It's undeniable that over the course of the last few seasons, it has been stressful for Christian McCaffrey owners in fantasy football. During the time prior to the 2022-23 season, he has participated in a grand total of 10 games. The old adage of "the best ability is availability" exists in fantasy football, because a player holds little to no value if they are mostly on the sidelines. Keep in mind that over the course of his career, he has averaged an absurd 22.5 PPR points per game, which shows his true ability on the field. Let’s take a delve into the circumstances that have caused McCaffrey’s inconsistent playing time: his injuries.
The sixth year running back has suffered through multiple ankle sprains, an A/C joint sprain, a hamstring strain, thigh injuries, and now just this season, his play has been put into question over ankle and thigh issues. That said, we must always take into consideration the floor of a fantasy player just as much as we do their potential ceiling and ability to breakout. In the case of McCaffrey, he has fully recovered from his previous shoulder and lower leg injuries which lowers the potential risk of him re-injuring them, but the injuries to the hamstring and ankle especially could easily recur even when properly rehabbed. With the wear and tear running backs like him take on in today's game the longer they play, the toll of previous incidents end up tacking on, contributing to further injury, reduced usage, reduced playing time or all of the above. Again, he has fully recovered from all his past injuries and is locked in for a significant load of carries and targets for the duration of the season.
We hear every season that if McCaffrey plays the full season, then he is a league winner. Given this, it should come as a no surprise that he ranks among the best players in fantasy football. He was the 2nd player rated according to his average draft position, just after Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts. Due to his versatility, McCaffrey has consistently been one of the best backs in fantasy football. In the past several weeks, we have seen many people begin to rank him just ahead of Jonathon Taylor, due to his ceiling and ability to single handedly win you a fantasy league. Because of his frequent dings over the course of his career, both fantasy owners and even McCaffrey himself are extremely wary of his viability this year.
By the nature of his position, there is always going to be some increased attention towards his viability, add to that the laundry list of his injuries, and the eyebrows that now get raised whenever Mcaffrey’s name even gets mentioned, and it is understandable just why he joked earlier this year that if he “takes a leak during practice” he will end up on some injury report. Now the past is not a death sentence, but fully taking it into consideration, he will be given a severe injury risk for the duration of the season. On our end, we suggest you cautiously start McCaffrey in your leagues and watch how he fairs weekly, based on the information we presented above.