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James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster both ruled out for Week 12 vs. Bengals

The Steelers offense will miss some key cogs in Week 12. We break down the fantasy football implications.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner celebrates a first quarter touchdown with center Maurkice Pouncey against the Los Angeles Chargers at Heinz Field. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Steelers formally ruled out both James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster for Week 12.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without running back James Conner in Week 12, and it sounds like wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is unlikely to play as well, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. Both have yet to return to practice. Rapoport is hearing the team has already ruled out Conner, and it does not look good for JuJu due to his concussion and knee injury.

Fantasy football analysis: Steelers offense

The Steelers face some serious issues on offense that will have a big impact on fantasy rosters. Jaylen Samuels will get the start in place of Conner, but Benny Snell Jr. is healthy and could cut into Samuels’ workload. Samuels remains the player to start in the backfield without Conner playing, but his ceiling decreases a little bit with a healthy Snell.

Diontae Johnson has cleared through the concussion protocol thus far, so he would start opposite James Washington. The Steelers were down to Washington, Johnny Holton, and Tevin Jones last week, so getting Johnson back is a big help. The Bengals defense is a train wreck, so Johnson and Washington retain some value in deeper leagues. Johnson holds more value in PPR leagues, while Washington offers more value in standard leagues.

One big issue is Maurkice Pouncey’s suspension. Losing a center is always difficult, and given Mason Rudolph’s inconsistency, it’s an even bigger concern. I’d downgrade most everybody in this offense because of that. The Bengals stink, but losing an anchor of the offensive line is a big deal. Avoid Steelers skill position players outside of deeper leagues.