week 9 pickups

Jen’s Friday Night Insights: The Backup Plan

As a person with a type-A personality, I’m very used to being in control of every situation I’m in. It often keeps me from certain events because I know ahead of time that I’ll have no control over my life and that makes me very uncomfortable.

I’m the epitome of having a backup plan. Always and forever.

Let me take you back. It was 1992 and I was 10-years-old. I was playing the sweeper position in my local YMCA co-ed soccer league. With my black polyester shorts and an ill-fitting, recycled black shirt that was emblazoned with “YMCA” on it, my mom drove me to my game on a lovely Saturday morning.

My sister was with us and my dad had some other plans in the morning but would pick me up after the game. My mom and sister headed to a neighbor’s wedding and left me at the game.

This particular game was memorable for a few reasons. First, I blocked a kick in front of the goal and the ball shot higher into the air than you could ever believe at 10-years-old. Second, my parents crossed their wires and no one came to get me after the game.

My teammates all piled into their cars with their parents and I was left behind. I don’t blame my parents. Let’s just get that out of the way. I’m glad it happened.

I had no cell phone and no money to use the payphone. I knew no one and I was at least 30-minutes away from home. I quickly panicked and started crying. I was approaching strangers asking for a quarter to use the payphone and frantically raced around to find a familiar face. On my third or fourth attempt, I finally achieved success and a quarter.

While there weren’t cell phones back in those days, both of my parents had car phones. My first attempt was fruitless and there was no answer. My second attempt was also fruitless. No answer. The trick to keeping your quarter is to hang up before the answering machine picked up. So, I was able to dial again. Luckily the third attempt achieved results. My dad answered! I was saved!

While my parents would have eventually figured out that I wasn’t around, but I wasn’t entirely convinced at that age. I became glued to them everywhere we went. I started making plans before we went anywhere. I would map out the mall and always carried cash with me. I never wanted to feel that anxiety again. My parents both own their own business and, at the time, had 1-800 numbers. I memorized both, just in case.

As an adult, I keep my phone in my pocket at all times. I still always have a little bit of cash on hand, in case I need to catch a cab somewhere. It may seem excessive, but it keeps my mind from racing and it keeps the anxiety to a minimum.

The lesson learned on that Saturday morning was that I now always have a backup plan. I always have a way out and depend solely on myself to get out of situations.

This is the same for fantasy football. There’s always someone to pick up and there is always a pivot to be made when needed.

Jen’s Friday Night Insights

Let’s look at a few players in Tennessee who might still be available as backup plans for this Thanksgiving weekend.

Dontrell Hilliard (RB, Tennessee Titans)

The Titans signed Dontrell Hilliard to their active roster this week as they waived veteran Adrian Peterson. Derrick Henry remains out until January, D’Onta Foreman is nursing a tricep injury and Jeremy McNichols was unable to clear concussion protocol and ruled out for Week 12. This leaves a gaping hole in the backfield for the Titans.

Historically, hasn’t been anything special. He did have a surprising showing last week against the Houston Texans, however. With 63 percent of the snap share on seven attempts for 35 yards, he proved to be an asset in the backfield. Equally as important was the fact that he had eight receptions for 47 yards.

Hilliard is only rostered in 14 percent of ESPN leagues, so he’s available for the taking and will likely play a decent game against New England in Week 12. While he may not be a long-term keeper, he can be a good backup plan this week.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR, Tennessee Titans)

With Tennessee being pretty banged up right now, the spotlight may shift to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. A.J. Brown is out with a chest injury, Julio Jones will miss with a hamstring injury and Marcus Johnson is out for the season with a hamstring injury. This opens up an opportunity for Westbrook-Ikhine to step in and make an impact.

Back in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts, Brown got injured and Westbrook-Ikhine shined with four receptions on four targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. Then, last week, he outperformed himself with seven receptions on eight targets and 107 yards. The future looks bright for the rest of the season for Westbrook-Ikhine if he can stay healthy, unlike his fellow wideouts.

An honorable mention to the wide receiver corps, and someone you also might want to throw a dart at is rookie, Dez Fitzpatrick. He doesn’t get his own tagline, but he caught his first touchdown of his NFL career last year and quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, is going to look to spread the ball out against New England. If you’re in need, he might be worth a shot.

I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch the 2021 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!


Bi-Weekly Drink Recipe: Courtesy of Jennifer Slater

Maple Bourbon Coffee

  • 8 oz coffee
  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • In a bowl, combine the whipping cream, maple syrup, vanilla and brown sugar. Whisk this mixture until sugar is dissolved. Add the bourbon to the coffee and mix well. Add the maple cream mixture to the coffee in an amount that you desire, as this is a personal preference. Garnish with whipped cream, a sprinkle of brown sugar and enjoy!

Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.