Should you start Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner in fantasy football against San Francisco?

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner has been stellar so far in fantasy football. But should you start him against a tough San Francisco defense?
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

James Conner is coming off of an incredible outing in the Arizona Cardinals recent win vs. the Dallas Cowboys defense in Week 3, rushing for 98 yards on 14 carries, and a touchdown. He also added two receptions and 18 receiving yards, giving him between 17 and 18 fantasy points, depending on what kind of league you play in. 

Conner has also been a fantasy football stud this season, rushing for 266 yards on 51 carries and two touchdowns. But this week, he’s facing a San Francisco 49ers defense that has allowed just 159 rushing yards and is currently third in the NFL in rushing defense. So despite Conner’s obvious success so far, should you start him against the 49ers?

Start Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner in fantasy

Conner showed up on the Cardinals injury report this week with a back issue, but he took part in the full practice on Thursday, so he should be raring to go come game time. This also hasn’t been the first time we have seen the bruiser’s name on the injury report, and he has yet to lose a step because of it.

And until opposing defenses prove they can shut down Conner, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start him, even against a tough team like San Francisco. If the Cardinals offense suffers like it did in Week 1 against the Washington Commanders, Conner should still be an effective back. 

So far in 2023, however, Conner and the Cardinals offense have overachieved, especially in the first half. While they will face their toughest challenge yet against the 49ers, they have shown more than enough to convince you that they can produce even in the most competitive environments. 

This isn’t to say Conner and Company will go in there and light up the scoreboard. But from the creativity offensive coordinator Drew Petzing has shown in the previous two games, Conner will once again enjoy running through more than a few lanes. 


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)