Fantasy Football: Can James Conner be trusted as Le’Veon Bell’s replacement?

James Conner steps into the role as the starting running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ high-flying offense. Can he be trusted to produce at an elite fantasy football level?

By Neil Harrington

Le’Veon Bell’s teammates aren’t the only ones unhappy with that Prima Donna’s greediness and pure selfishness.

Many fantasy football honks gave Bell the honor and privilege of going first overall in their respective drafts — or close to it.

Now, he’s bitten the hands that feed, threatening to hold out as late as Week 10 of the NFL and fantasy football season.

For those left scrambling and panicking without an RB1, hopefully, you snagged his backup, James Conner.

If you’re like me and were set to face off against Bell in your Week 1 matchup, you handcuffed your opponent by snagging Conner.

Well well, well. How the turntables have turned.

If you are wondering if you can trust Conner in your starting lineup; the answer is a resounding yes.

According to team reports, Conner is set to receive a Bell-like workload this week, and beyond, if the holdout continues.

It’s business as usual, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are keeping the same game plan –only plugging Conner into the RB slot as they would Bell.

In Week 1, Conner is projected to get 20-plus touches and take on the role as the workhorse for the Steelers. The Steelers will undoubtedly be up on the Browns in the second half, meaning Conner will continue getting the rock late in the game — increasing his value.

The only concern is if Conner is fully recovered from his 2017 knee injury. Upon his return from the untimely injury, Conner struggled out of the gate. His burst, breakaway speed, and precise cuts were nowhere to be found.

However, preseason 2018 proved that Conner’s injury is a thing of the past and he’s ready for a leading role. That very speed burst and on the dime cuts that were once lost are now found.

Ready or not, here it comes, with Conner due for a breakout game against the Browns.

If you are loaded at running back and have two guys such as Melvin Gordon and Alvin Kamara as your one-two punch, plug James Conner into your flex.

But, if you’re depth at running back is thin, and you snagged Conner off of the wire, feel confident in plugging him into your RB1 or RB2 slots.

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With Conner’s Week 1 volume and workload estimation, the floor is high, and the ceiling is out the roof — with Conner capable of putting up Kareem Hunt 2017 Week 1 production.

Start Conner. Just do it!