My pen has stayed plenty busy throughout the 2021 fantasy football season.
I’ve told tales of trailblazing women, a hometown country music star, astonishing young adults, an award-winning fantasy football commissioner, a group of friends changing the game, a modern-day love story and – you guessed it – everything in-between.
I’ve explored recently closed college departments, the depth of my own mental health struggles and my connection to this column series after having it plagiarized.
But no matter where my stories were set – city streets or small-town backroads – they carried one theme: Sometimes you have to believe in and bet on yourself to reach your goals.
Whether it was the 22-year-old photographer for the NBA from Northeast Philadelphia or the group of engineers from Clemson University, these individuals didn’t leave their success up to anyone else other than themselves. They worked part-time jobs, late hours and during family vacations to do it.
But at the end of the day, they did it. Despite having to overcome obstacles like mental illness, untimely deaths and a global pandemic.
As for me, the ill-starred writer, a lot has changed since my final in-season edition of “Start, Sit & Seth” published just 3 weeks ago. I left my job at the university that I live a block from. Maybe even more surprising is that this came after getting rejected from a different job I thought I wanted.
In late 2020, I began searching for a new job after not liking the “dream job” I thought I took at the beginning of the COVID-19-restricted fantasy football season.
I began my job search at the university, thinking it was the most sense geographically. After countless applications put in throughout the first few months of the year, I made it to the interview process for a job I was really excited about. I had four total interviews and the process lasted over 3 months. In the end, I was the finalist left standing without the offer.
As the fantasy season drew closer and my attention began to shift to other matters, I accepted my fate of again falling complacent in my current position. But by the middle of the season, my mental health had taken a toll for the worst due to my current position.
By this time, I realized my best chance at finding the happiness I sought was by applying for full-time positions in the fantasy sports industry, as opposed to the university. With the help of my network, I was eventually back in the interview process for what felt like another dream job.
Ultimately, in the days following my final column, I learned that I was once again the finalist left standing without the offer. But this time, I didn’t let it get me down as I had last year. After hearing telling the stories of so many successful people this past year, I knew what I had to do.
Betting on Myself
I did exactly what “they” always tell you not to do when you’re a young professional. I left a stable job without another one lined up. I ditched the stable paycheck for a life of hustling on my own.
In the week since officially leaving my job, I’ve managed to secure my first two freelance media clients and have a few more potential clients I’m working out the details with now. I’ve also had more time to strategize about the future of “In-Between Media” than I’ve had in a very long time.
Through this, I was also able to trade the days of feeling worthless and lost for a time that I now feel both more free and sure along my journey. Telling the stories of these remarkable 17 individuals that I did last year gave me the confidence that betting on myself could work out if I just followed the advice all of them gave me throughout season four of “Start, Sit & Seth.”
I’m adjusting my sails, committing and following my own path. I am still learning to understand the why and making the most of it, but not a day goes by that I don’t remember why I’m still here. I’m a hungry kid and a trailblazer. But I also know how to celebrate life’s small victories, with either a cold beer and country music or by singing in the car.
Final Life Advice of the 2021 Fantasy Football Season
I realize that ultimately quitting your day job to pursue your passions isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all prescription. But listening to the right peoples’ stories and considering their advice can be if you allow it to.
Because when you open your mind to new information, the possibilities are endless. Keep pushing for what you want, and keep enjoying the in-between of it all.
To allow me time to fully live and enjoy this time in-between the 2021 and 2022 fantasy football seasons, this will be the final “Start, Sit & Seth” installment until season five debuts in late summer. Until then, check out my upcoming offseason spin-off column series, “Seth’s Notebook,” and enjoy my first risers and fades of the 2022 redraft season below.
Alright, and here we go.
The following rising/fading selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in 2022 Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.
Quarterback I’m Rising On:
He led a roster that many believed would finish near the bottom of the league to a 9-8 record and an NFC Wildcard berth. Yet he didn’t finish anywhere near the top of the league in meaningful passing stats, finishing the season completing 61.3 percent of his passes for 3,144 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 games played.
However, Hurts still proved to be a formidable fantasy asset, finishing as the QB9 (QB6 on a points-per-game basis), largely due to his 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns (both season-highs for the quarterback position).
With this being the first full season of Hurts as the starter and Nick Sirianni as an NFL head coach, it may have very well been close to Hurts’ floor. Rookie Devonta Smith alone accounted for 27.4 percent of Hurts’ passing yards and 31.3 percent of his passing touchdowns.
If the Eagles can find better players than Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins to play the No. 2 and No. 3 receiver role through the draft or free agency, Hurts’ overall passing output could improve. If that improves, a top-five finish at the position is within the outcomes. Hurts is currently ranked for 2022 as the QB12 according to FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). At that value, he should remain a target for me throughout the offseason.
Quarterback I’m Fading:
Kyler Murray (Arizona): It feels strange to have the player I had ranked as my 2021 QB1-overall as an early offseason fade for the following year. But here we are.
Kyler Murray began the 2021 season as an early season MVP favorite, but he was injured in Week 8 and wouldn’t play again until Week 13. When he did return, he averaged 3.9 fewer fantasy points per game. Sure, his last four games were played with DeAndre Hopkins, but this is a repeat offense.
In 2020, Murray averaged 10.8 fewer points after Week 12 than before, and in 2019, he averaged six fewer points as well. With Murray’s waring down as the season progresses, causing a drop-off in production towards the fantasy playoffs, I can’t justify taking him near his current FantasyPros’ ECR ranking of QB3.
Zach Ertz, A.J. Green, James Conner and Chase Edmonds are all Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) this offseason, making the overall depth chart too sketchy to trust at that price right now if playing any early offseason best balls or redrafts.
Running Back I’m Rising On:
Leonard Fournette (Tampa Bay): The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason with several UFAs hitting the market in March and being just $19.4 million under the cap.
However, the decision of bringing back running back Leonard Fournette after posting 811 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on 180 carries and 69 receptions, 454 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns on 84 targets should be a no brainer.
In his first season as the “starter” in Tampa Bay, Fournette averaged a career-high 4.5 Yards Per Carry (YPC) and 30 receiving first downs. He was overly effective and reliable when called upon and sure-handed with only one fumble and an 82.1 percent Catch Rate.
Fournette finished the season as the PPR RB4 on a points-per-game basis. Yet, FantasyPros’ ECR currently has him ranked as the PPR RB18, closer to his floor than his ceiling.
If Fournette is re-signed and Ronald Jones is not, I will once again be pounding the table for Fournette, as I simultaneously hope his Average Draft Position (ADP) remains modest.
Running Back I’m Fading:
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City): Last offseason, I wrote Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH) as a riser because of the departure of Damien Williams and a retooled offensive line coming to Kansas City. However, it was another disappointing season for CEH as he finished as the PPR RB45 (PPR RB30 on a points-per-game basis).
Backfield-mate Darrel Williams outrushed CEH this season 558-517 and had outrushed him by 323 yards, despite starting just seven games. So far in the postseason, Jerrick McKinnon has received 22 rushing attempts to CEH’s seven and 13 targets to his two. CEH’s longest rush this season was just 17 yards, and his longest reception was good for 29 yards. This lack of explosiveness on one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses may end CEH’s time as the Chiefs’ clear-cut starting RB1.
Kansas City could either commit to Darrel Williams or McKinnon long-term as their both UFAs or try their luck in the draft. But either way, the hope for a high-end RB2 season from CEH might be running out. And for the current price of PPR RB20, according to Fantasy Pros’ ECR, I rather pay to find out.
Wide Receiver I’m Rising On:
Deebo Samuel (San Francisco): Deebo Samuel set the world and fantasy rosters on fire this season with his PPR WR3 overall finish in 2021. He posted 77 receptions for 1,405 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns, adding another 365 yards and eight touchdowns on his 59 carries.
His hybrid receiver/running back role is something we’ve seldom seen be this effective in the modern-day NFL, and it has many wondering if he will be worth the investment in 2022. To attempt to answer that question, you have to first look at the significance of what he just did.
Samuel had the eighth-most rushing yards in a season ever for a receiver. But he was also the first receiver to ever have +18 rushing attempts and have more than 1,200 receiving yards. To cap it off, he now holds the record for most rushing touchdowns ever in a single season for a receiver (eight).
Even if Samuel’s 2022 receiving totals are somewhere in the middle between his 1,405 yards and six touchdowns totaled last year and the 802 receiving yards and touchdowns in his 2019 rookie season, he should be well worth the high draft capital to get him. FantasyPros’ ECR currently has him as the PPR WR10 – a more-than-fair price for the upside.
Wide Receiver I’m Fading:
CeeDee Lamb (Dallas): There weren’t a lot of fans or analysts who would’ve expected CeeDee Lamb’s 2021 season to be largely similar to his 2020 season, despite Dak Prescott playing 16 of 17 games. Unfortunately, it’s the reality of what happened.
Lamb posted 79 receptions for 1,102 and six touchdowns this season, enough for PPR WR19. As a rookie, he secured 74 receptions, 935 yards and five touchdowns and finished as the PPR WR22.
The former University of Oklahoma Sooner led Dallas in receptions with 120 by a sound margin, yet he finished with just one more reception than tight end Dalton Schultz and had fewer touchdowns than both Schultz and Amari Cooper. Even Cedrick Wilson Jr. had similar efficiency to Lamb, posting 13.4 Yards Per Reception (YPR) on his 45 receptions for 602 yards and six touchdowns.
It’s tough to say what the Cowboys will do with their skill-position players as they are already $20.8 million over the cap. But if they can bring back any two of Schultz, Wilson Jr. or Michael Gallup, all of whom are UFAs, I would be leery of Lamb in 2022 – specifically for his current value of PPR WR8, according to FantasyPros’ ECR.
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, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.