Christian McCaffrey
 Jeremy Brevard | 2018 Dec 17
Christian McCaffrey Jeremy Brevard | 2018 Dec 17

One of the few people less deserving of blame than Ron Rivera for the Carolina Panthers' nightmare season is Christian McCaffrey.

While it's unclear whether Rivera might become the scapegoat for a franchise that feels like it could be headed toward major change, McCaffrey arguably is the Panthers' most valuable player who doesn't wear a helmet with a headset. The RB position might not be all that important for most squads, but McCaffrey isn't most running backs.

McCaffrey is fantasy's RB3 overall (RB2 in PPR leagues) despite finding the end zone only one time in his first six games. How is that possible? He has scored in seven of the past eight — including tossing a 50-yard touchdown Monday night — and 13 times overall since. He's averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 8.2 yards as a receiver, with an outside chance to crack the 1K milestone in both departments.

And after setting a career high with 14 catches (for 102 yards, his second career 100-receiving yard day) in his visit to the Deion Jones-less Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, the rematch comes with Jones back but Cam Newton out, meaning Taylor Heinicke is set to make his first NFL start. The Falcons' issues defending backs over the past two-plus seasons are well-documented; no other NFL club has allowed 100 receptions to the position in either season, much less Atlanta's 213 combined.

With Heinicke at the controls, McCaffrey surely will get a full workload — as a runner and receiver — vs. Atlanta Sunday, when he needs 203 yards from scrimmage to become only the 10th player ever to reach 2K. Since suddenly there's increasing hot-seat talk surrounding the under appreciated Rivera, can we at least fully appreciate what a spectacular sophomore season McCaffrey has authored?

Take a look at our full Championship Week RB rankings, which include a few links to our other Week 16 fantasy resources and will be updated prior to kickoff between Washington and Tennessee on Saturday afternoon:

1. Todd Gurley, Rams at Cardinals

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. Bucs

3. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. Falcons

4. Nick Chubb, Browns vs. Bengals

5. Saquon Barkley, Giants at Colts

6. Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Steelers

7. Joe Mixon, Bengals at Browns

8. Melvin Gordon, Chargers vs. Ravens

9. Phillip Lindsay, Broncos at Raiders

10. Dalvin Cook, Vikings at Lions

11. Chris Carson, Seahawks vs. Chiefs

12. Derrick Henry, Titans vs. Washington

13. Marlon Mack, Colts vs. Giants

14. Tevin Coleman, Falcons at Panthers

15. Sony Michel, Patriots vs. Bills

16. David Johnson, Cardinals vs. Rams

17. Gus Edwards, Ravens at Chargers

18. Mark Ingram, Saints vs. Steelers

19. Elijah McGuire, Jets vs. Packers

20. Damien Williams, Chiefs at Seahawks

21. James White, Patriots vs. Bills

22. Matt Breida, 49ers vs. Bears

23. Jaylen Samuels, Steelers at Saints

24. Tarik Cohen, Bears at 49ers

25. Josh Adams, Eagles vs. Texans

26. Jordan Howard, Bears at 49ers

27. Adrian Peterson, Washington at Titans

28. LeSean McCoy, Bills at Patriots

29. Lamar Miller, Texans at Eagles

30. Kalen Ballage, Dolphins vs. Jaguars

31. Jamaal Williams, Packers at Jets

32. Peyton Barber, Bucs at Cowboys

33. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars at Dolphins

34. Kenneth Dixon, Ravens at Chargers

35. Mike Davis, Seahawks vs. Chiefs

36. Latavius Murray, Vikings at Lions

37. Doug Martin, Raiders vs. Broncos

38. Kenyan Drake, Dolphins vs. Jaguars

39. Zach Zenner, Lions vs. Vikings

40. Wendell Smallwood, Eagles vs. Texans

41. Theo Riddick, Lions vs. Vikings

42. Dion Lewis, Titans vs. Washington

43. Jalen Richard, Raiders vs. Broncos

44. Nyheim Hines, Colts vs. Giants

45. Duke Johnson, Browns vs. Bengals

46. Justin Jackson, Chargers vs. Ravens

47. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars at Dolphins

48. Jeff Wilson, 49ers vs. Bears

49. Chris Thompson, Washington at Titans

50. Rex Burkhead, Patriots vs. Bills

51. John Kelly, Rams at Cardinals

52. Brian Hill, Falcons at Panthers

53. Darren Sproles, Eagles vs. Texans

54. Kapri Bibbs, Packers at Jets

55. Chase Edmonds, Cardinals vs. Rams

Not listed because of injury: James Conner, Lamar Miller, Spencer Ware, Austin Ekeler, Chris Ivory