The Hard Bargain: Snow Day
“The Hard Bargain” is a year-round column by Dave Stewart offering parenting advice and weekly fantasy football advice for deeper (16+ team) leagues. Dave brings over a year of experience writing this column to NFL Week 15 and will be here to help provide lineup recommendations throughout the fantasy football season.
NFL Week 14 Recap
NFL Week 14 is now in the books. It was an amazing Sunday afternoon, with several players setting career-high marks while others trusted fantasy performers delivered duds. If you were in a precarious playoff position on the outside looking in as the weekend began, you might be stuck outside. Perhaps you started Evan Engram, in which case you are probably celebrating. The results of the week were rather unexpected.
Snow Day: Beginnings
Another unexpected but highly anticipated event has taken place here in Idaho today. My twin daughters, “the Sneaky Girls,” are enjoying the first snow day of the year. An unscheduled three-day weekend has arrived with the closure of their school due to inclement weather. We have chosen to turn today into an impromptu celebration.
I had to start the morning with a non-celebratory duty of shoveling snow. The sidewalks were covered, and it took a fair amount of time. My back will surely remind me in the morning. However, we have since made a lovely charcuterie board. I sliced cheese and added some hard salami, and the kids seemed impressed.
A Winter Wonderland
The Sneaky Girls are preparing to head outside for some snow fun with the neighborhood kids. I hope they put a snowman in the yard. It may not last through the upcoming rain, but a snowman always classes up the front yard. Once they come in from the cold, I will have the hot cocoa waiting, and we can scare off the chill with a nice, warm mug.
I am a bit of a sentimental guy, and enjoying a holiday movie on the couch with my family is right up my alley. I’ll prepare the popcorn and grab a warm blanket as we settle in for some family time. It sounds like a perfect evening to me.
Delighting in Unexpected Opportunities
This was not what I expected today to be like, but I am happy to take advantage of it. I suppose that is a universal message. We will not always be able to see what is coming in life. The forecast may be off the mark at times. But, if you are willing to roll with the punches, you can create a moment without notice. For me, that is what parenting is like. You cannot always know what comes next, but welcoming a little adaptability into your life rewards you with new bonding opportunities.
The arrival of Week 15 of the NFL season brings highly anticipated occurrences, like a slate of Saturday games, but most importantly, the fantasy playoffs. Whether this was the anticipated outcome or a pleasant surprise, congratulations to all who qualified for their league’s playoffs. I wish you the best of luck moving forward.
NFL Week 14 Recommendations Recap
I made some good choices with my deep starts for Week 14. In fact, it may have been my best week of the season. Brock Purdy finished as a top-10 quarterback, DJ Chark was a top-10 receiver and Chigoziem Okonkwo was a top-three tight end. Let’s just pretend I never mentioned James Cook. My theory that he was taking over the big slice of the Bills’ backfield proved incorrect. He was out-touched by Devin Singletary in an underwhelming game for the Buffalo offense.
With playoffs here and bye weeks over, you probably have your starting lineup set. However, if you need to fill a spot, I have some ideas in mind.
NFL Week 15 Deep-League Fantasy Starts
Sam Darnold (QB, Carolina Panthers)
It takes guts to recommend a quarterback like Sam Darnold. He has simply let us down too many times in the past. However, since he has returned as the starting quarterback for the Panthers, he has been effective. He has yet to turn the ball over, and he has added some needed fantasy value with his legs.
Granted, we need him to throw for more yards to have a big impact for fantasy purposes. That’s where the Pittsburgh Steelers come in. Darnold and the Panthers host the Steelers this Sunday. Pittsburgh has allowed at least 220 passing yards in eight of their 12 games this season. Even quarterbacks like Zach Wilson and Mac Jones have gotten over on the Steelers. Pittsburgh allows the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and I expect Darnold to have his biggest game of the season to date in NFL Week 15.
Rachaad White (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The rookie has taken a larger role and looks quite respectable with it. Rachaad White led the team in rushing against a formidable San Francisco defense, and he has seen double-digit carries in three of his last four appearances.
The most significant factor in White’s upside may be his involvement in the passing game. Tom Brady loves to throw to his running backs, and White has seen 22 targets over the last three games. This week the Buccaneers face Cincinnati. The Bengals are not exactly pushovers against running backs, but they have allowed the second-most targets to running backs in the red zone. If White can take advantage of that and find himself with a receiving score, he can deliver enough to contribute to your playoff roster.
Drake London (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
This is me embracing a little of the unknown in my fantasy advice. Rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder will be stepping in for his first career appearance in NFL Week 15. It comes in a divisional matchup the Falcons are desperate to win. Despite all their struggles this season, Atlanta remains one game back in the NFC South.
Coming off the bye week seems like the best possible time to make the quarterback switch. London had his biggest game yet in NFL Week 13. He saw a season-high in targets and posted the highest yardage total of his brief career. While the Falcons will likely be run-heavy due to the matchup and their inexperienced quarterback, play-action passes to London could be available.
Dawson Knox (TE, Buffalo Bills)
Dawson Knox has not delivered on his Average Draft Position this season. Despite being drafted in most drafts within the top 10 among tight ends, he is currently Points Per Reception (PPR) TE10. However, his biggest games have come lately. He has caught four passes in three of his last five outings and scored his third touchdown of the year on Sunday.
Now he finds himself with a very favorable matchup in NFL Week 15. The Miami Dolphins rank 29th in the league in PPR points allowed to tight ends. Miami has allowed tight ends to score seven touchdowns against them this year. In their earlier matchup this season, Knox caught four passes. Look for Knox to catch multiple passes and pose a real threat to reach the end zone.
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 for NFL Week 15 and beyond.