Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland's Fantasy Outlook with James Conner Out

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell (24) in action against the New York Giants during an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

James Conner won't be available for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 against the Baltimore Ravens after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.

Conner's absence, assuming the game gets played as currently scheduled on Tuesday, leaves Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland atop the team's depth chart at running back. 

So, which option should fantasy managers be targeting in waivers this week?

Snell already showed his worth in Week 1 when Conner went down in the first half with an ankle injury, rushing 19 times for 113 yards. That earned him plaudits and instantly put the Steelers running back firmly on the radar of fantasy managers:

As Mark Kaboly of The Athletic wrote at the time:

"You can talk all you want about Conner being injury prone, and nobody is going to argue with you. They can't. But people always have believed that when he's 100 percent, Conner is a much better back than Snell. That might not be the case anymore. ... Snell is just a better running back at this point, and I can't see that changing. Snell is quicker than he was as a rookie—he dropped 12 pounds since last season—and that showed with a couple of long runs. But it's more than that. He still runs with the power he was known for at Kentucky, and now he's become a reliable pass protector."

Overall, Snell has racked up just 195 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 57 carries. He will likely be the top back in Pittsburgh and a solid flex player. He is your top waiver priority this week if he's available. According to FantasyPros, he is available in at least 94 percent of Yahoo and ESPN leagues.

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Anthony McFarland could see some runs behind Snell, but it's unlikely they'll have enough of a role to justify a place on your roster. Monitor this situation going forward, but don't bother picking up McFarland for now. McFarland has seen minimal playing time with 95 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches in seven games. 

Jaylen Samuels is also part of the running back group, but he is listed as out with a quadriceps injury this week.

This is Snell's backfield now.