Christian McCaffrey Fantasy Outlook Could Be Hurt by Panthers Firing Ron Rivera

Christian McCaffrey is the No. 2 ranked player in 2019 fantasy football, behind only Lamar Jackson.
Christian McCaffrey is the No. 2 ranked player in 2019 fantasy football, behind only Lamar Jackson. / Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers are in the midst of a season in transition. Already on their second starting QB of the year, after Cam Newton went on IR, they've now made a change at head coach after firing Ron Rivera on Tuesday.

Secondary coach Perry Fewell will serve as the team's interim head coach, and that change has the potential to alter Christian McCaffrey's fantasy outlook moving forward.

This isn't to say that McCaffrey, who is fantasy football's RB1 with an absurd average of 29.5 PPR fantasy points per game (7.0 more than anyone else at the position), isn't going to continue to produce elite numbers. But his workload was unusual enough that there is some risk that his volume takes a hit.

McCaffrey has been on the field for 94.5 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps this season, while no other RB has played even 89.0 percent, and only three other backs have played even 72.0 percent. There have only been two other instances of a running back eclipsing 90 percent since 2012 — McCaffrey himself in 2017 and Matt Forte in 2013. Neither previous instance matches the amount that McCaffrey has played in 2019.

Averaging 27.6 opportunities (19.6 carries plus 8.0 targets) per game, volume has been the backbone of McCaffrey's ridiculous fantasy production, and even a modest decrease in snaps would be a blow to his fantasy outlook.

The Panthers are also on a four-game losing streak, and with the playoffs likely out of reach along with their head coach fired, there's not a whole lot of incentive for them to keep running McCaffrey into the ground.

Until we see these concerns come together in game action, McCaffrey should still be considered the rest-of-season RB1, and he checks in at RB1 in our Week 14 fantasy football PPR rankings.

Keep a close eye on his Week 14 snap rate and opportunities though, because while he's all but a lock to be an every-week starter through the fantasy playoffs, this coaching change could raise some questions around who the top overall fantasy running back is for the final few weeks of the season.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.