Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner has been a crucial part of fantasy football teams over the last few seasons. However, fantasy managers have been without Conner for a couple of weeks due to a knee injury suffered in Week 5. Let’s look at the latest injury update for Conner and when fantasy managers might expect him back.
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Latest Injury Update for James Conner
Conner hurt his knee on a 35-yard run against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. He headed to the locker room and wasn’t able to return to the game. A few days later, the Cardinals placed their 28-year-old RB on injured reserve (IR).
Since then, updates on Conner’s progress have been slim on the ground, which isn’t unusual for players on IR. What we do know is that fantasy managers will be without him for at least a couple more weeks.
When Will Conner Return?
We won’t know exactly when Conner will be able to return until we find out more details about the injury itself. Right now, what we know is that Conner must remain on IR for four total games. He was placed on the IR ahead of Week 6 and has now missed two of those four.
That means Conner has to remain on IR for two more games, which puts the possible window for his return at any time after Week 10. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he will return at that point.
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The Cardinals don’t have a time limit for when they have to activate Conner. At any time after Week 10, they can designate him as returning to practice, or they can leave him on IR for the remainder of the season. Once they designate him to return to practice, the Cardinals have a 21-day window to activate Conner to the 53-man roster or rule him out for the rest of the year.
We should get an idea on Wednesday of Week 10, at the latest, of whether Conner will have a shot to return that week. If the Cardinals don’t designate him to return to practice on Wednesday, there is every chance he could be out longer than the minimum four weeks.
What Is Conner’s Fantasy Value?
There’s no denying that Conner carries fantasy value when he returns to the field. Through the first five weeks of the season, Conner had 364 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, eight receptions, and 30 receiving yards.
In non-PPR scoring, Conner is averaging 10.3 fantasy points per game, having scored over 15 fantasy points in two of the four games he has completed this season. In PPR scoring, he is averaging 11.9 fantasy points per game this season.
That’s a big drop for a player who averaged over 15 fantasy points per game in PPR scoring over the previous two seasons with the Cardinals. However, those numbers are heavily influenced by Conner’s shortened game in Week 5. If we take out the shortened game against the Bengals in Week 5, Conner was averaging 13.7 fantasy points per game in PPR scoring this season.
Averaging 13.7 fantasy points per game in PPR scoring would put Conner inside the top 20 RB options, which is about the right value for him in 2023. When Conner returns, he will be a starter for most fantasy teams unless we find out that he’s going to have a reduced role.
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