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Week 16 waiver wire

Family, Football & That Time of Year

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 16 waiver wire run with some tips to keep calm for the holidays. 

“Adults can take a simple holiday for Children and screw it up. What began as a presentation of simple gifts to delight and surprise children around the Christmas tree has culminated in a woman unwrapping six shrimp forks from her dog, who drew her name.”  – Erma Bombeck

It’s that time of year again, and as is a long-standing holiday tradition, you’re likely very stressed out. For many, preparing for family and friends is almost too much in addition to an added year-end workload at their day job.

Our world here in the Polvogt household is no different.

We have as much content as ever with the fantasy playoffs upon us and the joy of hosting Jen’s family for the Christmas weekend. So while I’m in the thick of it, here are a few things we do to manage our frenetic schedule this time of year. 

Force Yourself To Take a Break

This sounds easier than it is in practice. Between working, cleaning, cooking and taking care of kids, there never seems to be any time to rest. However, we have started taking scheduled relaxation time. We don’t get massages or go out for a nice dinner. Instead, we sit on the couch and watch TV for 30 minutes a few times a day, even in the thick of the madness. It’s a small break, but it goes a long way in making your day manageable. 

I don’t foresee your boss at your day job being OK with you sitting in the breakroom watching an episode of “The Office.”

However, you can tailor your break to your situation. Take a quick walk around the neighborhood or a park near your office. Throw on some headphones and zone out at your desk. Do whatever you can to calm your brain for a few minutes. It will help you organize your thoughts and be more efficient and present for your family, friends and co-workers.

Stay Organized

The chaos of the holiday season can throw your schedule out of whack. There are work obligations, school programs, family events, church gatherings and holiday parties. It’s almost impossible to keep it all straight. 

To manage everything, we’ve gotten in the habit of keeping lists of things we need to get done and then scheduling them on a family day planner. The lists and planner are kept on our breakfast bar so everyone in the home, including our holiday house guests, can access them. We check off tasks completed and events attended as we go.

If you have a large family, you also have a lot of presents to buy. My wife, Jen, and her sister Christina are in that boat. Over the last few years, they have used spreadsheets to keep everything in order. In addition, we have a community “wish list” on Amazon to take some of the stress out of ensuring we get something the recipient will enjoy. It keeps everyone happy and, most importantly, sane. 

Measure Your Expectations

This is my final and most important piece of advice. It’s easy to feel pressure to have everything perfect in your house when hosting family and friends during the holidays. I can relate, as I decided to take on way too many home repairs this month. I’m not going to get them all done before our company arrives on Friday, and that’s OK.

This is a busy time of year for everyone, and we all fall short if we put too much on our plates. Refinishing a kitchen’s worth of cabinets in less than a month is an unrealistic goal. Our guests will understand if it’s only partially finished, and your guests will, too. 

Embrace the Mess

Of course, we want everything in our world to look like a Hallmark Christmas movie. However, it’s a daunting task to make that happen, and likely not worth the stress. So relax. The holidays are about spending time with friends and loved ones. If everything isn’t perfect, that’s OK. Do what you can, and embrace the mess left behind. 

Like the holidays, the fantasy football playoffs can be messy. You’ve battled injuries, busts and benchings all season long. The fight continues in the fantasy semifinals in Week 16.

It’s been a tough road, but here you are. So take a moment to pat yourself on the back and appreciate that you persevered in a tough 2022 season and are oh-so-close to the promised land. You deserve it. 

On to Football 

The twists and turns of 2022 have been nauseating as a fantasy manager. Every week, there’s a new injury or benching that sends our rosters into an upheaval. Week 15 was no different. 

Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 16.

• Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor suffered a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of the Colts’ embarrassing 39-36 loss this past Sunday. As a result, the consensus preseason RB1 is done for the 2022 fantasy season. 

• Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon looked electric against a bad Texans defense, notching 34.2 Point Per Reception (PPR) fantasy points, making him the overall RB1 for Week 15. 

• Jacksonville quarterback continues to impress, throwing four touchdowns and logging 26.8 fantasy points in a 40-34 overtime win against Dallas. 

• Giants running back Saquon Barkley appears to be back on track, earning 18 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, adding three catches this past Sunday. 

• Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder on Sunday, possibly sidelining him. His status for Week 16 remains uncertain.

You survived the first round of the fantasy playoffs, but there’s still work to be done. So let’s get after it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild: Playoff Week 16 Waiver Wire Wish List.”

Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 16 Waiver Wire Wish List

Nothing is out of the question when it comes to managing your fantasy squads in the playoffs. We’ve gotten into “playing it safe” territory for teams who have sealed their playoff fate, such as the Philadelphia Eagles. On the flip side, there are teams like the Denver Broncos, out of playoff contention and with not much left to play for than job security. A minor injury that may have been played through earlier in the season will lead to a player being shut down for a few games or the rest of the season.

We’re also seeing teams start to shut down players to keep them fresh for the NFL playoffs. This makes it all the more important to make good decisions on the Week 16 waiver wire as we head into the fantasy football playoff semifinals. This week, I bring you three players I think are worth a look for your Christmas week playoff match-ups.

HOT — Habanero Pepper 

Gardner Minshew (QB, Philadelphia Eagles)

The likelihood I would have the chance to write about my favorite eccentric, larger-than-life quarterback this season was slim. However, an unfortunate shoulder injury to Hurts has allowed me that opportunity. It’s a brutal blow to many fantasy managers if they do lose Hurts at this point in the season. He is likely a significant part of why you’ve made it this far.

However, don’t fret. His backup, Gardner Minshew, is a more-than-adequate fill-in and should be available in your leagues. Minshew has been a topic of debate over the last four seasons. But the former Washington State University stand-out and Heisman Trophy finalist has been very good when called upon.

Since entering the league in 2019, he has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 6,003 yards, 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Most recently, in four appearances (two starts) for the Eagles last season, Minshew was 41 of 60 for 439 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

What To Do

This is a rare opportunity to get a quarterback on waivers that could significantly impact your rosters over the next two weeks. Philadelphia is guaranteed a playoff spot, and it may not be worth risking playing an injured Hurts if they don’t have to. It may be Minshew Mania in the City of Brotherly Love through the fantasy playoffs, and if you’re in a position where you need a quarterback, it’s time to hop on the bandwagon. Don’t be afraid to drop your remaining Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) on the man with the golden mullet in Super Flex leagues to keep you afloat in the fantasy playoffs.

HOT — Ghost Pepper

Marlon Mack (RB, Denver Broncos)

In Week 12, Broncos running back Marlon Mack was my pick for our “In The Scope” deep waiver wire targets article. Of course, I didn’t expect him to light the world on fire, but I saw the potential for him to have relevance as an RB2, with some boom upside as a complement to fellow running back Latavius Murray

Fast forward to today, and Mack has been the PPR RB10 for the last two weeks, averaging 16 fantasy points per game. Murray has been seen the bulk of the carries in those games, with 24 last week against Arizona. Mack is getting the passing work out of the backfield. He has six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown since Week 14 and has been efficient when asked to run, averaging 6.2 Yards Per Carry (YPC) on eight touches, and added a rushing touchdown last week. 

What To Do

The Broncos’ offense hasn’t done much well as of late, but the backfield is becoming a bright spot for the team. Murray has the rushing attack on lockdown, while Mack is leading the backfield passing attack and serving as an effective change-of-pace back. He is a relatively inexpensive option to add depth to your running back corps for the final push to the fantasy football championships. Don’t be crazy with your FAAB, but dropping a few dollars on the Week 16 waiver wire should do the trick.

HOT — Carolina Reaper

Jahan Dotson (WR, Washington Commanders)

Commanders rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson came out of the gates with a fury in his debut season. Before going down with an injury in Week 4, the speedster out of Penn State University logged 12 catches for 152 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Dotson returned in Week 10 but struggled to find a rhythm, managing just two catches for 27 yards in his first three games back. 

Week 16 waiver wire

Jahan Dotson has six TDs in nine games as a rookie.

Things turned around for Dotson in Week 13, seeing him notch season-highs in both targets (nine) and catches (five), which translated to 54 yards and a touchdown. He continued his upward swing last week after the Commanders’ bye against Dallas with a career-best 105 receiving yards and another touchdown grab. His resurgence has been just in time for a Washington team with serious playoff hopes. 

Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke has quickly developed a rapport with the rookie. Washington is staring down two must-win games against San Francisco and Cleveland in Weeks 16 and 17.

Dotson and fellow receiver Terry McLaurin present a one-two punch that will be difficult for even a talented San Francisco defense to muffle. Barring another injury, he will be a staple in this Washington offense for the rest of the season. 

What To Do

Dotson finished Week 15 as the PPR WR9 with 20.5 fantasy points. His ceiling is in the WR1 tier for the rest of the fantasy football season, and he is only rostered in 26.3 percent of ESPN leagues. This is a potential league-winning roster addition. Empty the FAAB coffers, and get Dotson on your fantasy rosters. 

I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy Week 16 waiver wire pickups and notes useful. Until next time!

Here’s my final holiday-themed #DadJoke of the season to take your mind off the stress.

What do you call an obnoxious reindeer?


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

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