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RotoBaller

NFL star running back, Christian McCaffrey, has been the football fantasy god for years now. He continues to be the consensus top pick in the draft, but for how much longer?

McCaffrey’s gifted ability and versatility at the running back position has made him a rare talent in football. His balance of receiving and rushing attempts/yards is what really separates himself from the other stars in fantasy football.

In 2018, Christian McCaffrey broke the record for most catches by a running back in a season (103). This marked the culmination for McCaffrey being recognized as the best player in fantasy football.

Fantasy Football owners have salivated for McCaffrey ever since his record breaking season, and rightfully so.

McCaffrey continued to put up astonishing numbers the following season in 2019. Rushing for over 1,387 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns, while recording 116 receptions for 1,005 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns.

McCaffrey had back to back seasons with 100+ receptions

The Carolina Panthers star has been something special and no doubt is the best player in fantasy football, however, that is when he is healthy.

Aside from only missing one game in college, Christian McCaffrey has had a clean slate and avoided injuries throughout his career. Then the 2020 NFL Season began, and McCaffrey became a victim of the injury bug.

McCaffrey suffered a right high-ankle sprain during Week 2’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and missed six games. And when he returned, McCaffrey injured his shoulder on the last drive of Week 9’s loss to the Chiefs – resulting to miss four more games.

McCaffrey suffered a right high-ankle sprain
Image Credit: Panthers.com

Unfortunately for McCaffrey, he started dealing with thigh injuries. He suffered a thigh glute strain in week 14, forcing him to miss 4 more games and then a high hamstring strain the following year in 2021.

It was cause for concern when McCaffrey missed five games towards the beginning of the 2021 season, but then became devastating when he rolled his left ankle in Week 12’s loss to the Dolphins. The Carolina Panthers placed McCaffrey on injured reserve and has been ruled out the remainder of the season.

It’s been high risk and high reward for fantasy football owners when drafting McCaffey with the top pick ever since, and still remains to be a concern with him being ranked No. 2 overall in 2022.

The Carolina Panthers have struggled at the quarterback position dearly the past several years, and thus is why they have relied heavily on McCaffrey. And it is no doubt the Panthers have depended on their star abundantly.

While the Panthers somewhat addressed the quarterback position with acquiring Baker Mayfield, the offense is still questionable. And Panthers Head Coach, Matt Rhule, has no plans to lighten RB Christian McCaffrey’s workload.

Christian McCaffrey’s durability has proved to be an issue from his mass usage and reps.

According to draftsharks.com, McCaffrey’s chance of injury in 2022 is 84% (% chance misses at least 2 quarters). And a 10.2% chance of injury per game.

Those numbers are quite alarming, but Draft Sharks note that McCaffrey is a “medium risk” to miss time this season, with a projection of just 1.9 games. Draft Sharks contextualized that Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler actually come in as higher risks.

Austin Ekeler’s 2020 season was cut short due to a hamstring injury
Image Credit: San Diego Tribune (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )

It’s always a roll of the dice with running backs when it comes to fantasy. You could say the same thing for football in general, since the running back career span is very short lived.

Will McCaffrey still be a top pick in fantasy if he misses time again due to injury?

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