Christian McCaffrey Out Again as the Chuba Hubbard Show Returns for Carolina

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is back on injured reserve for the second time this season.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is back on injured reserve for the second time this season. / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In his first three seasons in the NFL, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey played in all 16 games and transformed into the league's most productive and dual threat fantasy stud during that time.

Now, it appears he won't be able to play 16 games total over his last two seasons.

For the second consecutive year, McCaffrey will miss extended time, as the Panthers announced McCaffrey is back on injured reserve with an ankle injury and will be out for the remainder of the season.

The Panthers in a press release announced that an MRI revealed that due to the amount of recovery time, as well as his second stint on IR, that he would no longer be available for the rest of the Panthers' schedule.

In 2021, McCaffrey ran only 99 times for 442 yards (4.5/carry) and only 63.1 rushing yards-per-game. He did set a career high in yards-per-reception with 9.3, catching 37 passes for for 343 yards and a touchdown.

Can Chuba Hubbard carry the Panthers' backfield?

With McCaffrey out, Cam Newton will have a new backfield mate in rookie Chuba Hubbard the rest of the way. The Oklahoma State rookie has shown that he can handle a full workload of carries and also be involved in the passing game as well.

In CMC's absense, Hubbard started five games, rushing for 329 yards over 89 attempts. Over a 16-game sample size, that would give him a 1,000+ yard season on 285 attempts and six touchdowns.

With Newton still a large factor in the run game, I would expect Hubbard to gain a more gradual role in the passing game to help create more space for Newton to operate. His red zone carries and opportunities to score touchdowns will likely come down, but his increased role as a pass-catcher should hopefully offset some of that lost value moving forward. That could be an area of value in the prop betting market at WynnBET in future NFL weeks.

One thing to consider if you have Hubbard on your fantasy team, is that his trade value will never be higher. The Panthers' fantasy playoff schedule is about to get brutal, and Ameer Abdullah has been getting more increased opportunities in the pass game.

The Panthers have a Week 13 bye this week before hosting the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, December 12.

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