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James Conner Signs Extension with Cardinals: Fantasy Football Takeaways & Implications (2022)

James Conner Signs Extension with Cardinals: Fantasy Football Takeaways & Implications (2022)

With Chase Edmonds heading to Miami, the road has been cleared in Arizona for James Conner, who reached an agreement on a contract extension with the Cardinals. Andrew Erickson shares his fantasy football outlook for Conner.

And don’t miss the rest of our takeaways from all of the recent news:

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James Conner is coming home. The Arizona Cardinals re-signed their RB1 from a season ago to a three-year, $21 million dollar extension, locking him in as their guy for the foreseeable future.

It’s an awesome signing for fantasy football because it puts Conner firmly in the top-12 running back conversation, especially with Edmonds no longer in the picture. The ex-Steelers running back finished the 2021 season tied for second in goal-line carries and third in touchdowns (18).

Conner received extensive work in the passing game with Edmonds out of the lineup from Weeks 9-14 and Week 18. In those six games, Conner averaged 26.2 fantasy points and 5.5 targets per game while running a route on 61% of the Cardinals’ dropbacks. Conner’s route participation would have ranked second among all running backs in 2021 (behind Najee Harris, 66%).

His receiving game prowess – PFF’s fourth-highest graded receiving running back – along with capable depth in Jonathan Ward and Eno Benjamin was enough to convince the Cardinals they needed to prioritize Conner over Edmonds in free agency.

Edmonds’ departure also opens the door for Eno Benjamin to carve out a role as the No. 2 runner in the Cardinals backfield.
– Andrew Erickson


I’m guessing there’s going to be a market overreaction to the Cardinals re-signing Conner on the same day that Chase Edmonds agreed to a deal with the Miami Dolphins. Conner was immensely valuable last year while Edmonds missed time due to injury, showing run-catch versatility and piling up yardage and touchdowns. The rest of the year, Conner’s value was mostly derived from touchdowns. Conner is going to share the Arizona backfield again, either with Eno Benjamin, a rookie, or some other veteran the Cardinals bring in, and TD regression is going to come knocking. The perception among some fantasy managers will be that Conner will have the backfield to himself, particularly if the Cardinals don’t take a running back before Day Three of the NFL Draft. If that’s the case, I think we’ll see Conner go in the third round of 12-team drafts — well before prudent fantasy managers would consider taking him.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

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