Family, Football & Nomads
“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 15 waiver wire run with a story about settling down.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou
A few weeks ago – Nov. 21, to be exact – my wife Jen and I celebrated 12 years of living in our home. That’s no small feat for a couple who lived in eight different places in the first four years of our relationship.
Thanks to Jen’s career in the apartment industry, we found ourselves moving often. If you’re unfamiliar, one of the perks of working in the multi-family housing industry is a significant rent discount to live on-site. Of course, we were young and broke, so it was a no-brainer to take advantage of the savings was a no-brainer.
We were content to continue moving where the discounts took us. We didn’t have a kid or much in the way of stuff, so there seemed no reason for us to settle somewhere more permanent. So instead, we enjoyed the occasional change of scenery, and because of our propensity for never settling down, we got to call some neat places home.
However, in 2010, we found out that Jen was pregnant. At the time, we were living in the “manager’s townhouse” at the property she was managing. It was a newer community, and our unit was the best on the lot. We had two stories and dual master suites backed up to a quiet creek with an attached garage. Even with a child on the way, we had little desire to move.
We did, however, find ourselves quite bored. Our usual weekends of drinking with friends and staying up late morphed into bed by 10 p.m. and a lot of couch time watching Food Network and HGTV. After a few weekends of binging home repair and baking competitions, we decided to get out of the house. I am a licensed real estate agent in Colorado, so we decided to look at homes for sale for fun.
This wasn’t out of the ordinary. We had dreams of flipping houses and had been searching for a foreclosed property for nearly three years. We decided on this Saturday to look at homes in neighborhoods we knew were out of reach for us.
However, one house in my search caught my eye. It was in an area where my mom had grown up, and the price had dropped $100,000 that morning. I added it to our viewing list, and off we went.
Is It Fate?
The homes we looked at were mostly what we expected to see; cookie-cutter builds in neighborhoods with little to no individuality and well over budget for two 20-somethings. The experience just cemented our desire to stay where we were. We almost cut the day short but decided to look at the last place on our tour, as it was just a few blocks away from the condo we had just viewed.
There wasn’t much information on the listing, so we weren’t sure what to expect. The massive price drop that morning was another red flag, but it also made it intriguing. So we were both shocked when we pulled into the long, curved driveway to see a double-door front entry. The yard was in rough shape, but the home was huge. As we curiously perused through all five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a predominantly finished basement, we were both dumbfounded.
We had long talked about wanting a big family. Jen has three siblings and wanted the same for our future children. This house was big enough for a large family, was in a great neighborhood with good schools and was something we could afford. Of course, it was dated and needed some love. But for two people who envisioned renovating and reselling properties one day, that wasn’t a deterrent.
Going for It
We went home that afternoon and had a long discussion about what we should do. Finally, after debate and a long pros and cons list, we decided to write up an offer and go for it.
Despite receiving multiple offers, the owners accepted ours, and we were under contract the next day. It ended up being one of the most challenging real estate transactions I’ve ever been a part of. At times it didn’t look like we were going to get to the finish line. We had inspection and appraisal issues, and our initial financing fell through three days before closing.
Despite all the speed bumps, Jen and I officially became homeowners on Nov. 17, 2010. It’s been an exciting journey over the last 12 years. Our struggles to start a family have been well documented in these pages, and the pregnancy that triggered all of this did not last. Our dreams of having a large family faded years ago, but we’ve never regretted taking the leap and buying what is now our home.
A Place to Call Home
I can tell you firsthand that homeownership is a frustrating endeavor that will test your patience at every turn. This house has been a handful over the last decade-plus. But it’s also been a gathering place for holidays, a quiet place for us and where our family started to grow. A lot of life has happened under this roof. Despite the frustrations and money that has gone into keeping us warm, dry and safe, I will always be thankful we have this place as a respite from the outside world.
There have been times when I wanted to throw in the towel, walk away from this place and let someone else deal with the frustration. Sound familiar? Being a fantasy football manager can be similarly frustrating. However, like homeownership, the rewards make it all worthwhile if you put in the work.
This week marks the beginning of the fantasy football playoffs for most leagues, and there’s no resting on our laurels. With waiver wires set to run tonight, it’s time to hit the free agent pool with a passion to ensure you’re victorious and stay in the hunt for championship glory.
On to Football
Week 14 was a wild one to finish the regular fantasy football season. We had some impactful injuries, surprising performances and concerning trends emerge that will impact how you approach the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 15.
• Newly acquired Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield lit the world on fire this past Thursday night. After being with the team for only 36 hours, he led his team on a wild 98-yard drive with under two minutes remaining to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders in shocking fashion.
• Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy stepped in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, leading the 49ers to a blow-out win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So was the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) losing to the kid a little bit of foreshadowing?
• The Detroit Lions showed they are a force to be reckoned with, and rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams is here to stay in a convincing victory over the division-rival Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
• Second-year signal-caller Trevor Lawrence led the Jacksonville Jaguars to yet another victory, completing 30 of his 42 passing attempts for 368 yards, three touchdowns and a rushing score. Is head coach Doug Pederson a quarterback whisperer?
• The New York Giants continued their concerning slide, losing four of their last five games behind disappointing performances from quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Will they get back to their winning ways, or was the early season success a mirage?
Week 14 is in the rearview mirror, and it’s time to kick it into high gear for your championship run. So let’s get after it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 15 Waiver Wire Heat.”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 15 Waiver Wire Heat
The fantasy football playoffs are finally here! If you are fortunate enough to be one of the teams still in the hunt for championship glory, congratulations. It was no easy task in a wild 2022 season to make it this far. Most weeks, I come to the table with two players I love and one that doesn’t do it for me. However, this week, I have three players I am hot on heading into the fantasy playoffs.
HOT — Dragons Breath Pepper
Jerick McKinnon (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)
For most of the 2022 season, the Kansas City Chiefs’ backfield has been a massive question mark. Early on, it looked like running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was finally living up to expectations. That faded quickly, ending with Edwards-Helaire landing on Injured Reserve (IR).
Now, we have some clarity on a formerly muddy situation, and the timing couldn’t be better. Rookie Isiah Pacheco has led the ground attack, averaging 78 rushing yards over the last five games. The veteran back, Jerick McKinnon, has taken over as Mahomes’ primary target out of the backfield. Since the Chiefs’ Week 8 bye, McKinnon has only two games with fewer than six targets and has logged eight or more twice. Then, last week against a staunch Denver defense, he caught seven of nine targets for 112 yards and two touchdowns. His 32.4 PPR points were good enough to make the overall Points Per Reception (PPR) RB1 in Week 14.
What To Do
The Chiefs’ next three matchups couldn’t be better for McKinnon. Weeks 15 and 16 have them up against the Texans and Seahawks, the bottom two defenses in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Week 17 has them up against the Broncos, whom he shredded last week. With Kansas City’s propensity for throwing the ball, this could be a league-winning addition to your fantasy squads. Don’t be shy about spending a large portion of your remaining Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) on getting McKinnon rostered for a playoff run.
HOT — Infinity Pepper
Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE, Tennessee Titans)
The threshold to be a relevant fantasy tight end in 2022 has been low. The current PPR TE12 is Bears’ bookend Cole Kmet, averaging 8.2 PPR points per game through 14 weeks. The lack of consistent play from tight ends has been troublesome. However, heading into Week 15, Titans’ rookie Chigoziem Okonkwo has emerged as a streaming candidate that could help keep your teams in contention.
Okonkwo isn’t a household name, and even seasoned fantasy managers may have let him slip under the radar. Drafted in the fourth round by Tennessee, many NFL analysts believed he lacked the skillset to play tight end in the NFL. However, a string of injuries and a lack of efficient play from Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim have forced head coach Mike Vrabel to take a look at Okonkwo.
So far, it’s been fruitful for the offense. In his last three games, Okonkwo has seen a total of 16 targets. He’s converted those into 13 catches for 148 receiving yards and one touchdown. Those numbers have been good enough to make the rookie the overall PPR TE3 in that span. Okonkwo also received the highest grade on the team (82.5) in 2022, per PFF.
What To Do
The Titans are reeling after a tough loss to the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14. They will need to pull out all the stops in Week 15 and beyond to make a run. That will include continuing to include Okonkwo in the offensive attack. Two of the team’s final three contests are against defenses in the league’s bottom half against tight ends. So, while he isn’t an automatic start, he provides stability and streaming options for the next three weeks. Don’t be afraid to spend up on your FAAB to get him if you think your current tight end situation could use improvement.
HOT — Caribbean Red Habanero Pepper
Jameson Williams (WR, Detroit Lions)
The long-awaited NFL debut of Jameson Williams finally came in Week 13. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what most had hoped for. The much-hyped Lions prospect saw only eight offensive snaps and one target. It wasn’t surprising, given that Williams was coming off of a torn ACL suffered in the College Football National Championship last year while at Alabama. The Lions got him more involved in Week 14, however. He nearly doubled his snap count (14), making his first NFL catch, an impressive 41-yard touchdown grab.
The Detroit Lions are on a roll, having won five of their last six games after starting season 1-6. Williams, who logged 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021 at Alabama, is just more firepower for an already potent offensive attack. The touchdown propped up his fantasy value last week, but I fully expect the team to get him more involved as they push for the playoffs.
It’s unlikely Williams will be fantasy relevant in Week 15 when the Lions meet the New York Jets. While he may see more snaps, the matchup would indicate Detroit will lean on their talented running back duo of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Unfortunately, that won’t leave much work for the current fourth receiving option on the team. However, Week 16 has them facing off against a Carolina defense, allowing an average of 34.6 PPR points to wide receivers. Then, finally, they host a Chicago defense that gave up 34 PPR points to them back in Week 10.
What To Do
Rostering Williams for your playoff run is a high-risk, high-reward proposition. There is a chance the Lions take it slow with the talented rookie, and he’s nothing more than a decoy. However, if they work him in more over the next two weeks, his matchup against Chicago could be a boom for your rosters at the perfect time. I wouldn’t blow all of your remaining FAAB on him this week. But if you can’t get him for 20 percent or less of your remaining funds, he’s a good stash with a high potential upside.
I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy Week 15 waiver wire pickups and notes useful. Until next time!
It’s almost jingle bell time, and the stress of the holidays might be getting to you. However, there’s always time to stop and laugh. So this week’s #DadJoke is here give you a good chuckle and take your mind off hanging the stockings by the chimney with care.
What’s every elf’s favorite type of music?