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Week 9 Waiver Wire

Family, Football & Tattoos

by Nate Polvogt

“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 9 waiver wire run in his third season of writing and with the pride of being hot on 2021 league-winner Rashaad Penny early. 

“Adventure is important in life. Making memories matters. Effort from imagination and following adventure creates stories that you keep forever. And anyone can do it.” ― Rob Lowe

I am not a big tattoo person. It’s not that I don’t like them. However, my skin doesn’t take to them well. The ink tends to bleed out and make them look sloppy, so I stopped after getting my second, but oh boy, was that last one a doozie. 

The Motivation

When Jen and I married 13 years ago, we traversed to Orange County, Calif., for our nuptials and then headed up the coast to Napa Valley for our honeymoon. We had a fantastic time and couldn’t wait to return to visit Jen’s sister Christina and her husband, Matt. 

We decided that it would be most fitting to return to the valley where we started our married life for our first anniversary. After all, Jen’s sister, Christina, and her husband, Matt, lived and worked in Napa, so we had a place to stay and guides to show us around. In addition, I had the idea earlier in the year that I wanted to do a series of star tattoos commemorating every year of our marriage. So I decided to start the project while in California, celebrating our first year of bliss as a team. Matt and Christina thought it was a fun idea and decided all four of us should get some ink together. 

Making It Happen

Ahead of our trip to the Bay Area, Christina asked around and found a reputable tattoo studio. She made us all appointments on our actual anniversary. Jen and Christina were going to get matching wrist tattoos commemorating their maiden name and siblings’ birthstones, and Matt planned out an angel versus devil design for his two shoulders. 

When the day came, we were all excited. Not just for the ink but for the bond of all getting permanently marked together. The appointment started with Matt, who now has an expertly penned set of angel wings on one side of his upper back and a pitchfork on the other. It was indeed art, and it excited the three of us to get ours done.

Next up were Jen and Christina. Their design was simple; their maiden names were cursive on their right wrists, with a star in each sibling’s birthstone color underneath. The artist seemed annoyed with the design, and it showed. He quickly and lazily drew the name and rushed through the stars. Both were done in under 15 minutes. Now it was my turn. 

The tattooer was sent over the edge by my simple star design. I know it’s not flashy or original, but it’s an ode to the woman I love. She has 13 star tattoos, each with its own personal meaning. Unfortunately, his irritation with my basic design made him sloppily and quickly draw one of the worst stars I’ve ever seen on my left inner bicep. 

The Aftermath

The lines aren’t straight; I think my five-year-old, Jackson, draws a more linear line than the tattoo artist did on my arm. The red color on the inside was so blotchy and uneven that you could see my skin underneath the moment he finished up. He didn’t bother applying any lotion or plastic wrap post-application either (if you have tattoos, you know this is essential to the healing process from the moment your artist finishes). 

We walked away from that studio, confused. We were paying customers and just wanted ink that didn’t look like a five-year-old drew it. Unfortunately, Jen and Christina’s matching tattoos are anything but. Jen’s is blurry, and the stars are crooked. She has been known to describe it as chunky. Christina’s is just as bad. She gets comments from friends and strangers, wondering precisely what is on her wrist. 

While I now have this crooked, weird-looking star on my arm, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It reminds me that no matter how hard we try, nothing in this world will ever be perfect. An imperfect star for an imperfect life. Kind of fitting if you think about it. 

On To Football

We all strive for perfection even though we know it’s unattainable, and it’s no different in fantasy football. I sound like a broken record, but this season has been brutal. However, there was some excitement today at the NFL trade deadline that could help breathe some life into our lineups.

• After being traded to the Bears, wide receiver Chase Claypool is getting a second chance to return to his 2020 form and bolster a floundering Chicago offense.

• The Miami Dolphins shipped running back Chase Edmonds and two draft picks off to Denver in exchange for linebacker Bradley Chubb, giving the fifth-year running back an opportunity to see opportunity in a hurting Broncos backfield. 

• In a corresponding move, Miami acquired San Francisco running back Jeff Wilson Jr., reuniting him with his former offensive coordinator, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniels.

• The Vikings signaled they are in win-now mode, making a move to get Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson to replace the injured Irv Smith Jr.

• In a puzzling move, the Jacksonville Jaguars swapped two conditional picks for suspended Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

This game wouldn’t be as fun if everything were cut and dry. Days like this remind us why we not only love fantasy football but the actual game itself as well. So let’s keep the fun going and get into this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 9 Tight End Bailouts.”   

Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 9 Tight End Bailouts 

It’s a long NFL season; every week is as important as the next in your push to glory. You win and lose seasons in the trenches.

Following the NFL trade deadline, things are getting weirder in the fantasy football landscape. We had many moving parts and pieces yet again, sending us into a spiral similar to the opening of free agency this offseason. What do these moves mean? Do they matter? Only time will tell.

What we do know is we have waiver claims to put in ahead of Week 9. These could be pivotal to our fantasy football success. This week, I am again highlighting the toughest position to fill in most leagues; tight end. I have two bookends I think have some decent fantasy point outputs in their future and one that isn’t going to do anyone any favors. Let’s get after it.

HOT — Jamaican Yellow Mushroom Pepper

Isaiah Likely (TE, Baltimore Ravens)

There was a lot of hype for Ravens’ rookie tight end Isaiah Likely heading into this season. Despite being behind fellow tight end Mark Andrews on the Baltimore depth chart Likely was impressive in preseason action. Expectations were tempered, of course, given Andrews is one of the “big two” tight ends for fantasy football. However, when Andrews and wide receiver Rashod Bateman both went down last week against Tampa Bay, we got a taste of what the first-year talent is capable of. 

Likely saw seven targets in Week 8, turning those into six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. That line was good for 19.7 Point Per Reception (PPR) points. That made him the overall PPR TE2 on the week. His 56 snaps were a season-high, and 30 of those saw Likely lined up as a slot receiver. 

Heading into Week 9, Andrews is again a question mark, and Bateman will be sidelined. The New Orleans Saints’ defense has been very good against tight ends, allowing an average of 5.1 PPR points to the position. However, Likely will primarily be lining up in the slot. With shrinking options for quarterback Lamar Jackson, he figures to again see enough volume to make him fantasy relevant. 

What To Do

Andrews will return, and it could be this week against New Orleans. However, Bateman is likely out for the next few weeks and Likely could factor heavily in the Ravens’ offensive attack in his absence. I’m not suggesting you break the bank to get him rostered, but he’s worth a few Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) dollars if you need a tight end. You should be able to get him rostered for five percent or less of your FAAB budget or with a low priority on the waiver wire in your leagues. 

MEDIUM — Chile De Arbol

Tyler Conklin (TE, New York Jets)

The “frisky” New York Jets weren’t so frisky in Week 8. They were handled by the New England Patriots in a  22-17 loss. However, one bright spot for the Jets, at least from a fantasy standpoint, was tight end Tyler Conklin. The fifth-year tight end saw a season-high in targets (10) which he turned into six catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. That performance was good for 25.9 PPR points, making him the TE1 for Week 8. 

It was good to see Conklin work himself back into the Jets’ offensive attack. He started the 2022 campaign hot with Joe Flacco at quarterback and was the PPR TE3 through the season’s first three weeks. However, when second-yeard signal caller Zach Wilson returned to the field in Week 4, sadly, Conklin became a ghost. He failed to log more than 10 fantasy points from Week 4 through Week 7, even putting up a goose egg in Week 5. 

Things are changing in New York. Running back Breece Hall is done for the year with a torn ACL, wide receiver Elijah Moore is in the dog house and Corey Davis is dealing with an MCL sprain. With the absence of Hall, New York is forced to ask Wilson to air the ball out more. This past week against New England, the Jets threw the ball 41 times, one attempt shy of Wilson’s career-high (42). 

What To Do

All you need to know about the tight end position in fantasy football is this; despite four weeks of pedestrian fantasy point totals, Conklin is currently the overall PPR TE6. While there is no assurance he sees similar opportunities in any week during the rest of the season, there are several favorable matchups that could lead to big games. Week 9 is tough for the Jets against a rolling Buffalo Bills squad. After a Week 10 bye, they get a rematch against the Patriots, then the Bears at home and the Vikings in Minnesota. 

Conklin is a solid streaming option for the rest of the season. He could turn into an every-week start depending on what this offense decides to be with a depleted run game. Don’t empty your FAAB wallet to acquire him. Instead, look at your league mates’ needs and go from there. If it becomes cost prohibitive to acquire him, leave him be until someone drops him on the bye.  

MILD — Pimento Pepper

Harrison Bryant (TE, Cleveland Browns)

The 2022 NFL season has fantasy managers chasing any points they can get from the tight end position. When Browns’ book end David Njoku left the team’s Week 7 contest with a high-ankle sprain, it left many rosters hurting for a fill-in. The natural pivot for most would have been to add Njoku’s backup, tight end Harrison Bryant. It didn’t seem like a bad play, especially because some debated that Bryant would be the primary receiving target between him and Njoku heading into the season. 

In a Week 8 Monday night matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland pivoted to a more run-heavy attack with halfback Nick Chubb. Quarterback Jacoby Brisset threw the ball a season-low 22 times, while Chubb tied his season-high in carries with 23. With Njokuj down, Bryant saw a season-high in snaps with 54. However, despite the increased field presence, he saw a season-low 11 routes run and didn’t garner a single target from Brisset for the second time this year. 

What To Do

The Browns will likely be without Njoku for at least the next three games. This will allow Bryant to see an increased snap share again. However, the Browns appear content to use him as a blocking tight end with minimal looks in the passing game. He is currently rostered in 5.6 percent of ESPN leagues, and it should stay that way. Don’t waste a penny of your FAAB or any waiver wire priority. If you are desperate for a warm body to throw into your lineups, wait until waivers clear and snag him for free.    

I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy Week 6 waiver wire pickups and notes useful. Until next time!

Halloween is over, so now we’re on to Thanksgiving! You all know I love a good theme. So, in the next few weeks leading up to turkey day, you will be graced with some corny holiday #DadJokes. 

You know you love it.

What happened when the turkey got in a fight? 

The stuffing was knocked out of him.

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

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