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Christian McCaffrey: Fantasy football draft profile for 2022 NFL season

Christian McCaffrey is coming off an injury-filled season where he appeared in just seven games. We discuss his fantasy outlook for the coming season.

Washington Football Team v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The 2021 season was another one to forget for Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. After entering the NFL in 2017 McCaffrey played in all 16 regular-season games through his first three seasons in the league. Since his 2019 Pro Bowl season, McCaffrey has appeared in just 10 games over the past two seasons. Last year was no exception as he played in just seven games due to a hamstring injury he sustained in Week 3.

McCaffrey will look to stay healthy and return to his Pro Bowl form in 2022 while the Panthers enter the season with question marks at the quarterback spot. Sam Darnold sits atop the depth chart, however, Carolina has often been mentioned in trade talks with the Cleveland Browns for Baker Mayfield. Who lines up under center could have an impact on McCaffrey’s usage and subsequent fantasy performance this coming season.

2021 season statistics & fantasy finish

Rushing: McCaffrey had 99 carries for 442 yards and just one rushing touchdown. He finished with an average of 63.1 rushing yards per game with one fumble recorded.

Receiving: He caught 37 passes on 41 targets for 343 yards and one touchdown. McCaffrey finished with 49.0 receiving yards per game.

Fantasy: McCaffrey ranked 39th among all RBs in total PPR scoring with 127.5 points. He finished 44th among all RBs in total standard scoring with 90.5 points.

Panthers offseason moves

Carolina signed wide receiver DJ Moore to a four-year contract extension in the offseason, and made a variety of moves to add depth on defense. The Panthers signed linebacker Corey Littleton and re-signed cornerback Rashaan Melvin. To add a safety net in the backfield they also signed running back D’Onta Foreman, who will be third-string behind McCaffrey and Chuba Hubbard on the depth chart.

2022 best-case scenario

The hope for Carolina is that McCaffrey can stay healthy throughout the season while replicating the production he had through his first three seasons. Adding Foreman to the running back room with Chubbard should help keep McCaffrey fresh for the long haul. That may affect McCaffrey’s usage and potential fantasy production. It is a small sacrifice to help ensure McCaffrey stays healthy this season.

2022 worst-case scenario

The nightmare scenario would be another injury-filled season for McCaffrey, making it three straight seasons where he would be unable to make it past the single-digit mark for games played. At 26 years old, it could hint that his high-volume production potential is beginning to taper off, thus making him a risky bet for fantasy rosters going forward.

2022 prediction

After back-to-back injury-riddled seasons, I see McCaffrey bouncing back in 2022, albeit not with the same production he had entering the NFL. If head coach Matt Rhule is smart he will look to leverage a running back committee with Hubbard and Foreman backing up McCaffrey. Sure, it could mean some snaps would be taken away but if it guarantees McCaffrey is good to go for the long season then that is a benefit for fantasy owners. Perhaps not a top-5 running back, but top-10 is definitely within reason if he stays healthy.