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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 15: Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) looks on during the NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Has James Conner Found his Groove?

The first three games of the 2019 season for Conner were pretty disappointing, to say the least. A lot of us were expecting Conner to come out of the gate as a low-end RB1 option on fantasy rosters.

That hasn’t been the case during the first quarter of the season with him. At this time, he is 38th in rushing yards (34.8/gm), 15th in fantasy points (14.6/gm), and 18th in snap share percentage (60.0%).

We can attribute a lot of this to the fact that the Steelers lost a great amount to their offense over the last several months, but there finally may be hope.

Last Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, Conner finally had a productive game. He had 125 total yards and scored a receiving touchdown as well to cap off a very successful evening.

He wound up finishing the week as RB6 with 26.5 fantasy points in the process. These numbers are sort of what many people were expecting from Conner prior to the start of the regular season.

I do want to say that Conner has finally broken out his slump, but it can’t be official quite yet. He will have to do it repeatedly for an extended period of time, in order to convince us all that his Week 4 showing against the Bengals wasn’t a fluke.

We also must put into account the fact that the Steelers were playing against a decimated Bengals squad who appears to be in tank mode for this season. Could Conner’s success this past week have come in large part from playing against a really bad defense? I sincerely hope not, but that’s why I am trying to curb all the excitement for now.

If he can produce against more formidable defenses in the next upcoming games of the season, then we can hop on the Conner train. If it appears that Conner was very productive mainly because of a terrible Bengals’ defense, then our newfound optimism will quickly evaporate.

A large portion of Conner’s success from this season lies within the receiving game. He is currently sixth in receiving yards (38.2/gm), and seventh in receptions (4.8/gm) among active running backs this year.

Let’s see how he fairs against a Baltimore Ravens’ front that sits just outside the bottom-10 in terms of receiving yards allowed per target to opposing backs (8.47).

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