When Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner suffered an injury in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins, it led to a major question mark about how the team would replace him. Conner appeared to have suffered an injury to his clavicle at the time, and he was later diagnosed with an AC joint sprain.
In an impressive Week 9 performance, at least as a pass-catcher, electrifying backup Jaylen Samuels stepped in and caught 13 passes for 73 yards in the victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Now, it appears Samuels could have another big workload on his plate in Week 10.
As Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed, Conner is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
With Conner likely to sit this game out, Samuels becomes a focal point of the Steelers offense, but there’s still a chance he could face competition for touches, as we saw last game.
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Jaylen Samuels’ Fantasy Outlook vs. Rams
While Samuels hasn’t shown the ability to dominate on the ground this season, his upside as a pass-catcher is more than a bit noteworthy. A date with the Rams isn’t a walk in the park, and as Yahoo Sports shows, they rank No. 15 overall in terms of fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs.
On the season, the Rams have allowed 21.3 fantasy points to the position on a weekly basis. This includes 91.3 yards on the ground and a strong 37.4 receiving yards to pass-catching running backs. The Rams’ ability to hold running backs capable of catching passes in check is noteworthy, as it ranks as the No. 10 fewest, which could impact Samuels’ chances of major success.
Jaylen Samuels a Fantasy Start or Sit in Week 10?
Considering that Samuels is a huge part of the passing attack and obviously a target who quarterback Mason Rudolph relies on, it’s hard to ignore his fantasy football upside in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues. The status of fellow backup running back Trey Edmunds is also up in the air at this point, as he missed practice on Wednesday.
If Edmunds does play, it’s likely he’ll receive a decent amount of the work in the ground game. Against the Colts, Edmunds tallied 73 rushing yards on 12 carries while Samuels had just 10 yards on eight carries. Obviously, the fantasy value of these two players directly depends on the type of league you’re in, though, as PPR leagues will offer a huge boost to Samuels’ outlook compared to his counterpart.
Based on how banged up the Steelers backfield is, paired with Samuels’ potential to receive a massive workload, it’ll be hard to leave him on the bench, especially considering all the teams on a bye this week. Don’t overthink it if Edmunds is ruled as well because the 23-year-old running back would then become a must-play with one of the highest floors of any player.