Steelers' Swiss-Army Knife Jaylen Samuels is the Ultimate Fantasy Cheat Code - Roto Street Journal
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Steelers’ Swiss-Army Knife Jaylen Samuels is the Ultimate Fantasy Cheat Code

As you know by now if you’re a James Conner owner, you’ll be without your stud running back for at least the first round of the fantasy football playoffs. When Conner’s ankle got rolled up on, on Sunday Night Football, it looked ugly right away. Hopefully Mike Tomlin is just holding out his workhorse for what should be a layup against the pathetic Raiders (they have the rival Patriots in Week 15), but we’ll see as the week progresses.

Anyways, let’s talk about this must-win Week 14.

If you’ve been following us on Twitter (smash that follow button if you live under a rock), you likely stashed his special handcuff back on November 14th. Jaylen Samuels is his name and he was a running back/tight end/weapon at NC State — meaning he possesses the coveted RB/TE designation [only] on Yahoo. Yes, the Steelers starting running back for Week 14 can be inserted into the tight end position this week. Amazing.

So, who is this Samuels character, you ask? The Steelers snagged this Swiss-Army knife in the fifth round of this year’s draft after he competed in the NFL Combine as a tight end. Standing at 6’0, 225 lbs, Samuels couldn’t be pigeonholed into a specific position. At NC State he was known as more of a H-Back, but he ended up as the team’s leading receiver last season with a 75-593-4 receiving statline, and he wasn’t too shabby at rushing the football, racking up 407 yards and 12 touchdowns on 78 rush attempts. Overall, he finished the season with 1,000 total yards and 16 touchdowns on 153 touches. Per Pro Football Focus, he had 458 snaps out of the slot, 83 snaps at tailback, 79 snaps at tight end, 62 snaps at fullback, 33 snaps outwide and even 15 snaps at Wildcat QB. Talk about a god damn weapon.

But as the NFL scouts typically do, they aren’t too fond of pure football players who weren’t created in a lab. They prefer the 6’4 wideouts who can’t run crisp routes, but can run a 4.39 40-yard dash. Not the 6’0, 225 lb hybrid athlete who doesn’t look like the Hulk or who doesn’t possess the elite athleticism to try and mold. Samuel tried out as a tight end at the combine, but he obviously doesn’t look like Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski — he only caught 195 balls during his final 39 games in college *eye roll*. It wasn’t even that he was peppered with targets at NC State, the man caught 78 percent of passes thrown his way in his career. So much for being just a positionless plebian.

“Here is the problem I’m having in writing my report. Does he have any special talent or is he just a player who is used in a variety of roles? Is he really, really good at any of his roles or just versatile? That can be the difference between going in the third round or the fifth round.” — NFC team area scout

So, what are we getting with this kid if Conner’s ankle injury is severe? Well, just to temper expectations, I’ll just let you know that he hasn’t carried the ball over 12 times in a game since high school. Yet, is he going to get out-touched by the likes of Stevan Ridley or practice squad hero, Chase Edmunds? We highly doubt it. As we’ve seen with Le’Veon Bell and Conner, the Steelers don’t even think to initiate a dreaded committee — which is why we love them. It’s unlikely Samuels is going to get 20-plus carries this week, but he should lead the backfield in total touches.

If you’re playing on Yahoo and you don’t have any pussies in your league, trot him out at the scarce tight end position that’s likely been the thorn in your side. If you now have a gaping hole in your lineup due to the absence of Conner, or Matt Breida, or Kareem Hunt, Samuels should be a viable FLEX option until the Steelers’ workhorse returns. This dude is a football player who will catch the ball out of the backfield, find the end zone on the goal line and just simply make plays. It also doesn’t hurt that he gets to face a team that has already allowed a pathetic 1,566 rushing yards this season. LFG.

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