The top two picks in nearly all Fantasy Football drafts coming into the 2021 season are out of the picture for at least the last leg of the Fantasy regular season, as we found out Monday both Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey suffered injuries that will force them to miss time down the stretch. In Cook's case, that will be at least a multi-week absence, but for McCaffrey, it means the end of his season.
McCaffrey was placed on IR Monday after suffering an ankle injury in Week 12. That is his second IR designation of the season, which means his season is over after just seven games -- two of which he left early. He finishes the season averaging 18.2 PPR points per game despite the injuries, but has now suffered season-ending injuries in consecutive years that have limited him to 10 games since the start of 2020.
Cook suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder Sunday and is expected to miss a couple of games as a result of the injury. The hope is he can return for Week 15 -- the start of the Fantasy playoffs for many of you -- but it looks like he's going to be out for at least part of the stretch run with his latest shoulder injury. And those two won't be the only big-name running backs out of the picture in Week 13.
Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Dontrell Hilliard, D'Onta Foreman, Chuba Hubbard, and Ameer Abdullah are all on bye in Week 13, making an already shallow position even worse. This isn't the worst bye week of the season, but it's not far off, and it could leave Fantasy players scrambling to fill some holes in their lineups.
The good news is, there might actually be some decent running back targets to consider on waivers ahead of Week 13 -- even if Alexander Mattison (78% rostered in CBS Fantasy leagues) isn't available on the wire in your league. If Mattison is available in your league, he should be the top waiver-wire target in all formats, because he figures to be a top-10 RB -- and maybe more -- for as long as Cook is out. That might just be a couple of weeks, however seeing as Cook has a long history of shoulder injuries dating back to high school, including issues with both shoulders presently, don't be shocked if Mattison is starting for the rest of the season.
Hubbard and Abdullah look like they'll probably split time moving forward, with Abdullah actually having played two-thirds of the snaps in McCaffrey's absence in Week 12. That was largely because they were chasing points, however it looks like he'll likely handle passing downs, and he has at least four targets in four of the past five games, so that could be a solid role. Hubbard averaged 12.9 PPR points per game in five starts earlier in the season and should be a lower-end RB2 with Abdullah in the mix, though it's worth noting that with matchups against the Bills, Buccaneers, and Saints from Weeks 15-17, expectations should be tempered for both. And neither will help you in Week 13, so they don't necessarily need to be high priorities this week if you need help immediately.
The top back if Mattison isn't available and you need a Week 13 fill-in might be Jamaal Williams (55%), whose backfield mate D'Andre Swift left Thursday's game against the Bears with a sprained shoulder. The injury isn't considered a serious one, but he could still end up missing the game, and Williams would be a very interesting starting option even in a pretty bad offense. He played 63% of the snaps in Thursday's game with Swift leaving early, rushing for 65 yards on 15 carries and adding five catches on five targets for 18 yards. If Swift does miss time, Williams could be a top-15 RB for next week and would be the obvious top waiver-wire target where available.
And he's not the only potentially intriguing running back we could be looking at for Week 13. In Sunday's early look at the waiver wire, I'll highlight a few players from other positions, but first, here are five other running backs we could be looking to add on waivers next week:
- Boston Scott (38%) -- I think Scott is the top target if you need a Week 13 option, though that situation in Philadelphia is a bit murky. Jordan Howard missed Sunday's game with a knee injury and Miles Sanders was limited in the second half after limping off with some kind of leg injury. Scott led the team with 15 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown (and had another TD called back for a holding), adding three targets as well. Sanders might be fine for Week 13, but this is clearly going to be a committee, so if he's not 100%, there is going to be plenty of room for Scott. And, if Howard and Sanders are out, Scott could be a must-start with a great matchup against the Jets on the way.
- Tevin Coleman (17%) -- Coleman probably has more clarity about his role than Scott, but the situation just isn't as good. He led the Jets with 47% of the running back snaps Sunday, and with a rare lead to protect, he ended up rushing for 67 yards on 16 carries while adding two catches for 3 yards on three targets. That production is nothing to write home about, and he ceded work both near the goal line (to Austin Walter) and on third downs (to Ty Johnson), but he should be good for double-digit carries and will be in the RB3 conversation for Week 13.
- Phillip Lindsay (14%) -- This one seems like much less of a sure thing than either of the previous two, but Lindsay did carry the ball 12 times for Miami in their 33-10 win over the Panthers Sunday. Lindsay did see plenty of work in the second half of the blowout -- 11 of his 15 snaps came in the second half -- but that's not bad for his first game with his new team. The Dolphins have used multiple backs all season, and if Lindsay can show a spark, it may not take much to push Myles Gaskin for rushing work. And, with another potential easy win coming up in Week 13 against the Giants, he may be relevant once again.
- Dontrell Hilliard (45%)/D'Onta Foreman (63%) -- If you're looking for a Week 13 add, neither Hilliard nor Foreman is going to be much help, but both will be worth adding if you can afford the roster spot. Hilliard rushed 12 times for 131 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots (while adding two targets), while Foreman rushed for 109 on 19 carries with one target. The Titans offense has been a mess without Derrick Henry, but with the volume those two are getting, Week 14 against the Jaguars could be very good for both.
Here's who else we could be looking at for Week 13:
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LV Las Vegas • #87
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The expectation is that the knee injury that forced Waller out of Thursday's game isn't a serious one, but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't cost him any time. He suffered a strained IT band, and while it isn't reported to be a long-term issue, it's possible it could keep him out for Week 13 against Washington, and Moreau would be a very, very interesting Fantasy option for that matchup. He didn't do much in Week 12 despite five targets, but he had six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in the last game Waller missed with an injury back in Week 7.
Daniel Jones QB
NYG N.Y. Giants • #8
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Jones didn't have a great day passing the ball Sunday, but there were some reasons to be positive in the first game following Jason Garrett's firing. Specifically with his usage in the running game, as Jones was heavily involved as a runner early and ended up with nine rush attempts. He turned that into 30 yards, a disappointing total, but we've seen in the past that when Jones is making plays with his feet, he can be an intriguing Fantasy QB.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #19
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Jones didn't have a great day passing the ball, which held Golladay back, but he's still someone I want to add if I see him out there on the waiver wire. He caught just three passes for 50 yards, a pretty pedestrian day, but the Giants made a point of featuring him, especially in the red zone early on, and hopefully that kind of usage will eventually lead to production.
DET Detroit • #8
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
The Lions have been absolutely desperate for a spark in the passing game, and Reynolds gave them one Thursday. Reynolds led the team with 70 receiving yards and a touchdown on three catches and five targets, and while the volume isn't especially impressive, it did come out to a 20% target share. Reynolds never showed much more than flashes despite having opportunities in four years with the Rams and was cut by the Titans earlier this season, but he's got an opportunity with the Lions and is worth a look in deeper PPR leagues.
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