Eno Benjamin or Darrel Williams: Who Leads Cardinals' Backfield With James Conner Injured?

Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin.
Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals dodged a major bullet in Week 2, as running back James Conner reportedly avoided a serious ankle injury against the Las Vegas Raiders. 

That being said, there is no guarantee that Conner will be ready to go in Week 2, which would leave Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams as the top options to get carries in the backfield in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams

Williams, who scored in Week 2, came over from the Kansas City Chiefs this past offseason. He played the feature back role at times for Kansas City when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was sidelined with injuries. 

Against the Raiders, Williams appeared to be the lead dog running the ball, but Benjamin saw more targets once Conner exited the game. 

Eno Benjamin Has Value to Lead Cardinals Backfield

There’s no doubt that Williams played well in Week 2, carrying the ball eight times for 59 yards and a score, but I don’t think he is the top option to replace Conner. 

Benjamin, who was the clear backup in Week 1 to Conner, has played 38.82 percent of the snaps for the Cardinals this season, and he still saw 11 touches in Week 2, turning them into 51 yards. 

Williams had a much lesser role in the passing game (two catches, three yards), but the bigger issue for him was his usage when Conner was healthy. Williams did not log a single offensive snap in Week 1, which tells me Benjamin is clearly ahead of him in the pecking order at the position. 

While Williams may vulture carries here and there if Conner misses Week 3, Benjamin has a solid floor as a receiver already this season, catching six of his eight targets for 53 yards in two games. He’s been targeted four times in each game. 

If Kliff Kingsbury decides to split the rushing work like he did in Week 2, Benjamin is still likely the favorite to get passing down work and scripted plays in the passing game. 

If you’re looking for rushing/receiving props or even an anytime touchdown scorer, I’d lean with Benjamin over Williams in Week 3, especially since the Rams are favored and could put the Cardinals behind early.

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.