Family, Football & On the Radio
“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 13 waiver wire run in his third season of writing and with the pride of being hot on 2021 league-winner Rashaad Penny early.
“Radio is the most intimate and socially personal medium in the world.” – Harry Von Zell
If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, you understand how difficult it was to get information. Unlike today, we didn’t have all the news and gossip you could want at our fingertips. If you were doing a school research project, you could easily spend hours at a library, using microfiche of old newspapers or digging through piles of dusty old books. Every home had encyclopedias for reference tools. Plus, who didn’t have a series or two of Time-Life guides on one subject or another?
The lack of technology growing up made life much simpler. Without news constantly in your face, you got to pick and choose when and how you wanted to be frustrated by the world around you. However, it also made it harder for music and sports nerds to indulge in their love.
ESPN hadn’t become the worldwide leader in sports quite yet, and Music Television (MTV) was in its infancy. So if you wanted anything more in-depth than you could get on a local news station at 10:30 p.m. or the mainstream pop and rock videos offered to us by MTV, you headed to the radio.
Radio provided the soundtrack to our lives back then. Whether we were outside running around, inside doing homework or something in between, we always had stereo sound near. As such, the personalities who came along with the radio broadcasts became idols and icons for the kids listening to their every word – waiting for the next track or breaking sports news.
As much as I loved music growing up, sports were always my main interest. I was lucky to have some of Denver’s best sports media coverage. Legends like Adam Schefter, Woody Paige, and Rick Reilly called Denver home for a period of their careers. I was fortunate to listen to them opine on our local sports heroes and lament some terrible teams of the era. They gave me a base for a growing fandom of all things athletics. They also made me strive to hear them utter my name on the air one day.
A New Hope
My prime athletic years came and went without hearing my name on the radio. Not many achieved that dream, and it never bothered me that I was among those who failed. However, my love of sports never waned, and I remained an avid sports radio listener.
When I dipped my toes into the fantasy football industry two and a half years ago, one of the things on my bucket list was making an appearance on a local radio show. It seemed like a stretch, as the radio industry is full of well-established names and voices. It hasn’t been something I’ve thought much about in recent months, and the idea of it becoming a reality had all but faded out of my brain.
Bucket List Moment
Then, yesterday, I got a text message that changed my week. Ryan Garcia, the founder of Denver Sports Betting and co-host of the Denver Sports Betting Show on Mile High Sports Radio, invited me to be a guest today.
I was excited, as you might expect. It’s one thing to be on YouTube in front of strangers. The chances of people you know in real life seeing or hearing your work are minimal. On the other hand, it’s a much more nerve-wracking experience knowing the dad who picks up their kid from school at the same time as you might hear you on their afternoon commute.
We recorded segments this morning, and it was a uniquely satisfying experience. My younger self would be happy to know today was in the cards for us.
While this experience of being on the radio served as a milestone for my fantasy football analyst career, it didn’t come easy. It was a commutation of every day for the last two and a half years that revolved around this game. Each small step helped prepare me for today.
It’s a lot like how we scavenger the fantasy football waiver wire each week to help us reach the playoffs and – hopefully – our league’s championship. Small victories of streaming or finding long-term assets accumulate to make a championship roster.
As we march forward toward the fantasy football playoffs, don’t lose the hustle that got you this far.
On To Football
In an ever-changing fantasy football landscape, things move quickly. We again had impactful injuries, dreadful performances and some exciting bounce-backs in Week 12.
Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 13.
• Rams wideout Allen Robinson suffered a season-ending foot injury on Sunday, further depleting an already thin receiving corps in Los Angeles.
• In another devastating turn, just as he was starting to see more volume, Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney also suffered a season-ending injury, but to his left knee.
• New York signal caller Mike White proved to be the spark a struggling Jets offense needed, leading the team to a convincing victory in an efficient fashion, completing 22 of 28 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns.
With Week 12 in the books, let’s get at it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 13 Playoff Approach.”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 13 Playoff Approach
With the fantasy football playoffs inching closer, we’re keeping up our hustle and are working overtime to get our rosters in tip-top shape for a championship run. At this point in the season, you’re looking for any advantage you can get. A win is a win, ugly or not.
Given the difficulty of finding consistent tight-end play, the streaming landscape has been a frenzy for the position. This week, I highlight two tight ends with the potential to provide fantasy playoff relief and a running back who is a solid handcuff but nothing more.
HOT — White Hot Habanero Pepper
Daniel Bellinger (TE, New York Giants)
Fantasy Playoff Schedule: @ WAS | @ MIN | vs. IND
I was not quiet about my love for Giants rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger heading into the 2022 season. He was able to separate himself from fellow tight end Ricky Seals-Jones in training camp. In addition, the team opted to release Jordan Akins in favor of giving Bellinger more work. The early season results for the rookie weren’t impressive, seeing just one target through his first two games. However, Weeks 3 through 6 saw a steady increase in Bellinger’s involvement, culminating in him catching all five of his targets for 38 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against Baltimore.
As is a common fate in football, just as the rookie started to heat up, a cruel twist of fate sidelined Bellinger with a broken ocular bone. Suffered in Week 7 against Jacksonville, the gruesome injury required surgery, leaving him inactive for the next five weeks. However, it was reported today that Bellinger is back on track to play in Week 13. This news couldn’t have come at a better time for those of us relegated to streaming tight ends.
New York has lost two games in a row after starting the season 7-2. The offense has been ineffective and has struggled to push the ball downfield at times. However, Bellinger’s return could pump some life into a stagnant passing game. As of late, quarterback Daniel Jones has had to rely on receivers Darius Slayton, Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins. While he won’t be a volume hog like Mark Andrews or Travis Kelce, he was tied for the team lead in red zone targets (three) in Weeks 3 through 6 and should step back into that role again.
What To Do
If Daniel Bellinger can regain his momentum before the injury, he will be a force come fantasy playoff time. A Week 15 matchup against a surging Commanders’ defense isn’t ideal. However, with Bellinger figuring to be a primary target for Jones, there is value to be had in starting him. Weeks 16 and 17 are much brighter, with Bellinger running routes against two bottom-half defenses against tight ends. Unless you want to continue to stream tight ends through the playoffs, do what you must to get Bellinger rostered. There aren’t going to be many options on the waiver wire with his upside for the rest of the season.
MEDIUM — Ancho Pepper
Jelani Woods (TE, Indianapolis Colts)
Fantasy Playoff Schedule: @ MIN | vs. LAC | @NYG
Ironically, I’m coming to you with an Indianapolis Colts player this week, as I just finished admonishing the teams’ fantasy value on local radio. However, Jelani Woods is the exception to my no-Colts rule as we get ready to battle it out in the fantasy playoffs.
It’s been tough going for tight ends in Indy this year, with it essentially being a three-way timeshare between Woods, Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson. Between them, they have five games of double-digit fantasy point output. Three of those games, including this past Monday against Pittsburgh, were logged by the rookie Woods. His Week 12 performance was especially impressive, leading the team in catches (eight) and receiving yards (98). More importantly, quarterback Matt Ryan trusted Woods with important targets late in the game as the team attempted a comeback.
It’s been hard to want to roster any Indianapolis tight ends this season. Woods, though, appears to be pulling away from the pack. He saw his highest offensive snap count in Week 12, logging 41, none of which were on special teams. Of those 41 snaps, Woods ran a route on 93.1 percent.
What To Do
As crazy as it sounds, there is a scenario in which the Colts could make the playoffs. It’s a long shot, but in 2022 anything is possible. Matt Ryan’s increasing trust in Woods points to a continued increase in opportunity moving forward. A tough Week 13 matchup against Dallas followed by a bye week will likely keep him on your bench. However, his fantasy playoff matchups are about as good as it gets.
Tight ends with staying power in fantasy football have been hard to come by. Woods, however, might be precisely that to finish out 2022. With bookends Zach Ertz, Kyle Pitts and Dallas Goedert recently landing on Injured Reserve (IR), Woods increased relevancy, and a juicy fantasy playoff schedule couldn’t have come at a better time. At this point in the season, you can confidently spend a chunk of your remaining Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) on Woods for a potential boom on your rosters.
MILD — Yellow Bell Pepper
Fantasy Playoff Schedule: vs. DAL | @ NYJ | @ HOU
Last week in a big upset win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Jaguars RB2 behind Travis Etienne, JaMycal Hasty, filled in nicely when the former went down with a foot injury in the first half. Hasty wasn’t incredibly efficient in the running game, only managing 28 yards on 12 carries. However, he caught all five of his targets for 67 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
After the game, it was revealed that Etienne had been cleared to return, but head coach Doug Pederson decided to play it safe and ride with Hasty. For the few who started him out of desperation, his 20.5 Points Per Reception (PPR) points were a surprise. In addition, he proved that should Etienne miss any time, he is a more than adequate pass-catching option for Lawrence.
However, given the news that Etienne will be a full go in Week 13, Hasty is likely back to a change-of-pace role with minimal volume moving forward.
What To Do
If you are in a deeper league or already have Etienne rostered, Hasty is worth a look after waivers clear this week. If he is called upon to log significant snaps should there be another injury, he could be a flyer play in a pinch. However, the Jaguars’ schedule for the fantasy playoffs is brutal. Two of their three opponents are in the top-12 defenses against opposing RBs. Hasty is best left untouched unless you have no other options on the waiver wire.
I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy Week 13 waiver wire pickups and notes useful. Until next time!
Thanksgiving is past, and Christmas is staring us down. This is the most stressful time of year. So, here’s a #DadJoke to take your mind off shopping and decorating, if only for a minute.
What’s the most popular Christmas wine?
“But I don’t like Brussels sprouts!”