“Jen’s Friday Night Insights” is a monthly column by Jen Polvogt, bridging motherly and fantasy football advice. Jen approaches Week 1 of the NFL season with three years of fantasy analysis experience and five of being a mother.
I’m back! It’s crazy to think this is my third season of “Jen’s Friday Night Insights.” Week 1 of the NFL season ushered in a lot of new experiences and the opening week of the 2022 NFL season. I’ve spent the last seven months chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of football and couldn’t be more excited to watch all the off-season predictions unfold.
A New Chapter
On top of the new NFL season, I also guided my five-year-old son into a new chapter of his life. He turned five just two days ago. My husband, Nate, and I have patted each other on the back in congratulations on getting him this far in life. Like, we made it! We managed to keep this little person alive for five whole years!
I know, I know, we’re not the first people to do it, but we’re proud of ourselves!
With another journey around the sun behind us, we made the difficult decision to start kindergarten this year. Our son, Jackson, has always been a very social child who loves his cars, learning new things and his kitties. We wrestled with the decision as to whether or not we should start the kindergarten journey with a four-year-old, almost five-year-old, or hold him back and keep him home with us.
As a parent, you look into your child’s future to determine what’s best for them. We didn’t know if we wanted Jackson to be the youngest or the oldest in his class. So we asked every single “September baby” who is now an adult to hear their experiences being the oldest or the youngest in his class.
Nothing helped. It seemed like each person liked their parents’ decision and were happy no matter what age they went into kindergarten. Well, that’s not helpful! In an age where the internet gives us all the answers, it was frustrating to figure out what to do when depending solely on human experience. Maddening!
After a lot of soul searching and just knowing our kid, we decided our baby would attend kindergarten this year. And he’ll enter COLLEGE at the age of 17. Frightening. Regardless, we felt he was ready.
A Lesson in Preparedness
What I didn’t consider was whether or not WE were ready.
We spent two weeks in Mexico at the end of July, then returned to Colorado and had a few days to get ready for The Fantasy Football Expo in Canton, Ohio. When we got back from Canton, Jackson’s first day of kindergarten was the next day.
We were not prepared. School supplies, new clothes, new schedule, school drop-off and pick-up procedures, walking to school, running club, YMCA after-school care, labeling everything he owns, calendars, back-to-school night, soccer, planning his birthday party, attending his friends’ birthday parties, immunization records, millions of Google forms, “modified contact days” (WTF are those?), etc. It was everything, everywhere, all at once. Absolute chaos.
It was so overwhelming that I almost had a nervous breakdown. I was not prepared.
I thought I was, but the Jefferson County School District quickly corrected me. As a new incoming parent of a kindergartner, I was thrown into it blindly.
Perhaps I should have done more preparation work. I don’t know how I could have, but maybe there was something I could do. Regardless, we’re here now. He adapted quickly, and we’re still running behind, trying to figure out what’s next.
When it Rains, Does it Always Pour?
On his first day, we woke up to a torrential downpour of rain. In my mind, we would walk him to school on his first day. That didn’t happen. Instead, we drove to school, walked in amongst the masses of parents and children, and stood in line outside of his classroom for what felt like a decade. We took pictures and held back tears. None of us cried, which surprised me, but we all held it together.
Nate and I hugged and kissed Jackson and walked off as the rain came down. We went home and worked and tried to put Jackson’s mental state out of our minds. “He’s still so little! He’s only four years old! Did we make the right decision?” We had so many questions that day.
When it was time to pick him up from his inaugural voyage, we eagerly jumped in the car and raced the half mile to school. He greeted us outside his classroom by running into our arms and smiling from ear to ear. He exclaimed he had a great day and had so much fun. Whew!
We’re now finishing his fourth week of school and couldn’t be happier with our decision to enroll him when he was four. He’s already learned so much, made so many friends and is exceeding expectations in standard skills.
As we enter the NFL season, it can feel like everything, everywhere, all at once. Players on new teams, rookies, preseason injuries and the unknown of our decisions can be overwhelming. But, you’ve got this! And, if you don’t, I’ll be here all season long to answer questions and provide insight into life and fantasy football.
So, let’s dive into what to expect for Week 1 of the NFL season and beyond! Here are a couple of players I have my eyes on as they enter their “kindergarten” season.
Jen’s Friday Night Insights: Week 1 NFL Kindergartners
Drake London (WR, Atlanta)
Let’s be honest. Atlanta is in a rebuilding year – or possibly years. But Drake London is an asset the Falcons added to their team in the offseason. As a rookie out of USC, London adds to the nearly empty receiving room that veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota could use to revive his floundering career.
Atlanta is going to be terrible this year. No one has any illusion that they’ll be good. But watch out for connections between London, Kyle Pitts and Mariota. Because, well, those are the only two above-average players Mariota has to throw to. Keep him on your radar, as London has long arms and tremendous speed. He’s already rostered in 88.6 percent of ESPN leagues. So if you’re in one of the 11 percent of leagues where he isn’t rostered, grab him now. He’s nursing a knee injury heading into Week 1 of the NFL slate, but we’ll likely see him play against New Orleans on Sunday.
Romeo Doubs (WR, Green Bay)
Who isn’t talking about Romeo Doubs after his preseason performance? There has been much talk about the vacancy WR Davante Adams left behind in the Green Bay end zone. Meh. I’m not concerned with the departure of Adams to the Raiders.
If you watched Doubs play during the preseason, you saw him haul in two touchdowns on eight receptions for 82 yards. His performance was impressive, to say the least. However, he’s joining a crowded wide receiver room and is competing for plays against Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb. Lazard might miss the season opener against Minnesota with an ankle injury, which could open up room for Aaron Rodgers to connect with Doubs.
He’s only rostered in 22.5 percent of ESPN leagues, so depending on what happens in Week 1 of the NFL season, he might get snatched up quickly. Keep an eye on him this season.
I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch the 2022 NFL season unfold. Cheers! If you choose to make any of my drink recipes, I’d love to see them. Please take a picture and tag me!
Monthly Drink Recipe:
Cheers to the Season “Champagne”
• 2 oz vodka
• 4 oz sparkling wine
• 2 oz orange juice
• Frozen strawberries
• Add all ingredients to a tall glass, gently stir and enjoy!
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.