“Start, Sit & Seth” is the original column of In-Between Media, bridging feel-good lifestyle advice with redraft fantasy football analysis. Consistently following Seth Woolcock’s journey as a young creator, this series is now in its sixth season. Join him in this edition as he shares what the NASCAR season taught him about burning at both ends, plus his start and sit selections for Week 9.
“Work hard now, and reap the rewards later.”
That’s been my mindset for as long as I can remember. Late nights, early mornings and an irrational disdain for coffee have made fatigue just a natural feeling over time.
That’s especially been the case for the past 38 weeks.
See, I’ve been producing fantasy football content for the past six years. Yet, I always flirted with another interest of mine: NASCAR. But starting in 2023, I jumped head first into weekly content, covering the NASCAR Cup Series from a fantasy/betting perspective.
This is the story of how we got here.
I’m the stepson of a dirt-tracker. Some of my earliest memories are celebrating with the driver of the No. 0 car in victory lane.
Admittedly, though, I wasn’t much of a grease monkey until after graduating high school when I was gifted my great grandfather’s Ford F-150. Somewhere in-between – 2015, junior year of high school, to be exact – I met a group of friends at my new school who ran their own version of a fantasy NASCAR league and was invited to play.
We’d hang out after school every few weeks and redraft drivers for the next slate of races. Ran by nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet, it gave me a reason to refocus on one of the sports I grew up loving.
Fast forward four years later to university. I asked our sports editor at the student newspaper, Elliot Hicks, if he wanted to join the league.
Little did I know how impactful of a decision that was.
Let’s Go Racin’
It couldn’t have been any more than a few weeks after I launched In-Between Media (IBT) that Elliot reached out, asking if I had ever considered a NASCAR arm of the business.
Truthfully, I hadn’t.
Yet, it was something I still loved, and Elliot was someone I knew I could count on.
It started with his “Through the Field” column, a series lot like this, combining lifestyle and fantasy sports advice, just of the NASCAR variety. In 2021 came “The Backroad,” a YouTube program with a similar goal. We produced the show for a season without gaining much traction, largely because of the peculiar tri-weekly frequency.
Things began to change in 2022, largely thanks to the help of a few people.
Rod Villagomez, a long-time veteran of the podcasting game, signed on as a co-host for the season. Working with someone of his caliber and familiarity with the sport immediately impacted my own knowledge and outlook on stockcar racing.
Later that season, we met Derek Yoder, a newer creator in the space. Through the help of Derek, who lives just down the road these days, we discover a whole other community that connected with us and our content.
Suddenly… in addition to my roots here in the fantasy football community, I had a whole other online group of friends of NASCAR betting and fantasy degenerates. Before long, we were linking up in a classic car barn in Lancaster County, Pa., hosting a live broadcast for the Daytona fall race on our channel.
By 2023, we knew what we had to do: just commit. So we did.
Elliot and I taking a video at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on July 23.“The Backroad” officially became a weekly show and a staple of IBT’s content. In addition, I began writing a best bets article for BettingPros, while Elliot’s column shifted to a consensus NASCAR DFS tiers article, released here at IBT.
While covering the race at Pocono Raceway in July, I was walking outside the track when a stranger stopped me.
“In-Between Media?” they said.
“I recognized your logo. I love your guys’ show.”
“No fucking way,” I thought to myself but ended up saying aloud.
Truly a Team Sport
Roughly three months later, today marks the final episode of “The Backroad” for the 2023 NASCAR season.
It’s a celebration. Another chapter of stock car racing’s premier series comes to a close. As does a chapter for our company. The progress made on the NASCAR side of IBT this season is evident. The memories and small decisions made to get us here are clear upon further review.
At the same time, I’d be lying if I said it also hasn’t been increasingly challenging. Burning at both ends, creating content for two sports as I do is undoubtedly a lot. Sacrifices are made, especially when both are firing. One day’s work finishes, just to turn around and get a head start on the next day’s. Weekend trips and outings are traded for hours in front of the computer.
Luckily, I have an amazing significant other. One who is not only supportive but also checking in on me during these hectic times – even if it’s just doing simple things like making sure I’ve touched grass and eaten today. I also have colleagues like Elliot, Rod, Derek and the rest of the IBT family to lean on when needed.
All this is to say that there will come times in your life when you have to commit and overextend to get where you want to go. Don’t be afraid to lean into it. You never know where it will take you.
But before you do gas up and go, make sure you have to have the right team around you, or it will never work.
It’s a lot like how if you want to win a fantasy football championship, you have to put the work in – Adding, dropping, trading, starting and sitting. Yet, you also have to have the right analysts you follow and people to bounce thoughts off of. We can’t do it all alone.
Alright, and here we go.
The following Week 9 start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.
Quarterback I’d Start in Week 9:
Sam Howell (Washington): In his first full season as the Washington Commanders’ starter, Sam Howell has become a fringe fantasy QB1. He’s the overall QB8 on the year and has four weekly QB1 finishes. Howell averages 38.5 passing attempts per game, including 43.8 over his last five matchups. With the Commanders trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young at the NFL Trade Deadline, I expect this defense that ranks 31st in points allowed per game (28.5) and 28th in yards allowed per game (374.1) to be even worse. That should allow Howell to continue this high-volume pace.
This includes in Week 9 against the Patriots, who are beginning to round into form offensively, averaging 23 points per game the past two weeks. In addition, this is a Patriots defense that continues to play without arguably their two best defensive players, Matt Judon and Christian Gonzalez. Those cracks are beginning to show, with Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa finishing as the QB4 and QB9, respectively, in the past two weeks. I’m expecting the North Carolina product to take similar advantage.
Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 9:
Gardner Minshew (Indianapolis): With the Panthers being 1-6, you would think that you’d want to fire up quarterbacks against them. However, that hasn’t been the case, as the Panthers allow the eighth-least fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers, including just two QB1 performances.
Meanwhile, Gardner Minshew has finished better than QB16 just once in his four starts for the Colts. That was in a bizarre game against Cleveland, where 77 total points were scored. With the Panthers’ defense allowing 4.7 Yards Per Carry (YPC) and two rushing touchdowns per game, I expect a heavy dose of Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss. This could potentially keep Minshew at bay, leaving him on the latter side of my Week 9 start/sit decisions.
Running Back I’d Start in Week 9:
Zack Moss (Indianapolis): The painting was on the wall for where I was heading here. We’re eight weeks into the 2023 season, and Moss is the PPR RB4. Taylor is back in full swing, but Moss remains involved, seeing between a 39-50% snap share over the past three weeks. That included seeing four Week 8 red zone touches to Taylor’s one. This is a dream matchup, and unless Taylor completely takes over, Moss remains a fringe RB2 with upside.
Running Back I’d Sit in Week 9:
Devin Singletary (Houston): With Dameon Pierce still not practicing this week, Devin Singletary is shooting up rankings and being activated into lineups. Even if Pierce is inactive, I’m wary of starting Singletary. The fifth-year RB has yet to hit double-digit PPR points this season, and Pierce has only hit that mark twice in the lead role.
This Texans team just can’t run the ball, and I don’t see them getting it going this week against Tampa Bay. So far this season the Buccaneers allow just 3.9 YPC and the seventh-fewest PPR points per game to opposing RBs. Considering the Houston backfield had no juice last week in an elite matchup against the Panthers, the upside remains limited for Singletary, even in a lead role.
Receiver I’d Start in Week 9:
Demario Douglas (New England): Well, we’re officially at the point in the season where I’m suggesting fantasy managers start sixth-round rookie Demario Douglas. The former Liberty Flame totaled nearly 1,700 receiving yards and 13 combined touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons.
After returning from a concussion, Douglas has totaled 13 receptions in the past two weeks, inking nine receptions for 79 yards. With Kendrick Bourne now out for the season with a torn ACL and Devante Parker not spotted at Thursday’s practice, I expect an increase in volume for the rookie. An up in production should also be on the horizon, as the Commanders have been a top-two matchup for WRs this season and still a top-seven matchup over both the past two weeks and month. There’s a safe floor with serious upside for Douglas, who should be Mac Jones‘ No. 1 option the rest of the way.
Receiver I’d Sit in Week 9:
Josh Palmer & Quentin Johnston (Los Angeles Chargers): After missing practice again on Thursday, Josh Palmer‘s status for “Monday Night Football” is up in the air. Since slotting in as the Chargers’ WR2 after Mike Williams‘ suffered a torn ACL, Palmer has scored double-digit PPR points in all three games he was healthy. Healthy is the keyword, as the former Tennessee Volunteer was banged up heading into last week’s matchup against the Bears, and re-injured his knee, ultimately scoring 5.4 PPR points.
If Palmer can’t go, 21st-overall pick Quentin Johnston will likely be activated into a fair share of fantasy football lineups. The former TCU Horned Frog has only scored 23.4 PPR points this season, albeit working as the Chargers’ WR4 and WR3.
Regardless of who is active, I’m not starting any Los Angeles WR aside from Keenan Allen. For the second season in a row, the Jets have been the toughest matchup for opposing WRs. Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and the boys have allowed the least WR targets (104) and just one TD to the position (Stefon Diggs in Week 1). Allen should still get him, but everyone else in this WR room is a fade in my Week 8 start/sit decisions.
If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.
And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.