Christian McCaffrey: 2020 Dynasty Profile

Past Production

Here are Christian McCaffrey’s full NFL stats.

Rushing Stats:

Year Games   Carries   Rushing Yards   YPC   Rushing TDs   Fantasy Rank   Fantasy PPG   PPG Rank  
2017  16 117 435 3.7 2 RB10 14.3 12th
2018   16 219 1098 5.0 7 RB2 24.1 2nd
2019 16 287 1387 4.8 15 RB1 29.5 1st

Receiving Stats:

Year Targets   Receptions   Yards   Receiving TDs  
2017   113 80 651 5
2018 124 107 867 6
2019 142 116 1005 4

The Panthers drafted McCaffrey with the 8th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft as the second running back selected behind Leonard Fournette. The Panthers planned to use McCaffrey as their long-term replacement for aging workhorse Jonathan Stewart and to complement dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton. However, at first, McCaffrey and Stewart would share the backfield.

In 2017, McCaffrey finished behind Stewart and Newton in rushing attempts, but he dominated as a receiver. He led the team in targets and receptions as a rookie running back, and he managed to finish as a low-end RB1. McCaffrey didn’t play that well as a pure runner, but he flashed enough upside to allow the Panthers to move on from Stewart after 2017.

For the 2018 season, the Panthers signed C.J. Anderson as the grinder back to complement McCaffrey. However, they quickly found that they could use McCaffrey as an every-down player, and they released Anderson after only a few weeks. McCaffrey broke out as a high-end RB1, finishing only fractions of a point behind Saquon Barkley for the RB1 overall. He led the team in all receiving categories and improved as a rusher, averaging 5.0 YPC. After 2018, McCaffrey was a clear top-three dynasty asset, alongside Barkley and Alvin Kamara.

Even though McCaffrey had a great 2018 season, he took everything to new heights in 2019. McCaffrey scored 471.2 PPR points, over 150 more than the RB2, Aaron Jones. Virtually any team with McCaffrey made the playoffs in 2019 because he provided the value of two fantasy players in one lineup slot. Almost from the start of the season, McCaffrey jumped Barkley to become the top overall dynasty asset, where he’s remained ever since.

2020 Outlook

McCaffrey is the top overall pick in 2020 redraft leagues and by far the top fantasy asset in any redraft format. I expect him to duplicate his 2019 performance and finish as the RB1 once again. There’s no safer player, and I genuinely believe McCaffrey is a fantasy outlier, like what LaDainian Tomlinson offered at the top of fantasy drafts in the past.

Dynasty Analysis

I often hear dynasty analysts say that you should always try to trade the top overall dynasty asset because they have nowhere to go but down. However, I wouldn’t recommend trading McCaffrey or even attempting to do so. Like I mentioned earlier, I think that McCaffrey is an outlier, and he can continue to produce high-end RB1 numbers in 2020 and beyond.

The Panthers also signed McCaffrey to a 4-year, $64 million contract extension with $38 million in guarantees. They extended him multiple years in advance, as McCaffrey wouldn’t have hit free agency until 2022, demonstrating their commitment to McCaffrey as the centerpiece of their offense. Based on the contract’s dead cap hits, the Panthers are tied to McCaffrey through 2022 and likely through 2023.

While dynasty value is significant, winning is why we play the game. McCaffrey only turned 24 years old in June, so he could easily have multiple years left in his prime. Running backs who excel in the passing game also often age more gracefully than bruisers. Therefore, McCaffrey could provide fantasy value even once he’s no longer a workhorse. 

Enjoy having McCaffrey on your team and try to win a title. Make moves to surround him with other win-now talents while he’s at his best. If you fail to win anything, I promise that McCaffrey will continue to hold value in two years, and you can rebuild then. But for now, ride the wave.

Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Dynasty Profile series!


Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate.

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