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Fantasy situation for Steelers backfield after James Conner injury

The Steelers have injury issues in their backfield. We break down the fantasy football implications in Week 9 for James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Benny Snell.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels  fakes a handoff to Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner while in the wildcat formation during a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 06, 2019 at Heinz Field. Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with a host of injury issues at the running back position. Jaylen Samuels has been sidelined for a month with a knee injury, Benny Snell suffered a knee injury during Week 8 Monday Night Football, and then James Conner suffered a shoulder injury in garbage time of that game. It left Trey Edmunds as the only healthy running back during the final two minutes of the game.

On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin met with the media and had some updates on the various injuries. He had confirmed that Conner was dealing with an AC joint injury, and on Tuesday, he said that Conner is getting an MRI today, but he could be available on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, according to beat writer Gerry Dulac. Tomlin said Conner would be limited in practice but does not need a full week of work to play.

Tomlin also said that Samuels is good to go for this Sunday after missing only three weeks, according to Dulac. Samuels had his knee scoped following the team’s Week 5 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Fantasy football analysis: Steelers RBs James Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels

If Conners can go on Sunday, he’ll be starting. If he cannot, Samuels seems like the logical candidate to start. Snell has looked solid at times, but he was behind Samuels prior to the injury, so will likely return there with Samuels being healthy again.

From a fantasy perspective, whomever is starting is the choice against the Colts. There will be enough touches for starter value, but if Conner is healthy, Samuels and Snell do not hold enough value to play — even as flex options. The Colts run defense has been fairly stout this season. Conner — or Samuel if Conner is inactive — is a solid start regardless of opponent, but it will be a tough battle for whomever starts this weekend.