For the first time since his return from a hamstring injury, McCaffrey was an every-down player, taking 90% of the snaps. But with Cam Newton taking over at QB, the offense was much more diverse, and as a result, McCaffrey’s 17 touches were the fewest he’s seen in his last 3 games. With Newton taking 7 carries, that left just 10 for McCaffrey, though he was his normal elusive self in running for 6 yards per carry. It was also great to see the QB connect with him on 7 of 8 attempts including a 12-yard TD strike on a play McCaffrey got inside leverage on a defender and Newton fired a strike.
McCaffrey came into this game having played just 27 and 41 snaps in his previous 2 games, and his workload should continue to ramp up the further removed he is from the hamstring injury that cost him 5 games. Coming out of his Week 13 bye, he’ll have a cake matchup against the Falcons, but he’ll end the year with 4 straight contests against teams in the top 5 in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. But if he’s fully healthy down the stretch, he still should produce at a high level despite the brutal schedule.
McCaffrey is in a tier of his own when it comes to usage. In a game where he saw limited snaps in the 2nd half, McCaffrey still piled up 23 touches for 161 yards on the day. There aren’t a lot of RBs in the league that can put up a top 5 week at the position without a TD, but CMC did just that. McCaffrey did get some attention on the sideline mid game from trainers. This is just a reminder for all CMC owners to get their hands on Chuba Hubbard as that security will at least give them RB2 value if CMC were to go down again.
This week the Panthers take on the Washington Football Team, who have been tough vs. RBs all season. However, over the past few weeks they have shown a vulnerability to pass-catching RBs. Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones, Leonard Fournette, and the Denver Broncos RBs (combined) all had at least 5 receptions in their game vs. Washington. McCaffrey is an auto start rest of season but could be in play in DFS this week due to his elite pass game usage.
McCaffrey finally was back in the lineup for the first time since Week 3. True to their word, the coaching staff limited his snaps, as he was on the field just 49% of the time. Despite the lowered amount of field time, he was still heavily used, as he saw 14 carries and 5 targets. Of course, with the Panthers being stymied on offense, there were no legitimate opportunities for him to find the end zone, but he did turn his chances into more than 100 yards of production.
Although most of this season has been a loss for the consensus preseason #1 pick, if he can avoid further injury, there’s no reason he can’t continue to be dominant. Before suffering the hamstring injury, he averaged 29.5 touches and 162 total yards with a TD in Weeks 1 and 2, and it’s reasonable to expect him to see massive usage. However, in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 15 to 17), he has a brutal schedule, as he faces the number 2, 3 and 4 defenses of the Bills, Buccaneers and Saints.
On Wednesday, the Panthers finally designated McCaffrey to return from IR. That doesn’t yet mean he’s back on the active roster or even planning to play this week, necessarily. It officially opens a 3-week window for him to practice with the team. Carolina can activate him at any point in that window -- or shut him down for the season.
Before he landed on IR, there were multiple weeks where Carolina seemed hopeful McCaffrey was about to return. So we’re guessing he’ll return for Week 9 -- or at least soon thereafter. Just make sure you have insurance against him sitting out further until the team officially activates its star.
Not much to say here. CMC delivered on high volume (29 touches), scoring once and racking up 137 total yards. The Saints did well to stuff him at the goal line on 2 separate drives. McCaffrey, though, was ultimately too much. His 6 targets, 5 catches and 65 yards each tied for 2nd most on the team. Chuba Hubbard did mix in for 8 carries, but most came in the 2nd half with Carolina holding a comfy lead. One came after a long McCaffrey catch-and-run where he was subbed out. As long as CMC stays healthy, he'll continue to deliver as a high-end RB1.
In case you forgot, McCaffrey is a fantasy monster. He scored 27.7 PPR points and 18.7 non-PPR points in the opener — despite not scoring a TD.
That’s what a whopping 30 opportunities will do. McCaffrey carried 21 times for 98 yards and caught a team-high 9 of his team-high 9 targets for a team-high 89 receiving yards. He carried twice inside the Jets’ 10-yard line but wasn’t able to reach pay dirt.
What else needs to be said? If you were lucky enough to land the #1 pick in your draft, enjoy the massive upcoming season from McCaffrey.