Home Uncategorized Who is Chuba Hubbard? Meet Christian McCaffrey’s backup and fantasy handcuff

Who is Chuba Hubbard? Meet Christian McCaffrey’s backup and fantasy handcuff

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Chuba Hubbard learned Thursday night how “Next man up” works in the NFL.

The Panthers rookie running back replaced Christian McCaffrey in the second quarter vs. the Texans after McCaffrey was forced out of the game with a hamstring strain.

MORE: Panthers vs. Texans scoring updates, highlights

Hubbard got just two carries before halftime. One of them was a fourth-and-1 attempt in which he was stopped short. Nonetheless, he was the de facto No. 1 back for the rest of Thursday and may be in that role for the next several weeks. He had 14 total touches (11 rushes, three receptions) for 79 yards in Carolina’s 24-9 victory.

“It was just a tough situation. You never want to see a teammate go down, especially Christian,” Hubbard said.

So, who is Chuba Hubbard? Here’s what you need to know about Christian McCaffrey’s main backup and fantasy handcuff:

Hubbard was a Day 3 draft selection after a trade

The Panthers traded down with the Titans to snag extra picks in the middle and late rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. One of the picks they acquired was No. 126 overall, which is where they took Hubbard. 

NFL DRAFT 2021: Complete list of selections

Hubbard said after the draft that he was ready to make big plays in the pros.

“It’s kind of hard for me to describe, I feel like I have a different or unique running style,” Hubbard said, per the Panthers’ website. “But I know that one thing about me is I’m a playmaker. I feel like I can score from any part of the field, and I can bring a lot to the Panthers.”

Hubbard is a Canadian import

Hubbard, 22, was born in Edmonton and grew up in Sherwood Park, Alta., where he played his prep football. He was recruited to Oklahoma State, where he played three seasons. He amassed 3,459 rushing yards, 479 receiving yards and 36 total touchdowns in 33 career games with the Cowboys.

As a sophomore in 2019, he led the FBS with 21 rushng touchdowns and totaled 2,292 yards from scrimmage in 13 games. He was Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and a Sporting News first-team All-American.

MORE: Hubbard, Gundy appear in video to ease tension at OSU

His 54 career collegiate receptions are a sign that the Panthers can utilize him in the passing game, although he likely will be a downgrade from McCaffrey out of the backfield.

Hubbard is sure to be a waiver-wire target 

McCaffrey, as expected, was the center of the Panthers’ offense during the team’s first two-plus games. He had more than half the team’s touches (59) during Carolina’s 2-0 start. Hubbard had just 10 touches in the two games.

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Hubbard was owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues and 11 percent of ESPN leagues, respectively, around the time of McCaffrey’s injury. That percentage is bound to go up quickly after his work Thursday.

“To be a running back you’ve got to be able to do everything: pass protect, catch the ball and run the ball. That’s been a point of emphasis for me over the last year and I felt that I’ve progressed in it, definitely,” he said of adding running to his early-season duties.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule told NFL Network’s Erin Andrews at halftime that veteran backup Royce Freeman would also be part of the offense in the second half against Houston. Freeman got his first touches of 2021 after McCaffrey left the game but Hubbard got the majority of the work. Freeman finished with six touches for 25 yards.

Freeman played three seasons with the Broncos before joining the Panthers last offseason on a waiver claim.



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