Game-By-Game Projections: Christian McCaffrey (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Below are the game-by-game projections for Christian McCaffrey. These projections are a combination of my yearly projection models, Vegas win totals, and fantasy defense. Let’s take a look at his per-game expectations in 2020.
Week 1: vs Las Vegas Raiders
The Panthers win their opener against the newly-minted Las Vegas Raiders, and McCaffrey’s usage reflects it. Although the Raiders greatly improved their weak LB group in the offseason with Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, there will be some growing pains in this defense’s first real-time game together. Teddy Bridgewater gets comfortable as CMC takes the wheel in this one.
Predicted stat line: 20 rushes, 112 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 5 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD (29.9 fantasy points)
Week 2: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The only effective Kryptonite to slowing down McCaffrey, the Bucs stifled him last year to the tune of 53 and 57 total yards each time they met. In their first road game against a stout defense, CMC has one of his worst games of the season. His fantasy day is somewhat saved as they pepper him with targets while trying to catch up in the second half.
Predicted stat line: 12 rushes, 44 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 8 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (14.2 fantasy points)
Week 3: at Los Angeles Chargers
Back-to-back road games on opposite ends of the country hand the Panthers their second loss of the year in a close game with the Chargers. They greatly improved their fantasy defense against running backs after Week 8 last year, giving up more than 20 fantasy points only once in Week 17. Volume offsets a lack of efficiency and he still puts up 21 points.
Predicted stat line: 15 rushes, 68 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 7 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (21.4 fantasy points)
Week 4: vs Arizona Cardinals
Deja vu strikes the heart of Cardinals fans when McCaffrey once again shreds their defense and averages over five yards per carry. The Panthers attempt to slow down the Cardinals’ uptempo offense by feeding him 20 handoffs, and the rushing effectiveness gives them no reason to do otherwise. McCaffrey hits pay dirt twice in his second-best performance of the year.
Predicted stat line: 20 rushes, 102 rush yards, 2 rush TD; 6 receptions, 56 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (30.8 fantasy points)
Week 5: at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were surprisingly top 10 in fantasy defense against the run, and a hopefully healthy season should improve their game slightly. McCaffrey has had a history of cutting them apart through the air, however, so that much continues. While both teams score plenty in the passing department, he ends the day scoreless.
Predicted stat line: 14 rushes, 70 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 8 receptions, 72 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (18.2 fantasy points)
Week 6: vs Chicago Bears
Another outstanding defense stifles the rushing efficiency. Averaging under 3.5 yards per carry, the Panthers try to run down the clock as they hold the lead in a low-scoring match. Bridgewater struggles to pass against the stout defense, so he leans on the running game and short dump-offs.
Predicted stat line: 19 rushes, 66 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 6 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (20.7 fantasy points)
Week 7: at New Orleans
Despite rough matchups the past three weeks, including the Saints’ fifth-best defense against running backs, McCaffrey’s volume continues to offset the lack of scoring opportunities. A road trip to New Orleans doesn’t make matters easier, as he is once again reliant on receiving work while Carolina tries to fight back.
Predicted stat line: 15 rushes, 72 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 8 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (18.0 fantasy points)
Week 8: vs Atlanta Falcons
In his second 30-plus point game of the season, CMC goes wild in a shootout with the Falcons at home. A season-high 11 receptions help lead the way with both teams trading drives down the field. McCaffrey reminds the world why he’s the league’s best running back.
Predicted stat line: 16 rushes, 85 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 11 receptions, 101 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (30.1 fantasy points)
Week 9: at Kansas City
Talk about a perfect storm for fantasy production. The Chiefs have one the worst rushing defenses and need help at the second-level. The Panthers’ trimmed-down defense let the Chiefs’ high-powered offense easily throw up five touchdowns and quickly convert to a prevent style defense. Doing so allows for 180 total yards and two touchdowns in his best game of the year.
Predicted stat line: 13 rushes, 97 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 8 receptions, 83 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD (34.0 fantasy points)
Week 10: vs Tampa Bay
The buzzsaw that is the Bucs’ ground defense brings McCaffrey back to earth. Struggling to break any big gains, he still manages to come away with 19 fantasy points. Not having to see Tampa Bay’s impressive defense for the rest of the year, including the fantasy playoffs, is a relief.
Predicted stat line: 14 rushes, 55 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 6 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (19.1 fantasy points)
Week 11: vs Detroit
The Panthers come away with an uneventful win against the visiting Lions. They do a good job of limiting his work in the receiving game, but the game script takes over. Another rare win for the Panthers.
Predicted stat line: 18 rushes, 71 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 5 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (19.7 fantasy points)
Week 12: at Minnesota
Back-to-back NFC North opponents keep McCaffrey around his yearly production average. The Panthers mainly work through their pass game against the Vikings’ gutted secondary, but Bridgewater loses against his former employer.
Predicted stat line: 15 rushes, 59 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 7 receptions, 61 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (21.5 fantasy points)
Week 13: BYE
Not what your team was hoping for if you need a push to make it into the playoffs.
Week 14: vs Denver
Rested up after the bye and playing at home, a rejuvenated CMC hits his highest rushing total of the season with 122 yards. The Broncos’ defense doesn’t have an answer after getting routed by the Chiefs the week prior. The week off was all he needed to get rolling on the ground again, just in time for the fantasy playoffs.
Predicted stat line: 19 rushes, 122 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 4 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (23.2 fantasy points)
Week 15: at Green Bay
The third NFC North matchup in four weeks, the Packers’ improved defense still allows McCaffrey 129 total yards. The Panthers’ playoffs hopes are closed, but fantasy owners remain alive with another solid outing.
Predicted stat line: 17 rushes, 73 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 6 receptions, 56 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (21.9 fantasy points)
Week 16: at Washington
What a matchup for fantasy championship week! The Redskins gave up the third-most fantasy points to running backs in 2019, and not enough has changed for them to buck the trend. McCaffrey owners rejoice as he puts up nearly 30 fantasy points when they needed him most, scoring once on the ground and again through the air.
Predicted stat line: 21 rushes, 107 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 5 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD (29.3 fantasy points)
Week 17: vs New Orleans
Most leagues end at this point, and thankfully so. CMC gets held to 13 points, as the Saints are playing for playoff seeding while the Panthers have nothing to gain. Combining New Orleans’ motivation with its defense imposes his worst fantasy output of the year.
Predicted stat line: 16 rushes, 48 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 7 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (13.0 fantasy points)
2020 Season Totals
See the chart below for full weekly stat breakdowns along with season totals:
|Opponent||Result||Touches||Rushes||Rushing Yards||Rushing TDs||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs||Fantasy Points|
McCaffrey finishes the season once again as the overall RB1. He totals 2,155 yards from scrimmage, 107 receptions, and 16 total touchdowns for 365 half-PPR fantasy points.
CMC’s 2019 season was one for the history books. My projections have him coming back slightly from these record-setting numbers, but the combination of head coach Joe Judge and new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater continue to favor his heavy use in the receiving game. Even if you took away his rushing yards, he would still outscore many of the top wide receivers. Keep in mind that my projections fall closer to a weekly average than reality. More volatility with both higher highs and lower lows will happen in real life.
In the end, McCaffrey ends up being exactly the player you expected when drafting him. His Week 16 matchup against Washington will likely catapult many owners to the victory podium and etch his memory forever in your hearts.
Thanks for reading and stay golden! If you like what you learned, follow me @DavidZach16 for more interesting stats and tidbits throughout the year.