“Family, Football & This Adventure We Call Life” is a year-round column by Nate Polvogt that shares a Colorado dad’s outlook on life and his weekly advice for fantasy football waiver wire pickups. Nate enters the Week 5 waiver wire run in his third season of writing and with the pride of being hot on 2021 league-winner Rashaad Penny early.
“Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.” – Tom Stoppard
Being a kid is hard.
It looks easy. You have almost no responsibilities, at least not compared to an adult. You don’t have to worry about going to work or paying bills. All meals are prepared for you, parents act as personal chauffeurs and all you, the kid, have to do is worry about playing.
Back to Simplicity
That sounds like a dream compared to adulthood’s fast pace and unavoidable stress. It feels like we are constantly chasing the proverbial carrot of happiness. For some, that is money and fame. For many, it’s family life, or somewhere in-between. Whatever motivates you, it’s a constant battle to keep pushing forward with our heads above water. At times, it feels like it will never end, and having the freedom just to run around aimlessly until the dinner bell rings sounds like sweet relief.
Though I am now 40, I still remember some of what it was like to be young with little responsibility. I was an active kid. I spent my days outside as long as weather and light would allow, playing whatever sport was in-season with other kids on my block. We would run ragged until our mothers were yelling dinner was ready. It was like an episode of “Wonder Years,” if set in the late 1980s.
Rose Colored Glasses
The fun memories always move to the forefront of our brains. However, now having a son in kindergarten, I’m beginning to remember why I’ve always said I would never return to being a kid.
Imagine being this little human being in a world full of big people. Everything is confusing. The “big people” constantly tell you no at every turn, and you have no idea why. You also don’t know how to deal with emotions yet, so every little thing is a frustrating nightmare. Anger comes readily because that’s all your young brain can muster.
As a kid, you don’t understand adult emotion, and adults don’t understand you. Learning is a long process that gets even more difficult once you start school. Now, not only do you have parents bossing you around, but you also have teachers and school staff. Everywhere you turn is another authority figure.
You have to manage emotions you don’t understand and have to learn how to do everything. Walk, talk, read, write, chew food, do math; you name it. You are a blank slate and must rely on the people around you to figure out how to survive.
It Gets Worse
Once you finally get to the age where these emotions and feelings start making sense and you’ve mastered the essential survival skills, here comes puberty. Your voice starts cracking, hair starts growing in weird places and life becomes very awkward. Raging hormones make all rational thought nearly impossible, and we revert to the anger response we leaned on when we were five.
The hormonal teenage rage isn’t enough. School is getting tougher, kids are getting meaner and you’re on the cusp of having to work. You feel like you’re almost an adult, but the actual adults are still telling you no. It’s as frustrating at 15 as it was as a toddler. There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. The countdown to your 18th birthday and the independence you desperately crave has begun.
Getting through your teenage years and early 20s brings some peace but is quickly supplanted by the hustle and bustle of the rat race. The truth is, childhood happiness is simply replaced by choosing happiness when we can as adults. The younger years of our lives weren’t as easy as we remember them to be, but they prepared us for the trials and tribulations that would come with moving out into the world on our own.
As I watch my son, Jackson, grow up, I try to remember how hard it is being a kid. Of course, it isn’t easy, and I don’t always succeed, but I want our son to have support as he tries to learn to navigate a crazy and sometimes unforgiving world, even for a kid.
Making Lemons Out Of Lemonade
You could also use crazy and unforgiving to describe the first four weeks of the NFL season. It’s hard to remember a time when being a fantasy football manager was as frustrating as it has been this year. Fortunately, if life has taught us anything, it’s that there are always greener pastures ahead. Despite injuries and befuddling disappearing acts like tight end Kyle Pitts in Atlanta, it’s been a fun football season. We had some interesting breakouts in Week 4 and may have more looming for the week ahead.
• Jacksonville wide receiver Christian Kirk is currently the Points Per Reception (PPR) WR10 in a surprisingly explosive Jaguars offense.
• Lions’ running back Jamaal Williams exploded with 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, elevating him to PPR RB6 on the season.
• After a slow start to the season, Houston Texans’ rookie running back Dameon Pierce has been the PPR RB5 over the last two weeks.
• Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has named rookie signal caller Kenny Pickett the starter after putting him in over Mitchell Trubisky for the second half of last week’s loss.
While there are bright spots, there’s no denying it’s been ugly in these fantasy streets so far in 2022. But like a kid learning to ride a bike, we will persevere. On that note, it’s time for “Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 5 Damage Control.”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 5 Waiver Wire Damage Control
It’s a long NFL season; every week is as important as the next in your push to glory. Seasons are won and lost in the trenches.
Heading into Week 5, many fantasy managers are in damage control mode. Injuries have decimated our rosters, and we need to pivot to stay in the hunt. Below I highlight three running backs suddenly thrusted into possible fantasy relevance and a surprising tight end in an unexpected situation. How should you approach these players as the first waiver wire run of the week approaches? Let’s get down to it.
HOT — Thai Pepper
Will Dissly (Tight End, Seattle Seahawks)
If there were going to be a fantasy-relevant tight end in Seattle in 2022, most would have assumed it would be the recently-acquired Noah Fant. However, that has not been the case. Fant and fellow tight end Will Dissly appeared to be a one-two punch through the first two weeks, but Dissly separated himself in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions.
Seahawks’ quarterback Geno Smith, who has been surprisingly effective this season, targeted Dissly four times to Fant’s one in the 48-45 win last week. Dissly turned his four targets into four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. That performance, which amounted to 13.9 PPR fantasy points, marked his third double-digit fantasy performance of the season.
Trusting the second tight end in a traditionally run-heavy offense might seem hard. However, this isn’t the Seahawks of old. Head coach Pete Carroll has transformed this team into one of the most pass-happy attacks in the league. As a result, Seattle currently ranks eighth in the league in pass play percentage (64.8) and averages 34 passing attempts per game. Smith had been wildly efficient, completing 77.3 percent of his passes through four games.
What To Do
While running back Rashaad Penny finally had a breakout game last week, it makes sense Carroll would continue with what has worked and continue the successful air assault behind Smith. Dissly and Smith appear to have a solid connection, given that he has caught all 12 targets thrown his way. I expect Dissly to remain a part of this offense. While he may be touchdown-dependent, there aren’t many other solid options among the tight end position right now.
Take a look at your league mates’ rosters, and if it doesn’t look like anyone else will be clamoring for Dissly, don’t bother making a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) bid. The more you can save for later in the season, the better. If your league runs based on waiver priority and you need a tight end, don’t be shy – use whatever priority needed to roster him.
MEDIUM — Chipotle Pepper
Mike Boone (Running Back, Denver Broncos)
Denver had the early part of their 2022 season go from bad to worse in an ugly loss to the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday. First, the team’s offense struggled to get going amidst a flurry of penalties and a costly fumble-returned-for-a-touchdown courtesy of butter-fingers running back Melvin Gordon. Then, second-year running back Javonte Williams suffered a torn ACL to punctuate the pain in Broncos country.
Denver is now sans Williams for the season, and Gordon is in the doghouse. While the team may have signed running back Latavius Murray to bolster depth, the Broncos will need an immediate impact player familiar with the offense, and that player is running back Mike Boone.
Boone taking on a more significant role doesn’t come out of nowhere. Boone saw an increased snap share week-over-week, leading up to the Las Vegas matchup. After Williams went down against the Raiders, Boone had three carries for 20 yards and a catch for nine yards.
We’ve also seen Boone be effective when called upon in the past, including a three-game stretch for the Vikings in 2019, where he rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns in place of an injured Dalvin Cook. He will now have an opportunity to cement a more permanent role in this offense.
What To Do
Boone isn’t going to light the world on fire; let’s get that out of the way. However, he could be a solid acquisition if you’re a frustrated Gordon manager looking for relief or a Williams manager in need of a pivot. Denver is 13th in the NFL in run play percentage, so the volume is there. Even if Gordon claws back into favor with the coaching staff, Boone will still have a role. Don’t break the bank to acquire him, but don’t hesitate if you’re in need. I would be OK with spending two to five percent of your FAAB or using whatever waiver wire priority you have to get him rostered.
MILD — Striped Rainbow Pepper
Caleb Huntley & Tyler Allgeier (Running Backs, Atlanta Falcons)
This 2022 season seems more injury-heavy than in years past and is driving fantasy football managers mad. One of the latest casualties is Atlanta running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who is headed to Injured Reserve (IR). This leaves a struggling Falcons’ offense without its lead running back. To carry the load in Patterson’s absence, the team must turn to two rookie running backs, Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley.
Head coach Arthur Smith will likely use a committee approach with the two young ball carriers until Patterson returns. Allgeier and Huntley each had 10 carries, with the former leading the way in yards (84). Allgeier saw the one red zone rushing target amongst the two. It might be tempting to go after one or both of these half-backs on the waiver wire, especially considering Atlanta runs the ball fourth most in the league. However, Patterson has been electric with his opportunities and is currently the overall PPR RB11. Don’t drink the juice, folks.
What To Do
Neither of these backs is Patterson. Smith hasn’t shown much faith in either runner, either. Week 4 was only the second time Huntley has been active, seeing only one carry in Week 2. Allgeier has been used more frequently, with 26 carries for 139 yards. For either of these running backs to be worth starting in any fantasy format, they will need to score a touchdown. That’s a big ask in a system with only 12 red zone carries from the position in four games. Don’t waste your FAAB on either of these players unless you are desperate for a fill-in at running back. If you need a FLEX, pivot to wide receiver and snag Rams’ wideout Ben Skowronek. He is only rostered in 0.9 percent of ESPN leagues.
I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy waiver wire pickups and notes useful. Until next time!
To ease the pain of a rough week of fantasy football, here’s a lame #DadJoke to take your mind off your rosters.
What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo?
One is very heavy; the other is a little lighter!
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @NatePolvogt.