fantasy football week 13 starts

The Hard Bargain: Loneliness

Sometimes in life, it is not just what you say, but how you say it, that can have a profound impact on others.  If you have read my previous columns, you may remember that yelling is a struggle of mine. One of my least favorite personal traits is that I will sometimes yell at my kids when I am angry with them.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I felt like I was trying to correct the same behavior from my daughter repeatedly. Ironically, she was yelling and not using a kind voice with her sister. After numerous efforts to get her to change her tone, I became fed up with it. I ended up yelling at her for yelling at her sister. If you think that sounds stupid, it was nothing compared to how it felt.

Despite my shortcomings as a parent, I have strived to build a strong relationship with my children. As with any relationship, parent-child relationships require honesty and vulnerability. I sat down with my daughter this morning and apologized for the way I spoke to her. With this, we discussed some of our family mottos.

It matters how we speak to each other. Everyone has feelings that are important.

Then we spoke about feelings that are hard to deal with. She mentioned feeling angry, sad, disappointed and lonely. Not just lonely, but “lonely like nobody wants me around.” I asked if she ever feels that way and she replied, “Yes, when you yell at me.”

You want to talk about deflating? That comment really got to me. It also got me thinking.

The Loneliest Time of the Year

Loneliness is a pretty heavy topic, but this time of the year, it seems to carry a greater significance. So many of us are in the throes of the holiday season, managing the hustle and bustle, but also experiencing the joy and peace that this time of the year can bring. I am a bit of a sap. I enjoy the holidays and associate them with gatherings and gestures of goodwill between strangers.

Yet, for a lot of people, the holidays are lonely and carry many negative or painful associations. which induce feelings of loneliness. These emotions may stem from a recent loss of or anniversary of losing a loved one, a relationship ending, empty nest syndrome or any other host of isolating events. Regardless of the source, though, the holidays bring far more loneliness than happiness for many people.

It’s important to check on your people, especially at this point on the calendar. If you are aware of a friend or loved one who struggles with feelings of loneliness that tend to be intensified at this time of year, it is a perfect time to invite them to join you for something, even if it is not holiday-related. Perhaps just a phone call is even enough to make a difference for somebody you care about. Being there and reaching out to make a connection is the biggest part.

Seasonal Challenges & Solutions

Another mental health consideration during the winter is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder is depression brought on due to the changing of seasons, and is often referred to as the “winter blues.” It is quite common, as millions of people experience SAD each year.

Symptoms of SAD include depression, feeling worthless, trouble sleeping, low energy and even suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know are experiencing SAD, it is important to talk about it, particularly with a therapist or counselor. Using lightboxes to replicate natural daylight, known as light therapy, may also be an effective treatment.

Feeling lonely or depressed is difficult. It will usually require help from others to get through these tough times. Be that person for someone you care about.

Overcoming the Lineup Blues

Hearing my daughter talking about feeling lonely and feeling like she was not wanted around broke my heart. I immediately hugged her and explained to her that she is always wanted here at home. It is tough for a dad to see his child feeling lonely. Heading into Week 13 of the NFL season, it may also be tough for fantasy managers to look at their benches and see them looking so lonely and desolate.

Week 12 was another week with more devastating injury news to notable players including Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Deebo Samuel, among others.  If you’re struggling to know who you can rely on to help you make it through Week 13 in your deeper (16+ team) leagues, let me offer a few suggestions for who can help you make it through victorious.

Taylor Heinicke (QB, Washington Football Team)

Taylor Heinicke has been exceeding expectations as a low-end QB1 in 16 team leagues as the QB15 overall. He has played well in his last three starts, putting up five touchdowns and only one interception. He also has the potential to add a little with his legs each week, racking up 279 yards and a touchdown on the ground so far this season.

The matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13 is an attractive one, as the Raiders are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Heinicke feels like a good start with a safe floor this week.

Sony Michel (RB, Los Angeles Rams)

This recommendation is based largely on the health of Darrell Henderson, who suffered a quad injury against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. Henderson was listed as limited at Friday’s practice.

Should he miss the game, Sony Michel would be in line for a large increase in workload against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Michel carried the ball 20 times when Henderson was out in Week 3. Should Henderson play, Michel has little value, as he has seen only 26 offensive snaps in the last two games.

Russell Gage (WR, Atlanta Falcons)

Don’t look now, but Russell Gage has recently begun to take advantage of his opportunity with Calvin Ridley out of the lineup. Gage has seen at least seven targets in three of his last four games and has totaled a combined 175 receiving yards in those games. He has become a reliable producer for Atlanta. This week, the Falcons face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and are likely to be playing from behind. If Matt Ryan continues to look for him, Gage should have a solid day in any Points Per Reception (PPR) format.

Foster Moreau (TE, Las Vegas Raiders)

Tight end Darren Waller is unlikely to play in this game after leaving Thanksgiving Day’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Waller suffered a knee injury that kept him out of practice all week. When Waller sat out in Week 7 due to injury, Foster Moreau delivered, catching six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Expect a repeat type of performance from Moreau against Washington if Waller is unable to suit up. Moreau has a 75 percent contested catch rate on the year and is a big-bodied tight end who can make the tough catches.

Best of luck to all who are battling for playoff position this week. Please remember to look out for those who may be lonely and isolated this holiday season. You can be an asset in helping them receive the care they may need.


Life is hard, but it gets a little easier when we learn to lean on each other. Find me on Twitter @DaveFantasy for more life and fantasy sports content.