Benny Snell Jr. Fantasy Must-Add Amid James Conner Injury

Getty Benny Snell Jr. of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers starting running back James Conner returned to the team’s lineup in Week 11 after a two-game absence. However, the team did not get to enjoy the fruits of his labor for very long. Conner re-aggravated an existing shoulder injury early on in the team’s loss to the divisional foe Cleveland Browns.

Conner has now been ruled out for the team’s Week 12 matchup, another divisional bout, this time against the Cincinnati Bengals.

While fantasy football owners ran to the waiver wire amidst the news of Conner’s playing status in hopes of scooping his backup Jaylen Samuels, but the back to own in Pittsburgh may very well actually be a rookie with just 29 career touches to his name.

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Benny Snell Jr.’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Benny Snell Jr. is currently listed as the Pittsburgh Steelers third-string running back on the team’s depth chart. So why in the world would he warrant a place on your fantasy roster?

Many people have forgotten about Snell, as the rookie has been dealing with an injury of his own, missing each of the team’s past three games with a knee injury. However, one person who hasn’t forgotten about Snell is Steelers head Coach Mike Tomlin. Here’s what Tomlin had to say about Snell to the media earlier this week prior to learning of his availability for Sunday.

“I’m excited about the potential return of Benny Snell, who’s coming off a knee injury. He has been cleared to practice this week, and we’ll get him on the field and see what he looks like.”

Now, with Snell cleared to play in Week 12 let’s take a look at what he has to offer to a Steelers offense desperate for playmakers.

Snell was brilliant during his time at the University of Kentucky. He was just the third SEC running back to eclipse 1,300 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in each of his first two seasons in college. Herschel Walker and Knowshon Moreno are the only two other backs to do so.

Snell also seemed to be carving out a role within the Steelers offense prior to going down with an injury. Back in Week 6, the rookie touted the rock 17 times for 75 rushing yards and an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Those numbers were all team highs that week, despite James Conner being available and healthy.

In terms of Steelers running backs’ fantasy outlooks this week, Jaylen Samuels will still lead the team in receptions. Samuels has totaled 21 receptions over the team’s past three games. However, he’s also been horrendous in the ground game, averaging a putrid 1.65 yards per carry in two of his last three contests. Snell, on the other hand, has averaged 4.2 ypc this season.

Whoever is featured in the backfield this week will be working against the league’s fifth-worst fantasy defense in terms of defending the running back position. Leading rushers to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals have eclipsed 100-yards rushing or scored a touchdown in every game since Week 5.

Should You Start or Sit Benny Snell Jr.  in Week 12?

If you’re still doing research on start or sit decisions, chances are you’re likely in the thick of things when it comes to the playoff race in your respective fantasy league.

To roll with Snell would be way too big of a risk this week, even with a mouth-watering matchup. However, he is likely to see his role increase, while there is no reason to believe James Conner won’t miss more time post Week 12.

Snell is owned in just 2% of Yahoo leagues at the moment. Do yourself a favor and scoop him before he possibly becomes the top waiver-wire add of Week 13. He may just be what your team needs to make a title run.

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