Fantasy football: Christian McCaffrey to miss multiple weeks with ankle injury

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) could miss up to six weeks after he sustained a high-ankle sprain during a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) could miss up to six weeks after he sustained a high-ankle sprain during a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The Carolina Panthers -- and fantasy football teams -- will be without Christian McCaffrey for several weeks after the All-Pro running back sustained an ankle injury in a Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Sources told NFL Network McCaffrey will miss four to six weeks due to a high-ankle sprain after an MRI on Monday showed the damage. Sources also told ESPN the Panthers running back will miss "multiple weeks."


Panthers coach Matt Rhule confirmed the multi-week absence Monday, but declined to provide a specific timetable for recovery.

McCaffrey sustained the injury in the fourth quarter Sunday in Tampa, Fla. He scored a seven-yard touchdown, and then went to the sideline to get his right ankle taped. But he did not return to the field.


"I hate it for him," Rhule told reporters. "No one wants to be out there and play more than Christian does, but everything happens for a reason.

"I'm sure he'll rehab. I'm sure he's rehabbing right now. I talked to him earlier today and he'll get back as soon as he can."

McCaffrey had 59 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries before his exit. He also had four catches for 29 yards.

RELATED Fantasy football: McCaffrey, Cook top Week 1 running back rankings

Fantasy football impact

McCaffrey was one of several Pro Bowl-caliber players to sustain serious injuries in Week 2. Saquon Barkley, the New York Giants top running back, also sustained a season-ending ACL tear on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock and Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton also went down with Week 2 injuries.

The injuries to McCaffrey and Barkley likely will make the most impact in fantasy football leagues. McCaffrey was the No. 1 pick in most fantasy football drafts and could be out through Week 6 or Week 8. Barkley also was a consensus Top 3 pick in fantasy football drafts.


Fantasy team owners who have Barkley in season-long leagues should release him as soon as possible and look to make a trade for a better option at the running back slot if you don't have adequate depth at the position.

McCaffrey owners should move him to the bench, but wait a few weeks until you make a final decision on his status for your team.

Mike Davis assumed the backfield workload for the Panthers on Sunday after McCaffrey's exit. He had just one yard on one carry, but turned eight receptions into 74 yards. Curtis Samuel also had 26 yards on four carries for the Panthers.

Davis is probably the running back to add after the loss of McCaffery, but will not come close to McCaffrey's production during his absence. I would look elsewhere if you need to replace McCaffrey.

Davis is worth a waiver-wire pickup and can be used in good matchups if you are in a league that has at least 14 teams and a flex spot.

The Giants likely will take more of a committee approach when they attempt to fill in for Barkley. They also have been linked to veteran running back Devonta Freeman, who is a free agent. Dion Lewis had 10 carries for 20 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 36 yards in the Giants' loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday in Chicago.


Lewis should see much more work going forward, but will be hard to rely on for your fantasy football team. He will be a matchup-dependent RB2 or flex play in points-per reception leagues going forward.

The Panthers (0-2) will battle the Los Angeles Chargers at 4:05 p.m. EDT Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Giants (0-2) will host the San Francisco 49ers at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

This week in the National Football League

Jacksonville Jaguars' James Robinson (30) runs for yardage against the Miami Dolphins in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. The Dolphins defeated the Jaguars 31-13. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

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