“There’s more to life than success, and if you can try to be more well-rounded, you’ll be able to enjoy your success more. It won’t own you or control you.” ― Ricky Williams
You all know me as Nate Polvogt, the dude who writes columns, appears on podcasts and makes his presence known on social media as a fantasy football analyst and enthusiast. I know some assume this is all I do for work, which is fair because it mostly is now. But it’s been a long, weird road to get here.
My first job was when I was a fresh, green and dumb 13-year-old. It was the summer between eighth grade and freshman year of high school and a family friend who owned an Italian deli needed a hand for three weeks. I could ride my bike there every day for cash under the table. It was a simple job. I made sandwiches, stocked shelves and cleaned. I felt like such an adult.
It would be a few years before I had another job, with the next one coming the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school. I landed a job at a country club working as a busboy at the pool “Snack Shack.” That transitioned to a brief stint as a dishwasher, which ultimately ended when I decided to pursue being a punk rock legend during my junior year.
As will happen, I had some vehicle issues later that school year and had to find another job. Staying on-brand and in food service, I got a job at a Quiznos. It was a terrible job that didn’t pay well. My boss was weird, as were my co-workers. I quit as soon as my car was up and running again.
When the next summer came, I was offered a job at the country club, this time as a cook at the pool. I ended up doubling as a banquet server at the main club restaurant that summer, then transitioned into the main kitchen as a cook. At the time, I had no idea that this would turn into a full-time gig.
Over the next 6 years, I would work at the club, moving my way up the ranks. I passed on college because I was making good money. I learned a valuable trade in culinary arts on the job. I never attended culinary school. It was a real-life education that still comes in very handy today.
I was eventually let go from my job at the club. It was a sad day and the circumstances were incredibly suspect, but that’s a story for another day. I bounced around a few jobs, most notably as a telemarketer trying to get people to make donations to PBS. I lasted all of two weeks there and never got paid.
My next gig was also in a kitchen, but this time at a chain pizza restaurant and bar known for their draught beer selection. I stayed for 3 years, almost to the day, when I realized kitchen life wasn’t for me anymore.
I had met my wife Jen there, a story you’ve maybe read before. As we got pretty serious, it became clear the late nights and party atmosphere weren’t going to hold up. I took a good friend up on a job offer to become a salesperson for T-Mobile. After a year of slinging phones, and realizing I couldn’t stand my boss, I began pursuing other opportunities.
I ended up landing a gig as an “admissions consultant” for a notorious for-profit college. It was a scam and I felt dirty doing the work. I lasted my full 90 review period before I was let go for “not upholding company standards.” I told a prospective student she should attend Virginia Tech rather than our institution and that was a huge no-no.
It had become clear I wasn’t good at sales, and at that time, jobs were hard to come by. Fortunately, in addition to having recently acquired my real estate license, Jen’s brother was kind enough to get me a job. He had worked on-and-off at an antique refinishing shop for several years and they were in need of a warm body to do grunt work. I was indeed a warm body and in need of money so it was a perfect match.
I ended up spending 5 years at that shop. It was physically brutal work. The shop was an old semi-truck repair shop from the 1940s. It had no air conditioning and the only source of heat was essentially a glorified space heater. My boss was an aging craftsman who showed the wear and tear of working with dangerous chemicals for 4-plus decades. I attempted to buy the business from him multiple times to no avail.
The time came when it was clear it was a failing business. Nothing operated to fire code and the work to get there was an almost impossible uphill climb. I walked away in May of 2013 and never looked back.
This started a full-time push in real estate. As I mentioned previously, sales is not my forte, so you can guess how successful that was. I did well enough, but was ― and never will be ― one of those brokers with a bus bench ad. It’s done alright for me, but has never been something I am passionate about. We have been fortunate that Jen was the overall breadwinner in our household. It afforded me the ability to be flexible in my career and try to focus on my passions.
All that has landed me here, talking about football all day, every day. It’s the most fun I’ve had “working” in my life. It’s been a long journey and I wouldn’t trade any of it. It has taught me a lot about who I am. It showed me what my strengths and weaknesses are and how I function in different work environments and under various amounts of pressure.
My favorite thing I’ve ever done is this. Writing. Who knew I could even write? It has taken me out of my comfort zone and forced me to evaluate my life in a way I never would have before. I’m a more well-rounded and thoughtful person. I understand myself more now than at any other point in my life. I love every second of it and look forward to this being my final career path. With any luck, this will be my last journey in the world of work. If you can ever call this work.
This NFL season has also been a well-rounded one, through its many ups and downs through two weeks. Now more than ever, being well-rounded is crucial to your success. A pivotal part of that is making good decisions on the waiver wire every week. That’s where I come in. So, let’s get down to it in this week’s “Hot Medium & Mild!”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Week 3
What is happening? Down is up and up is down so far in this wild 2021 NFL seasons Studs have been duds and vice versa. It’s a lot to try to figure out. Is Jared Goff the real deal? Is Jameis Winston the same old Winston? And what is going on with Alvin Kamara? All these questions are problems for fantasy managers that we’ll figure out in time. To help you decipher some of the mayhem, here’s some advice as waivers approach,
HOT — Dragon’s Breath
Derek Carr (QB, Las Vegas Raiders)
Count this as something I never thought I’d be writing. If you read my columns regularly, you know I’m not a huge fan of the Las Vegas Raiders in general. Not just because I’m a Denver Bronco fan, but also because nothing led me to believe there would be much in the way of fantasy relevance, outside of tight end Darren Waller, coming from this team as long as Jon Gruden is the head coach. I am starting to think I was wrong.
Derek Carr has had two consecutive stellar performances to begin the 2021 season. It seems to be somewhat out of necessity as the Las Vegas running attack has failed to impress. They have yet to eclipse 100 yards rushing as a team and have just two rushing touchdowns, both from injured Josh Jacobs in Week 1.
Carr, on the other hand, tossed for 435 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 against Baltimore and then followed that up with 382 yards and two more touchdowns in Week 2 against Pittsburgh.
He has been spreading the ball around as well, with four receivers hauling in at least five receptions apiece. His next opponent is Miami. Miami edged out a win in Week 1 against a New England squad with a rookie starting quarterback in Mac Jones and a plethora of new pieces in offense, but were shut out by Buffalo in Week 2 in a 35-0 blowout. They are followed up by the Los Angeles Chargers and the Chicago Bears.
Carr is only rostered in 22.1 percent of ESPN leagues, meaning there is a good chance he is available in your league. The price will most likely be fairly steep, requiring a minimum of five percent of your total Free Agency Acquisition Budget (FAAB) or a high waiver priority claim. If you are a manager who has been bitten by the Ryan Fitzpatrick injury or the inefficiency of Ben Roethlisberger, it’s worth the money. With the lack of running attack, Carr should be slinging all season.
MEDIUM — Apache
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB, Atlanta Falcons)
If you drafted Mike Davis at his Average Draft Position (ADP) in a redraft league this season, I’m sorry. I bought into the hype as much as the other 96 percent of people did in ESPN leagues. Through two weeks, Davis has managed a total of 23.5 Points Per Reception (PPR) points. Cordarrelle Patterson seems to be the reason why. While only putting up 8.7 PPR points in a Week 1 blowout loss to Philadelphia which saw Atlanta manage only a field goal, he broke out in Weeks 2 with 23.9 PPR points.
Patterson appears to perhaps be the go-to backfield target for quarterback Matt Ryan, who has not looked remotely close to the elite player he once was. He snagged five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay last week and looked impressive doing it. With the New York Giants, Washington and the New York Jets his next three matchups, it stands to reason this trend will continue. He is an easy, short-yardage target for Ryan at a time when he needs that badly.
Patterson is only rostered in 14.7 percent of leagues on ESPN. So, why isn’t he my hot pick this week? It comes down to his acquisition cost. Chances are you will need to spend a good deal of your FAAB or a high waiver-wire priority on Patterson this week, mostly because fantasy football managers are very reactionary. If you are running back needy, take a stab at him, but don’t be afraid to go low and let someone outbid you and take that risk on for themselves.
MILD — Purple Beauty
Darius Slayton (WR, New York Giants)
This week’s mild pick is a little different than usual. Darius Slayton really didn’t do anything different in Week 2 than he did in Week 1. He had three catches in both contests. He had more targets in Week 1 (seven) than he did in Week 2 (six). The major difference was he pulled in a touchdown. And that’s not a guarantee every week in an offense with multiple receiving options when healthy in Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and of course running back Saquon Barkley.
A reasonable fantasy point output from Slayton isn’t a given in any week. However, if you are needy at wide receiver, he’s one of the better options available on your waiver wires, only being rostered in 4.9 percent of ESPN leagues. He should also be relatively cheap to acquire ― five percent or less of your FAAB ― if not free once waivers run. If you can get him post-waivers on Wednesday, that’s where I’m grabbing him. Save your FAAB or priority.
And there you have it, folks. Take it or leave it and good luck in Week 3!
Dad joke anyone?
Well, this week’s joke is a fresh take on a classic line, so whether you want it or not, here it is!
How do you tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?
You will see one later and one in a while.
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @JeNateJackFF.