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Family, Football & Holiday Wonders

by Nate Polvogt

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor

Christmas, oh Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. The most wonderful, stressful, panic-inducing time of the year. Trying to keep up with the world around you, buying gifts, planning dinners, managing tight schedules so no one feels left out or slighted. This is the adult side of the holidays. The side no one tells you about when you’re a child. 

The amount of stress and anxiety the holidays bring out in us as grown-ups is unreasonable. It sucks the fun out of what should be a happy, joyous time. It’s a time meant to be spent loving and appreciating your family and friends. Yet, here we are, wound so tightly at times there is no chance of enjoyment. Not even a glimmer.

It almost seems as if we forgot what it was like to feel that awe and wonder when the snow starts to fall and the decorations go up. The excitement of Santa coming and family gathering together. The anticipation of waking up on Christmas morning to open presents and spending time with loved ones. 

As adults, we focus on the show of it all. We spend more time trying to keep up with the Joneses than appreciating what we have right in front of us. The Christmas roast has to be perfect. The house has to be clean. The presents have to be the best. The decorations must be award-winning. No flaws. (Not even a pink flamingo?)

As a kid, it’s all joy, no stress. Pure excitement. Kids don’t know the stress of planning and the expectations of perfection. All they know is that they get to enjoy the season. Presents and family and happiness. There is no pressure. Kids get to be in the moment. 

This year, in our current state of the coronavirus pandemic, we have a chance to remember what it’s like to be a kid again. We’re off the hook for the perfect decorations and the schedule management. For most of us, there are no large family gatherings or schedules to keep up with. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, we should be seizing this opportunity to enjoy the holiday season again. 

And just like the childlike wonder that is the holidays, it’s fantasy football championship season! In this crazy year of 2020, it’s no small feat to have made it to the promised land. You absolutely deserve a high-five and a pat on the back for navigating this somewhat dumpster fire of a season. 

I hope you’ve managed to contain that dumpster fire at least within your fantasy football rosters. It certainly wasn’t easy if you did, and no judgment if you’re still working those waiver wires ahead of the Week 16 slate. I’m here to help! 

Let’s go to it in this week’s “Hot, Medium & Mild: Championship Waiver Wire Edition.”

HOT — Scotch Bonnet

QB: Baker Mayfield: Cleveland at New York Jets

I’ve been hyped on Baker Mayfield all season, and now the whole world sees why. He is a winner, and in this case, he could be a league winner. He is only rostered in 43 percent of Sleeper leagues, so there is a good chance he is available in your league. The last four weeks we’ve seen him explode, putting up 20+ fantasy points each week. With Nick Chubb back and healthy, Mayfield has been able to function more efficiently in play-action sets and spread the ball around. 

This week, heading into New York against a defense that has seen some success defending the run, yet is horrible in every other aspect, expect Mayfield to once again spread the field and rack up points. Just make sure he’s doing it in your lineup. 

MEDIUM — Serrano Pepper

WR: Emmanuel Sanders: Minnesota at New Orleans

Emmanuel Sanders has admittedly had a mediocre season as far as fantasy football goes. At best, he has been someone who you roll out as a WR3 or deep flex play. This week, however, should be a completely different story. Drew Brees is back, Michael Thomas is now on Injured Reserve (IR) list and there is a good chance that even Tre’Quan Smith will also be out for their Week 16 matchup against Minnesota. 

Sanders appears to be in-line for an increased role in the New Orleans offense up against a weak Minnesota pass defense. Last week, he saw the field for 70 percent of the offensive snaps and fared well with four catches and 76 receiving yards. With tempered expectations, I say there are much worse waiver options out there right now, and the potential upside for Sanders this week is worth a look for your lineups. 

MILD — Green Bell Pepper

RB: Gus Edwards: Baltimore at New York Giants

The Baltimore backfield situation has been frustrating fantasy owners all season. Based on the eye test, we all knew that J.K. Dobbins should be THE guy from day one. Yet, head coach John Harbaugh refused to agree. It appears as though he now does agree with us, leaving Gus Edwards out in the cold. 

The limited role he was playing seems to be a thing of the past. Edwards hasn’t seen the field on more than 50 perfect of Baltimore’s offensive snaps all season and hasn’t had any real value unless he finds the end zone. With Dobbins finally emerging as the RB1 and taking away some of those red zone opportunities, Edwards is a risky play at best that could easily cost you a championship. Don’t fall into the trap. Leave Edwards on the waiver wire where he belongs. 

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck on championship weekend!

Now for the best part of my day: the dad joke.

What’s the best way to watch a fly fishing tournament? 


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

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