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Family, Football & Appreciation

by Nate Polvogt

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always loved fantasy sports, mainly football, and have been playing them now for the better part of 25 years. Some years I have taken it more seriously than others, but I’m always there, setting lineups, reading columns to get an edge and yelling at the TV on Sundays – and Thursday and Monday nights – like a crazed lunatic. 

Part of the joy of playing any fantasy sport is getting to interact with people in your league(s), whether it’s through your league platform, in your Facebook groups, text chains or any of the other means with which we talk trash and discuss trades. It is truly a community, all of us fantasy enthusiasts. I had no idea just how much of a community, however, until this past summer. 

This past summer – partly out of boredom and partly out of a desire to become a better fantasy football player – I delved into the fantasy football Twitter community with only the expectation that I would hopefully learn something and win my home league this season. I didn’t expect to be here – writing a weekly column, contributing to another and doing two live streams a week. I never saw myself as someone who would ever create content, though I had always dreamed of it. 

Then, one day in late June, I came across a tweet from Seth Woolcock looking for writers for his new site, In-Between Media. Maybe it was the cocktails, maybe it was the pandemic. It’s been such a whirlwind since that day, I don’t remember exactly what motivated me to respond to him, but I did. It was out of character for me. I’m not one to really put myself out there. Yet, here I am. 

A short conversation with Seth led to a phone call, which led to my first column – not just my first fantasy football column, my first published written piece in my entire life. Prior to this summer, I had zero writing experience. I had never been part of a school newspaper, never blogged and had certainly never tweeted or posted anything fantasy-football-related.

That first column was terrifying and difficult, and that was just trying to write it. Seeing it published was one of the scariest moments in my life. I had actually written something for others to read. What was coming next I never could have expected or dreamed of. People didn’t just read it, they liked it. A lot. 

All of the sudden, I found myself immersed in this community in a way I never imagined possible. I quickly learned this community wasn’t just about football. These people willingly shared their lives, their successes and failures, their ups and downs and their personalities, on a level I had truly never seen before. They gave advice about life and asked for some in return when they needed it. It was quite the sight to behold and to become a part of. 

I feel so incredibly privileged to be a part of all of it. I have made friends I never expected to make. And not just friends. Good friends. Great friends. A chosen family might be the best way to describe it. And all of this at a time when I needed it more than I ever knew. 

My wife, Jen, and I talk about how amazing the people we have been fortunate enough to meet are on daily. Seth is basically a part of my family now, as is the entire In-Between Media gang. And it’s not just them. There are so many who have changed our lives for the better, whether they know it or not. People I would run through a brick wall for. People I cannot wait to meet in person once this pandemic is over. 

I’ve never really had “my people” or “my crew” in my life. For one reason or another, most of my friendships have faded into the night. My blood family was never very loyal, and I suppose I learned that same trait from them. I can honestly say that I’ve finally found my community. As the season nears its end, I want to say to every single person I interact with every day, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook or in my leagues, you enrich my life and make me a better person. Thank you. 

You have also managed to make me a better fantasy football manager, the whole reason I began this journey. I hope my advice is also helping you win some matchups and my life stories make you laugh a little! 

With that said, let’s talk some football. 

The playoffs are almost upon us. The moment we’ve been playing for all season. The reason we pore over columns, watch live streams and listen to podcasts. This has been the most difficult fantasy football season to navigate probably in the history of the game. Between major injuries and COVID-19, most of our rosters don’t even slightly resemble what they were in Week 1. 

And the hits keep coming. We have guys like Mike Glennon, Brandon Allen and Robert Griffin III starting at quarterback. We lost Saquon Barkley, a frequent first pick in many fantasy drafts, in Week 2. And does San Francisco even have a team anymore? It has been an absolutely brutal season to be a football fan. If your fantasy teams are in playoff contention, I commend you. With all of the craziness, this week I want to get into some playoff stretch waiver adds to get you in and keep you alive in your leagues! 

So without further adieu, let’s get into this week’s “Hot, Medium & Mild: Waiver Wire Adds for the Playoffs.”

HOT — Scotch Bonnett

WR: Denzel Mims: New York Jets at Las Vegas

Denzel Mims has averaged 56.8 receiving yards over his last five games.

The New York Jets are not a good football team. This isn’t a secret. There have been a few bright spots outside of the flood of disappointment, and Denzel Mims is one of those. After being injured the majority of the first half of the season, Mims has shown he will be a consistent part of this offense moving forward. 

In the last five weeks, Mims has snagged an 80+ percent snap share each game and outside of Week 8 against Kansas City, he is seeing between seven and eight targets. His last three games have seen point totals in the double digits (11.7, 11.6 and 11.7), without seeing the end zone. 

You can expect those trends to continue for the rest of the season and look for some red zone opportunities that should translate Mims to finding the end zone finally. I trust him as a low-end WR2 or solid flex play who can give you consistent points when you need them. 

MEDIUM — Hatch Green Chile

QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick: Miami at Cincinnati

It’s Ryan Fitzpatrick time again in Miami, and you should be rostering him if you need help at quarterback. He has been stellar for fantasy purposes when playing, averaging north of 22 points per game. If you remove his Week 11 numbers against Denver (3.3 points), when he subbed in for Tua Tagovailoa, he’s been even better, averaging 23.7 points per game. 

With Tua Tagovailoa appearing to be out with his thumb injury for the foreseeable future, Ryan Fitzpatrick is someone you want to not only roster, but start. With matchups against Cincinnati in Week 13, New England in Week 15 and Las Vegas in Week 16, Fitzpatrick has a real opportunity to be “FitzMagic” in your lineups. 

MEDIUM — Jalapeño

WR: Keke Coutee: Houston at Indianapolis

With the news that Will Fuller is done for the season and in the absence of Randall Cobb, it’s next man up in Houston. That man is Keke Coutee. Stat wise there isn’t much to look at so far this season, and I’m not saying to waste a high priority waiver claim on him or spend much Free-Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). But, if you need a wide receiver and have a bench spot available, grab him. 

Coutee has been in this Houston offense with Deshaun Watson since the 2018 season, so he knows the schemes. In limited action last season, he had three weeks above 10 (Points Per Receptions) PPR points and was seeing a 50-70% snap share when he was active. With limited options available, he looks to be a factor in the Houston offense the rest of the season and could be a factor in your playoff push if in a pinch. 

MILD — Kale (It’s not a pepper, but that’s how I describe this player)

RB: Kerryon Johnson: Detroit at Chicago

There is a reason that Kerryon Johnson is only rostered in 23 percent of Sleeper leagues. He has been inconsistent at best, sharing a backfield with the seemingly-ageless Adrian Peterson and the rookie phenom D’Andre Swift

With Swift in concussion protocol these past two weeks, Johnson saw an increase in snap percentage (70 and 48 percent, respectively) and his most carries of the season last week with 11. 

That said, Swift is due back this coming week and will most likely be back to his role sharing time with Peterson, if not taking the reigns completely. This will leave Johnson out in the cold and someone you should consider dropping in favor of a more productive back heading into the playoffs. 

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck in Week 12!

The holidays are fast approaching, and we all need a chuckle. Here’s a Christmas themed dad joke that might just make you blow some eggnog out of your nose!

How can you tell snowmen from snowwomen?

Check for snowballs.

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

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