This past week I watched my son walk across the stage and graduate from high school. The journey was long, but it went by quickly. Maybe too quickly.
I was a stay-at-home dad and took over primary care for him when he was 5 months old. I had no idea what I was doing but tentatively embraced the opportunity. The first day my wife walked out the door to go back to work was a shocker. I was sitting on the floor with this little one with no idea how I was going to fill the next 10 hours.
Eventually, we settled into a routine, and filling the days became easier and easier. Just like any great story, when things settle down, it is time for a plot twist. This plot twist involved a baby sister, and our routine was thrown into a spin again.
After some adjustment, I was easily and flawlessly taking care of both kids, cleaning the house and having a hot meal prepared when my wife got home. Looking back, that would have been a nice addition to this story. In reality, that is not what happened. Taking care of both kids was just fine, but I struggled with everything else.
I missed going out to lunch with my former colleagues from work as well as having conversations with adults. I also missed alone time. My life was tending to my kids’ every need, all the time. It is a tough, thankless job with no pay and long hours.
The Silver Lining
The fulfilling part was developing strong bonds with the kids and being the person that kept them safe. As they grew older, I was the primary influence in raising them to be kind, respectful young adults.
There is an old saying of “the days are long but the years are short.” It’s something you can not appreciate until your kids get older and you realize they have grown up so fast. Those same fussy infants and unreasonable toddlers are now teenagers. They no longer rely on you like they once did.
I look back on those times and wish I could have them back. I miss being the person they looked up to and relied upon. Teenage kids have their own lives, friends and worries. There’s Not a lot of time for parents. I always feel I should have some sort of extra reverence from them for everything I’ve done. Sadly that is not the case. I am just their dad, and those early years of hardship go unnoticed.
All I have is the pride of knowing I played a big part in making them the people they are today. And that is enough for me. That same 5-month-old baby is now ready to go out into the world and begin his life as an adult.
I sat in the stands at graduation as a proud father as he crossed that stage and received his diploma. His canvas is clean and waiting to be filled with life experiences. Good times and not-so-good times lie ahead, but one thing remains certain: I will always be there for him to guide, help and love him. Just like I did when he was young. He is now ready to begin his new quest and build his own legacy.
As my son moves on to his new life, it also appears Julio Jones is ready to move on himself.
Julio Jones Trade & Falcons’ Player Dynasty Values
This week, it was revealed that Jones requested a trade from the Atlanta Falcons a couple of months ago. It was confirmed by Shannon Sharpe when he called Jones on-air on FS1’s “Undisputed” show to ask about the rumors.
There is still some ambiguity on whether or not Jones knew he was live or if it was a planned stunt.
Regardless, during the call, Jones said, “I’m outta there,” when referring to his current team. This statement, coupled with Jones’s huge guaranteed salary, makes it seem like both sides are ready to move on and a trade is forthcoming.
Jones is 32 years old with an injury history but was still a top-15 receiver in games he played averaging 16.2 points in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues in the nine games he played last season. He still has plenty of gas in the tank.
So let’s dig into what to expect from Falcons players from a dynasty standpoint.
Julio Jones (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
It’s tough to evaluate before we know what team he will be on next season, but there has been some speculation on his landing spot. There have been links to the 49ers, Patriots, Titans, Chargers and Colts. He would immediately go to the top of the depth chart on the 49ers, Patriots and Colts and would be the best WR2 in the league with the Titans.
Dynasty value depends on if your team is a contender or in a rebuild. Contenders should buy the dip since his landing spot is undetermined. Fantasy Pros’ dynasty trade chart shows him valued as a first-round rookie pick, but I think he could be obtained for a second-round rookie pick or unproven young WR. Rebuilding teams should get as much as they can for him. In one of my leagues, I saw Jones traded to a contender for Odell Beckham Jr. I would try to get a second-round pick if you can find someone willing.
Calvin Ridley (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Calvin Ridley was already a top-10 dynasty asset and this trade cements that value. Ridley had 90 receptions, 1374 yards and nine TDs last season. Those numbers either go up or, at worst, stay similar. There is some unwarranted concern that he can’t handle being the Falcons WR1 without Jones lining up across from him. But Ridley performed admirably during the seven games Jones missed last season and should continue to do so.
Dynasty value is equivalent to other top 10 WRs – probably multiple first-round rookie picks or in a package that includes a top RB. I would want him on all my teams, but I’m unwilling to pay market value and mortgage the future of my team.
Kyle Pitts (TE, Atlanta Falcons)
Kyle Pitts is the most exciting TE prospect to come into the league since Vernon Davis or Kellen Winslow Jr. The trade of Jones helps Pitts move up to the No. 2 option in the Falcons passing game. It’s tough to guess his productivity on the field, but based on what I’ve seen and read, he will be unstoppable. He can line up all over the field, and it’s possible the Falcons put him out wide and give Hayden Hurst more of an opportunity as a second TE.
Pitts’ dynasty value is off the charts. He is almost unable to acquire. Due to TE position scarcity, he is being valued as one of the top players in fantasy football. I saw someone on Twitter get turned down offering Christian McCafferty for Pitts, straight up. Shocking.
Russell Gage (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Russell Gage is WR3 on the depth chart and should move up a spot with the departure of Jones. Even though he’s the WR2 on the depth chart, he is the third option in the passing game. Last season he had a respectable 72 receptions, 786 yards and four TDs in 16 games. That might tick up slightly, but I wouldn’t expect a major jump in production from Gage.
His dynasty value is about a third-round rookie pick – not an unreasonable amount to surrender if you are a believer in his talent and new opportunity.