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Christian McCaffrey injury: Chuba Hubbard becomes priority waiver wire pickup in Week 13

Christian McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve Monday, officially ending his 2021 season. His backup, Chuba Hubbard, climbs to the top of the list for Week 13 waiver wire pick ups.

Chuba Hubbard #30 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball for a rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the third quarter at State Farm Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fantasy football managers are in mourning Monday following the news that stud running back Christian McCaffrey is officially out for the remainder of the 2021 NFL season. McCaffrey missed five games earlier this season after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3. He was the consensus No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts in each of the last two seasons, and as it turns out, his backup could be a vital part of a long playoff run for teams in contention.

Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard: Week 13 waiver wire

The Panthers took Hubbard in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft, and he’s already proven to be a decent insurance policy — though he’s certainly no Christian McCaffrey. In his five games as a starter in 2021, Hubbard ranked as the RB19, averaging 11.6 fantasy points per game in half-PPR formats. He saw at least 15 touches in each of his starts, averaging nearly four targets per game in that span.

Though the Panthers are a bit of a mess right now following Cam Newton’s quick demise, Hubbard has already set the stage for RB2 production based on volume alone. He’s rostered in just 37% of Yahoo! leagues and 34% of ESPN leagues. Alexander Mattison is the priority waiver wire pick-up of the week, but Hubbard is a close second.

The Panthers have a Week 13 bye, so folks in need of a play in the week to come may need to look elsewhere. Upon his return from the bye, he’ll face the Falcons followed by two tough matchups against the Bills and Bucs, but the touch volume alone are enough to provide weekly flex value.