Injuries are just part of playing the game of football, but some are harder to swallow than others. The news of Christian McCaffrey's injury has left a sour taste in the mouth of many fantasy football owners who selected the dynamic running back with their number-one pick. Despite the fact that he is slated to return to the first team fold in the coming weeks, who knows where his levels of fitness may well be, and it’s a risk that fantasy managers cannot afford to take with the NFL season reaching its apex.
McCaffrey's loss, who is seemingly irreplaceable in the world of fantasy football, made many managers scramble to find backup options to save their season. It hasn’t yet made the bookmakers scramble though, and the latest NFL Super Bowl odds still have the San Francisco 49ers down as +600 joint-favorites for the Lombardi this season. But fear not, fantasy heads! Your season isn't over just yet. In fact, there are three running backs that you should consider replacing McCaffrey on your team. Let's take a look at them.
Derrick Henry - Tennessee Titans
It is not an easy feat to fill the shoes of one of the best running backs in the league, but if there is one player who could do it, it's Derrick Henry. A force to be reckoned with, the former Alabama Crimson Tide star's size, speed, and power give him incredible potential as a fantasy running back. He was named the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 when he became just the eighth player in history to secure over 2,000 rushing yards over the course of a season, as well as leading the league in terms of rushing yards in both that campaign and the one before.
But, with that being said, Henry does come with some risk, as he tends to be somewhat unpredictable. He can either put up huge numbers or leave you in the dust. In 2021, he could barely muster up 900 yards on the ground, but he returned to his best last season when he racked up over 1,500. This year, he already has over 500 and he is currently in 5th place in the league when it comes to his rushing game.
The Tennessee Titans have been struggling with their passing game and they currently have a dismal record of 3-4. As such, they will be looking to Henry more and more in the coming weeks, and with fixtures against the likes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers on the horizon, yards are all but guaranteed.
Isiah Pacheco - Kansas City Chiefs
Not many people knew who Isiah Pacheco was when he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 draft. However, after a blistering maiden in which he became a Super Bowl champion at the first time of asking, everyone now knows his name. The 22-year-old is one of the most underrated running backs in the country. He may not have the big name of some other players, but he has what it takes to be a fantasy stud.
Pacheco is a versatile back, who can run, catch, and block, making him a valuable asset in any fantasy lineup. His physical style of play also makes it hard for defenders to bring him down, making him a dependable option for any fantasy manager. He truly announced his arrival as a big game player at Super Bowl LVII back in February when he racked up 76 rushing yards, combining with quarterback Patrick Mahomes to overturn a ten-point half-time deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles and secure the Lombardi Trophy.
This season, he has picked up where he left off last year. He already has 459 rushing yards to his name, over half the amount he made last season, and he looks set to far surpass the 1,000-yard mark. His Chiefs are also pretty much guaranteed to go deep into the postseason, guaranteeing you further points down the road.
Joe Mixon - Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon had been somewhat of a disappointment for fantasy managers this year, just as his fellow Cincinnati Bengals stars such as Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase have. Cincy lost three of their opening four games and it looked as though those two reason trips to the AFC Championship game were a distant memory. What a difference a couple of weeks make.
The Bengals have reeled off four consecutive wins and Mixon has been crucial to their success. The Ohio outfit were huge underdogs when they headed to the McCaffrey-less 49ers on game week seven however, Mixon managed to pick up a mighty 87 yards on the ground as his side ran out convincing winners. With some more than winnable games on the horizon, we're here to tell you that things are looking up for the Bengals running back.
With games against the lowly Houston Texans and a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Steelers looming, further yardage and crucial points are on the table for Mixon, and you can guarantee he will scoop them up as the Bengals look for that elusive maiden Lombardi.