The fantasy season is quickly upon us! As we move closer and closer to our drafts many questions are arising, especially with the changes amongst the top running backs in the draft. One player who could take the top crown is Christian McCaffrey, from the Carolina Panthers. He simply took over the offense last season and became a workhorse running back. Let’s take a deep drive into McCaffrey’s fantasy history and why he could possibly be the number one pick in your draft.
McCaffrey had an interesting rookie year. He had split carries with, then starter, Jonathan Stewart and showed flashes during the season. One thing that really stuck out was, he was targeted 113 times and caught 80 receptions over the season. He ranked inside the top 20 in targets, as a running back among all players. If there was one issue with him during that time, it was that he ran a sad 3.7 yards per carry. Although, he was about to blow everyone’s mind… we just didn’t know it yet.
Let’s go back to last season where McCaffrey really did blow everyone’s mind. He finished 3rd in running back fantasy points and averaged 20.8 points per game. He brought up his receptions per games up from 5 to 6.5. He also jumped his yards per carry from 3.7 to 5 and climbed over 1,000 rushing yards. He became just the 3rd player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and over 100 receptions. McCaffrey started off slow but after week 8, he went on a touchdown spread scoring 12 of his touchdowns between weeks 8 to 16.
Can 2019 be an even bigger year for McCaffrey? Well, there is one thing you can count on, and that is he is going to get targeted in the passing game. I think this offense is ready to take the next steps with a hopefully healthy, Cam Newton. There have been many hype reports on the Panther’s young wide receiver core, stating they’re ready to take off. However, I think that could be a lot of overhyping, causing defenses to lose track of McCaffrey. It would be a huge mistake if they do because he is still the focal point of the offense.
If you haven’t seen the photos from the offseason, well you need to. It looks like he has bulked to take the next steps. If you are sitting there with the 1st pick and thinking about taking McCaffrey over the rest then remember who’s around him. Barkley is playing for an even worse Giants team this year. Kamara is good but will he truly see running back opportunity? Elliot is still holding out. You couldn’t go wrong with a guy like McCaffrey, with him as the focal point there is an excellent chance of this offense being great.