Why do we love candid photos so much?
They’re typically not flattering, and they rarely contain the nine rules of photo composition. But what they are is real. They take you to a place in time and give you a taste of what those in the image were feeling. Bubbly, angry, distraught or in the case of the photo above, just pure joy.
We love politicians who “give it to us straight,” artists and athletes who “keep it 100.” Yet, when we want to be candid about something on the inside, something that’s more than what meets the picture, it gets uncomfortable.
What I’m referring to is mental wellness and the stigma surrounding it.
Over the last 65 editions of this column – “Start, Sit & Seth” – I’ve slowly pieced the puzzle together for readers about some of the adversity I had to overcome in my teenage years. And while I’ve written about the lessons learned from those experiences, I’ve never fully discussed the effect it had on my own mental well-being.
Indiana, Pa., Fall 2017
I returned to college for my sophomore year in August of 2017, just like the thousands of other students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). However, the summer between then and my freshman year was anything but your average summer home from university.
Running away from home, being separated from my siblings and doing what I still believe was the right thing in turning in my mother for a felony crime.
After reconnecting with my Aunt Betsy and Uncle Greg – two people who changed my life forever – I spent the summer working at a scrap yard for an old man who had white hair, two Caddilac Escalades and a pet goat.
When I came back to college, now fully realizing the flaws and snail-like speed of the judicial system, I struggled. I constantly found myself thinking of how my siblings must be hurting while simultaneously hating me for what I did. At times, I struggled to eat, wondering what they were eating. That semester, I was living in a unique brick house a block from campus with Trace Gordon and Jack Kocjancic, two of my best friends from my hometown. My girlfriend, Katie, was right across campus in her own apartment. We both met in the middle to work at the campus newspaper multiple nights a week. I would have never thought that living this new life I would still be affected by the fallout of the summer.
Often being the last one home at night and being up early to open a low-trafficked computer lab on campus at 8:30 a.m., I had a lot of alone time between the hours of midnight and noon. I paired this alone time with little sleep and a strange eating schedule.
By October, whatever I was dealing with got to the point where I sought help. I connected with the campus counseling service. This was the first time I had ever talked about any of the trauma I had experienced with a trained professional.
After eight weeks of sessions every Friday, at a time when I didn’t tell anyone where I was going, not even Katie for a while, I began feeling better. The strategies that I had learned to deal with some of the uneasy feelings worked, and I began to be OK with not being able to control the things I couldn’t.
Though this wasn’t the end of the fallout, I was now prepared for the rest. I was able to live my life and try to enjoy it, despite the uncertainties that were still yet to come.
Today, the Thursday Following Movember
Looking back now after almost four years have passed, I realize how fortunate I am to only deal with very minor mental wellness issues, most of which don’t bother me nearly as much as they did back then.
Some people, a lot of whom are near and dear to my heart, struggle with mental wellness way worse than I can ever imagine. And while I will likely never fully understand what they’re going through, I will always be here to support them and to be an advocate for them.
The first thing we can do to help is normalize discussing it to lift the stigma. On Tuesday, 27-plus fantasy football analysts came together for the first-ever “#FFTwitter Movember Podathon” to discuss mental health and raise money to support research for colon cancer. Hosted by Dave Kluge and Anthony Reiner, aka Sven on Footballguys’ YouTube channel, the podathon was a smashing success. Together, this group, along with myself and my podcast co-host, Nate Polvogt, told our stories and explained what this month means to us.
We can’t fix everything by ourselves, but together we can begin to inspire change and normalize talking about it by sharing our stories.
If you’re ever struggling with your mental wellbeing, please reach out for professional help. If you ever just want someone to talk to, please feel free to direct message (DM) me on Twitter.
If you need immediate support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Alright, and here we go.
The following start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.
Quarterback I’d Start this Week:
Kirk Cousins (Minnesota): The longer I’ve written this column series, the more I’ve learned that some topics don’t need to connect seamlessly to fantasy football. So I’ll save the transition for another time, and get to Kirk Cousins, my quarterback start selection of the week.
Cousins has been the top-streaming quarterback this season, currently QB9 on the season. He has finished as a QB1 in five of 12 starts and a top-13 QB in seven of 12. The ceiling is never sky-high for Cousins, as he is yet to break 30 fantasy points, but the floor is there with his lowest output being 11.1 fantasy points.
This week, Cousins and the Vikings will travel to the Motor City to face the Detroit Lions. Though the Lions have been middle-of-the-road against opposing QBs, they’re also 0-10-1 for a reason. With Dalvin Cook out this week and receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson on a recent hot streak, the odds are in Cousins’ favor to repeat as a QB1 here in Week 13.
Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:
Russell Wilson (Seattle): I bought in that once Russell Wilson returned from injury, that the Seahawks would return to contenders and Wilson to fantasy relevance. I’ll admit it, I was wrong. The Seahawks are now 3-8 and rank 31st in total yards.
To make matters worse, a red-hot 49ers team visits Seattle this week. Over the last four weeks, they’ve allowed just four total passing touchdowns. With pass-rushers Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead just having a few yards and sub-par linemen separating them and Wilson, I’m out on the veteran this week.
Running Back I’d Start this Week:
Myles Gaskin (Miami): In a world where healthy, talented running backs have become a premium, Myles Gaskin looks like a steady RB2 the rest of the way. He’s averaged 14 PPR points over the last six weeks and has seen 50-plus percent of the snaps in each of those outings.
With no indication that fellow running back Malcolm Brown will return for Week 13, Gaskin should be in lineups as the Dolphins face the Giants at home. Over the last month, the Giants have allowed an average of seven receptions per game and 4.9 Yards Per Carry (YPC) to opposing backs. This is enough to make them a bottom-three defense against the position during that span and one that Gaskin should be able to exploit.
Running Backs I’d Sit this Week:
Devin Singletary & Matt Breida (Buffalo): Last week I had Buffalo running back Zack Moss as my RB sit selection, just for him to be a healthy scratch for the second time this season. This has fantasy managers prepared to fire up either Devin Singletary or Matt Breida with confidence this week. I’m here to advise against that.
Breida has yet to see more than 32 percent of the snaps and has reached double-digit PPR points only when he hit pay dirt. Singletary leads the team in rushing attempts and is fifth in total targets. Yet, he has fewer touchdowns on the season than both Moss and Breida and has only hit double-digit PPR points in three of 11 games.
The Patriots are their opponent this week and have been a run-of-the-mill team against the position. But they’ve held running backs to four total touchdowns this season. With Josh Allen always a threat to score with his own legs, Singletary’s and Breida’s chances of scoring just aren’t there along with their overall fantasy value this week.
Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:
Hunter Renfrow (Las Vegas): I’ve had my eye on Hunter Renfrow since the preseason, and he has now become a weekly fixture in many of my fantasy lineups. And I think it’s time he becomes one in yours, as well.
The University of Clemson product is the overall PPR WR21 on the season and the WR10 since he returned from his bye in Week 9. On Thanksgiving, he set a career-high in both receptions (eight) and yards (134) to finish as Week 12’s PPR WR5.
With tight end Darren Waller out this week and Josh Jacobs just being added to the injury report today with an ankle injury, the Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr will once again need to lean on Renfrow this week in a favorable matchup against the Washington Football Team.
Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:
Russell Gage (Atlanta): The Atlanta Falcons are another team, like Seattle, that I’m actively trying to avoid for the rest of the season. With Calvin Ridley out and the offensive line playing as poor as it gets, there’s no value here aside from running back Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts as a borderline TE1.
Russell Gage’s name is once again being tossed out as a possible streamer this week after an 18.2 PPR-point performance last week. May I remind you that Gage has posted zero total fantasy points in three of eight games played, despite playing at least 65 percent of the snaps during those games?
Even though the Buccaneers have been depleted in their secondary, they’ve limited receivers to an average of fewer than 100 yards over the last month, ranking top 6 amongst the league during that span. Stop chasing what’s not there in Atlanta and pivot to an overall better offense for your receiver needs.
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.