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Family, Football & Sheltered

by Nate Polvogt

Life is hard. No one tells you just how hard when you’re a kid. 

When I was young, my extended family wasn’t quite the definition of functional. There was drug abuse — both openly and in the shadows — physical and emotional abuse, severe mental illness and a lot of infighting and discontent. We didn’t have much money as my father was a graphic designer, which isn’t always a lucrative business to be in. 

All of these things could have destroyed me before I even got started. My parents, however, never allowed my sister and me to see it, feel it or ever let it affect us in any real way, as much as they could. I very rarely saw a glimpse of all the craziness going on around me. They always focused on our joy and letting us be kids.

Play. Run. Get dirty. Scrape our knees and bang up our elbows. As I got older and I started to see all these things that had been happening my entire life, I was incredibly thankful that my mom and dad held it back from us. I have no idea where my life would be if they had allowed the dysfunction into it. 

As a child, the world is handed to you, in some form or another. Even if things in the world around you are bad, you often don’t know it. A parent’s innate reaction to pain, suffering, struggle and sadness is to shield their children. It makes sense. I hate it every time my son gets hurt or is sad, angry or scared — and the list could go on. We want better for them. Just as our parents wanted better for us. So we protect them from the pain in the world. 

And in that protection as children, we learn most about happiness — how to play and laugh. How to use our imaginations. We make up elaborate stories, play pretend, paint, draw, write and learn sports. We find that happy place that will get us through the sadness and hurt that sometimes comes in the world of being an adult. We learn ways to cope with the disappointment, the anxiety and the utter confusion that can be real life. 

If you think about it, the single most important thing we learn as a child is to feel joy of the unabashed variety. We don’t feel bad about being joyous. We haven’t learned that yet, and joy allows us to see the good in even the most terrible situations.

It’s a very powerful defense mechanism. Without joy, how would we even begin to cope in a world that can be so dark and unforgiving? Without the prospect of joy in the future, why would you even bother picking yourself back up when the world knocks you down?

I’ll leave you with this thought:  We hear all the time about how we shouldn’t shelter our children, and they need to understand the real world. And to an extent, that is true. We cannot leave them blind, but let them play. The time will come when they will feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. 

But that time can wait. For now, allow them to do the most important thing and let them play! Learn to have fun. I think we can all agree that we need to go back to our happy places right now and remember that life isn’t always so bad. We can always find ways to have fun. Try being a kid again, even if it’s only for a second. 

Speaking of sheltering, I feel like some of us wish our parents had sheltered us from Week 2, during which we saw so many players get injured. The running back position was hit especially hard, and I’m here to give you two spicy picks to get you moving into Week 2 with a chance to win, and one RB who looks to have significantly slipped in terms of his spot in the offense. 

And, without further adieu, welcome to “Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 3: Running Back Edition.”

HOT — Ghost Pepper

Jerick McKinnon: San Francisco at New York Giants

Imagine you’re Kyle Shanahan on Sunday. That probably gave you immediate anxiety, didn’t it? Week 2 was brutal league-wide, but no team got kicked as hard as San Francisco.

Two of the three starting running backs went down, and with it, a lot of fans’ hopes and dreams for the season. 

Enter Jerick McKinnon. We all know he’s talented, especially on the short underneath routes in the passing game. With Nick Mullens stepping in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan will have no choice but to tighten things up and rely on the running and short passing game — McKinnon’s bread and butter. San Francisco lost two backs who accounted for 22 carries in Week 2. It would stand to reason that McKinnon will take most of those carries over Jeff Wilson, and against an especially awful New York defense, look for McKinnon to have an explosive day in Week 3. 

MEDIUM — Jalapeño

Curtis Samuel: Carolina at Los Angeles Chargers

Curtis Samuel led Carolina in carries following Christian McCaffrey‘s exit from Sunday’s contest.

Who would have thought we’d be talking about Curtis Samuel being the RB1 in Carolina for Week 3? Yet, here we are.

Christian McCaffrey leaves a huge hole in an offense that hasn’t been great outside of his production this season. Teddy Bridgewater has been able to effectively distribute air targets between Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore, largely thanks to defenses having to respect McCaffrey.

That will be Samuel’s role over the next few weeks, and it could be lucrative for fantasy owners. 

Samuel, who is known more as a receiver, but played running back at Ohio State, attracted 10 targets with seven catches for 51 yards and five carries for 31 yards. That role is going to increase significantly, and if you can snag him on the waiver wire, you just might find yourself a short-term diamond. 

MILD — Green Bell Pepper

Ronald Jones: Tampa Bay at Denver

There was such promise, such excitement, and then, Tampa Bay signed Leonard Fournette. While there were questions about him after his release from Jacksonville, Week 2 quieted most of those concerns. We saw Jones’ share of carries and targets decrease significantly from Week 1 to Week 2. He went from 17 carries and three targets in the opener to a paltry seven carries and two targets in Week 2, while Fournette’s target share increased significantly. 

With a matchup against Denver coming up this Sunday, look for that disparity between Jones and Fournette to become even larger. I would call Jones a sit, at best, and a hold in deeper leagues. Otherwise, I would question his value on most rosters moving forward this season. 

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck in Week 3!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The dad joke!

My daughter screeched, “Daaaaaad, you haven’t listened to one word I’ve said, have you?” What a strange way to start a conversation with me…

As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @jenatejack2017.

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