“No one looks back on life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep” – Unknown
As of late, my writing has been a bit heavy. That comes with this time of year, I suppose. But not today. This go around, I’ll tell a tale about me being an idiot teenager. It’s a harmless story, but idiotic and I’m lucky it didn’t come with more consequences.
It was the final day of my senior year of high school. I’ll never forget it because I despised my entire high school experience sans a few moments. At the time, it was one of the greatest days of my life. My friends all felt the same. None of us were built for the cliques and nonsense that came with trying to navigate the “formative” years and it was finally over.
As would be expected, we wanted to party. I should preface this story with an important piece of information. We were not partiers. We went to punk rock shows, played terrible skate punk music, smoked cigarettes and hung out at Denny’s. We didn’t really drink. We didn’t smoke pot. Not very punk rock, per se, but hey, that was us.
As previously mentioned, no one in my group of friends liked high school. As you might have already gathered, we didn’t socialize much outside of our tight-knit group. Naturally, we decided on a small party amongst ourselves. It worked out that one of our crew had parents out of the country, so we had a place to go and stay the night. Safety first, of course.
It started out like you would imagine any small gathering of naive high school kids with booze would. We were all very excited to celebrate our freedom from an institution we despised, so we began slamming beers. The sun was still up and we all quickly realized this was going to be a long, crazy night for us. We slowed down a bit until sundown, then started in on a high school party staple with Aftershock.
If you’re not familiar with Aftershock, it is a cinnamon liqueur that is sweet and easy to drink. Being kids, we just drank straight from the bottle. Shenanigans ensued, of course. We started blasting music, dancing, singing at the top of our lungs and just generally being wild. I took a lap around the neighborhood in a slow, stumbling run with one of my friends. We were very lucky that it didn’t end poorly.
This continued through most of the night, with a break here and there for one of us to vomit in the lawn or in a bathroom. One of our friends began missing his girlfriend who was an underclassman and hadn’t been invited. Back in those days, we didn’t have cellphones with everyone’s phone number handy, and in our drunken state, no one was remembering anything. So, naturally, he dialed 411. For any youngin’s, that was how we used to find someone’s phone number if a phone book wasn’t handy.
He very quickly hung up without explanation and looked at us, laughing heartily. Before he could explain, the phone rang. Imagine our surprise when it was a 911 operator on the other end. Whoops! We explained that everything was fine, the call was a mistake and left it at that. I’m guessing you know what’s coming next. As dumb, drunk teenagers, we did not.
Roughly 10 minutes later there was a rapid trio of knocks on the door. I ran to the front entry and threw back the curtain. I was greeted with the bright flashlight of a police officer directly in my face. Naturally, I yelled “cops!” and ran to hide behind a door in a bedroom.
As I’m sure you already gathered, the door was opened and the police were let in the house. The first thing they said was “where is the kid in the white t-shirt?” I came slinking out from behind the bedroom door and into the living room, pretty sure my life was over. After a few minutes of checking identification and all of us sweating bullets, the officers announced they would let it go, but we had to dump out all of our alcohol and end the party.
By some miracle, someone in the group had hidden most of it and we were able to convince them that the 40-ounce bottles of Mickey’s Malt Liquor in the fridge belonged to our friend’s mother. We got very lucky. Between repercussions from our families and potential discipline from colleges, it could have been very bad.
Those officers that night saw that we weren’t leaving or endangering anyone and let it go. It was a wild night that I still remember fairly vividly more than 20 years later and probably will for the rest of my life. It was irresponsible on our part to think drinking heavily as teenagers was a good idea. Teenagers are generally pretty dumb at life, so it makes sense. We tend to feel like it’s a right of passage. If you’ve ever watched a movie about being in high school, it’s no wonder.
I learned an important lesson that night about the company you keep. No matter what you do in life, the people around you can make or break a situation. Like the kid who dialed 911 instead of 411, only so much of what happens around us is in our control. Be smart. Be aware. Trust your instincts. Also, Aftershock is gross.
With the bulk of NFL bye weeks officially upon us, trusting your instincts is more critical than ever in fantasy football. Injuries are also continuing to pile up and some top-tier players are still drastically underperforming, making it even more difficult to keep our heads up and set our lineups with any level of confidence.
This week I’m going to give you a few players who could help you navigate this crazy landscape. With an incredibly tough bye week slate where we have six teams taking a break, hopefully at least one of these three players can help your roster.
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 7
To say waiver wire options have gotten thin would be an understatement. However, there is hope! With the number of injuries we have seen, every week is an opportunity to find the player who stands to benefit from an absence. It might not be game-winning points totals, but anything is better than taking a goose egg.
Here are a few players that could potentially be worth a spot on your rosters, or even a spot in your starting lineups, this week and possibly beyond.
HOT — Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR, Cleveland Browns)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been excited to see Donovan Peoples-Jones get more involved in the Cleveland offense since the end of the 2020 season when we saw flashes of what he is capable of. Last week, against a very solid Arizona defense, we saw Peoples-Jones go off for four receptions, 101 yards and two touchdowns, totaling 26.1 Points Per Reception (PPR) fantasy points. While it’s easy to say it was a one-off performance, there’s also a lot of reason to believe this was a sign of things to come.
Since his return, Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) has been inconsistent since his season debut in Week 3. He did not practice Monday ahead of a Thursday night match-up against the Denver Broncos and it seems he may be inactive.
If Jarvis Landry also can’t suit up after being activated from the Injured Reserve List (IR), Peoples-Jones could be the de facto WR1 this week for the Browns. He figures to be in line for a significant snap share and increased targets.
With or without OBJ and Landry active, he could be a sound play this week against a Denver defense that was unable to stop Derek Carr and the Las Vegas offense in an ugly loss last week. They are giving up an average of 182.8 receiving yards and one touchdown per game to opposing receivers. That’s great news for Cleveland who will be without Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. Baker Mayfield will be forced to throw more and Peoples-Jones will benefit and could have another huge week.
He is only rostered in 1.6 percent of ESPN leagues, which means he’s out there. I’m not alone in my love for what he is capable of, so be prepared to spend up a bit to acquire him. You’ll need a higher waiver priority or a fair percentage of your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) to land him, but it could be well worth it down the stretch.
MEDIUM — Count Dracula
Rashaad Penny (RB, Seattle Seahawks)
The Seattle backfield is banged up. Chris Carson is on (IR) and Alex Collins got dinged up Sunday night in an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The timing of Rashaad Penny being activated from IR couldn’t be better for this team. According to head coach, Pete Carroll, Penny is “ready to return to action” this week against New Orleans.
With quarterback, Russell Wilson, also on IR, backup Geno Smith is at the helm. Given his career 58.3 completion percentage, the more Seattle can rely on the ground game, the better. When Penny has been healthy, we’ve seen him be an effective runner who can make plays in the red zone.
While he probably will be splitting carries with Collins or Deejay Dallas, depending on Collins’ status, Penny still figures to get enough volume to make him a viable start in this barren landscape that is the waiver wire.
He is only rostered in 4.5 percent of ESPN leagues. He also isn’t on a lot of managers’ radar right now, so middle-of-the-road waiver priority or a low amount of FAAB should get the job done. Is it the sexiest waiver wire addition? No. Will he get the job done in a week where options are thin and six teams are on bye? Yes.
MILD — Gypsy Pepper
Devonta Freeman (RB, Baltimore Ravens)
It was a pleasant surprise this Sunday to see veteran Devonta Freeman, get nine touches, one of which went for a touchdown and average 5.9 ards Per Carry (YPC) along the way. That was the most action he has seen since Week 6 of 2020. It was mostly due to a late third-quarter injury to Latavius Murray that sidelined him for the remainder of a blowout win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Yes, Freeman snagged a touchdown. So did Le’Veon Bell. If we knew Murray was going to be on the sideline this upcoming week against Cincinnati, I might say taking a flyer on him would be worth a shot. But early reports indicate that Murray will be active and given Freeman’s history, Bell’s presence on the roster and the existence of Lamar Jackson, I will not be saying that.
With as thin as most of our rosters are due to injuries and this bye week being absolutely brutal, you may be tempted to go out and grab Freeman. If you do decide to go that route, don’t spend any FAAB on him or use any waiver priority to acquire him. Let the dust settle on Wednesday morning and get him for free.
And there you have it, folks. Take it or leave it and good luck in Week 7!
With the stress of navigating a brutal bye week, navigating waivers and setting our battered lineups, has there ever been more of a need for the weekly #dadjoke? Probably not. So here it is!
I used to play piano by ear. Now I use my hands.
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @JeNateJackFF.