Saturday update: The Panthers officially activated Christian McCaffrey off injured reserve. It’s unclear if he’ll go back into his normal starting role or will be worked back in a little more slowly.
Friday update: Head coach Matt Rhule is hopeful McCaffrey can play, but he did mention that McCaffrey would be on a snap count if he does play. But, McCaffrey on a snap count is better than whatever flex or RB3 play you have.
Matt Rhule said he will know more on Christian McCaffey tomorrow but said “I am hopeful he can play, I really am.” Also optimistic on Darnold.— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) November 5, 2021
Wednesday update: Head coach Matt Rhule says he is not sure if McCaffrey will play this week.
Rhule made it clear that McCaffrey is still in the early stages of coming back. It is in the "starting to rev him up" part of his return. Bottom line, he's not sure if McCaffrey would be play Sunday.— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) November 3, 2021
Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey was designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday, per Doug Kyed. McCaffrey has not played since Week 3 where he suffered a hamstring injury against the Houston Texans.
Fantasy football implications
It is positive news to see that McCaffrey will return to practice this week as the Panthers’ offense could use him with quarterback Sam Darnold struggling. However, Carolina’s run game has not skipped a beat with rookie Chuba Hubbard in the backfield.
Since Week 3, Hubbard has produced 381 yards on 100 carries and two touchdowns, along with 16 receptions (23 targets) for 115 yards. He’s also averaging 12.6 fantasy points per game over that time.
In last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, Hubbard had 82 yards on 24 carries, a touchdown, and nine receiving yards (14.1 fantasy points). If McCaffrey does end up playing on Sunday against the New England Patriots, Hubbard becomes a RB2/FLEX option. As for CMC, he’s back in the saddle as a RB1.