2021 James Conner Fantasy Football Player Profile

James Conner

It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We finished our quarterbacks already; that means it’s time to get to the most frustrating position! That’s right, we’re on to the running backs. Today we take a look at a running back who swapped teams, and who everybody hates because he’s always injured. Except, injury prone is not a thing? It’s the 2021 James Conner player profile!

James Conner ADP & AAV:

Average Draft Position (HPPR): RB35, Pick 85
Average Auction Value: $1.5 (T-RB39)

James Conner Statistics:
Year G GS Rush Ru Yds Ru TD Tgt Rec Yards TD Touches Opp Total Yards
2020 13 11 169 721 6 43 35 215 0 204 212 936
2019 10 10 116 464 4 38 34 251 3 150 154 715
2018 13 12 215 973 12 71 55 497 1 270 286 1470
Year YPC Rush/G Ru Yd/G Tgt/G Rec/G Catch% Yds/Tgt Yds/Rec Touches/G Opp/G Yds/G
2020 4.27 13.0 55.5 3.31 2.69 81.4% 5.00 6.14 15.69 16.31 72.00
2019 4 11.6 46.4 3.80 3.40 89.5% 6.61 7.38 15.00 15.40 71.50
2018 4.53 16.5 74.8 5.46 4.23 77.5% 7.00 9.04 20.77 22.00 113.08
Year Std Pts HPPR Pts PPR Pts Pts/G HPPR Pts/G PPR Pts/G Pts/Tch HPPR Pts/Tch PPR Pts/Tch
2020 129.6 147.1 164.6 9.97 11.32 12.7 0.64 0.72 0.81
2019 111.5 128.5 145.5 11.15 12.85 14.55 0.74 0.86 0.97
2018 225 252.5 280 17.31 19.42 21.54 0.83 0.94 1.04
2021 James Conner Fantasy Football Overview:

Going into the last couple of seasons, everybody really liked James Conner, myself included. Unfortunately, Conner is yet to play an entire season in the NFL through four years, and has averaged just 11 games played over each of the last three years. But, in those games, he was still… pretty dang good. James Conner took over for Le’Veon Bell at the beginning of the 2017 season, and his per game figures are quite good (86.7 yards, 3.4 catches, 0.75 TD). But, again, those injuries are quite the bugaboo for Conner.

There’s a lot of burn online about how Chase Edmonds is going to take over this backfield and establish himself as an alpha but… no evidence of this outside of our own heads. Chase Edmonds has had some shots and value, but never put it all together. What if he’s just Kenyan Drake with the Cardinals? I mean, he most certainly could be.

Over the last three seasons, since James Conner emerged, he averaged 13.9 carries and 3.4 receptions per game (17.3 touches) for 86.7 yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game with the Steelers.  With the Arizona Cardinals, Kenyan Drake averaged 15.7 carries and 2.3 receptions per game (18 touches), for 82.9 yards per game and 0.8 touchdowns per game. As I said, they are very different running backs, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

[Update: I wrote this earlier this week. Yes, I saw the Pro Football Network rumor mill article about this being a competition “in name only.” I’m not particularly concerned what an “inside source” tells someone about the form a camp battle might take.]

2021 James Conner Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:

James Conner Auction Value: $0
Draft Ranking: Find out for your league settings in a Beersheet!

So we knock Conner down to RB35, but even at RB35, people are worried about James Conner. Why? What if I told you that you could guarantee a running back would get you about 80 yards per game for three-quarters of the season? That would be James Conner.

But, a lot of the knock against him is he won’t produce given a new situation. Let’s look at PlayerProfiler.com’s profiles for these Conner and the man he replaces, Kenyan Drake, on PlayerProfiler.com, as presented by PlayerProfiler.com. In 2020, James Conner created twice as many yards per touch as Kenyan Drake (1.32 versus 0.66) while facing more defenders in the box (7.0 versus 6.6). Conner also had a higher breakaway rate and converted his goal-line carries at a higher clip than Drake. James Conner and Kenyan Drake are different players, but they end up in pretty much the same spot.

If Kenyan Drake stayed with the Cardinals, you would absolutely smash him at RB35. Well, James Conner might just be better than Drake. Smash that draft button.

Best Case Scenario:

The Cardinals rotate him in in the exact same role as Kenyan Drake, and he’s a better goal line back. Conner would end up around RB15 to RB20 in this situation.

Worst Case Scenario:

His body turns into a fine mist on the first drive of 2021.

Check out all our 2021 player profiles, here.

Want more 2021 fantasy football draft discussion? Check out these links!


quarterback Beersheets Arizona Cardinals Seattle Seahawks Los Angeles Rams San Francisco 49ers New England Patriots

[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]

[Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/James_Conner.jpg, cropped by CC BY-SA 2.0]

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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