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Family, Football & Long Division

by Bo McBrayer

Are you a Blistex or ChapStick person? 

Trick question. My house only uses Burt’s Bees. I didn’t empathize with the fine folks shivering in the blustering snow of Buffalo last night, except to wonder how badly their lips were chapped. Unfortunately, my daughter had procrastinated her third-grade long division homework into the precious football hours (she knows the rules). 

Her long auburn hair had long been ripped from the fatherly ponytail I had tied while rushing out the door on the way to school, arguing about which of her jackets was softer. Disheveled and agitated about needing to complete her remaining homework instead of capturing Pokémon on her Nintendo Switch, she fidgeted with the cashews in the crystal dish on the counter. 

Addison, nearly 9 years old, was having a case of the Mondays. I was grateful she had forgotten about her tears of rage at school drop-off (over the jacket), but now there was palpable anxiety hovering in the air over three pages of long division.

“It’s too hard.”

In reality, she had been working on multiplication and division since second grade. The frustration was blinding her tonight. Another cashew slipped between her fingers and onto the floor. “Oops!” 

I think my eye twitched. 42 divided by 7… uhhhhhhh. She makes the droning sound while crossing her eyes to focus on the ornament hook on her nose (note to self:  Buy more bourbon).

I really do relish being a father. It’s hard not to laugh in retrospect of hair-pulling moments like this one. Being a parent isn’t ever boring. It also never resembles anything you see in the movies. 

Girl dads traipse an emotional minefield every day. Those emotions run the gamut and challenge every fiber of saintly patience and will to see another sunrise that one has. Yet, I snooze my alarm only once in the morning, let the dogs out to do their business and attempt to extract a young clone of my wife (not a morning person) out of bed. Five times a week. I’ve checked the school calendar three times since this morning to confirm that Christmas vacation begins in 2 weeks.

Fantasy football comes a lot more naturally than parenting. I have literal years more experience with X’s and O’s, film breakdowns and fighting chapped lips and numb fingers in wintry playing conditions. I remember more stats from 1996 than I do words from “Goodnight Moon” (thankfully). 

With frigid winds and corresponding beanies come the fantasy football playoffs. Many leagues have seen the trade deadline pass, putting the onus on one’s waiver wire savvy and start-sit decision making to clinch a spot in the 3-week-long free-for-all. I am honored, as the “King of Spice,” to bring a little extra punch to this week’s “Hot, Medium, & Mild” as its usual author, Nate Polvogt, enjoys a week below the border.

Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 14

HOT — Trinidad Scorpion

K.J. Osborn (WR, Minnesota Vikings)

The Vikings are officially in dire straits. Their numbing loss to the previously winless Detroit Lions also saw an early exit from star slot receiver, Adam Thielen. Kirk Cousins was still successful at moving the ball through the air against a bad defense, thanks to superstar Justin Jefferson and a suddenly resurgent K.J. Osborn

Thielen has missed practice so far this week with his ankle injury and his prognosis for Week 14 against the Steelers is hazy. Osborn was out-targeted by tight end Tyler Conklin in Detroit, but Pittsburgh is notably tougher on tight ends than wide receivers. 

Should Thielen be limited or inactive in Week 14, Osborn is primed for one heck of a matchup. His 14.7 Points Per Reception (PPR) points on seven targets against the Lions included a very Thielen-esque touchdown. At this point in the season, managers are more likely to prioritize their waivers or remaining scraps of Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) at the running back position, leaving a 7 percent rostered Osborn relatively easy to obtain. I wouldn’t be the least bit stunned to see another 15 to 20 points from him in Week 14. 

MEDIUM — Chile Serrano

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, Green Bay Packers)

There is a real negative stigma around the uttering of the letters, “MVS.” I’m here to tell you, I have also been hurt by the nearly Nelson Agholor-level cringe of a dropped pass from the University of Southern Florida alum. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS) has spent his entire career running vertical routes for one of the most talented passers in NFL history, Aaron Rodgers. The six-foot-four speedster seems to get behind the deep safety at least once per game. Rodgers rarely misses the mark when this happens.

Green Bay emerges from their Week 13 bye to host the hated Chicago Bears. Chicago has been victimized more than nearly every NFL team by passes over 20 air yards (MVS’s modus operandi). His hands have also been more reliable this season, proving that drops are not a sticky stat from year to year. 

Much like Osborn, MVS will be pretty painless to acquire. Green Bay’s schedule for the fantasy playoffs after the Bears features three more teams who struggle in the secondary (Baltimore, Cleveland and Minnesota). Valdes-Scantling is the type of player who can shake a bad reputation while also perhaps vaulting you to a fantasy championship.

MILD Anaheim

D’Onta Foreman (RB, Tennessee Titans)

A lot of fantasy managers needed to make some business decisions for Week 13 with their limited roster spots. I saw many that were forced to drop Titans’ running back D’Onta Foreman during his bye week to accommodate a new pickup or a guy coming off the Injured Reserve (IR). 

Foreman is only rostered in 34.3 percent of ESPN leagues. That’s an incredibly low figure for the featured back on a very run-forward football team with a lot to play for in December. Heck, we just saw Foreman rush for 109 yards in Week 12.

The nice appeal to the Titans running game is for the pivotal Week 14 slate. The Titans are fresh off their bye and get to host the pitiful Jacksonville Jaguars, who are ranked 19th against the run. Even though their subsequent opponents are notably tougher, I wouldn’t mind having a tough runner like Foreman to inhabit a flex spot with volume and touchdown upside (even if he hasn’t scored one yet).

This is where Nate inserts a dad joke. I favor grocery store jokes. I guess they often overlap, so here goes nothing!

I got kicked out of the grocery store for inappropriate behavior in the produce section.

All I did was take a leek!

Thanks for indulging me and giving me all of the attention I desperately crave. For more fantasy football, food, and mediocre parenting advice, find me on Twitter @Bo_McBigTime. You can also grab my deliciously intense (and clean) food products at bigtimeflavor.co.

BigTime FlavorCo:  The official punch in the mouth of fantasy football!

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