Entering his sophomore season, Christian McCaffrey is a borderline fantasy RB1 based on current ADP. In PPR formats, his value is higher, as he had more receiving yards than rushing in 2017. He’s proven that he can find success in the NFL. He had Jonathan Stewart to contend with last year. While Stewart is no longer on the team, the Panthers did add C.J. Anderson. However, McCaffrey will be the primary back for Carolina.
2017 Season Recap
In 2017, McCaffrey ran for 435 yards. However, he had 80 receptions for 651 yards. He had two rushing touchdowns and five TD catches. Both Stewart (198 carries) and quarterback Cam Newton (139) had more rushing attempts than McCaffrey's 117. McCaffrey also averaged just 3.7 yards per carry but that was better than Stewart (3.4). McCaffrey led the team in targets (113) and receptions and was second to Devin Funchess in both yards and touchdown catches. Carolina's offense sputtered at times, especially after losing tight end Greg Olsen, which was why McCaffrey became Newton's favorite target. McCaffrey led all running backs in targets and was second only to Le'Veon Bell in receptions in 2017.
In 2018, McCaffrey reportedly has added muscle and will be more involved in the running game. The Panthers have vowed to get McCaffrey more work and have indicated that the backfield will belong to him. In the preseason so far, he has looked good and he’s gotten the work. While the preseason isn’t an indicator of what will happen when the games count, the hype surrounding McCaffrey in 2018 seems to be real. He’s not only going to continue getting the passing down work, but the Panthers look to involve him further in the running game as well.
Where to Draft
McCaffrey is being drafted as the 12th running back off the board, usually in the middle of the second round. As he continues to look good in the preseason, that ADP will likely continue to rise. In PPR formats, his ADP is higher. He’s a RB1 in PPR formats, and close to that in non-PPR formats.
-- Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Athlon Sports’ 2018 Fantasy Football magazine, available for purchase online and at newsstands everywhere.