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Family, Football & an Escape

by Nate Polvogt

“Sports is the ultimate escape, the ultimate in reality programming. It’s true drama. You really don’t know what’s going to happen.” – Rich Eisen

Sports are an escape. Our particular getaway, in this instance, is fantasy football, of course. And we work hard at it for many reasons: to attain money, to win leagues, to earn pride. And we take it very seriously at times. 

We pour over stats and analytics and ingest as much talk as we can from the experts podcasts, live streams, dedicated network shows all in the hope of achieving success. 

And then there are those of us who sift through all that data so others don’t have to. We create content to hopefully give you a leg up in your league. Quick reads, short videos, rapid insight all the things we see, we communicate to you. 

But we’re not perfect, try as we might, and we hear it when we get it wrong. 

We’re all human. We make mistakes, and we get wrapped up in succeeding. Football is a game. A physical, brutal, beautiful game. The men and women involved laying it all on the line every Sunday for our enjoyment and one common goal: to win. 

We draft these players for a fake team in a fake world of points to compare against other peoples’ fake lineups. If you think about it, we’re simply playing a sports version of “Dungeons and Dragons.”

Let’s not take ourselves so seriously. It defeats the entire purpose of fantasy football. This is a game of community and kindness, of fun and accomplishment. Take it seriously, but remember this is a game. Content producers and analytics geeks, as well as film nerds, just want to have fun too. 

The world is a crazy place. It can be beautiful and bright, but it can also be cold and unforgiving. Fantasy football is an escape from all of that. So, the next time you get crushed in a matchup or maybe take someone’s advice and bench a player that would have won it for you, remember why you’re here: to have fun, build a sense of camaraderie, community and, most of all, escape from the real world. 

In regards to escaping, I think a lot of us would like to escape from the insanity that has been this season. Through four weeks, we’ve seen players emerge that no one expected, players we expected to excel disappear into the ether with no explanation, injuries galore, postponed games and empty stadiums. 

It’s been wild and overwhelming. Heading into Week 5, I’m here to tell you, it’s going to be alright. We still have football.

And we also still have this week’s “Hot, Medium & Mild: TE Edition.” 

But, what you might not own is a lot of quality tight end plays outside of the top tier guys through the first four weeks of the season. With guys like C.J. Ozoumah, O.J. Howard and David Njoku done for the season, the pickings have gotten even slimmer. Your chance of finding any production at TE on the waiver wire in most leagues is close to zero. 

We’ve reached the territory where we need to get creative, make trades and reach on your bench. Playing matchups is key. Based on that and the slim pickings noted earlier, here are the tight ends I am and am not rolling out here in Week 5:

HOT — Ghost Pepper

Evan Engram: New York Giants at Dallas

Evan Engram has only caught 17 of his team-high 30 targets though the first month of the season.

Fourth-year tight end Evan Engram leads New York in both targets and catches even though Darius Slayton leads the team in yards. He’s been seeing the volume and is clearly a favorite target of Daniel Jones in an offense now with very few weapons outside of this duo. 

Fantasy-wise, Engram has been a disappointment. You’re not playing him unless you have to. He has yet to eclipse 15 points in Points per Reception (PPR) leagues and is even worse in a non-PPR format. 

That changes this week. In a matchup against a defense in Dallas that has been tough to watch, especially when handling the TE position.

This is the game Engram owners have been waiting for. Just last week, Dallas allowed Austin Hooper, who has been inconsistent all season, to be relevant for an afternoon catching five for 34 yards and a touchdown. There’s no reason to think that in a must-win-divisional game that Engram won’t come through.

MEDIUM — Jalapeño

Mo Alie-Cox: Indianapolis at Cleveland

We saw flashes of what Mo Alie-Cox was capable of last week in Chicago. He snagged another TD, and fantasy owners who started him didn’t regret it for the most part. 

T.Y. Hilton has been mostly a ghost, as has Johnathan Taylor as of late. And it’s no secret that Philip Rivers throws to his tight ends. 

Yes, he will lose touches to veterans Trey Burton and Jack Doyle. But, Cleveland has the 30th ranked pass defense in the NFL right now, so look for Rivers to air it out, and Alie-Cox to be the beneficiary with maybe a few more targets, and some red-zone work. It’s a rather risky play but could pay off big time. 

MILD — Sweet Cherry Pepper

Mike Gesicki: Miami at San Francisco

We had such high hopes for Mike Gesicki. At the end of the 2019 season, he and Ryan Fitzpatrick clicked. 

Owners who snagged him off the waiver wire late in the season saw him win them some matchups. This season, not so much. After a stellar Week 2 performance where he looked like the Gesicki of last season, he has been targeted a meager six times with only two catches. 

This week it gets worse for him against a San Francisco defense that is the No. 2 ranked pass defense in all of football. Fitzpatrick has moved on from Gesicki and you should probably move on from Gesicki as well. At least this week. Unless you have no other option, bench Gesicki. 

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck in Week 5!

And now, a dad joke so clean, even Russell Wilson might have a giggle.

What’s black and white and goes around and around?

A penguin in a revolving door.

As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @jenatejack2017.

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