That collective groan you just heard? It came from those who own Christian McCaffrey in fantasy football.
McCaffrey, who’s being placed on injured reserve for the second time this season, was selected No. 1 overall in many fantasy football drafts.
Of course, there was risk involved with picking McCaffrey, as he was limited to just three games last season while dealing with injuries. But his upside, in most cases, was too much to ignore, and now many McCaffrey owners likely are scrambling for a replacement with the fantasy playoffs approaching.
So, which running backs should you target this week on the waiver wire to replace Run CMC? Let’s dive into a few options, focusing on those available in 65% or fewer of Yahoo! leagues.
Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers (39% owned)
Let’s start with the obvious: McCaffrey’s real-life replacement. Hubbard, a rookie fourth-round pick, filled in earlier this season when McCaffrey missed five games with a hamstring injury, and he’ll presumably recapture the starting role when Carolina returns from its Week 13 bye. He’s a must-add, with potentially solid volume and capable of producing both on the ground and in the passing game.
Ameer Abdullah, Carolina Panthers (0% owned)
Miss out on Hubbard? Taking a flier of Abdullah isn’t the worst idea. He obviously moves up Carolina’s depth chart with McCaffrey out, and he could garner steady work in the passing game, with the potential for more if Carolina opts to distribute its carries more evenly than the last time McCaffrey was sidelined.
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (51% owned)
Mattison is the No. 1 add in fantasy football this week, as Dalvin Cook suffered a shoulder injury Sunday that could sideline him for multiple games. Of course, the problem is nearly everyone will be vying for Mattison’s services on the waiver wire. If you’re lucky enough to land him, great. He could be a top-10 or top-15 RB for as long as Cook is out. If not, well, the rest of this list could come in handy.
Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions (39% owned)
Williams, like Mattison, figures to assume a starting role in wake of an injury, as D’Andre Swift suffered a shoulder sprain in Detroit’s loss to the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving. It’s unclear how long Swift will be sidelined, but it sounds like he’ll miss at least Week 13 against Minnesota. That opens the door for Williams, who already had some FLEX appeal earlier this season with Swift in the mix.
Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans (29% owned)
The New England Patriots waxed the Titans in Week 12, but Hilliard finished with a game-high 131 rushing yards thanks to a 68-yard draw play. Probably can’t bank on those types of plays every week, especially with Tennessee operating with a running back committee in wake of Derrick Henry’s injury, but there’s still upside here. Hilliard caught eight passes (on 10 targets) in Week 11.
D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans (46% owned)
Really, these two Titans ‘backs go hand in hand. We’d probably lean Hilliard based on his ceiling as a receiver, but Foreman is worth a look, too, after totaling 109 rushing yards on 19 carries against New England. Just keep in mind Tennessee, like Carolina, is on a bye in Week 13.
Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (19% owned)
Figuring out Philadelphia’s backfield situation is tricky, especially when you consider quarterback Jalen Hurts’ rushing prowess and knack for vulturing TD runs down around the goal line. But Jordan Howard missed Week 12 and Miles Sanders, who just returned from an injury, was limited late against the New York Giants after getting banged up. Scott led the Eagles on Sunday with 15 carries, resulting in 64 yards, and come be the No. 1 option when the dust settles.
Matt Breida, Buffalo Bills (23% owned)
Zack Moss was inactive on Thanksgiving, paving the way for a bigger role for Breida. Predicting Breida’s volume each week could be a fool’s errand, but the former San Francisco 49er showed a little something in Buffalo’s dismantling of the New Orleans Saints. He caught a TD pass and could see his snap count increase with continued production.
Tevin Coleman, New York Jets (18% owned)
Coleman received 47% of the Jets’ running back snaps Sunday. And he was decent, logging 16 carries for 67 yards. In most cases, we’d advise steering clear of New York’s backfield. But who knows? Maybe you’re really desperate.