Family, Football & Pivoting
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin
It’s Tuesday, which means it’s a school day for our son, Jackson. It also means it’s a 4-hour break for Mommy and Daddy. Yay!
To be clear, it’s not that we don’t love our son. We do, very much so. But as anyone with an energetic 4-year-old will tell you, those breaks are very necessary. Not only for your sanity but for your productivity as well. Trying to keep a child occupied all day while also getting anything of substance done can be impossible.
We woke up this morning with such hope for the day. We had some shopping to do, which we always try to do without Jackson. He sees toys and wants them so badly that it’s just easier if we don’t present the temptation. Also, it just goes much faster without constantly trying to keep him wrangled. We also planned on cleaning the house, which is pointless with a tornado of a child running wild, and I had planned on finishing up this column for the week in peace and quiet.
Then it happened. The dreaded email from the school. A pipe burst overnight and flooded the classrooms. You obviously can’t have kids in soaking wet classrooms. As such, there would be no school for Jackson and no working break for my wife, Jen, and me today. Any ideas we had of being productive today were flushed straight down the toilet.
Our son is a very social being, which is a huge part of why we have him in preschool. He doesn’t have a sibling, so anyway he can interact with other children is something we jump at. On days like today, that need is punctuated. So far today, he insisted on me building all manner of vehicles with Legos, required Jen to accompany him upstairs so he could “rest,” rode his scooter around the house like it’s a race car and jumped off the couch more times than I can count.
As a parent, one of the most important skills you can master is adaptability. It’s something that comes in handy daily, if not hourly, as someone in charge of a mini-human. The world zigs, you have to zag. No school means finding projects to keep the little ones busy. Such as making an impromptu trip to a park, like we are about to do, putting errands and other things on the back burner and essentially throwing out your schedule.
Adaptability is an important skill for anyone at any stage of life. If you can’t pivot when things change, you’re destined to live a frustrating existence. This applies to work, home life, raising a child and, of course, fantasy football. This season has been a painful example of this.
The Week 7 “Bye-nado” was about as destructive to our fantasy teams as a kid who needs a nap badly. If you weren’t able to adapt, you got left behind. Thank goodness that’s in the rearview mirror. Now we can move on to Week 8 where we only have two teams taking a well-deserved rest in Baltimore and Las Vegas.
So, without any further delay, let’s get to it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild!”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 8
While waiver wires have been bare-bones as of late, Week 8 presents some interesting additions at wide receiver. With injuries piling up and players finding themselves on the COVID-19/Reserve List, we have new names popping up and old names resurfacing. We also have an aging quarterback who was traded to his former team that might be of short-term interest, or is he?
I’ve got it all covered for you right here, so let’s get to it!
HOT — Bedfordshire Super Naga
Kalif Raymond (WR, Detroit Lions)
The Detroit Lions aren’t a good team. While sitting at 0-7 after getting handled by the Los Angeles Rams, there’s more to like than you would think here from a fantasy perspective.
Jared Goff has indeed been inconsistent most of this season, but he is still throwing the ball an average of 39 times per game through seven games. The Lions rank seventh in the NFL in pass-play percentage at 64 percent. From a sheer volume perspective, the wide receivers here are a valuable fantasy asset.
Enter Kalif Raymond, who has emerged as a dangerous target for Goff the last few weeks. While it’s still unclear if he or rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown is the team’s No. 1 receiver, he is seeing more volume and an increased snap share as of late in addition to more quality targets.
Against the Rams last week, Raymond turned those opportunities into a few big-time plays, including a 37-yard catch-and-run that showcased the five-year veteran’s speed.
Raymond now has two games where he has put up over 15 fantasy points this season – once in Week 4 against Chicago where he snagged two touchdowns and amassed 19.6 points, and then again last week against Los Angeles where he had 17.6 points. With a snap share above 60 percent every week so far, he’s also shown that he should remain viable enough in this offense to be seen as a flex play rest of the way.
If you’re hurting at the wide receiver position, this player is a quality add you can feel good about. Raymond is only rostered in 5.9 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s out there for you to grab.
You shouldn’t need to spend much or use a high waiver wire priority on him as most will be targeting Green Bay wide receiver Allen Lazard this week. Lazard is fine but is most likely a one-week fill-in while Davante Adams is out on the COVID-19/Reserve List. Raymond is a solid long-term addition you can play moving forward.
MEDIUM — Malagueta
Kendrick Bourne (WR, New England Patriots)
The New England Patriots have been about as frustrating as possible for fantasy managers this season. Head coach Bill Belichick has been, as always, hard to read from week to week. Last week, we were all expecting another solid performance from running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who ended up being a healthy scratch on Sunday. Because of things like this, I tend to stay away from Patriots players, when possible.
However, Kendrick Bourne has shown he is a consistent part of the New England game plan as a target for rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Last week against the Jets, Bourne even managed to throw a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nelson Agholor. While that isn’t going to happen every week, you can count on the team trying to get the ball in his hands each week.
Over the last two weeks, Bourne has the third-highest Average Depth of Target (aDoT) on the team at 13 yards and has the third most receptions with five in that span. He’s getting looks downfield from Jones, meaning he’s getting high-quality opportunities.
He isn’t going to put up huge numbers like a WR1 or WR2, but he is definitely a player you can plug in and expect close to a consistent double-digit point output most weeks. Not bad for a player you’re finding on the waiver wire in Week 8.
MILD — Tangerine Dream
Joe Flacco (QB, New York Jets)
Don’t get suckered into rostering Joe Flacco in 2-QB or superflex leagues this week. Yes, he will most likely be starting the next few weeks in place of the injured New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. But this is still the 1-5 New York Jets and this is still Flacco.
Flacco hasn’t played a full season since 2017. He’s going to be rusty and the upcoming schedule isn’t an easy one. In the next three weeks, the Jets face a Cincinnati defense that quieted Baltimore and Lamar Jackson, an Indianapolis squad featuring standout linebacker Darius Leonard and one of the best defensive units in the league in Buffalo.
Couple that with the fact that New York has one of the worst offensive lines in football and this is shaping up to be a disaster.
Chances are if you’re considering rostering Flacco this week, it’s because you need him as your second quarterback in superflex formats. Do yourself a favor and pass on him. There are other position players already on your roster that will likely outscore him. Play them. Don’t waste a roster spot on an aging, stop-gap quarterback and be wary of all New York Jet pass-catchers until Wilson returns.
And there you have it, folks. Take it or leave it and good luck in Week 8!
After last week, I think we could all use a laugh. Hopefully, this #dadjoke does the trick!
What did one wall say to the other?
I’ll meet you at the corner.
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @JeNateJackFF.