Anthony McFarland Jr.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Running Back #26
Pittsburgh Steelers
Running Back #26
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Anthony McFarland Jr. News

Three touches in Week 12

McFarland recorded two carries for two yards while securing his lone target for 11 yards in Sunday's 41-10 loss to the Bengals.

Analysis: McFarland's 11 offensive snaps ranked second among the Steelers' running backs in Sunday's blowout loss, but he failed to make much of an impact. The 22-year-old's fantasy value as a backup for Pittsburgh remains limited behind lead back Najee Harris.

Nov 29, 2021 6:56 AM EST


Healthy scratch Sunday

McFarland (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Chargers, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: McFarland has played just five offensive snaps this season, and he won't dress for Sunday night's matchup. Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage will continue to serve as the backup options behind lead back Najee Harris.

Nov 21, 2021 4:14 PM EST



Inactive Monday

McFarland has been ruled inactive for Monday's matchup with the Bears due to a coach's decision.

Analysis: McFarland made his season debut last week and saw just one carry for one yard. With Najee Harris, Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell all healthy, he will be the odd man out this week in the backfield.

Nov 8, 2021 4:07 PM EST


One carry in Week 8

McFarland rushed once for one yard in Sunday's 15-10 win over the Browns.

Analysis: McFarland made his season debut after missing the first six games with a knee injury, but he was on the field for just seven offensive snaps. Although he saw slightly more playing time than Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell, he has limited fantasy upside behind lead back Najee Harris.

Nov 1, 2021 7:58 AM EST


Activated from injured reserve

The Steelers activated McFarland (knee) off injured reserve Wednesday.

Analysis: As expected, McFarland has been added to the 53-man roster and will likely be active for Sunday's matchup with the Browns. However, the 22-year-old running back isn't expected to see much playing time, as rookie first-round pick Najee Harris has been a three-down workhorse for Pittsburgh throughout the 2021 campaign.

Oct 27, 2021 8:27 AM EST



Could be activated this week

Head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he anticipates having McFarland back from injured reserve for the Steelers' Week 8 game in Cleveland, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: According to Pryor, McFarland revealed Oct. 15 that the unspecified issue that has kept him on injured reserve all season is a torn MCL, an injury that occurred in practice and was an aggravation of the one he initially sustained in college at Maryland. McFarland said that he feels good since returning to practice Oct. 6, and Tomlin added Tuesday that the Steelers will see how much work the running back is able to do this week before determining if he'll be active Sunday in Cleveland. Even if he suits up this weekend, McFarland isn't expected to have much of a role behind rookie first-round pick Najee Harris, who has been a three-down workhorse for Pittsburgh throughout the season.

Oct 26, 2021 9:24 AM EST


Returns to practice Wednesday

McFarland (undisclosed) returned to practice Wednesday, but he remains on injured reserve.

Analysis: The Steelers have a 21-day period to add McFarland to their active roster. If he isn't, then he will revert back to IR for the remainder of the season. When he returns, McFarland will compete for the primary backup role behind three-down workhorse Najee Harris.

Oct 6, 2021 9:41 AM EST


Lands on IR

The Steelers placed McFarland (undisclosed) on injured reserve Wednesday.

Analysis: McFarland made the initial 53-man roster but can now be ruled out for the first three games of the season. The Steelers are left with Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage as depth options behind potential three-down workhorse Najee Harris. It's possible McFarland handles the No. 2 backfield role once he recovers from his unspecified injury, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.

Sep 1, 2021 2:18 PM EST


Could win No.2 role

McFarland (undisclosed) is a candidate to win the top backup gig behind Najee Harris, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: McFarland only handled 39 offensive touches in 11 appearances as a rookie last season, but his only competition for the primary backup spot are Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage, both of whom have underwhelmed in their respective careers. However, the 2020 fourth-round pick has also been sidelined due to an undisclosed injury since late August, which could land him on IR to begin the regular season. Should that occur, McFarland would be forced to miss the Steelers' first three games.

Sep 1, 2021 12:15 PM EST


Doesn't travel with team

McFarland didn't travel with the team for Friday's preseason game against the Panthers due to an unspecified injury, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: McFarland was relatively inefficient in the Steelers' exhibition win over the Lions with six carries for 11 yards along with two receptions for 21 yards, and he remained in Pittsburgh for the preseason finale. Assuming the 2020 fourth-rounder remains on the roster to begin the regular season, it's not yet clear whether his injury will limit his availability for the team's Week 1 matchup against the Bills.

Aug 28, 2021 8:45 AM EST


Tops 40 total yards in win

McFarland logged nine carries for 34 yards and a touchdown and hauled in his lone target for seven yards in Thursday's 24-16 preseason win over the Eagles.

Analysis: McFarland had a limited role in last week's Hall of Fame Game against the Cowboys, but he saw increased looks Thursday with Kalen Ballage (lower body) and Benny Snell (undisclosed) sidelined against the Eagles. His production trailed Jaylen Samuels' 62 yards from scrimmage, but he was on the field for 25 percent of the Steelers' offensive snaps and made an impact as he competes for a backup role ahead of the regular season.

Aug 13, 2021 10:30 AM EST


Records four touches

McFarland rushed three times for nine yards and hauled in his lone target for six yards in the Steelers' 16-13 preseason win over the Cowboys in Thursday's Hall of Fame Game.

Analysis: McFarland had a nine-yard rush in Thursday's preseason opener that was Pittsburgh's longest rush of the game, but he failed to generate any yardage on his other two carries. The 2020 fourth-rounder is competing for a secondary role in the Steelers' backfield with Jaylen Samuels, Kalen Ballage, Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell.

Aug 6, 2021 10:07 AM EST


Should serve in secondary role

McFarland should serve in a backup role this season after the Steelers selected Najee Harris with the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: McFarland will get to work under offensive coordinator Matt Canada in 2021, who served in the same position at The University of Maryland when the running back ran for 1,034 yards in 2018. However, James Conner left for the Cardinals in free agency during the offseason, and the Steelers decided to replace him by taking the first running back off the board in the first round Thursday. Coach Mike Tomlin described Harris as a "three-down back" after the Steelers selected him, signaling that McFarland should have to compete for carries with Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage in a secondary role in 2021.

Apr 30, 2021 10:44 AM EST


Could benefit from OC promotion

McFarland could benefit from working with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who held the same position at The University of Maryland when the running back ran for 1,034 yards in 2018, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: McFarland and Canada both experienced their first NFL season in 2020, with the former seldom used as a backup running back, while the latter served as QBs coach. Canada replaces Randy Fichtner, who was criticized for ranking 31st, 29th and 32nd in rushing yards during his three-year tenure as offensive coordinator. With James Conner scheduled for free agency and none of McFarland, Benny Snell or Jaylen Samuels making a strong impression this past season, it's hard to get a read on the future of the Pittsburgh backfield. The murky situation isn't necessarily a bad thing for McFarland, a soon-to-be 22-year-old with 4.44 speed and a decent investment (2020 fourth-round pick).

Jan 26, 2021 7:53 AM EST


Not playing Sunday

McFarland (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's wild-card matchup against the Browns, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: The rookie fourth-round pick will be a healthy scratch as the Steelers head into postseason action. Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels will serve as reserve options behind top running back James Conner.

Jan 10, 2021 4:05 PM EST


Carries ball five times in Week 17

McFarland totaled five carries for 17 yards while failing to haul in his lone target in Sunday's 24-22 loss to the Browns.

Analysis: McFarland saw some increased usage in Week 17 since the Steelers elected to rest some of their primary players ahead of the playoffs. The 2020 fourth-rounder didn't make much of an impact for Pittsburgh during his rookie season, logging just 33 carries for 113 yards while hauling in six of his 10 targets for 54 yards. McFarland could compete for an increased role in 2021 if James Conner doesn't re-sign with the team, but he should continue to see minimal usage offensively during the Steelers' playoff run.

Jan 4, 2021 11:12 AM EST


Avoids injury report

McFarland (illness) is not listed on Thursday's injury report, Teresa Varley of the team's official site reports.

Analysis: The rookie first-round pick sat out Week 16's win over the Colts due to an ailment, but it looks like he's already returned to full health. With the Steelers planning to sit a number of starters against the Browns on Sunday, McFarland could end up seeing increased playing time.

Dec 31, 2020 2:58 PM EST


Sitting out Sunday

McFarland (illness) is inactive for Sunday's game versus the Colts, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: McFarland was added to the injury report Friday as a non-participant due to the illness, and he won't be available for Sunday's matchup with Indianapolis. The 21-year-old was unlikely to see significant playing time even if available since James Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels are healthy.

Dec 27, 2020 9:08 AM EST


Questionable for Sunday

McFarland is questionable for Sunday's game versus Indianapolis due to an illness, Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports.com reports.

Analysis: The 23-year-old was added to the injury report Friday as a non-participant due to the illness, putting his status for Week 16 in question. McFarland is unable to have a significant role even if available since James Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels are all healthy.

Dec 25, 2020 2:43 PM EST


Limited usage against Bengals

McFarland recorded one carry for five yards while bringing in his lone target for nine yards in Monday's 24-17 loss to the Bengals.

Analysis: McFarland was expected to play a modest role for Pittsburgh on Monday after James Conner (quadriceps) was ruled out for the contest, but he was only on the field for seven offensive snaps in the loss. The rookie was a healthy scratch for the Steelers in Week 14, and he's unlikely to see a major uptick in usage over the final few weeks of the season.

Dec 22, 2020 10:28 AM EST


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