Fantasy football owners are gearing up for the season, even if there are some doubts about it happening. A big problem for fantasy football owners is that they overthink things. One thing that should not be thought-about too much is Christian McCaffrey being the first pick in fantasy football this year.
McCaffrey had a historic season for the Panthers in 2019, despite the team’s struggles. He rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns, which was great considering teams were stacking the box against him with Cam Newton being out with an injury. To go with his success on the ground, McCaffrey had 116 catches for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns. The feat of having a 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards has only happened two times before in NFL history, with Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk being the only other players to accomplish it.
His numbers helped him put up a fantastic season in fantasy football as well. He scored 355.2 points (standard-scoring), which ranked second in the NFL. That is unprecedented, as quarterbacks usually dominate the top spots because of how things are scored and how much the NFL has become a passing league. McCaffrey was the top running back by over 75 points.
The Panthers hired Matt Rhule from Baylor to take over and rebuild the team. Cam Newton was released and Teddy Bridgewater was signed to play quarterback. Russell Okung was acquired to protect Bridgewater’s blindside and Robby Anderson to add to the receiving core. Carolina focused their 2020 NFL Draft on the defensive side of the ball, so it should be much more complete. With Luke Keuchly retiring, it will be interesting to see what the defense does without its leader.
For McCaffrey, he is still going to be the focal point of the offense. He can be used on every down and he runs inside or out. His ability to be a good receiver helps him be useful in any situation. If the team is winning, he runs to chew the clock, while he is still their biggest weapon in the passing game if the team is losing. No matter how good the team is this season, McCaffrey will find a way to be productive, making him a safe first overall pick.
Christian McCaffrey Fantasy Outlook
It may be unfair to expect another season where McCaffrey has over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards, but it is fair to expect him to be proficient in both ways. Expect McCaffrey to have over 1,000 rushing yards and to come just shy of the 1,000 receiving yards in 2020. He may find the end zone less in 2020 as well, as his 19 total touchdowns were a career-high.
Even with expecting his receiving and touchdown numbers to dip a little bit, McCaffrey could still be the top running back in fantasy football. This is especially true due to the fact that he was so far ahead of any other running back in 2019. He may not be the second-ranked player overall, but fantasy owners know taking quarterbacks in the first round is not a common strategy.
If McCaffrey can put up good numbers with Kyle Allen at quarterback in 2019, he can produce a lot more this season. He is still in his prime and has not had a bunch of wear and tear on his body, so wearing down is likely not in the cards for this season. For owners picking first in fantasy, McCaffrey is a safe pick, but he is also capable of having another historic fantasy season.
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