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Family, Football & Halloween

by Nate Polvogt

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein

As you all know, this past weekend was Halloween. While many people love this holiday and the offerings of costumes, decorations, candy and jack-o’-lanterns, I haven’t really cared much about it as an adult. I’ve never been one to go to costume parties. I typically only carve pumpkins with the motive of harvesting the seeds for my wife, Jen, to bake into crispy little snacks.  

I’m also not someone who enjoys sweets as much as most, so that isn’t a draw for me either. We don’t watch horror films and we rarely get more than one or two trick-or-treaters. Generally, this time of year comes and goes in our household without much fanfare. 

However, I’ve learned that holidays and events tend to hit differently with kids, and Halloween is no exception. In our son Jackson’s first 3 years of life, he was too small to go out on the hunt for candy and didn’t even realize that Halloween existed. This year was the first time he understood what was coming and he was excited, to say the least. Dreams of costumes and candy had flooded his little brain with anticipation leading into this weekend. 

His first foray into Halloween was this past Friday, at a “trick-or-treat street” in our suburb’s downtown, affectionately referred to as “Olde Town Arvada.” It was a fairly large event with families packed into the streets, leading their costumed children from shop to shop on a quest for candy. 

Jackson was in awe. He was so happy and excited that it was infectious. I couldn’t help but be happy and excited with him. Watching him go from place to place, almost at a gallop, melted my heart. His youthful exuberance reminded me of the feeling I used to have when this time of year came around. 

There was, of course, more to come over the weekend. He had his weekly gym class on Saturday morning where he got to show off his PJ Masks Gecko costume. And then the big day, Sunday. Halloween. We went trick-or-treating in a friend’s neighborhood. Jackson was blessed with two companions, our friends’ two children. 

Jackson in his PJ Masks “Gecko” costume ready to go trick-or-treating in Arvada, Co. on Oct. 31.

In the hour we spent wandering the streets in search of more sweets, I noticed something. The adults were having just as much fun as the children. Many of the adults we crossed paths with, as well as the homes we visited, were dressed up, as well. Many yards were decorated and a few houses even had alcoholic “treats” for the parents accompanying the little ones. 

This weekend, I was taken back to a time when life was a little more fun. Kids don’t stress about the “what-ifs” or the to-do lists. They enjoy the moment for what it is and get everything out of it that they can. This is something I’ve certainly forgotten how to do. 

Life comes at you fast when you’re all grown up. You have deadlines to meet, bills to pay, responsibilities to keep up with. It’s a lot. It’s easy to forget to slow down and simply enjoy the moment around you. Jackson helped me remember that sometimes you have to do just that, or life will pass you by before you realize it. 

Sometimes, just like life, the fantasy football landscape can be stressful and before we know it, it passes us by. It’s important to remember that this is just a fun game based on another game. We do this to have fun and hopefully get some wins along the way. That can be easy to forget, especially in a season like this. 

I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but as injuries continue to pile up every week, it becomes more and more difficult to field a competitive lineup. This week, I have some running back “do’s” and “don’ts” for your waiver wire bids that I think could sway your fortunes if you are someone who has been left in a pinch. Let’s get to it in this week’s “Hot, Medium & Mild!”

Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 9

This insane season continues to march on into Week 9 and it’s not getting any easier to manage our rosters. This week, we saw yet another big-name running back go down for several months in Derrick Henry, who had been the defacto Points Per Reception (PPR) RB1 up to this point. If you have him rostered, this is undoubtedly a huge blow to your team. If we’re being honest, you’re not going to find someone this week on waivers that will be even remotely comparable to Henry. 

There are, however, options that can get you points and help you win the week. It’s not going to be flashy, but at this point in the season, the keyword is functional. We can do that. 

HOT — Charleston Hot

Adrian Peterson (RB, Tennessee Titans)

If you needed any further confirmation that this season has been strange, here it is. I’m writing about Adrian Peterson as a viable waiver wire addition in Week 9. Sure, he is a 36-year-old running back who was a free agent until Henry went down this past weekend. To think he is going to be lights-out the remainder of 2021 might be far-fetched, but to say he could be relevant enough to fill a hole in your roster is not. 

Simply put, Tennessee needs their running attack to be productive to win. Currently, the Titans rank 29th in the league in percentage of passing plays at 52.5 percent. With the constant threat of Henry carrying the ball, teams have been loading the box with eight-man fronts on defense, allowing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to exploit weak coverage packages against A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. Peterson fits the bill here as a power runner who can work between the tackles, as well as the outside. 

This is a pure volume play with Peterson. I am assuming we will see a 65/35 split between him and pass-catching running back Jeremy McNichols. While his ceiling may be somewhat lower than you would want, his floor should be high enough that you can be confident in starting him and getting somewhere near double-digit PPR point totals. Given what is available on the wire this week, you may have to spend more than you want, or use high waiver priority to land him. While that’s not great news, it’s still better than being left out in the cold. 

MEDIUM — Peter Pepper

Boston Scott (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)

This portion of my column is made possible by Philadelphia Eagles’ Head Coach Nick Sirriani’s refusal to feature rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell last week in the absence of Miles Sanders, who was placed on the Injured Reserve List (IR). It was somewhat baffling as Gainwell has shown promise so far this season. Regardless of the why, here we are. 

Boston Scott scored two touchdowns in the Eagles’ Week 8 win over the Detroit Lions.

In a Week 8 45-6 blow-out against the hapless Detroit Lions, Philadelphia existed almost exclusively on the ground, running the ball on 46 snaps versus passing on only 16. Boston Scott, along with Gainwell and veteran Jordan Howard accounted for all but nine of those carries, and it was an almost even split between the three. 

The difference-maker here was the quality of touches and what each did with them. Gainwell managed 27 yards on 13 carries but didn’t see any significant red-zone work. Conversely, Howard and Scott both had 12 carries but each found the end zone twice. 

Heading into a Week 9 matchup against the worst run defense in the league in the Los Angeles Chargers, it’s reasonable to expect more of the same from this offense. I like the touchdown upside from Scott, even if he is splitting red zone time with Howard. Either could be a solid waiver wire add at this point, but I’m leaning Scott here as Howard is freshly off the practice squad and likely loses his roster spot when Sanders returns. 

On the flip side, Scott could be cementing his role in this offense the rest of the season. Much like Peterson, you may have to pay up to get him, but it could be the difference-maker in a tough running back landscape. 

MILD Guajillo

Ty Johnson (RB, New York Jets)

I have wanted Ty Johnson to get more opportunities in the New York Jets offense this season. It’s finally happening and while I do like what I see, the emergence of Michael Carter dampens what we can realistically expect from Johnson the rest of the season. I’m not opposed to grabbing him this week if you are in desperate need, but don’t expect a repeat of his performance in Week 8 against Cincinnati. 

In the last four games, as Carter has seen an increase in snap share and touches, Johnson has seen a decline, seeing the field on fewer than 40 percent of offensive plays. His relevance last week came strictly in the passing attack where he saw six targets, five of which he hauled in for 72 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, he had just four carries for a grand total of 15 yards rushing. Week to week, Johnson could be more relevant than others, but it’s a risky play to bank on him in any role other than a FLEX spot. 

The nice thing about him is that if you need a running back and don’t think you can get one of the two I mentioned above, he could still be around after waivers clear tomorrow morning. He could be worth a shot if you have a roster spot to give and need someone to plug in with possible touchdown upside. 

And there you have it, folks. Take it or leave it and good luck in Week 9!

The weather is getting cold, the trees are getting bare and it’s also time for my #dadjoke.

Why do fathers take an extra pair of socks when they go golfing?

In case they get a hole in one!

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

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