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 continue with the running backs. Today, we take a look at a running back who everyone thought was brought to Arizona to be the true backup to Chase Edmonds. But, it turns out, Arizona brought him in to be good, and he was! What should we expect from James Conner’s 2022 fantasy football season?
James Conner ADP and AAV:
Average Draft Position: RB19, 36 overall
Average Auction Value: $23.4
James Conner Statistics:
|Year||G||GS||Rush||Ru Yds||Ru TD||Tgt||Rec||Yards||TD||Touches||Opp||Total Yards|
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tch||HPPR Pts/Tch||PPR Pts/Tch|
2022 James Conner Fantasy Football Overview:
I was all-in on James Conner last season specifically because of his price point and what I saw his role in the offense being without Kenyan Drake around. I asked, and people poo-pooed a simple question: what if James Conner is there to be Kenyan Drake? And, it turns out, that’s exactly why he was there. Conner ended the season with fourteen goal-line carries, which ranked second in the league (tied with new teammate Darrel Williams) as well as the eleventh-most receiving yards.
Nobody had as high of a peak as James Conner last season. And when I say nobody, I mean nobody (except James Conner. He had his torrid streak at the same time as Joe Mixon’s much-ballyhooed hot streak (100 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game), James Conner actually scored more fantasy points than Mixon… who was averaging over 100 yards and a touchdown per game.
That’s because James Conner catches a ton of passes, though that role was taken by Chase Edmonds last season. Conner, without Edmonds, averaged 5 targets, 4 catches, and 50 yards per game. Well, Chase Edmonds is gone now, and Conner is likely to return to his 2018 form wherein he had the thirteenth-most running back targets in the league.
The only thing holding me back from being full gung-ho on James Conner is the Darrel Williams signing. If I had to pick a guy in the league whose skills most closely match James Conner, I would probably go with Darrel Williams. While the Cardinals paid James conner to be The Guy, I doubt he gets free reign over that backfield. Williams’ presence makes for a clear free and easy guy to spell Conner as needed, without a big drop in production. That means that Arizona won’t have to push Conner so hard, to ensure they get at least 15 games out of him. That will limit his overall upside. But still, there’s plenty of upside to have, with his target volume and goal-line carries being what they are.
2022 James Conner Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
James Conner’s price is surprisingly consistent across snake drafts and salary cap drafts. He’s the RB19 (pick 40 overall) in snake drafts, and he’s $22.8 in salary cap drafts (#19th priciest running back and 34th-priciest player). I can’t think of anything to say other than: sure. It’s a fine pick for a guy who has top-ten running back upside (due to touchdowns) and RB30 downside (due to injuries). We could basically split the difference and call him RB20, and I’m perfectly fine with that.
When James Conner plays, you’re going to have a super solid player who is going to get a ton of touchdown opportunities in the Arizona offense. But, he’s not especially explosive and has trouble staying healthy. Because of all that, I’m more than happy to call him my RB2 on a team with strong non-running backs or my RB3 or RB4 in a powerful stable of running backs if I draft with a robust running back strategy.
Best Case Scenario:
James Conner is the clear RB1 in Arizona next year, and he finishes with 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Worst Case Scenario:
Darrel Williams steals James Conner’s identity and banishes him to the shadow realm; nobody seems to notice.
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[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Header Image Source: James Conner on Twitter]