Samuels did not play in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. Samuels has not played a down yet this season, even with Le'Veon Bell (contract dispute) away from the team. James Conner has taken over as the bell cow in the backfield, playing in 89 percent of the Steelers' offensive snaps Sunday.
Samuels failed to see any action in Sunday's 21-21 tie against the Browns. In Le'Veon Bell's absence (contract dispute), Samuels was listed a James Conner's back-up on the Pittsburgh depth chart and was expected to be utilized as a third-down, pass-catching option, but the rookie was never given a chance. He may be worth stashing in deep leagues, at least until (if) Bell returns.
Samuels could see more involvement in the Steelers' passing game than initially anticipated Sunday against the Browns with lead back Le'Veon Bell (contract dispute) not expected to be available for the season opener, Joe Rutter of TribLive.com reports. Bell's reputation as one of the NFL's premier three-down backs and James Conner's status as his top understudy seemingly blocked Samuels' path to immediate snaps with the Steelers, who selected the North Carolina State product in the fifth round of April's draft. However, with Bell and the Steelers unable to come to terms on an extension over the summer and the veteran back having yet to report to the team to sign his franchise tender, Samuels suddenly finds himself in an intriguing position within an offense brimming with talent. While head coach Mike Tomlin hasn't formally defined what Samuels' role will look like Week 1 behind expected starter James Conner, it's not hard to envision the rookie picking up reps on passing downs. During his senior season, Samuels excelled as a receiver and route runner while lining up out of the backfield, at tight end and even in the slot, hauling in 76 passes for 597 yards and four touchdowns on 99 targets.
Samuels took two carries for no gain and didn't draw any targets in Thursday's preseason win over the Panthers. Samuels appeared to take most of the snaps on the opening drive, including a carry from the Carolina three-yard line that was stuffed for no gain. He finishes the preseason with 28 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown as well as eight receptions for 50 yards, having been thoroughly outplayed by backfield mate James Conner. There's some potential for a committee role if Le'Veon Bell misses time, but it's otherwise difficult to imagine Samuels as a big part of the Pittsburgh offense.
Samuels rushed nine times for 38 yards and a touchdown and brought in three of four targets for 13 yards in the Steelers' 51-34 preseason loss to the Packers on Thursday. Samuels capped off a late third-quarter drive with a one-yard rushing score, his first of the preseason. The versatile fifth-round pick also got to flash his pass-catching chops a bit, making it a solid all-around performance. Samuels continues to serve in a scout-team-like role in training camp while Le'Veon Bell (contract) remains absent, and the latter's refusal to report also projects to continue giving the rookie plenty of opportunities to make his case for a roster spot. Samuels will look to build on Thursday's performance in the Steelers' third preseason tilt on Aug. 25 against the Titans.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|13||12/02||Los Angeles Chargers||25||20.33|
|15||12/16||New England Patriots||21||18.00|
|16||12/23||@New Orleans Saints||4||11.00|
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