After an injury-riddled season in 2020, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is ready to return to All-Pro form in his 2nd year in the Matt Rhule/Joe Brady offense.
Despite missing 13 games, McCaffrey was ranked as the top player in the NFL Draft Bible's Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings and it's not hard to see why. In the three games McCaffrey did play, he totaled 374 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns. Many folks questioned if Joe Brady's new scheme would change McCaffrey's impact on the game and in the small sample size we saw, that was not the case. In fact, McCaffrey received well over 95% of the touches in the backfield whereas Mike Davis only saw one carry in the season opener vs Las Vegas.
Earlier this offseason, Davis signed with division rival Atlanta in free agency and as of today, the Panthers have not made any moves to strengthen the depth behind McCaffrey. The only running back signing they've made was Darius Clark who is getting his first chance in the NFL. Aside from Clark, the Panthers will return Reggie Bonnafon, Trenton Cannon, and Rodney Smith. None of those backs have much experience and are not reliable enough to receive significant carries to take some of the workload off of McCaffrey's shoulders. If Carolina doesn't address the position through the draft or even the summer via free agency or trade, then McCaffrey will be in line for a high number of touches per week.
In 2019, McCaffrey became the 3rd running back in NFL history to go over 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving in the same season. With Curtis Samuel off to Washington and a lack of depth in the backfield, McCaffrey could make a run at that 1,000/1,000 mark once again, should he remain healthy. Not to mention, a 17th game will also help get him there. From a fantasy standpoint, it makes complete sense to have McCaffrey at the top of your draft board even after missing 13 games in 2020.
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