no signs of decline. In fact, his 80.0 rushing yards per game last year were a career high and ranked fourth league-wide behind only Kyren Williams, Christian McCaffrey, and Nick Chubb. Conner also excelled in advanced rushing metrics, ranking top-12 among 49 qualifying RBs in NFL Next Gen Stats’ Rush Yards Over Expected Per Attempt, yards after contact per attempt, missed tackles forced per attempt, and Pro Football Focus rushing grade.

2024 Fantasy Football Impact

There are certainly concerns with Conner heading into 2024. On top of his age, Conner remains one of the bigger injury risks at his position. He’s never played a full season, missing 24 total games over the last seven years. Our Injury Predictor gives Conner an 88.4% chance of injury and 2.8 projected games missed this season. Those are the fifth- and 12th-highest marks among RBs.

The Cardinals also added RB Trey Benson in the third round of this spring's draft.

But those concerns are all baked into Conner's low-end RB2/high-end RB3 ADP. If he runs as well this season as he did last, it's tough to imagine his workload changing much. And this Arizona offense could be much better with a healthy QB Kyler Murray and the addition of WR Marvin Harrison.

Conner has the upside to smash his current price tag. He finished seventh among RBs in PPR points per game last year and led the position in per-game scoring from Week 13 on.

Dynasty Impact

Conner obviously holds much less dynasty than redraft value. Our aging-curve data projects just 70-80% of peak production from a 29-year-old RB. That’s down from 80-90% at age-28.

That said, Conner would not cost much acquire and could be a key piece for teams contending in 2024.

Projected ADP Movement

Conner is sitting in late Round 8 as RB27 in Underdog ADP. He's going higher in FFPC drafts: Round 6 and RB20.

We're not expecting that ADP to climb significantly. Fantasy drafters don't tend to like old RBs. In fact, it's possible that Conner gets even cheaper if there's Benson buzz this summer.

Conner figures to be a value target throughout draft season.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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