Fantasy Football Week 4 early Waiver Wire: Chuba Hubbard headlines the list, while Emmanuel Sanders pays off

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There should be very little doubt as to who the top waiver-wire target will be heading into Week 4, and he didn’t play on Sunday. The Panthers lost Christian McCaffrey to a hamstring injury during Thursday’s game against the Texans, an injury that seems likely to cost him multiple weeks, which is going to push Chuba Hubbard into Fantasy relevance.

At least, that’s what we think. Hubbard played 38 of the 52 snaps the Panthers played after the first quarter, while veteran Royce Freeman played just 10 snaps. Hubbard should be the lead back for the Panthers, and as we saw last season, that could make him a must-start Fantasy option. When McCaffrey was out in 2020, Mike Davis went from being perceived as a replacement-level journeyman backup to a must-start Fantasy option — he averaged 17.3 PPR points per game from Weeks  3 through 8, when McCaffrey came back from his first injury. 

You can’t expect that same kind of performance from Hubbard, but we saw an inkling of upside with him Thursday, as he earned five targets to go along with 10 carries. Hubbard finished the game with 79 yards and 10.9 PPR points, and that was in a game where Sam Darnold and Tommy Tremble (who?) scored three close rushing touchdowns against the Texans. In a more normal week, the running backs probably get at least a few of those opportunities instead.

This offense looks like it might be pretty good, they like to throw to their running backs, and Hubbard seems likely to be their lead back for at least the next few games. Hubbard is rostered in fewer than half of CBS Fantasy leagues, and he needs to be the top target in all leagues in Week 4.

It’s also worth noting that Alexander Mattison had a huge game in Dalvin Cook’s stead Sunday and would be the No. 2 priority after Chubbard in the 19% of CBS Fantasy leagues where he is available — though it seems more likely Cook will be back in Week 4 than McCaffrey at this point. 

Here’s who else we’ll be looking at on the wire this week:

Week 4 Early Waiver Targets

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