Fantasy football waiver wire targets
Priority free agents
1) RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers: Just as with Mattison, Hubbard is widely owned in deeper, more advanced formats. He is polling as available on nearly two-thirds of relaxed leagues and in those with 10 or fewer teams. Christian McCaffrey was wearing a boot after the game and will head into the bye week with a sprained ankle. Update: CMC was placed on season-ending IR in and unexpected move. Roster the rookie where available and spend whatever it takes. If Hubbard is owned in your league, check out Ameer Abdullah (PPR-only).
FAAB: Remaining budget
2) RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings: Short and sweet … he’s owned in only half of casual formats polled and is on the wire in as little as 20 percent of more competitive settings. It’s worth a quick glance to be sure, but there’s a strong probability he is on the bench of someone’s team given Dalvin Cook’s increasingly fragile nature. Spend up — like all of it — if the dislocated shoulder prognosis for No. 33 is as bad as the scene of him being carted off appears.
3) RB Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans: The former Cleveland Brown change-of-pacer ripped of a 68-yard touchdown run vs. the New England Patriots in Week 12 and finished with 131 yards on a dozen totes. Unlike in Week 11 when he caught eight of 10 targets, Hillard landed only one pass for two yards in this one. The Titans go on vacation this week, so you’ll need to make room for him in that time, but Hilliard absolutely has utility if he’s seeing 12-14 utilizations of any fashion. Tennessee returns in Week 14 to face Jacksonville, followed by at Pittsburgh, vs. San Fran, home against Miami, and at Houston.
4) RB Matt Breida, Buffalo Bills: Zack Moss was a healthy scratch in Week 12, and Breida scored for the third time in as many weeks, topping 13 PPR points along the way on the strength of a receiving score. The upcoming matchup features a Monday Night Football battle against the New England Patriots to determine which team is in the AFC East driver’s seat as the playoff push intensifies. Breida’s matchup comes on the heels of New England getting filleted by Tennessee’s “impressive” duo of D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard. Prior to this game, it was among the softest defenses for running backs to exploit via the aerial game, and Breida could have some utility in that regard. The rest of December isn’t particularly appealing (@TB, CAR, NE), so he’s more of a deep-league target with limited matchup utility.
NEW — 5) TE James O’Shaughnessy, Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence was heavily favoring tight end Dan Arnold over recent weeks, and a Grade 2 MCL sprain has the veteran on the shelf for up to six games, which would be the end of his season. The league’s positional inconsistencies and a lack of WR success by the Jags lend to adding O’Shaughnessy as depth for a matchup play. Jacksonville faces several cupcakes vs. TEs over the final five games, including LAR, HOU, NYJ and IND, locking him in as a quality addition in PPR.
6) WR Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers: Be prepared to pounce on Jennings if the MRI on Deebo Samuel’s groin injury comes back with a dim outlook Monday. Update: Samuel will miss one to two weeks, but groin injuries can be tricky. Jennings caught two of three targets for 24 yards and a score in Week 12 but will be tough to play in due to volatility. At least the upcoming slate of games is exploitable (@SEA, @CIN, ATL, @TEN).
7) PK Evan McPherson, Cincinnati Bengals: “Money Mac,” as his teammates have nicknamed him, is on the rise in fantasy after nailing all four of his field goals in Week 11 and both of his tries in Week 12. He has attempted at least three field goals in five of the last six games and four-plus in a quartet of those contests. This upcoming week, he faces the Los Angeles Chargers, a special teams unit that has given up huge numbers to the position of late. Since Week 4, with the exception of this past weekend vs. Denver, LA has allowed at least two field goal attempts (all made) in five of six outings. While Denver didn’t attempt a three-pointer in Week 12, Brandon McManus still booted all four extra points — the second straight game in which the Bolts have permitted four XPAs. Should the rookie keep his strong play going in Week 13, he has value the rest of the way.
WR Zay Jones, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Washington Football Team: Jones finished with 59 yards on five grabs in Week 12’s thrilling win over Dallas, seeing seven targets come his way. The Raiders have been desperate for a deep threat since Henry Ruggs was released, and the way DeSean Jackson opened up the field in Week 12 should continue, which gives Jones intermediate value against one of the worst defenses of the position. Four teams are on bye, and PPR gamers may need to fill some shoes with typically unusable options.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings: St. Brown’s role is scant, but he has quality hands and serves a purpose in an offense devoid of playmakers. He should see more looks if D’Andre Swift misses time with a shoulder sprain, and St. Brown’s best game as a pro came in Week 5 vs. the Vikings when he snagged seven of eight looks for 65 yards. He has yet to score as a pro, but something has to give sooner or later, and the Vikings have been susceptible to WRs for some time now. WR Josh Reynolds (3-70-1 in Week 12) could be a sound play, too, although he is far more likely to see tougher coverage than the rookie.
TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans: The Week 13 opponent has been weak vs. tight ends all year, and Doyle is coming off a 20.1-pointer in PPR scoring. He has five-plus targets in three straight games and is starting to find a groove with Carson Wentz.
TE C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Purely a flier for a touchdown — and solely because of the matchup rather than what Uzomah himself has done of late — there’s utility here in deeper formats. Los Angeles yielded four total TDs to the position in Weeks 10 and 11 alone. The Broncos targeted its trio of TEs seven times in the Week 12 matchup for just 25 yards on five grabs, including a one-yard score by third-stringer Eric Saubert. Los Angeles is stronger vs. WRs than the backfield and tight ends, and Joe Mixon will give this group everything it can handle, which helps promote Uzomah as a sneaky play for a cheap six-pointer.
PK Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins vs. New York Giants: Entering Week 12, New York presented kickers with a matchup 21.8 percent better than league average, and the position has made eight of nine attempts from three-point land before Philadelphia was thoroughly shut down and didn’t even attempt a kick beyond Jake Elliott’s lone extra point. Miami’s offense is moving the ball better of late but still isn’t a juggernaut by any stretch, so there should be at least two tries afforded to Sanders.
PK Matt Prater, Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears: Prater is available on a bunch of wires after the bye week and some rather mediocre play prior to going on the break. Arizona has a strong chance of getting both Kyler Murray (ankle) and DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) back in the mix, which stabilizes the offense to help make Prater a more reliable fantasy play.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST vs. Denver Broncos: KC returns from its bye week rested and on a four-game heater. The Denver offense did just enough as the defense stymied the Chargers in Week 12. In Arrowhead, facing the roll coaster that has been Teddy Bridgewater this year, gamers should be excited to take a gamble on the Chiefs. Prior to facing LA, Denver allowed an average of three sacks in the trio of games leading up to smothering the Chargers. On the year, this matchup is 26.3 percent better than average.
Grab & stash
WR Will Fuller, Miami Dolphins: The veteran deep threat is nearing his return from IR and could serve as roster depth. Miami needs someone to catch passes other than Jaylen Waddle, which presents a modicum of potential for the former first-rounder.
Keep your eye on ’em
RB Austin Walter, New York Jets: Nine carries for 38 yards and a touchdown isn’t all that noteworthy, but the Jets are in need of a spark while starting RB Michael Carter remains on IR for at least a few more games. Walter is more of a change-of-pace type and is likely to remain limited in touches compared to Tevin Coleman and possibly even Ty Johnson. The Jets face a Philly defense that is quite beatable on the ground, which could make Walter a one-week play in cavernous settings, but we’d rather sit this one out in most scenarios.