Christian McCaffrey was considered 1A in the hierarchy in relation to Giants' star Saquon Barkley to most fantasy managers ahead of drafts this season. The former Stanford star had feasted in 2018 for the Panthers, but many, including myself, saw his success as a result of Cam Newton's declining health, including a chronic shoulder issue that resulted in McCaffrey's target share to skyrocket, with the latter reeling in 108 receptions on the season.
After Newton was shut down late last season, most expected the former MVP to return to form in 2019 and have the offense resume to go through him. Greg Olsen was back healthy, second-year receiver D.J. Moore was coming off of a terrific rookie season, and the Panthers were ready to contend for a playoff berth.
But Newton still didn't look right.
His athleticism was diminished. His accuracy was horrid, and he seemed to be a shell of himself yet again.
After the first two games of the season, Newton had three turnovers, zero touchdowns, and -2 yards on the ground.
The only thing keeping the Panthers in games was McCaffrey.
CMC rushed 35 times over the first two games for 165 yards on the ground and two scores, while catching twelve passes for 97 yards through the air.
With 50.2 PTS in fantasy over the first two weeks, McCaffrey was rolling.
Then came the quarterback shift and Kyle Allen was inserted into the starting lineup.
What would this mean for CMC?
As we have now seen, he was just getting started.
In Week 3 against Arizona, McCaffrey rushed 24 times for 153 yards on the ground and a score, while catching three passes for 35 yards (27.8 PTS).
The following two weeks against Houston (33.9 PTS) and Jacksonville (47.7 PTS), CMC racked up 269 total yards on the ground, three rushing touchdowns, as well as 16 receptions for 147 yard and a score.
He hasn't slowed down since.
Week 6 at Tampa Bay: 31 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 4 Receptions, 26 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 21.7 PTS.
Week 8 at San Francisco: 117 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 4 Receptions, 38 Receiving YDS, 27.5 PTS.
Week 9 vs. Tennessee: 146 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 3 Receptions, 20 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 37.6 PTS.
Week 10 at Green Bay: 108 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 6 Receptions, 33 Receiving YDS, 26.1 PTS.
Week 11 vs. Atlanta: 70 Rushing YDS, 11 Receptions, 121 Receiving YDS, 30.1 PTS.
Week 12 at New Orleans: 64 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 9 Receptions, 69 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 34.3 PTS.
With four games left in the fantasy season, McCaffrey is on pace to score 459.3 points, shattering the all-time record for points scored by a running back, averaging 30.6 points per game.
Let's compare his numbers to some of the best in recent memory.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: In 2012, current Redskin Adrian Peterson was a man on a mission up north as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. He was the most dominant rusher in football, eclipsing the 2000-yard mark and resulting in him receiving Offensive Player of the Year honors as well as MVP. The only player in NFL history to tally more yards on the ground in a single season was Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, who rushed for an astounding 2105 yards back in 1984. Peterson finished the season at 2097 yards and put his name in the record books, as well as cementing his place as one of the game's best running backs.
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers: LaDainian Tomlinson's MVP season back in 2006 is one of the most iconic in recent memory, due to his ability to get into the endzone. Tomlinson scored 31 total touchdowns on the season, an NFL-record, and finished the fantasy season averaging 29 PPR points per game (Week 1- Week 16).
What to expect in Week 13 against the Redskins:
The Redskins are in Charlotte for a matchup with the Panthers. The Redskins currently allow 137.6 Rushing YDS per game and have also given up at least 110 yards on the ground in each of the past five.
McCaffrey is currently rushing for 102.1 YPG and is projected to 34.3 PPR points against Washington.
The Redskins will hope to keep him in check and will have a difficult task on their hands.