With the news that Le’Veon Bell will not be ending his holdout to play against the Browns. James Conner was going to be the guy to take over the lead duty for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many fantasy football owners wondered what his usage was going to be, and how effective was he going to be as a starter.

On Sunday, Conner proved that he is an effective and bruising runner, who hits his gaps hard. He ran the ball 31 times for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added five receptions on six targets for 57 yards. His usage shows that the Steelers main goal is to involve their running back as much as possible even without Bell. Bell last season averaged right around 27 touches per game, and it looks like Conner is heading in that direction as well.

Conner had a league-high 36 touches in week one and scored the second most fantasy points as a running back in fantasy football on the week. It is fair to assume that Conner will be in line for 20 or more rushes per game and should expect five targets as well, based on how the Steelers have used their running backs in the past. The lead runner in Pittsburgh has been on pace to see over 300 carries and well over 50 targets if they played all 16 games since 2015. The Steelers also bolster one of the leagues best offensive lines to run behind, as seen with Conners 4.4 yards per carry on Sunday. The starting running back in Pittsburgh has averaged over four yards per carry since 2014 (2014 Bell 4.7, 2015 Williams 4.5, 2016 Bell 4.9, 2017 Bell 4.0) and Conner started the year keeping that trend alive.

Conner will continue to be a focal point in a very strong Pittsburgh offense and continue to receive high volume for as long as Le’Veon Bell is not playing. With that being said, put Conner in your lineup with confidence. With where his ADP was throughout the offseason, he is going to bring a HUGE return for fantasy owners.

With Bell still holding out, there is a new RB1 in town and his name is James Conner.

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