You know, it’s funny. One minute I was a 21-year-old college student, just sitting alone in a worn-out bag chair on my deck, manifesting what would come next for me following my looming college graduation.
I remember often asking myself, “Would I ever find a job in higher education media? Or would I ever figure out a way to break into the fantasy football industry?” And most importantly at the time, “Would I prove all those who doubted me along the way, wrong?”
Now, just two years later I sit here crafting the 53rd installment of “Start, Sit & Seth” on the brink of another fantasy football season, once again manifesting my future. Only now, I have answers to those questions that I wanted so badly back then.
I’m now working in higher education media in a beautiful college town like I had wanted. And I’ve somehow simultaneously found my way into the fantasy football industry by creating my own path.
And maybe most importantly, I’ve begun to let go of the need to prove others wrong and learned to do things for my own fulfillment. I don’t know where this journey is going to take me. I don’t where I’ll be in five years from now. Hell, I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now.
What I do know is that I’m going to continue to do my best to lead, inspire and help create a more positive-thinking culture, all while proving the best fantasy sports advice I can.
While I know now more than ever who I am and what I was meant to do, I’ve also learned what comes with being this ambitious at such a young age – sacrifice. The harsh reality is that even though I love what I do at In-Between Media and Penn State, all the time I spend continuing to do both is time my younger years are slipping away.
Don’t get me wrong, I still attempt to find time for the other things that are important to me; My relationship, my family, my friends, being outside in nature and burning the night down. But it becomes farther and fewer between.
I came to terms this was likely how it was going to be, even back in college when I was working three jobs consistently, trying to both get by and also gain experience in a less-lucrative field. But it can still be frightening at times to think that I may be giving up my youth to chase a dream that may never happen.
To help myself overcome this nerve-wracking train of thought, it’s usually my goal to make the most out of every occasion I get to get out from behind the screen. And this summer’s been no exception to that.
Before the remaining days of summer go by and the NFL season is here and before I reveal some of my final redraft risers & fades selections of the offseason, I wanted to take one moment to reflect on some of the milestone moments outside of In-Between Media that the summertime brought me:
My 5-Year High School Reunion
Giving credit where credit is due, my hometown of Kane always hosts an amazing alumni weekend when class reunions of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years and beyond are all held simultaneously in different locations around town.
Midway through my junior year, I was forced to move, so it had been nearly seven years since I had seen some of my classmates. From returning to sleeping on the couch at my best friend’s house and catching up with his family, to seeing so many familiar faces for the first time in what felt like forever, it was a pretty surreal feeling and something I hope others get to experience.
I returned to my hometown this past weekend for the first time in almost a year to celebrate our 5-year class reunion.
Thankful to have some wonderful friends to share these unforgettable memories with: pic.twitter.com/C3pgQ1mFWp
— Seth Woolcock (@Between_SethFF) June 28, 2021
I always value the times I just get to have a beer with my best friends or conversations with others who knew me long before I ever penned one of these columns. We made the most of it from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m.
The Marriage of Brennen & Elizabeth McCracken
On July 3, I had the pleasure of attending my first wedding as what I consider an “adult.” And better yet, it was the wedding of one of my best friends, Brennen McCracken, and his wife, Elizabeth.
I had never been in a wedding before, so I was a bit nervous at first when Brennen gave me the honor of being his best man. But being able to witness his and Elizabeth’s relationship and love grow over the last five years, it was a privilege to be able to be there alongside him when they made it official.
They set the bar high for any of my friends’ future weddings with a beautiful reception at a breathtaking venue. While everything from the groomsmen’s suits to the bridesmaids’ dresses and the music were on point, nothing matched the feeling when I saw Brennen standing there as Elizabeth walked toward him down the aisle.
The rest of the night was unforgettable, and the Busch Light and Busch Light Apples hit maybe better than ever before. I was even able to deliver a best man speech and toast that I am happy with and hope it hit home with everyone.
Another Summer with Her
This summer also marked the fifth year that my girlfriend Katie and I have been together. It seems like as each one passes we become closer and more alike.
She’s become quite the fantasy football enthusiast herself, even competing in the Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) and probably playing more disc golf than me. Thanks to her, I, on the other hand, now find myself rocking out to more Taylor Swift than ever and have a weird desire to watch “One Tree Hill” before we go to bed.
While the business of work has kept us from taking one of our normal summer vacations, it hasn’t stopped us from making memories. Last week, we went to a downtown Irish pub and had an amazing cheesesteak with some drinks. Afterward, we proceeded to the bar downstairs and watched a great band perform live while and got all the insider info on the town’s local music scene from another couple we met. It’s times like these last few months that really make me thankful and inspire me to be the best partner to Katie I can be.
As days go by, I will continue to cherish and make the most out of the milestone moments like the ones this summer. As they can sometimes help make up for the late nights spent doing the other things I love, like writing this column and giving others fantasy football advice.
Like mine, the days have gone by for NFL players, and training camps are now in full swing with preseason games beginning Thursday, Aug. 5 with the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers kicking off at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, at 8 p.m. ET.
With redraft season officially here for most of the general public, I present my final redraft risers and fades of the 2021 offseason.
Now, let’s get to it.
The following rising/fading selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.
Quarterback I’m Rising On:
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers): Jokes on the internet aside, Ben Roethlisberger came into training camp this season looking more in shape than in years previous. A lot of fantasy players and analysts are writing off the 39-year-old after a disappointing final regular-season stretch that carried into an upset victory for the Cleveland Browns in the Wildcard round of the playoffs.
Though I wouldn’t prefer to advise Roethlisberger as my starter this season, he’s going at a screaming value as the QB 29, according to Sleeper’s August 1 ADP. That’s behind players who may not even start Week 1 like Jameis Winston, Trey Lance and Justin Fields.
Roethlisberger isn’t a league winner this year. He’s aging and has a new offensive line. But new offensive coordinator Matt Canada should help bring back some of Roethlisberger’s former deep-ball magic.
And rookie running back Najee Harris will help the offense be overall more effective and sustain drives, while also providing Roethlisberger with maybe his best pass-catching running back since Le’Veon Bell.
I currently have him projected for 289.9 fantasy points in four point-per-passing-touchdown leagues, only a point per game lower than last season when he finished as the QB13. I’m targeting him as a value QB2 in both 16+ team 1-QB leagues and superflex leagues.
Quarterback I’m Fading:
Zach Wilson (New York Jets): On the first day of training camp, there was a new head coach and play-caller ready to go for the New York Jets, yet there was no sign of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who was drafted No. 2 overall in April’s draft as he didn’t sign his contract until July 29 due to some offset language negotiations.
The good news for Wilson is that former head coach Adam Gase is gone and he has a revamped set of weapons including Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Elijah Moore and rookie running back Michael Carter at his disposal, along with what should be a solid offensive line anchored by 2020 No. 11-overall pick Mekhi Becton and 2021 No.14-overall pick Alijah Vera-Tucker from University of Southern California (USC).
But the downside is that he is working with rookie offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in a hostile New York Jets media market that has not seen a fantasy QB2 since Josh McCown was the QB21 in 2017. There also may be a learning NFL curve for Wilson whose toughest opponent he faced last year in college was the University of Central Florida (UCF)in the Boca Raton Bowl.
While Wilson likely isn’t anyone’s target in a standard 12-team redraft league, he’s still being drafted above proven players like Derek Carr, Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Winston and Taysom Hill, all of whom have been QB1s at different points in their careers. Avoid getting rookie fever just for the sake of it.
Running Back I’m Rising On:
Chase Edmonds (Arizona): After the departure of Kenyan Drake and the only notable running back addition to Cardinals being the often-injured James Conner, Chase Edmonds, who has scored more points each year in his three NFL seasons, is poised for a breakout in 2021 – similar to Austin Ekeler in 2019.
Edmonds already has proven he has the receiving chops as he caught 79.1 percent of his targets last season for 402 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also effective when called upon to run the ball averaging 4.6 Yards Per Carry (YPC) last season, pairing nicely with dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray.
Arizona’s pace of play is one of the fastest in the league as they ran the fourth-most plays in the NFL last season. This, along with the fact that Arizona ran the ball 29.9 times per game last season (eighth-most in the league last season), will provide more-than-enough volume for Edmonds to be a difference-maker, especially at his current ADP of RB30.
And if trends continue and Conner were to, unfortunately, go down to injury, second-year Eno Benjamin would likely be the next man up, creating potential league-winning volume for Edmonds.
Running Back I’m Fading:
Zack Moss (Buffalo): Buffalo was another team that many expected to add a running back this offseason, only to acquire the services of Matt Breida, who’s playing on his third team in three years. This has many excited for the prospects of second-year running back Zack Moss.
With him taking first-team reps during training camp, his ADP of RB36 is likely going to be pushed up into the low 30s or even late 20s by the end of August. I am not comfortable paying his current price, let alone if it continues to rise.
Last season Buffalo ran the ball 411 times, which was the 17th most in the NFL. That would be fine for a traditional-style team, but the issue is that quarterback Josh Allen was responsible for 24.8 percent of those attempts, not leaving enough volume for either Moss or backfield mate Devin Singletary to be fantasy relevant.
Wide Receiver I’m Rising On:
Cole Beasley (Buffalo): Whether or not you agree on Cole Beasley’s stance on the COVID-19 vaccine, we can all agree that the nine-year veteran will once again be a massive value in fantasy drafts this season as he’s currently being drafted as the WR62.
Beasley has finished as the PPR WR33 and WR27, respectively, in his first two seasons as a Bill. His chemistry has continued to grow with Allen, so has his fantasy output as he set new career highs in targets, yards, Yards Per Reception (Y/R) last year.
With the only addition to the Bills being veteran Emmanuel Sanders, that shouldn’t affect Beasley’s secured slot role. His catch percentage, role in an offense and self-confidence are also at an all-time high. Don’t be surprised if Beasley finished ahead of at least a few receivers who were drafted 10 rounds ahead of him.
Wide Receiver I’m Fading:
D.J. Moore (Carolina): I thought the fantasy football industry learned their lesson with D.J. Moore last season when he was drafted as a WR1 in most leagues, only to finish as the PPR WR23.
Moore has proven he’s a special real-life NFL talent, averaging 15.2 Y/R over his first three seasons. But what he hasn’t proven is that it can translate into low-end fantasy WR1 or high-end WR2 numbers. This mostly stems from the fact that his career-high in touchdowns is four, which he obtained in both 2019 and 2020.
He now gets another new quarterback, his fourth in four years in Sam Darnold. While we likely haven’t seen Darnold’s full potential, he’s never eclipsed 20 passing touchdowns, so it would be a fool’s errand that he will throw for too many more than that. To make matters worse for Moore, Darnold comes to Carolina with a rapport with Robby Anderson who connected for 11 total touchdowns in two seasons together.
WR19 isn’t a terrible price for Moore who is right in that back-end WR2 range for me. But you’re paying for him at his floor while you can get other receivers like Chris Godwin and CeeDee Lamb in a similar range, likely at their floor.
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.