Week 7 update: The Panthers just traded Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers. D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard split time behind McCaffrey and while Foreman had 12 carries to Hubbard’s six, it’s unclear who will emerge as the leader of this backfield.
Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is no stranger to injuries in his NFL career. He’s missed time with various ailments over the past few seasons and we’re back on that train early in 2022. Heading into the Panthers’ Week 4 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals at home, McCaffrey is dealing with a quad injury that has caused him to miss practice time this week. With uncertainty surrounding CMC’s status for Sunday, we’re going to go over how to approach the injury and who might get increased snaps in the backfield.
Christian McCaffrey’s handcuff in fantasy football
Backup: Chuba Hubbard
3rd string: D’Onta Foreman
Hubbard and Foreman would be the two backs to potentially step up if CMC is ruled out in Week 4. Hubbard has the edge on Foreman, though neither back has really played a factor in 2022. Last season when McCaffrey was injured, Hubbard stepped up as a rookie. He finished 2021 with 612 yards on 172 attempts for five TDs over 17 games. Hubbard didn’t see nearly the same usage as CMC in the passing game, though. The OK State product finished with 25 catches for 174 yards and a TD. In Week 3’s win over the Saints, Hubbard got three touches and Foreman two. So not much to gather there.
We may be looking at a “hot hand” situation with the Panthers’ backfield if CMC is out. Hubbard has the fast track to carries and has proven he can be an effective runner. He won’t hold nearly as much value but should get a nice bump. If you have CMC, hopefully you handcuffed him in the draft with Hubbard. If not, and someone else has Hubbard, Foreman is your only option on Carolina. Raheem Blackshear is also on the roster and would be 3rd string at RB. He isn’t viable at this point.
Waiver wire pickups
It’s going to be tough to find a replacement for CMC on the waiver wire unless you’re in a shallow league. In deeper formats, hopefully you have an internal replacement at RB. If that isn’t the case, here are some names to consider.
Ken Walker III isn’t highly owned and he’s been back for the Seahawks’ backfield. Walker could see increased carries if Rashaad Penny continues to struggle. Walker is available in over 50% of Yahoo fantasy football leagues.
James Cook should also be available and is another rookie RB who could continue to see more playing time. The Buffalo Bills seem fine rotating heads in the backfield with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Cook will get carries and we know the Bills can put up points. Cook caught four passes for 37 yards in Week 3 vs. Miami, so that bump in the passing game is encouraging.