Yahoo Fantasy analyst Matt Harmon offers his initial takeaways after the San Francisco 49ers acquire All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers
MATT HARMON: Huge bombshell news here on Thursday night as the San Francisco 49ers are sending a second, third, and fourth-round pick in this coming draft and a fifth-round pick in the next year's draft for Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. I mean, this one, it's a big-time one here. I mean, Chris McCaffrey is one of the best players at his position. He was one of the first three players off the board in just about every fantasy draft this year.
Off the cuff here, I'm not 100% sure how to make this a positive for Christian McCaffrey from a fantasy angle. I'm not sure it's a negative either. I feel like this is maybe a net neutral for his fantasy value because you can kind of argue this both ways. Number one, he's leaving a terrible offensive ecosystem, an awful environment in the Carolina Panthers. He's certainly going to have better odds to score touchdowns with the San Francisco 49ers than he did with the Carolina Panthers.
But is he going to have that same passing-down role that he did in Carolina that he-- is he going to have that in San Francisco? I think that's a question worth asking. Because the 49ers, they're 28th in neutral pass rate right now this year. And they already have a ton of guys to throw the ball to.
I mean, we know McCaffrey is going to play almost every single snap. He's going to be out there. He's going to be the feature guy. You don't give this kind of draft pick haul up to get a guy and then put him in a typical old Shanahan committee. So I think we can put that part to the side. But how is he going to catch seven, eight, nine, 10 balls a game when he's competing for targets with Deebo Samuel, with Brandon Aiyuk, with George Kittle?
Those three guys are balling right now over the last couple of weeks. How does CMC fit into there? I'm not 100% sure. But again, the rushing efficiency, the boost in touchdown odds probably keeps him still among the top four, five backs rest of season in fantasy football. So not a huge loss there in that regard if you have Christian McCaffrey on your team.
I think what this does to the other guys on the San Francisco 49ers roster, that's the big question here. I mean, it was already tough to make the math work between Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle. And now we're putting another body in the mix there. That could really make things complicated for those three pass catchers. It could take the ceiling and the floor away from those players.
They're probably the biggest-- I guess if you had to say losers in this fantasy equation, it's those guys there, unless we get the San Francisco 49ers up into the top 15 in neutral pass rate, which would be an outlier in the Shanahan years. But we can hope that that is the case and they're just throwing a lot of high-percentage passes with Jimmy Garoppolo there.
And of course, back in Carolina, I mean, I guess this frees up more volume for DJ Moore. But it's going to be ugly volume. I don't think he's a guy that you have to roster at this point. It's just going to be messy the rest of the way for DJ Moore.
And in the backfield, I'm going to go with D'Onta Foreman ahead of Chuba Hubbard as the pickup here, but neither of these guys are that appealing on an offense that has been utterly and completely broken this year. This is one hell of a bombshell trade that just shook everything up in fantasy and perhaps in the NFL playoff picture in the NFC as well.