Main menu


Fantasy Football: Christian McCaffrey trade fallout; What does it mean for the 49ers and Panthers?

featured image

Rumors have circulated in recent weeks that the All-Pro have overtaken Christian McCaffrey, and the San Francisco 49ers made a big trade to take him from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for Thursday night’s second, third and fourth round picks. In the 2023 draft plus the 2024 fourth round. A big swap for the 49ers gives Kyle Shanahan another elite weapon for his offense. That said, while it does move McCaffrey away from the moribund Panthers offense, it might not be much of an upgrade for the Fantasy appeal to go forward.

Starting with the 49ers’ acquisition of McCaffrey, let’s take a look at what this trade means for both sides.

It’s not hard to see what the 49ers get from this deal – another Swiss Army Knife weapon for Shanahan to line up all over the field. The 49ers are famously using Deebo Samuel as a comeback, but they’ll also line up George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk on the occasional backfield and use Kyle Juszczyk in tons of interesting ways. You’re sure to find interesting ways to use McCaffrey.

That said, while the 49ers offense is much, much better than the Panthers, that’s probably not a huge upgrade for McCaffrey’s worth. Sure, he will score more goals – there are only three in the first six games – but the 49ers probably won’t make him the focus of their offense in the way the Panthers have historically had.

McCaffrey is a great runner and the 49ers will definitely top him in that regard. McCaffrey managed to average 4.6 yards per carry in a Panthers offense that currently can’t really do anything, and the 49ers turned the comeback into viable Fantasy options in a series of late rounds as Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson did. McCaffrey can put huge numbers on this offense.

However, Samuel engages in a much more crowded passing game, with Kittle and Aiyuk converging between them for over 65% target share. That doesn’t necessarily leave room for the 20% range where McCaffrey has spent most of the last few years. McCaffrey is a great runner, but what makes him arguably the best player in Fantasy is his passing catch. And while the 49ers are confident they’ll use him more as a pass receiver than as a backstop in past passing matches – they only have 13 goals to run backwards this season – they almost certainly don’t have that. it’s the same 90’s setback in the 49ers offense.

Of course, that doesn’t mean McCaffrey can’t be the best player in Fantasy this offense, of course. He’s a great player and Kyle Shanahan does a great job putting the ball in the hands of his best players. Shanahan knows what she’s doing, so most weeks she’ll get over 15 carries and 4-5 catches. And if this 49ers offense is one of the top five offenses in the NFL the rest of the way, it will likely have enough touchdowns for McCaffrey to be a top-five RB. He may not have the 30-PPR-points we see on an offense that doesn’t make him stand out as much as a pass catcher.

For the rest of the 49ers’ principals, the math is getting a little unwieldy, especially Deebo Samuel, who has seen his rush play role diminish in the past month. I’m sure if Shanahan has been hesitant to bring Samuel up lately (he’s taken on six times in the last three games going into Week 7), he’s excited to put McCaffrey and Samuel on the backcourt at the same time alongside Jeff Wilson, putting the defense in a tight spot. alternative, will he really take the opportunities from McCaffrey, especially near the goal line?

The cake wasn’t big enough for all of Samuel, Kittle, and Aiyuk to feast on every week, and now they have another big mouth to share. The 49ers will be a nightmare for defense but also a bit of a nightmare for Fantasy. Samuel is still a WR1; Kittle is still a TE1; Might be McCaffrey most RB1. However, there may be times when you find yourself frustrated by the distribution of touches in any given week.

This can of course be a concern for the future. The more pressing concern is whether there’s enough time for McCaffrey to catch up to Week 7’s game against the Chiefs. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that McCaffrey is likely to play, but will likely focus on the red zone pack and his role will grow as he has more time to step up in practice.

It’s getting McCaffrey off to a somewhat risky start to Week 7, but mostly ignoring Jeff Wilson to start this week. can have 15 transports; could have had five. We probably won’t know until we see how big of a role McCaffrey is this weekend, which makes it hard to trust. As long as he’s active, I’ll probably rank McCaffrey in the top 12 RBs, but Wilson will be more like RB3 for Week 7 – and assuming McCaffrey stays, that’s probably his highest ranking for the rest of the season. healthy.

As for the Panthers side of this trade… we may have seen the last reason to care about this offense. We’re going to see some sort of combination of Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman replacing McCaffrey, but I don’t think I’m telling any story outside of school when I say neither is close to McCaffrey’s talent level.

And this Panthers offense has been a complete disaster so far. McCaffrey alone, playing 80% or more of the snaps each week and serving as the undisputed #1 goal in the passing game, can handle that, but a Hubbard/Foreman combo probably won’t.

Hubbard and Foreman probably need to be drafted in most leagues, sure, but I don’t think there’s much to get excited about here. I’m guessing Foreman handles most of the early releases, Hubbard handles most of the situations that pass, which would probably make Hubbard the better Fantasy option. But his ceiling is probably like a low-end RB2 – if the Panthers decide to make him stand out in the last game.

Maybe DJ Moore can have more focus and action, but it’s hard to see how he’ll benefit from more defensive attention – the Panthers also traded Robbie Anderson earlier in the week. Moore is a talented player but up until now this has been impossible to handle and I don’t think it’s any better now.

Maybe Panthers will surprise us, but right now, I don’t expect anyone on this offense to be worth starting for Fantasy to progress.