When assessing running backs to start on your fantasy football roster, there is a lot to consider. Oftentimes, the back that is on the better offense seems to be the right way to go. But there is also the chance that the running back playing for an inferior team could be relied on more in a given matchup.
This is the exact scenario we have to break down when deciding between Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner and Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss in Week 3. Is Connor and the opportunity for lots of carries a better option? Or is Moss and the balanced Colts offense more in line with having fantasy success? Let’s dig in and find out!
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James Conner’s Fantasy Outlook This Week
In his seventh year in the NFL, Conner is one of the few running backs in the league that does not have much competition on his team. As far as backfields go, the Cardinals room belongs to Conner.
Through two weeks of the young NFL season, Conner has already carried the ball 37 times. He has turned this into 168 rushing yards and a touchdown.
But Connor has a tough matchup in Week 3. The Dallas Cowboys come to town and boast the ninth-best rushing defense so far in 2023. This does not bode well for Conner’s chances of a breakout game.
But the reality is that Conner will still be involved in this Cardinals’ offense. With very few weapons to go to, Conner will need to be a part of the Cardinals’ game plan. I expect the team to try to slow down the pace of the game to stay in the contest for much longer.
This could mean a heavy dose of Conner on Sunday. While the defensive matchup is not the greatest, Connor will definitely be involved in the Cardinals’ offense. This opportunity has me interested in what his output could be on Sunday.
Zack Moss’ Fantasy Outlook This Week
Moss was unable to play in Week 1 while he recovered from a broken arm he suffered in the preseason. But when the back returned in Week 2, he was quite successful. With 18 carries against the Houston Texans, Moss racked up 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He averaged 4.89 yards per carry.
In Week 3, the Colts travel to play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have the fourth-best run defense in yards surrendered on the season thus far. And the Colts will be without their starting quarterback, Anthony Richardson.
While Richardson’s absence may seem like a detriment to the team, it may actually be an advantage for Moss. Richardson is a mobile quarterback and takes rushing opportunities away from his running backs. With Richardson out and Gardner Minshew starting, Moss may have another opportunity for plenty of carries.
The defensive matchup is not ideal, but there is a chance for Moss to have success this Sunday. If he sees as many opportunities as he did in Week 2, he could total a decent number of fantasy points for his managers. Of course, finding the end zone would also go a long way for Moss in Week 3.
Which of These RBs Should You Start?
Both of these backs have a tough defensive matchup in Week 3. But if I have to choose between the two, my gut says to go with Conner.
While the Cowboys have a very strong defense, Conner is one of the only solid weapons in the Cardinals’ offense. The team will have to rely on him to have any success moving the ball consistently on Sunday.
While Richardson is out and Minshew is starting, Moss still has to compete with the likes of Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs in his offense. Historically, Conner has been a stronger back than Moss.
The separation is not that wide, but I like Conner more this week than Moss. I think Conner will have a higher floor than Moss, and I want to make sure I am still getting solid points if I start one of these two in my lineup.