Mike Davis
Mike Davis has done an excellent job filling the void for the injured Christian McCaffrey. Does Davis deserve a role when CMC returns? (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

When Christian McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve, I think most of us expected the Panthers offense to crater. Mike Davis has filled in better than anyone could have possibly anticipated. No, Davis isn’t McCaffrey, but he’s proven that he should very much be taken seriously.

Davis was barely a popular waiver wire pick up for fantasy. The Bears cut the sixth-year pro from South Carolina. Think about that! Given the struggles of David Montgomery, Davis would be a great player to have in that Chicago backfield. Ryan Pace deserves a pass for that one. He doesn’t mess up too often!

Davis also contributed in Seattle but never really did enough to carve out a permanent role. It seems like there’s a chance Davis may have found a home in Carolina. Davis has been excellent in his short stint filling in for CMC.

Davis has been productive in both the run and pass game. He’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry on the ground. Davis has also added 21 receptions for 146 yards. This coming in just two starts! No, he’s not McCaffrey, but Davis has been stable. Oddly enough, Carolina has won both games when Davis started. They lost both to start the season with McCaffrey.

The question now is whether Davis deserves a role when CMC returns? McCaffrey is the type of back that pretty much takes every snap. A year ago, McCaffrey ended the season with 287 carries and 116 receptions. Carolina didn’t pay McCaffrey $64 million to use him in a part-time role. Maybe, Davis carves out a few more snaps than he otherwise would have.

Davis, 28, will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season. Based on his current production, a team in need of a running back might be willing to pay. Carolina can’t overextend themselves, given that they already paid McCaffrey. Davis has been a hero for many fantasy owners this season. Most likely, it will come crashing back down to earth once McCaffrey returns.