With training camp just around the corner, we are entering the beginning of fantasy football season for many football fans. I find myself each year starting my research process earlier and earlier (this year I started in mid-June). In short, I’m a fantasy football addict. I live, breathe, and sleep fantasy. I create my own rankings, my own formulas, and take in an excessive amount of fantasy football content. While I previously rooted for the Jacksonville Jaguars the past thirteen years of my life, my fellow writers at the Queen’s Guard kindly extended an invitation to root for the Panthers this season. So welcome to the Carolina Panthers’ fantasy football outlook for the 2019 season. I aim for this series to educate you on the fantasy relevance of the Panthers’ players, as well as acclimate myself with the team during my first year as a fan. We are kicking off this series (Gosh, that’s a bad pun) with star running back Christian McCaffrey.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY – RUNNING BACK – AGE 24 – YEAR 3
Regardless of your scoring settings last season, Christian McCaffrey finished as a top three running back (In most cases he was #2) in 2018. The year before he finished as running back #10 in PPR and RB #17 in Standard. The young running back has performed excellent for fantasy owners during his short time in the NFL.
In 2018 McCaffrey put up a total stat line of: 219 carries, 1,098 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 107 receptions on 124 targets, 867 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns, and he happened to throw a 50 yard touchdown, too. Additionally, McCaffrey only missed THIRTY offensive snaps last season. He simply didn’t come off the field! Basically, Christian McCaffrey was other-worldly last season. His ability to take the ball up the middle or stretch the field in the passing game will serve as a godsend for not only the Panthers, but for fantasy owners as well.
I fully expect McCaffrey to repeat and actually exceed what he did last season. I have Christian McCaffrey as my number one running back in 2019. The Panthers didn’t bring in another running back this offseason, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner runs a workhorse offense that features one true back. I already mentioned his durability, and he’s continued to bulk up during the offseason. Plus, with quarterback Cam Newton coming off of shoulder surgery, I expect Carolina to heavily utilize CMC to start the season to take the pressure off of Newton as he returns to game-form. Lastly, the Panthers play in the most competitive division in football. Facing the Saints, Falcons, and Buccaneers, who are all high powered offenses, six times each season will lead to shootouts and high scoring affairs.
I project the following stat line for McCaffrey in 2019: 230 carries, 1,250 rushing yards, 110 receptions on 130 targets, 875 receiving yards, and a total of 14 touchdowns.
So where should you draft McCaffrey this season? He’s currently ranked in the top four of all rankings with the likes of Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliot, and Alvin Kamara. All four are PPR machines. The argument can be made for all four of these players with the number one pick. That is where I would take McCaffrey. He rightfully deserves consideration for the top spot in your draft. Between never coming off the field, his durability, offense, and healing quarterback, Christian McCaffrey will be the best fantasy running back in 2019. In my league I already I tried to sell the farm to move up into the number one spot to select him, but was unsuccessful. Be sure to stay tuned for more Panthers fantasy player profiles!