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Fantasy Breakdown: James Conner

Hello Fantasy Faithfuls, we are in full swing with the off-season content now and getting closer and closer to the new league year. I would again like to hype up the Fantasy Snapshot Bundle that will be releasing in May. More information is coming soon and a trailer is on its way. If you are interested in getting in on it before everyone else, hit me up on twitter @csdfantasy or signup here on the website to be one of the first to get your access code!

Today I am looking at another big hit from 2018, James Conner. I don't expect the same fan boy type of article as the one about Mahomes from last week but I do expect some really interesting numbers. Let's dig in!

Looking at Conner's rushing patterns we have one glaring concern and a bunch of positives that are really good. Let's start with the glaring concern, the runs up the A-Gap (either side of the Center). 29% of all his runs goes up the A-Gap, that is nothing wrong with that, the league average is 30% so all good so far. Where the concern comes into play is the 2.7 yards per carry in that rush lane. If the amount of carries up the A-Gap goes up this is can cause issues in his productivity. If his YPC goes down in any other lane he will have problems in 2019.

The positives are far more than the concern, even if the concern is a big one. Having 23% of runs outside the Left Tackle while getting 5.4 yards per carry there is one of the absolute best stats of any Running Back out there. Gurley is the only other Running Back that has a secondary running lane that is this impressive, and that is also outside the Left Tackle. Furthermore, having over 4 yards per carry in all but one lane is very impressive and makes him a more versatile runner than Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara this of course is also impacted by the offensive line, I am not saying that I think he is a better runner in general.

Conner was a bit more up and down than most high profile Running Backs. Removing the Week 7 Bye he still had four weeks where he was scoring below the average of an RB3. That is not something that you want in your first round pick of 2019, and that is what you might have to spend to get your hands on him. Only Conner and Joe Mixon had less than 10 usable Weeks and again, only Mixon and Conner had four weeks where they ranked below RB3.

I am not trying to take away anything from what he accomplished, but there is glaring evidence that most of Conner's points came from the weeks where he crushed his opponents. To me that is the sign of a great DFS pick but not so much a steady scorer for a long fantasy season.

Looking at how he produces during games we see that he is below the league average during 1st and 3rd downs while being way better on 2nd and 4th. This does not show too much in terms of fantasy scoring. The numbers don't stick out in a way that we can draw any conclusion. He is relatively even down to down so nothing that should worry us.

When it comes to Quarter production he is again very stable. You do not need to worry about him being impacted by game scripts too much. He scores points in all phases of the game and I see no reason to why this would change in 2019. The only minor thing we can see it that his production dips slightly in the 4th Quarter which indicates that he might suffer from fatigue but also that he has less opportunity to get into a flow when Roethlisberger has more on his shoulders.

Last thing to look at is his game splits. He is one of the most even backs out there. Sure he is better at home than away which most backs were in 2018 so that is not anything weird. However, he did score less points against bottom 16 run defenses than against the best 16. That is something that was very unusual in 2018. It is only a 2% scoring difference but it shows just how even Conner is when facing different types of defenses. It also makes it more difficult to predict when he will have a good game vs. a bad game. Since I stated above that his usability was less than other top backs and now that he is stable in his scoring, that DFS comment above looks stupid. He will be very difficult to project for in 2019. He does not make a big change in his patters depending on his opponent and just seems to randomly score big or none at all.

On Saturday I will be breaking down Nick Chubb on the YouTube Channel so be sure to check that out. The next Correlation article will feature Running Backs here on the website on Tuesday and next Thursday I will be looking deeper into Baker Mayfield.

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The spreadsheets are dark and full of terror // CSD

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