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Family, Football & Getting Real

by Nate Polvogt

“Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.” – C. JoyBell C.

My story is full of ups and downs, lefts and rights, good and bad, and everything in the middle. It all adds up to the sum total of me. I wouldn’t be the person I am without everything that has happened to me in my life. And it’s my story to tell how I choose. 

It isn’t always pretty, not just for myself, but for those around me. And it hasn’t been an easy ride at times. I’ve made enormous mistakes, treated people poorly at times, overreacted to situations and said things I maybe shouldn’t have. I’m certainly not even close to perfect, nor have I ever claimed to be. And that’s the beauty of being a human being. 

How boring would life be if we were perfect? The mistakes, the trials and tribulations, the stress and anxiety are what form us. They make us better people if we pay attention. They shape how we react to things in the future, how we carry ourselves and how we treat others around us. 

Judgment is a funny thing. Through the roller coaster of life, there will always be those who seek to put us in a hole. Judge us, categorize us for better or worse and decide who we are based on one perception or interaction. “This is who you are,” they will tell you, even if you know it’s not true. And sometimes it’s hard not to listen. 

There are people you’ve known for years, even decades, who you realize may have never really known you at all. They don’t like your story because it’s not the one they’ve written. They’ll try to force you into their version until they can’t anymore. They will make you feel bad about who you are and the road you’ve taken, the choices you’ve made and the good things you’ve accomplished. And that’s the most painful of all. 

It’s my story to tell, and I will never apologize for that. You don’t have to agree with it, but I will always tell it as I see it. That’s who I am. For too long, I felt that I wasn’t worthy of being heard. I was afraid of being told I was wrong. I was afraid of being made to feel I was worthless and that no one cared what I had to say. I was terrified of being laughed at and mocked. It was all put in my head by others who either didn’t care about me or had their own insecurities they were projecting on me. 

I spent the majority of my life tying my self-worth to other people’s opinions of me. Let me tell you, it’s a miserable way to exist and it can destroy you. Constantly wondering if you are good enough, feeling like every time you talk the person listening thinks you’re stupid. Every decision you make is put into question in your own head. Self-doubt can be crippling. 

Ultimately, just like your story is your own, your vision of your value to the world is also your own. You know who you are. No one else will ever know your heart like you do. No one will ever truly understand your intentions and regrets like you. Create your own value and self-worth. Know that, as a human being, you are always valuable, even if the world tries to tell you otherwise. Be you and don’t be afraid to tell your story. 

And what a story this fantasy football season has been. It’s been a real telenovela if we’re being honest, and now we’re starting the stretch run to the season finale, the most wonderful time of the year – It’s playoff time! 

If your rosters look like mine, you are also wondering how the hell you made it this far, but we did it! It hasn’t been easy, and I think some of us deserve a medal just for getting here, first-round exit or not. But of course, we want to win, and I want to help you. 

This week the waiver wires are tight. There are very few players with fantasy value remaining. It’s slim pickings. I have a few players who could have upside the rest of the season that you might be able to grab to get you out of the first round and staring down a championship matchup in Week 16. 

Let’s get down to it in this week’s “Hot, Medium and Mild: Playoff Waivers Edition.”

HOT — Ghost Pepper

QB: Baker Mayfield: Cleveland at Baltimore

Baker Mayfield has been the QB6 over the last two weeks.

It’s been an up-and-down year for Baker Mayfield, but it appears that we might see Mayfield much more up for the rest of this 2020 campaign. If you go on eye test alone, he has looked more comfortable than he has all season and seems to be building a solid rapport with some of the younger players in Cleveland’s offense. If you look at his numbers, he’s been the QB6 over the last two weeks and is probably one of the better, if not best, quarterbacks available on waivers at this point in the season.

Cleveland is in a push for the playoffs for the first time in a long time. Last week against Tennessee Mayfield had his second-best fantasy point output of the season, throwing for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns. 

With the report he’s built with guys like Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones, and the strength of using the play-action pass, I expect Mayfield to excel the rest of this season despite some unfavorable matchups. He’s someone you’ll want to snag if you need a quarterback. And if you do make it to the championship, he plays the currently 0-12 Jets.

MEDIUM — Chipotle Pepper

WR: Darnell Mooney: Houston at Chicago

I’ve been in love with Darnell Mooney as a player all season. All he does is get open and create separation. Unfortunately, his quarterbacks were also creating separation between him and the ball, making it difficult to roster him in any format outside of dynasty. 

With Mitchell Trubisky back at the helm in Chicago, it appears as though things are turning around for Mooney. In the last two games against Green Bay and Detroit, Mooney saw the field consistently while finally seeing quality, catchable targets. He’s been dangerously close to double-digit fantasy point totals the last two weeks and with upcoming contests against Houston and Minnesota, Mooney is someone who could finally breakout for consecutive big games. It’s a risky play that could pay off at a time when you need it most. 

MILD — Red Bell Pepper

RB: Ty Johnson: New York Jets at Seattle

It was great to see Ty Johnson breakout last week against Las Vegas with Frank Gore sidelined in the concussion protocol. He saw season highs in snap percentage (63), carries (22), yards (104) and snagged his first touchdown of the year. It was fun while it lasted. 

The New York Jets’ Week 12 opponent, Seattle, has been defending the run well all season. Last week against the Giants was an anomaly. And don’t forget the Jets are still led by Adam Gase. With Frank Gore likely back for this matchup, Johnson could be relegated to minimal touches yet again. He does have some upside in the passing game, but really we’ve only seen one week (Week 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers) where he has been targeted more than twice. 

You may be hoping to catch lightning in a bottle here, but more than likely all you’ll get is an empty jar. 

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck in Week 14!

Now for the laughs folks. We always have to laugh. Here’s a dad joke that will tickle your funny bone and hopefully elongate your life by a few seconds:

How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?

Ten tickles.

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

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