James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Thu 1/21/21 10:27 AM

The Steelers could try to re-sign Conner, but they won't necessarily bring him back as their starting running back, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
EDGE Analysis
Conner was the team's lead back for the final three season of his rookie contract, starting with a breakout 2018 in which he piled up 1,470 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He sunk to 715 yards and seven TDs in 10 games the next season, before putting up 936 yards and six scores across 13 appearances in 2020. The 2017 third-round pick can become an unrestricted free agent in March, two months prior to his 26th birthday. Staying in Pittsburgh might give him his best shot at a starting job, though it would depend on the team's other transactions in free agency and the draft. None of the guys behind Conner in the Pittsburgh backfield -- Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Samuels -- was able to make a significant impact in 2020, with the team finishing dead last in both rushing yards (1,351) and yards per carry (3.6).

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Sun 1/3/21 8:02 PM

Conner rushed the ball nine times for 37 yards in Week 17 against the Browns. He added five receptions for 25 yards.
EDGE Analysis
Conner led the Steelers' backfield with nine carries, though the team attempted only 20 total rushes for the game. He remained involved as a receiver and has combined for 10 receptions and 70 yards across his last two games. Conner ends the regular season with 936 total yards, falling shy of 1,000 for the second consecutive campaign. He will presumably serve as the team's lead back throughout its playoff run prior to entering the offseason as a free agent.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Sun 12/27/20 5:40 PM

Conner (quadriceps) carried five times for 20 yards and a touchdown while catching all five of his targets for an additional 45 yards during Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts.
EDGE Analysis
Returning from a one-game absence, Conner marked the occasion with a one-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. His carries were limited as his team trailed for the majority of the game, but he offset that by notching new season highs in catches and receiving yards. Conner has been held under 40 rushing yards in four of his last five games, but he is presumably healthy now and will look to finish the regular season on a high note in next Sunday's finale against the Browns.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Wed 12/23/20 4:51 PM

Conner (quad) practiced fully Wednesday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.
EDGE Analysis
That puts Conner, who sat out this past Monday's loss to the Bengals, on track to be available Sunday against the Colts. That said, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network previously noted that coach Mike Tomlin indicated that Benny Snell -- one of the team's few bright spots in Week 15 -- has to "have the opportunity to be impactful" this weekend. Such a scenario would clearly cut into Conner's Week 16 workload.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Tue 12/22/20 12:35 PM

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Conner (quadriceps) may be available for Sunday's game against the Colts, but he wouldn't guarantee that the 25-year-old would serve as Pittsburgh's lead back if he suits up, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reports.
EDGE Analysis
Though the Steelers suffered an embarrassing 27-17 loss to the 3-10-1 Bengals while Conner was sidelined Week 15, fill-in starter Benny Snell was one of the few bright spots for Pittsburgh, rushing 18 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and hauling in three of four targets for 23 yards. Per Kinkhabwala, Tomlin said Tuesday that Snell will "have the opportunity to be impactful" against the Colts, suggesting Pittsburgh could opt for a timeshare out of the backfield if Conner gains clearance to play. With no touchdowns and only 185 yards from scrimmage over his previous four outings, Conner's fantasy value had already been on the decline, and the prospect of him sharing work coming off an injury would only further dim his appeal.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Mon 12/21/20 3:57 PM

The Steelers have downgraded Conner (quadriceps) to out for Monday's game in Cincinnati.
EDGE Analysis
Conner's quad injury will force him to miss his third game in four weeks. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Benny Snell is the favorite to draw the start in Conner's stead, though Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland also will be candidates to handle increased roles.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Mon 12/21/20 3:45 PM

The Steelers are expected to downgrade Conner (quadriceps) to out for Monday's game against the Bengals, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
EDGE Analysis
Conner clearly wasn't himself Week 14, his first game back from a two-week absence, when he went for just 18 yards on 10 carries against Buffalo. Given the 25-year-old's injury history, the Steelers may simply be taking a cautious approach to his health while keeping an eye toward the postseason. Benny Snell is expected to start in Conner's place, while Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland could also see increased roles.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Sat 12/19/20 3:33 PM

Conner (quad) is listed as questionable for Monday's game against the Bengals, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio reports.
EDGE Analysis
Conner was listed as a limited participant in practice for a second consecutive day Saturday, opening up the possibility the fourth-year back could be able to play against the Bengals in Monday's 8:15 p.m. ET tilt. Conner was hardly effective in the previous meeting with Cincinnati in Week 10 (13 carries for 36 yards), so fantasy managers may just want err on the side of caution, especially given the nature of the 25-year-old's injury and the timing of the Steelers' Week 15 kickoff.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Fri 12/18/20 3:34 PM

Conner (quad) returned to practice Friday in a limited fashion, Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
EDGE Analysis
The activity is a step in the right direction for the Steelers' lead back, after he sat out Thursday's practice. Saturday's injury report will reveal whether Conner approaches Monday's game against the Bengals with an injury designation. If Conner ends up sitting out Week 15, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels would be the next men up for touches and snaps out of the Pittsburgh backfield.

James Conner
RB ARI (13)
Thu 12/17/20 3:43 PM

Conner (quad) didn't practice Thursday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.
EDGE Analysis
The running back still has two chances to return to practice this week, but his status must be closely monitored as Monday night's game against the Bengals approaches. If he's out or limited in Week 15, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels would be in line to head the Steelers' backfield versus 2-10-1 Cincinnati.