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Fantasy Alert: Christian McCaffrey Returns to Panthers Practice amid Injury Rehab

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 6, 2021

AP Photo/Nell Redmond

The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday that running back Christian McCaffrey returned to practice after suffering a strained hamstring against the Houston Texans in Week 3.

McCaffrey left during the first half of Carolina's win against Houston and did not return. He also missed last week's game against the Dallas Cowboys, as rookie Chuba Hubbard started in his place.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule initially said the expectation was McCaffrey would miss "a few weeks" of action.

While McCaffrey returning to practice so quickly has to be considered a positive for the Panthers, the team isn't yet sure what his status will be for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

When healthy, the 25-year-old McCaffrey is undoubtedly among the best running backs in football, both in real and fantasy terms.

Prior to getting injured, McCaffrey was off to a fine start with 201 rushing yards and one touchdown, as well as 16 receptions for 163 yards in parts of three games.

McCaffrey is just two seasons removed from one of the best running-back performances in NFL history, as he rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns and caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns in 2019.

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In addition to being named a Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro, McCaffrey became only the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season.

Expectations were huge for McCaffrey entering 2020, but injuries limited him to just three games.

The injury bug has bitten McCaffrey again this season, however, his swift return to practice bodes well for him not missing many games even if he isn't able to return in Week 5.

If McCaffrey does play Sunday, he should be started in any and all fantasy formats. If not, those who have Hubbard on their roster should consider starting him as a low-end RB2 or high-end FLEX.

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