How Many Rushing Yards Will Christian McCaffrey Have in 2020?

Christian McCaffrey is coming off a dominating season. How many rushing yards will he have in 2020 under a new head coach and quarterback?
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Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is coming off one of the most prolific seasons in history for a running back. He led the NFL with 2,392 all-purpose yards (the third-highest mark in NFL history), becoming just the third player in NFL history to record 1,000+ receiving and 1,000+ rushing yards in the same year.

AllPanthers reporter Schuyler Callihan believes if the offensive line meshes well together early in the rebuild, the Panthers offense could turn into one of the best in the league in 2020.

What are the oddsmakers saying?

DraftKings Sportsbook recently released McCaffrey’s total rushing yards prop at 1,300.5 yards, juiced heavily to the under at odds of -143. 

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The third-year back was so good that he made First-Team All-Pro at two positions, easily distinguishing himself as the league’s most versatile running back. McCaffrey is just 23 years old and has his best years ahead of him. It’s not often you find a dual-threat offensive playmaker that can keep moving the chains so effortlessly both on the ground and through the air.

Consensus No. 1 overall fantasy football selection?

McCaffrey was the NFL’s best fantasy player in PPR leagues after having the second-best fantasy season in NFL history. McCaffrey posted 471.2 fantasy points via 1,387 rushing yards, 1,005 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns. Just how good was he as a receiver? In finishing only behind the prolific MVP season of Lamar Jackson in overall fantasy points, his 116 receptions ranked second in the entire league only to Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (149). McCaffrey outscored the next-closest running back (Aaron Jones, Packers) by 156.4 PPR fantasy points last season.

The Panthers moved on from former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton after a nine-year run with the club that saw one Super Bowl appearance. McCaffrey will now have Teddy Bridgewater under center. Bridgewater, who has never thrown for more than 3,300 yards or more than 15 touchdowns in a single season, will now have Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and McCaffrey at his disposal. New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is offensive-minded and new offensive coordinator Joe Brady just helped orchestrate the superb 2019 National Champion LSU Tigers’ attack.

McCaffrey has seen his targets increase every year in the league: 113, 124 and 142. Does that mean that 150-plus targets are in store for 2020? My model does not see that happening. However, McCaffrey has a high probability of repeating as the league’s best running back because of his versatility. The former Stanford standout is a threat to take it the distance as a receiver, between the tackles or on any stretch outside run. He has shown tremendous durability throughout his three-year career, playing in every game.

2020 Schedule

HOME: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona Cardinals

AWAY: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington

Betting Advice: McCaffrey ran for more than 1,000 yards in two of his first three seasons in the NFL with a steady increase each year (435, 1,098, 1,387). It will take Bridgewater time to become familiar with his new teammates and the pandemic is taking away precious OTAs to build that foundation. That will lead to an inability for McCaffery to match his tremendous rushing output from 2019 with a new quarterback under center.

Newton only played in two games before being shut down for the year, and inconsistent quarterback play from Kyle Allen and Will Grier led to McCaffrey tallying 287 rushing attempts. Only Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott and Nick Chubb carried the rock more last season.

Carolina could very well rely on McCaffrey more in the passing game as opposed to taking more of the pounding in between the tackles. It's important to note that back on May 3, McCaffrey’s rushing total at DraftKings stood at 1,350.5 yards juiced to the under at odds of -120. The sportsbook has seen a steady stream of sharp action on the under causing a reduction of 50 yards and the under continues to take a hit at the current adjusted number of 1,300 yards. My model has the reliable star being immensely productive once again in 2020, but a player who will see a regression from last season in his overall rushing attempts and yards with a projection of 1,202 rushing yards.

The Play: UNDER 1,300.5 rushing yards (-143)

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