Should You Select Christian McCaffrey In Fantasy Drafts?

The 2022 fantasy football season is underway as drafts fire off across the nation, meaning now is the time to dive into Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey’s ADP to determine whether or not fantasy managers are receiving a value on draft day. Can fantasy managers rely on McCaffrey to look like his former self in 2022, and if so, where should he be going in upcoming fantasy football drafts?

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Christian McCaffrey ADP | Is he worth his current price in fantasy drafts?

This prime draft season, McCaffrey currently has an ADP of 2, coming off the board as the RB2 behind the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor.

PFN’s 2022 fantasy football redraft rankings have McCaffrey as the RB2 behind Taylor at 2 overall as well. I have McCaffrey in the same spot in my personal rankings, but be sure to check back as rankings will fluctuate between now and the start of the season.

Fantasy is all about balancing upside and risk. No player personifies this more than McCaffrey. No player has the ceiling of McCaffrey, not even Taylor, who was the RB1 in 2021. History is also not on Taylor’s side as no RB has repeated as the RB1 since Priest Holmes did it in the early 2000s.

If McCaffrey stays healthy, he likely ends the year as the RB1. He’s the home-run pick but does take a top-two draft slot to take the swing, which is a difficult pill for some to swallow. For me, I’ll take the risk and bet on the upside. If McCaffrey hits, you’re staring down a championship and few players give that same upside.

Christian McCaffrey’s projected fantasy value in 2022

Since 2018, McCaffrey has averaged 25.6 ppg while finishing as an RB2 or better in 90% of his games. In 2021, he scored 24+ points in four of his six outings. But that is also the issue, as injuries have been the story of McCaffrey the last two years.

Over the last two seasons, McCaffrey’s missed 23 games. Managers who held the 1.01 were left with a sour taste in their mouths watching him sit on their benches. We’ve seen the historic seasons and games, so the upside is not the unknown. It’s wondering how often you’ll be able to plug him into your lineup.

Entering his age-26 season, McCaffrey is still in his prime years, but analytics would tell you it’s the back half. Everything boils down to your confidence in whether or not McCaffrey can play in 14+ games. Last season, only seven running backs recorded 300+ opportunities (carries plus targets). McCaffrey should cruise past this into the 315+ range if he’s healthy.

That’s even with the expected drop in snap share, as there’s no way Carolina, after spending the bulk of the last two seasons without him, will play McCaffrey on 97% of the snaps that he saw in his hay-day. It’s why they had Mike Davis around and also drafted Chuba Hubbard. Then, this past offseason they added D’Onta Foreman after he filled in for an injured Derrick Henry.

Baker Mayfield is also the best quarterback McCaffrey has played with, which should greatly help. The Panthers have a bona fide No. 1 target in DJ Moore, who is coming off his third straight season of 1,200+ total yards, the longest streak among NFL wide receivers. Several depth pieces could also step up, such as Robbie Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., Shi Smith, and even the newly-acquired Laviska Shenault Jr.

McCaffrey’s ADP is high, there’s no denying that. But it matches the upside. The 1.02 is arguably the easiest draft pick, as I would take whoever falls. In nine out of 10 leagues, that player is McCaffrey but do not feel as if you are settling. If anything, you might have just won already.

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