NFL Best Ball: Who is This Season's James Conner?

James Conner was the clear No. 2 option behind Le’Veon Bell last season, but the latter’s contract dispute thrust him into a lead role, and he ran with it. Whether through injuries or ineffectiveness, several backs currently atop depth charts could be supplanted by backups, and our experts consider a few of these replacements who could experience Conner-like explosions.

Who is this year’s James Conner?

STLCards: Darrell Henderson is the easy answer here, but I’ll opt for someone else. How about D’Onta Foreman, who’s gaining traction once again this year. Foreman is lightyears more talented than the current version of Lamar Miller, and I’m intrigued by the upside.

Beermakersfan: I think Damien Harris will end the year as the New England running back to own this season. He really only has injury prone Sony Michel in front of him, and we know the Patriots’ offense can provide a ton of valuable goal line work. Harris is also a good pass catcher that could keep a guy like Rex Burkhead on the sidelines. They spent a third-round pick on him for a reason and it’s only a matter of time until he’s the lead dog.

Chris Gimino: Three names to watch are Rashaad Penny, Malcolm Brown and Miles Sanders. Penny has the DNA to carry the load in that style of offense, and showed up the one time he got 10+ carries last year. Brown is the real beneficiary from a Todd Gurley absence, not Darrell Henderson. Henderson will have a static role, while Brown is likely to show the most profit for your best ball team (way cheaper). Sanders is a question mark, but we know Jordan Howard is nothing special and it would be easy to envision a scenario where they fire up their new toy for lead duties.

JSURab: Talented second-year player Royce Freeman is a guy who could end up taking a bigger role in the Denver offense. With Phillip Lindsay not being the biggest back, they may scale down his workload and give Freeman more opportunities.

JoshADHD: Justice Hill interests me a great deal in this regard. If Mark Ingram falters at all, Hill could take the starting gig and run away with it.

To find more Best Ball advice and analysis from our experts, check out the Expert Survey: Picks Edition and the Expert Survey: Strategy Edition.

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