It’s been seven weeks since Christian McCaffrey injured his ankle and went on IR for the Carolina Panthers. Finally, fantasy owners can rejoice as all signs point to the top pick being fully healthy and ready to go this weekend against Kansas City.
Though he is healthy and ready to go, the question becomes is he a must start, or should you wait and see how his first week goes before throwing him in the mix?
The answer is short and sweet – You should absolutely be starting him.
McCaffrey’s Talent Alone Warrants Start
There are always concerns about the first week a player returns from injury regarding what kind of work load will they see, and if they will be in shape or have their body ready for contact.
Though these concerns are valid in almost any other situation – they do not apply here.
McCaffrey is arguably the most talented RB in the NFL, and is no doubt the most versatile.
Panthers Recent Struggles
In the first few weeks of his injury, the Panthers looked like they may be able to figure things out, and stay afloat without him.
Mike Davis stepped in and played a McCaffrey type role surprisingly well, posting three consecutive 20+ point performances in weeks 3-5.
Carolina also averaged 25 points per game, and posted a 3-0 record over those same weeks.
Since then however, both Davis and the Panthers offense has fallen off.
Weeks 6-8 brought an average of 9.5 points for Davis, 19 points for the offense, and an 0-3 record for the Panthers.
Carolina desperately needs to turn things around, and though it may be difficult to stop the skip against the defending Super Bowl champions, they will certainly be looking to their best player for aid.
McCaffrey’s Numbers Speak for Themselves
In the two weeks he played before being placed on IR McCaffrey posted 28.5 and 24.8 points respectively.
When he is out there, he makes a large impact, and has his entire career.
According to reporters and his own coaching staff, he is fully healthy and fully ready for a regular work load.
Splitting time with Mike Davis should not be a concern this week, and you can expect plenty of check down passes to come his way as Teddy Bridgewater likely will not challenge this Kansas City secondary too much.
Don’t Let Him Rot on Your Bench Any Longer
If you own McCaffrey, you likely took him with your first round pick, and it was probably in the top five picks of your draft. As we barrel toward fantasy play offs, you can likely not afford to have a player of his caliber on your bench any longer.
Am I guaranteeing another 20+ performance right off the bat? No. But the offense if reeling and the scheme sets up nicely for him this week.
Trust me, you’d rather start him and end up with a mediocre performance, than bench him and have him go off.
McCaffrey is a must start this week.