Family, Football & Mortality
“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 11 waiver wire run in his third season of writing and with the pride of being hot on 2021 league-winner Rashaad Penny early.
“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.” ― Marcus Aurelius, The Emperor’s Handbook
It’s recently come to my attention that my days on this earth are numbered. But don’t worry; nothing is imminent. I haven’t been diagnosed with an illness or affliction. I am, in fact, in decent health as of this very moment.
No, it’s much worse. I realized I am getting old.
No one ever wants to confront their mortality. Why would you? The idea of dying isn’t a great one. So, naturally, we spend years ignoring or avoiding the subject entirely.
It’s easier when you’re younger. The scourge of old age seems light years away when you’re healthy, agile and having a blast. Most of your peers are in good health, so there isn’t anything to force you to think about your demise.
The Elephant in the Room
I have been a master of avoiding this subject entirely over the years because, let’s face it; it’s scary. There was a lot of death in my family growing up. Instead of being sad, I just wanted to plug along until I couldn’t anymore. So I did for years, rarely letting the idea of my passing enter my brain. Lately, however, I have been unable to avoid it.
Watching our son, Jackson, grow like a weed, going from a toddler to a little man almost overnight, struck me this past summer-into-fall season. The realization that he would grow into a full-blown human being with an independent life, family and career made me feel a million years old.
With him growing older, he will look to us as parents more and more for advice, help and general support. So I want to be there for him, as healthy and sound of mind as possible, for as long as possible. Some recent health scares among friends and family have forced me to look at myself and take things more seriously.
No one wants to admit their shortcomings, myself included. It’s uncomfortable and scary, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
My fear of doctors has kept me from getting a simple check-up for six years running. But, if we’re being honest, it’s also a fear of knowing. It’s been easier to keep my head in the sand all these years than deal with the idea I may have health issues.
I’ve been fortunate to avoid anything serious up to this point, but I know my luck won’t last forever. My family has a history of many things, including heart issues, colon issues, diabetes and cancers or wide varieties. I have been told for years that I needed a colonoscopy. However, I have always been too afraid there would be something wrong. When you say it out loud, it sounds ridiculous, right?
I also haven’t lived the healthiest life. While I don’t eat five cheeseburgers a day, I could eat fewer chips and more veggies. Getting exercise is a chore I tell myself I don’t have the time to entertain. I wouldn’t call myself obese by any means, but I definitely have a dad bod-plus. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn I have higher cholesterol than is deemed healthy. I can also tell you that my body mass index will have any practitioner telling me I need to change course and get in shape.
Get On Track Week 11 Waiver Wire
While it has been uncomfortable, I am glad I have had this inner journey over the last few months. Of course, I want to be around with Jackson for the long haul, but I also don’t want to be miserable while I’m here. I’m tired of being scared; instead, I will face my fears and live my life to the fullest for my family and myself.
On To Football
Week 10 was yet another rollercoaster ride in this unhinged 2022 football season. The unexpected and fantastic just keep on coming.
• Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings stunned the Buffalo Bills in overtime in what will go down as one of the greatest regular season games in NFL history.
• In another surprise, first-time head coach Jeff Saturday named quarterback Matt Ryan the starter just ahead of game time on Sunday, then led the team to a shocking 25-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
• Veteran Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady appeared to return to his old form, if only for one game, in Munich, Germany, leading the Buccaneers to a decisive 21-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
• In a head-scratching move, the Arizona Cardinals released running back Eno Benjamin, who had been a more than adequate change-of-pace and fill-in ball carrier for fellow back James Conner. Benjamin was claimed earlier today on waivers by the Houston Texans.
Injuries aside, if you’re not enjoying this marvelous, topsy-turvy NFL season, I don’t know what you’re doing. From a fan’s perspective, it’s been as much entertainment as you could have hoped for back in August. While it’s been challenging to be a fantasy manager at times, you’ve made it this far.
So let’s get to it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 11 Waiver Wire WR Pickups.”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 11 Waiver Wire WR Pickups
We’re heading into Week 11, and the fantasy football playoffs are inching closer. Naturally, any manager in the hunt is working overtime to get their rosters in tip-top shape for a championship run.
However, as injuries continue to make it harder to put together a winning line-up, they also present some players with an opportunity to set up and provide point relief for your squads.
This week, I have two pass-catchers that could add some spark to their respective teams and yours, and one that had a boom in Week 10 that won’t be repeated this season.
HOT — Pimenta De Neyde Pepper
Van Jefferson (WR, Los Angeles Rams) Week 11 Waiver Wire
News broke this morning that Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp suffered a high ankle sprain on Sunday that will require surgery. Kupp is headed to Injured Reserve (IR) and will miss at least the next four weeks, if not the remainder of the 2022 season. While this is a massive blow to any manager with the overall Point Per Reception (PPR) WR4 rostered, there is hope.
Rams wideout Van Jefferson, who was on IR for the first six weeks, was activated after the team’s Week 7 bye. The team appeared content to ease him back into the fold, giving him only 68 snaps through his first three games. However, with the Kupp injury, he now steps into the WR2 role in a pass-forward offense that throws the rock on 64.8 percent of offensive plays.
Jefferson is no stranger to being integral to this Los Angeles offense. In 2021, he averaged 51.8 snaps per game in the regular season, running routes on 90.5 percent of those snaps. He saw 80 targets that he converted into 50 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns. His usage increased during the Rams’ Super Bowl run, seeing an average of 59.1 snaps per game. That translated to nine postseason catches for 102 yards on 17 targets.
What To Do Week 11 Waiver Wire
It’s clear that, had he not suffered a knee injury in the preseason, Jefferson would have been heavily involved in the Rams’ offense early on in 2022. Veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson will initially get the WR1 looks in this passing attack, but he has been less than eye-catching this season. Jefferson could easily take over as the preferred target for quarterback Matthew Stafford, hopefully providing a spark to a lackluster offense.
You won’t be the only manager in your league after Jefferson, so if you need help at wide receiver, prepare to spend up. It will take a good portion of your remaining Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) to acquire him, and if you have low priority on the waiver wire, you’re likely out of luck.
MEDIUM — Chiltepin Pepper
Kendall Hinton (WR, Denver Broncos) Week 11 Waiver Wire
Things got worse for an already hurting Denver Broncos offense in a Week 10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. A wide receiving corps already missing Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler suffered another blow, losing Jerry Jeudy to an ankle injury on the game’s first play. In his absence, third-year pass-catcher Kendall Hinton stepped into Jeudy’s slot role.
This past week wasn’t the first time Hinton was forced into action due to a Jeudy injury. In Week 2, Jeudy hurt his ribs and only saw 10 snaps. Hinton saw 55 snaps, hauling in his lone target for a 20-yard reception. Against the Titans, however, he was much more involved. Hinton was targeted five times, catching four for 62 yards. He also ran a route on 90.4 percent of his snaps.
The Broncos will likely be without Jeudy and Hamler heading into a Week 11 matchup against Las Vegas. The last time these two teams met, Hinton was targeted with a fully-healthy receiving corps three times. The Broncos have continued to be a pass-heavy attack without any rushing threat, which will carry over into this week.
What To Do Week 11 Waiver Wire
Hinton has proven to be a reliable target for quarterback Russell Wilson, catching 10 of his 12 targets this season. Given the likelihood of increased opportunities, Hinton is a solid pivot if the injury bug has hit you.
While he won’t blow you away with his volume, his average Yards Per Reception (YPR) of 17 and Average Depth of Target (ADOT) of 12.7 indicate his targets will be high-value deep balls with scoring potential. Aside from the previously mentioned Jefferson, there aren’t going to be many better options with boom potential on your waiver wire this deep into a messy 2022 season.
Here is the best part. You won’t need to spend much, if any, of your FAAB or use a high waiver wire priority to acquire Hinton. He should clear your waiver wire runs tonight and be there for the taking on Wednesday morning.
MILD — Lombardo Pepper
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR, Tennessee Titans)
The big story in Tennessee heading into a Week 10 matchup against the Denver Broncos was the return of rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks, who missed the Titans’ previous four contests with turf toe. However, his return was overshadowed by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine catching five of his eight targets for 119 yards and the Titans’ only two touchdowns. All four of those totals were a season-high for the third-year receiver.
The stellar performance from Westbrook-Ikhine came out of nowhere. Tennessee could not run the ball against Denver, with running back Derrick Henry logging 53 rushing yards on 19 carries. Conversely, quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw the ball a season-high 36 times, with Westbrook-Ikhine leading the team in targets.
What To Do
This game was an outlier for a team that defaults to the run game. The team’s next three games are against Green Bay, Cincinnati and Philadelphia. All three defenses are much better against the passing game than the rushing attack. While the Week 10 boom from Westbrook-Ikhene was fun to watch, it likely won’t be repeated in 2022, barring injury. Leave him on the waiver wire where he belongs and pivot elsewhere.
I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy Week 11 waiver wire pickups and notes useful. Until next time!
We’re getting oh-so-close to turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and the best Thursday football slate of the year. So here’s a #DadJoke to tell your kids to keep them rolling their eyes at you just before Fall break.
Why did the turkey cross the road?
He wanted people to think he was a chicken.
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @NatePolvogt.