Another week, another starting running back gets injured. Although not every week claims the consensus No. 1 player in fantasy football. Christian McCaffrey never missed a game over his first three NFL seasons before playing in just three games last year due to multiple injuries.
Unfortunately, the injury bug has struck McCaffrey again. And those fantasy managers who drafted him at the top of the first round have a major hole in their lineup to fill -- assuming, of course, they didn't already draft his backup just in case something like this happened.
Recommended bids based on a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) of $100 for the season.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers ($24). McCaffrey's injured hamstring almost guarantees Hubbard will be the most popular player on the fantasy waiver wire this week -- in leagues where he’s available.
Hubbard didn’t see much action in the Panthers’ first two games, but he got the bulk of the touches in Week 3 after McCaffrey exited with an injury that’s expected to keep him out for several weeks. Hubbard looked solid in rushing 11 times for 52 yards on Thursday night. He also caught three passes for 27 more yards.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills ($10). Sanders had his first big game as a member of the Bills – catching five passes for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns vs. Washington. QB Josh Allen started slowly before his monster game last week. There's plenty of room for any number of Bills receivers to flourish in the offense.
TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys ($8). Catching six passes for 80 yards and scoring two touchdowns on Monday night will do wonders for a player's profile. Schultz has turned into a reliable option for the sizzling-hot Dak Prescott and should have value all season long.
Dalton Schultz, have yourself a night.
80 yards + 2 TDs on the night. YAC on YAC on YAC. Cowboys lead 41-14.pic.twitter.com/ILcSEB3Tx7
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) September 28, 2021
RB Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7). It looks like Tom Brady and the Bucs aren't interested in running the ball, so Bernard's receiving ability could make him the most valuable Buc back. The veteran caught nine of 10 targets on Sunday for 51 yards and a TD.
TE Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings ($7). Conklin caught seven of his eight targets for 70 yards and a touchdown. He should continue to be productive in the role Irv Smith was supposed to have before his season-ending injury.
RB Royce Freeman, Carolina Panthers ($6). Even with Hubbard taking over the McCaffrey role in Carolina, there will still be a decent number of touches for the No. 2 back.
WR Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots ($4). Bourne had a breakout game with his new team, with six receptions for 96 yards and a score. But rookie QB Mac Jones needs to show more consistency before any of his receivers can be trusted as fantasy starters.
WR DeSean Jackson, Los Angeles Rams. We have a D-Jax sighting! Always a deep threat, Jackson showed he can still run by defensive backs at age 34. He totaled 120 yards on three receptions, including a 75-yard touchdown, on Sunday. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and even Tyler Higbee will all see more targets, but Jackson gives the offense an added dimension.
WR Josh Gordon, Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, we've been down this road many times before ... but really, this time it's different! It's been eight years (and six suspensions) since Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards. But if anyone can bring out his true talent, it's Patrick Mahomes, right?
Also, be sure to check last week's waiver wire picks (Peyton Barber, Sony Michel) to see if any of those players are still available in your league.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fantasy football waiver wire: RB Chuba Hubbard takes over in Carolina