These 3 superstar NFL running backs lost their value in 2022

Fantasy Football waiver wire: Saquon Barkley injury. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Fantasy Football waiver wire: Saquon Barkley injury. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 3
2022 NFL season
2022 NFL season; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs on the field prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1 – Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers)

No running back has had as big of an impact on the ground and air attack, respectively, as Christian McCaffrey has since 2018.

His best season came in 2019 in which he put together a 1,000+ rushing and a 1,000+ receiving yard season. Those fortunate to have CMC on their fantasy team that year, remember his dominance rather fondly.

However, apart from that magical season in which he averaged 149.5 scrimmage yards per game (sheesh), he has played just 10 total games since then, sitting out of 23 games due to injury largely related to receiving too many touches per game.

Since being drafted in 2017, McCaffrey has averaged a combined 19.7 touches per game, and 23.6 combined touches per game since 2019.

There are only so many hits a running back can take before his body starts to lose the ability to absorb the impacts and recover from them.

With the Carolina Panthers falling down in power rankings in each passing year, the workload has intensified for McCaffrey and has effectively led to his decline in health.

It’s with a heavy heart as a huge fan and supporter of the elusive back to say that Christian McCaffrey’s best days are behind him. While he can easily serve as a complementary back in a 1A/1B role, the games in which you let CMC carry the offense are gone.

The reason why teams nowadays are electing to draft a running back in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft is to have an elite talent for five years on a rookie contract and repeat the process when the said contract expires, as opposed to retaining the player’s services for an extra duration at a damaging cost to the salary cap.

Running backs don’t have the durability of other positions. You may get an Emmitt Smith once every generation, but the risk/reward sways heavily in favor of the risk when you sign a back to such a lucrative deal.

Until they can figure out a solution, the Panthers will cringe every time they see CMC’s 4-year $64 million contract that still has another two years left before it expires.