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What to do with James Conner, Jaylen Samuels in Week 9 fantasy football

James Conner’s shoulder is hurting and Jaylen Samuels’ is ready to get back on the field after three-games off. Who is the play in Week 9?

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner makes a one handed catch before game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers running back James Conner comes off a huge game Monday night against the Dolphins, rushing 23 times for 145 yards and a touchdown and catching 3-of-4 targets for five yards. Unfortunately, he was in the game during mop up duty and injured his shoulder.

Jaylen Samuels had a knee scope before Week 6 and saw a full week of practice before Week 8, but the team held him out, which might have been a good move, as he’s fully ready to go while Conner missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practice.

The third-string running back, Benny Snell hurt his knee Monday night and will miss a few weeks, so touches could be extremely concentrated if Conner were to miss.

Fantasy football analysis: Pittsburgh Steeler RBs James Conner, Jaylen Samuels

Pittsburgh hosts the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in the early games, so we will at least know for sure if Conner will suit up or not. There has been some indication that the Conner will try to play through the injury, but so far it doesn’t look great for his participation. If he doesn’t, Samuels becomes a strong start on all platforms.

The Colts are good at limiting big plays both on the ground and through the air, but they are weak against the run, ranking 29th in DVOA. They end up slowing the game down and getting leads, which limits running back touches. So far, no running back has topped 19 touches in a game against them.

The lack of opportunities does limit fantasy upside on average, but the Steelers will work to establish the run no matter who is their back and both Conner and Samuels are used extensively in the passing game. With Conner not 100 percent, the worry for fantasy footballer is that he will be a game-time decision and end up playing with a report that he will be on a snap count. That hasn’t happened and hopefully won’t to help us with clarity when setting our lineups.

Traditional Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Samuels with confidence if Conner is out.

Start Conner if reports consider him a full-go for Sunday.

DraftKings DFS Recommendation

Conner’s price is at $7,600, which is too high considering his injury even if plays. Jaylen Samuels is $4,000 and if Conner sits, Samuels will be the free square in your lineup, as everyone will start him and for good reason.