After having a stellar breakout season in 2019, Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey failed to replicate the same success in 2020 as he has been bugged by a high ankle sprain and a season-ending shoulder injury. Despite having a tough year, the former Stanford talent has already recovered from his injuries and is set to lead the team's offensive attack once more in 2021.

With a new quarterback in Sam Darnold now at the helm, McCaffrey is hoping to regain his Pro Bowl form and lead the Panthers to better results amid a loaded NFC South division in the upcoming season.

Christian McCaffrey Fantasy Football Outlook (Panthers RB)

2020 Fantasy Stats

Prior to the 2020 season, many fantasy owners were hyped to get their hands on Christian McCaffrey as they saw how productive he was in the previous year where he recorded a solid total of 355.2 fantasy points in 2019. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out for the highly-touted fantasy draft pick as he only managed to appear in three games last season.

From having a career year in 2019, McCaffrey's injury situation pulled down his fantasy production to only a total of 73.4 points in 2020. His best fantasy output from last season came at their Week 9 tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs where he racked up 69 rushing yards on 18 attempts to go with a touchdown. In the same game, he also showcased his catching abilities as he notched 82 receiving yards on 10 touches and a scored touchdown to accumulate a total of 27.1 fantasy points for his owners.

Even though McCaffrey was able to make the most out of the limited action that he saw on the field, there is no doubt that his 2020 campaign is still regarded as a complete disappointment, especially for the fans who used a high draft pick just to get his services.

2021 Fantasy Projections

Heading to the 2021 season, Christian McCaffrey has already recovered from the shoulder injury that he previously nursed towards the latter end of 2020. It is still business as usual for him come Week 1 as he remains to be the focal point of the Panthers' offense and is projected to carry a huge workload once the season starts.

McCaffrey's former backup in Mike Davis has already relocated to the Atlanta Falcons which meant that the team's rushing unit will be thinner this time around. Seeing the group's dynamic as of the moment, having an inexperienced rookie in Chubba Hubbard only means that McCaffrey will not be splitting a significant amount of his time with any of his teammates.

Despite what happened last season, many fantasy owners are still expected to nab McCaffrey as their first option in the running back position to start out their rosters. Even with the renewed optimism surrounding his fantasy outlook, the biggest hurdle that he still has to overcome next season is his health situation. If McCaffrey manages to play all 17 games next season then his fantasy owners will surely be the happiest people on the planet as they will gain a major boost on their matchups week-in and week-out.

Rank at Position

Throughout the 2020 season, many running backs have shined while McCaffrey spent most of his time sitting on the sidelines. The solid performances of Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara definitely didn't go unnoticed and further solidified their stature among the prolific running backs in the league.

However, fantasy fans can't just simply forget about the things that a healthy Christian McCaffrey can bring to the table. Despite having an injury-riddled season, he still rightfully belongs to the “1a” tier of rushers in the league. He just has to prove that he can still get back to his 2019 form and show that he hasn't lost a step even after sustaining a couple of injuries last season.

Luckily for him, offseason preparations have been brought back this year so he has a chance to have a smooth transition towards the start of the 2021 season. At the same time, the Panthers already have a solidified QB1 in Darnold who is also seeking a bounce-back campaign for himself after going through a tumultuous stint with the New York Jets for the past seasons.

Ultimately, the chemistry that will be formed between McCaffrey and Darnold will be a major factor in determining whether or not the rusher can be productive and perform at his best on the field.

For fantasy owners reading this, you might want to cast off your doubts and place Christian McCaffrey at the top of your wishlist once again if you're aiming to get a massive advantage over your opponents for the upcoming season.