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Family, Football & Hot, Medium & Mild

by Nate Polvogt

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” ― Elizabeth Edwards

A part of the tent city Jen and I constructed to protect our plants from the storm.

It snowed last week. It got very cold — below freezing. Being that it was the first full week of September, with gardens in full bloom — still producing fruit and vegetables, not yet ready for harvest — panic sets in on a small scale.

Gardening is a weird thing. Most years, you don’t get enough of any one thing to justify the expenses incurred. Soil, water, fertilizer, pots and containers, and then buying the actual plants. This year was different for us. We have massive tomato plants, dozens of peppers and more zucchini than any one person needs.

And looking at a storm that would ruin it all before we realized our gains, we had work to do. 

We created a literal tent city for our five tomato, two zucchini and five pepper plants. It took two hours.

Old me would have been flustered and cranky. Inefficient. Slow. New me was focused and ready for this. And it made me wonder:  What was different this time?

Another part of the tent city we constructed to help save our garden from the Colorado weather.

2020 has been full of adversity, seemingly, at every turn. Pandemic, social unrest, a turbulent economy, all-time high unemployment. Literal fires. We’ve had to learn to survive — and thrive — in one of the most restless times in history. We’ve had no choice but to adapt. Some have adapted better than others.

The emergency construction of our tent city for plants now seems like such a small thing. And it really was all along, but the state of America, and the world, has put things like that into perspective, almost subconsciously. There’s no more time to stress about the small things. The stress of simple, everyday tasks is less gripping.

We, as a society, are being forced to appreciate the small things in life and worry only about the big picture. And that’s not a bad thing. We are seeing the general population become more kind and thoughtful toward one another — though, at times, it feels like the opposite. 

But, if you look hard, it’s there. Even in things you might not think to see it in, like in your calmer, more measured approach to saving your garden.

And now for some football.

Hot, Medium & Mild: Reactions from Week 1, and projections for Week 2. 

Throughout the season, I want to bring you the best fantasy advice I can based on stats, film, match-ups and just a general gut feeling to help you make the best game day line-up decisions you can. No one is perfect, of course, and my picks will be no exception. So, without further ado, I give you, “Hot, Medium & Mild.”

It works just like it sounds. I’ll give you my must-start (HOT), start-with-caution (MEDIUM) and avoid-at-all-costs (MILD) picks. 

I’ll rate each player based on their spiciness — or lack thereof — and let you know why. For my super hot picks, expect a Carolina Reaper rating. For my extreme stay-away picks, look out for a shishito pepper. Got it? Good. Let’s go!

This week, let’s talk quarterbacks.

HOT — Habanero

Cam Newton: New England at Seattle

New team, same old Cam Newton. The healthy, fly by the seat of your pants, run it down your throat and defy all odds, Newton. The Newton we saw win an MVP in 2015. 

What’s different this time is that he is in a system known for finding ways to exploit a player’s talent. And we saw Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels do exactly that. A lot of designed quarterback runs, peppered with high-efficiency throws and targets. Newton was good for 25.7 in Points Per Reception (PPR) leagues. Look for him to yet again dominate against a weak Seattle defense. Even with the addition of Jamal Adams, their lack of ability to put pressure on opposing QB’s plays into exactly what New England wants Newton to do.

MEDIUM — Serrano

Gardner Minshew: Jacksonville at Tennessee

Gardner Minshew finished tied for QB11 in Week 1.

If you grabbed Gardner Minshew in the first round of your fantasy draft for a chance at Bud Light for an entire season, it appears as though you might win that pick twice. Minshew dropped the most efficient passing day of any QB on opening weekend in NFL history. 

With expectations very low for Jacksonville this year, it’s fair to say Sunday was a shock. Minshew appears to be carrying this team on his back and willing them to victory, and that’s great news for fantasy owners. With no real backfield threat, and the emerging talent of Laviska Shenault, coupled with DJ Chark, Minshew is going to score a lot of fantasy points. 

Even heading into a Week 2 match-up against a stout Tennessee defense, he’s worth a play in Super Flex leagues. However, I wouldn’t run him out in single QB leagues over another established QB with a better match-up, which is the only thing keeping him from being my “hot” pick for Week 2.

MILD — Shishito

Philip Rivers: Indianapolis vs. Minnesota

It’s hard to imagine Philip Rivers in anything but Chargers powder blue, but here we are. After 16 seasons in San Diego/L.A., both sides decided to part ways. Enter Indianapolis. 

Like a lot of teams these days, they were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. After a 2019 campaign that saw Rivers throw almost as many interceptions (20) as touchdowns (23), many believed he was in decline. At 38, Rivers is immobile and without the arm strength he once had. Combine that with a new offense, and a lot of questions at the skill positions for the Colts, and there just doesn’t seem to be room on fantasy rosters for him. There will be match-ups that will favor him this season and may warrant a waiver wire grab later in the year if the situation improves. 

With what we know about Rivers and what we can guess about a matchup against a Minnesota defense that was embarrassed by Green Bay on Sunday and is looking to rebound, Rivers might be left on the sidelines in pretty much all fantasy formats for Week 2.

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck in Week 2. 

And now for the dad joke:

What do you call a cow with a twitch?

Beef Jerky.

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

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