Sports

How to replace Christian McCaffrey

Fantasy manager: Hi Dr. Madman. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. I have developed a distressing problem.

Dr. Madman: Certainly, Mr. Fantasy Patient. What is the problem?

Patient: Well, Christian McCaffrey got hurt Thursday and could miss, quote-unquote, a few weeks. I mean, I‘ve got several teams. I’m already dealing with having to replace J.K. Dobbins, then Gus Edwards, and there is Raheem Mostert, and Josh Jacobs isn’t playing. Mike Davis has been a stiff, Myles Gaskin, Jonathan Taylor … I just … I just …

Doc: OK, OK. Calm down. Now tell me, have you checked your waiver wire?

Patient: Yeah, but the only players there are guys like David Johnson and Carlos Hyde and Malcolm Brown …

Doc: Let me interrupt you for moment. We don’t recommend you use these types of treatments. They can be more harmful than good. Did you see any Chuba Hubbard?

Patient: What? Like the bubble gum.

Doc: No, that’s Hubba Bubba. But I understand the confusion since it is pronounced like “Chewba.” He’s the backup who is likely to absorb most of McCaffrey’s workload, sort of like Mike Davis did last year.

Patient: Oh, right. But could there be any Royce Freeman side effects?

Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) is forced out of bounds
Christian McCaffrey’s uncertain return date means bidding on Chuba Hubbard could be a dicey procedure.
AP Photo

Doc: We don’t think so. Hubbard got 11 carries to Freeman’s five on Thursday, and also outgained him 52-17.

Patient: I see. So should I break the bank to get him in free-agent bidding?

Doc: Well, before making such an investment, understand the risks. McCaffrey is likely to return in a few weeks, at which point Hubbard is not useful anymore. And if McCaffrey stays healthy for an extended period after his return, all you’ve done is secure a very expensive handcuff. But all the other waiver options outside of Hubbard are less effective.

Patient: So I should or shouldn’t bid high for the bubble gum guy?

Doc: We’re just making such you know all the risks of this procedure. But if you want to alleviate your symptoms using waivers, that is the best solution. However, if you are concerned about long-term problems, like CMC getting re-injured, a trade might be more effective.

Patient: How would that work?

Doc: Well, there’s risks here, too. First you would have to pick a player on your roster whom other fantasy managers would pay highly to acquire. Ideally, this is a player you expect to have a steep drop-off in future production, like a Tyler Lockett or Deebo Samuel. But chances are, in return, the best you’ll be able to do is get an underperforming player. If you’re lucky, a Jonathan Taylor or Clyde-Edwards Helaire.

Patient: I see. Which method do you think is best?

Doc: It all depends. If you’re comfortable with the waiver options you can acquire, do that first. If that doesn’t work out or you’re still stressed, explore a trade. But there is no guaranteed cure. This is a difficult condition to overcome. When we see you again next week, hopefully you’ll be doing better.


Sighs of relief

James Robinson RB, Jaguars

We finally got the kind of Robinson game Sunday reminiscent of last season. Expect more of this in the weeks to come. Start with comfort.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB, Chiefs

His workload didn’t increase dramatically but his production did in Week 3. Consider CEH a decent Flex option again.

Odell Beckham Jr. WR, Browns

Season debut was OK. Better numbers should come if he stays healthy. Consider him for Flex each week.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is shown before an NFL football game
Odell Beckham is back, and his fantasy contributions should follow soon.
AP Photo

Mike Gesicki TE, Dolphins

Had more catches and targets Sunday than the first two games combined. Encouraging, but what happens when Tua Tagovailoa returns in a few weeks? Start with ease, for now.

Providing relief

Peyton Barber RB, Raiders

If it wasn’t clear after last week, it is crystal clear now: Dump your Kenyan Drake shares and replace with Barber. Strong RB2 as long as Josh Jacobs is out, and firm handcuff once Jacobs returns.

Emmanuel Sanders WR, Bills

Getting steady 6-8 targets per week, and now Josh Allen looking to him in the red zone. Any breathing body getting goal line looks on an offense as potent as Buffalo’s warrants a roster spot.

Christian Kirk WR, Cardinals

Kirk tied with the fourth-most red-zone targets in the league with nine. Next among Cardinals is A.J. Green with six.

Tim Patrick WR, Broncos

With Jerry Jeudy already out for a couple more weeks, the Broncos lost KJ Hamler for the season Sunday. Should also provide a boost for Courtland Sutton and TE Noah Fant.

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