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RB Christian McCaffrey - Carolina Panthers

5-11, 202Born: 6-7-1996College: StanfordDrafted: Round 1, pick 8

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Photo: Jeremy Brevard, US Presswire

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From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Sep 18): McCaffrey didn't move the needle for fantasy in Week 2, but he still outsnapped Jonathan Stewart and if Cam Newton had thrown a simple short pass well, he would have had the game-clinching score and a better week for fantasy. He's bound to go off against the Saints this week.

Week 3: vs New Orleans Saints

All RB vs NO

FBG says: Neutral matchup. Carolina's running game looks stuck in neutral at the moment. Through two weeks, neither Jonathan Stewart nor rookie Christian McCaffrey has been able to generate much on the ground. Stewart has trudged to 105 yards on 33 rushes, while McCaffrey has been held to just 57 on 21 carries. Stewart is 30 (a hard 30, considering his injury history) and nearing the end of the NFL line, so we may not see much more dynamism from him; he's little more than an interior banger at this point. But McCaffrey's arrow is pointing upward. He's looked just as explosive as advertised, posting several impressive runs both up the middle and off the tackles. McCaffrey was a great interior runner in school, and as he beefs up and acclimates to the NFL, his game should improve exponentially. Cam Newton, of course, has always provided a dynamic boost with his legs, but we've yet to see it. The Panthers have yet to give him any designed runs, and Stewart has taken all 4 of the team's rushes from inside the 5-yard line. It's likely offensive coordinator is merely protecting his franchise player after offseason shoulder surgery, but we have to wonder just how much to expect from Newton on the ground. The New Orleans run defense is marginally better than advertised. Much of the "Saints can't stop the run" narrative is skewed by touchdowns, which come with the territory of the fast-paced, high-scoring games they tend to find themselves in. But they're not a lie-down-and-pray unit; when game script is neutral or in the Saints' favor, they're a stronger unit than they seem. In Week 1, they mostly bottled up Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook, allowing him just 48 yards on 14 carries through the first 3 quarters. Two long, late-game runs (36 and 33 yards) inflated his final numbers; that will happen when a defense is gassed and facing late-game deficits. We saw the same in Week 2, when New England's Mike Gillislee managed just 38 yards on 11 rushes prior to the fourth quarter, only to nearly double that total down the stretch.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPoSNAPRSHYDTDTARGRECYDTDFumLPts
1 at SF 47 13 47 0 7 5 38 0 1 7.5
2 vs BUF 43 8 10 0 5 4 34 0 0 4.4
3 vs NO PROJ-Dodds * 7 * * 5 * * * *
3 vs NO PROJ-Tremblay * 9 * * 6 * * * *
3 vs NO PROJ-Bloom * 12 * * 5 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2017 Week 2 vs BUF (8 / 10 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 34 / 0 rec)

The Bills may have struggled to contain the Panthers' passing attack at times, but their front seven handled things up front against the run. It meant tough sledding at times for Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey, who were often met in the backfield or for minimal gains. McCaffrey looked hesitant to hit the hole at times, stopping his feet and waiting for a crease that would never materialise. At times he and Stewart featured in the same backfield as they did in Week 1. A wildcat play with McCaffrey taking the snap and tossing the ball to Stewart was quickly snuffed out, however. It was in the passing game that McCaffrey excelled, consistently showing good footwork to make the first defender miss. McCaffrey made a terrific leaping catch over a covering defender in the second half, veering into the flat on a wheel route before attacking the football at its highest point and leaving the defender in no man's land. McCaffrey should have notched his first NFL touchdown were it not for a poor miss by Cam Newton in the red zone. The rookie's route in the flat saw him break wide open, but Newton was unable to complete the simple pass and threw it too high for the diminutive McCaffrey to haul in.

2017 Week 1 vs SF (13 / 47 / 0 rush, 7 / 5 / 38 / 0 rec)

Statistically, the big unveil of the eighth overall pick Christian McCaffrey may have left some disappointed. Dig deeper, however, and his debut had much more positives than negatives. The Panthers made it an emphasis to get the ball into McCaffrey's hands early and often, using him as a wildcat quarterback, in the slot, out wide and as a conventional back. Even when McCaffrey wasn't touching the ball, his presence was attracting defensive attention, opening up room for other players to prosper. He and Jonathan Stewart often shared the backfield at times, with a fake jet sweep to McCaffrey opening up a lane for Stewart to run through. At times McCaffrey tried to do too much and didn't trust his instincts. One play in particular saw him stutter and hesitate a little too much before making a cut upfield, allowing the pursuit to close and tackle him. He proved his worth as a pass catcher, giving Cam Newton an easy option on some dump off passes and turning them up the field for nice gains. As a runner, he and Stewart found it tough sledding against the 49ers front seven, but McCaffrey ripped off some nice game-killing first down runs at the end of the contest. The only blotch on his score card on what was otherwise a fine debut was his fumble. After being handed the football, McCaffrey was quickly stoned in the backfield. He managed to spin off the contact and ran laterally to get outside the pursuit. Despite having two hands on the ball, however, two 49ers defenders converged on him and the hit popped the ball loose. To his credit, he responded well to finish the game and looks to be a central figure if this game is anything to go by.

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Latest News

Panthers | Christian McCaffrey sees 12 touches (Sun Sep 17, 06:49 PM) - Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey rushes eight times for just 10 yards in Week 2 against Buffalo while adding four grabs for 34 yards on five targets.

Our View: McCaffrey was a letdown after a more exciting debut, but he should have had a short touchdown catch to close out the game. Jonathan Stewart will limit his weekly upside, but he still has a relatively high weekly floor in PPR leagues.
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Panthers | Christian McCaffrey debuts with 18 touches (Sun Sep 10, 10:51 PM) - Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey rushed 13 times for 47 yards in Week 1 at San Francisco and he added a team-high five receptions for 38 yards on seven targets.

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Schedule

3vs New Orleans Saints
4@ New England Patriots
5@ Detroit Lions
6vs Philadelphia Eagles
7@ Chicago Bears
8@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9vs Atlanta Falcons
10vs Miami Dolphins
11--- BYE WEEK ---
12@ New York Jets
13@ New Orleans Saints
14vs Minnesota Vikings
15vs Green Bay Packers
16vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
17@ Atlanta Falcons