James Conner was fantasy gold last season en route to a top-5 running back finish in fantasy football while playing in his first year with the Arizona Cardinals. Now, he’s entering his 2nd year in Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s system after getting a 3-year, 21 million dollar deal. Conner led the Cardinals in rushing yards (752), rushing touchdowns (15), and total touchdowns (18), and was named a Pro Bowler for the second time in his career. So, what could be forecasted for James Conner for the 2022 season and for his dynasty value? Is he a long-term piece or a win-now piece? Find out below if you should trade for him or what to expect.
James Conner 2021 Season
James Conner had one of the best seasons of his career. When most everyone was ready to close the book on Conner, he opened it back up. Not only did he set career highs in games played and touchdowns, but he re-established himself as an elite fantasy running back. He played on 58% of the Cardinals’ offensive snaps despite only starting six games. Oh yeah, he missed two games with injuries.
If he hadn’t missed those two games, he was on pace for over 20 touchdowns, 220+ rushes, 900+ yards, 45+ targets, and over 400+ receiving yards. Simply put, Conner was a monster. Of course, he played for a contract as he was 26 years old and trying to prove his worth after two injury-riddled years. Conner did miss two games with a rib injury, but that isn’t an injury that is long-term affecting. It’s great news that Conner has never truly had long-term knee injuries. Conner reset his player stock in the fantasy market.
James Conner 2022 Season Outlook
Conner returns as the lead RB1 for the high-powered Arizona Cardinals offense. This is great news since you want running backs part of high-scoring teams. I project Conner to finish as RB8-14 on the season depending on other players’ health and performance.
Those numbers would set numerous career-highs for James. He would reach a new high in rushing attempts, touches, and other categories. This assumes that he only plays in 16 games since I believe he will ultimately miss a game just due to his history.
James Conner will still be plenty talented. He’s going to get the ball, especially in the red zone. That was his spot to make a huge impact. I doubt the Cardinals move away from giving him the ball when he has a nose from a bloodhound for the end zone. Conner will be another force to be reckoned with in fantasy and on the gridiron.
The arguments to trade for or away James Conner
The argument to trade James Conner away is plain and simple. His price will never be higher, and he’s already a 26-year-old running back with 734 rushes. Granted, that’s a small rushing attempt total compared to his career. Running backs tend to slow down a lot in their age-27/28 seasons, depending on how many touches they’ve had over their career. Conner shouldn’t slow down until he’s 28 or so, but he will also be the main running back for the Cardinals this year. That should give him two more RB1 years.
If you can trade Conner away and obtain a first, as I did, then it’s a smart decision. That first will provide more long-term value than an aging James Conner would. However, not many running backs will do better over the next 1-2 years than James Conner. The Cardinals’ offense is going to score plenty. Conner will be one of the focal points of that offense.
If you want to win now, try offering a second or two for a running back that could help lead you to the championship. He did that for me last year. James Conner will be an elite running back, but the time is limited. If you acquire him, know that you might be stuck with him or have to sell him at a depreciated cost.
James Conner should exceed 1,200 total yards along with clearing over 13 total touchdowns this year. He will be one of the best-performing fantasy running backs this year. I predict he’s active in 16 games this year while averaging 15.5 points per game in PPR scoring. That’s a great ppg average for an RB on a team set to win the championship this year. You could do far worse than acquiring James Conner.
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