College: North Carolina State | Rookie
Height: 6'0" | Weight: 225 lbs
Birth Date: 7/29/1996
2019 Bye Week: 7
Total Pts: 0.00
Avg Pts: 0.00
Rank: 0 RB
Samuels made the transition to running back his rookie year and ended up the top backup for the team. He even got some starts because of injury, doing pretty well in that role. He averaged an impressive 4.6 yards per carry and had 455 total yards. His receiving ability was on display many weeks, catching 26 passes on the season. He is a former tight end that can run very good routes for the running back position. Samuels should be given first shot to earn the top backup job this year. Samuels is a playmaker. He has good speed for the position and solid hands, especially in traffic. He lacks some polish at the running back spot, though, and doesn't do a great job of hitting the hole just yet.
FANTASY OUTLOOK: Samuels is worth a late-round grab, especially if you draft James Conner. He would have high value if Conner would get hurt. But even if Conner stays healthy all year, Samuels can get around 500 total yards and 30 receptions.
If you asked me to describe what I look for in a later round running back, it would be Jaylen Samuels. He is on a very good offense with a good quarterback. He is one of the best pass catching backs in the league. He demonstrated an ability to be the lead back, averaging 18 touches in the three games James Conner missed in 2018. Samuels may very well have standalone RB3/Flex value as the lesser part of a 70/30 committee with Conner. While I have no delusions of Samuels ever commanding the workload that Conner did to start 2018, if Conner goes down, Samuels should see at least a 60% opportunity share in one of the league's best offenses. For what it's worth, I believe Samuels is a better football player than Conner. I am not suggesting that Conner will open the season as anything other than the lead back, but the Steelers have no allegiance to Conner if he falters. There is no sunken cost fallacy at play here; no draft capital dictating that Conner receives a longer leash. If Samuels opens the season with a pass catching role, he will have the chance to earn more work. If Conner were to sustain an injury, it's wheels up for Samuels. He is an excellent target as your fourth or fifth running back.
|No Playoff Match Up|
Pittsburgh Steelers running backs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels were lined up together in the backfield during Day 2 of organized team activities this week, which is a different look for their offense. Samuels had 256 rushing yards on 56 carries in his rookie season and added 199 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 26 catches as a converted tight end. Conner, who had 215 carries for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground last year, will see the bulk of the backfield touches and will be highly coveted in fantasy drafts with Le'Veon Bell out of the picture now. Samuels won't be a bad handcuff at all.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels gained just two yards on two carries but hauled in seven passes for 40 yards in a 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. Samuels siphoned just two carries away from James Conner, who saw 14, but he did remain a big part of the Pittsburgh passing attack. Samuels finishes his rookie year with 256 rushing yards, 26 receptions, 199 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. While Samuels isn't going to unseat Conner for lead back duties in 2019, he proved his worth as a pass-catching running back, giving him some PPR value going forward.