Start, Sit & Home

A basketball hoop in the driveway, illuminated by a porch light. A garage door opening for my blacked-out Scion, eventually leading inside where there’s a large flat-top stove and a sectional sofa positioned strategically for football Sundays.

This is what I used to think of when I envisioned the idea of home. A fleet of specific vehicles, coupled with a great outdoor space, in the perfect location. A house filled with exact items, some that I have now and some that I hope to have in the future.

Moving 11 times in the past seven years made this idea of home become nothing more than a set of specifics and a nostalgic sense that I’m still chasing. I’ve lived in what feels like just about everywhere in my home state of Pennsylvania: the backroads surrounding the small northwestern towns, the campus and neighborhoods of a charming college town in the south-west and the developments in the suburbs of the east. All this, of course, leading me to where I call home now – Happy Valley and the “city” of State College, Pa.

While there, these places became what feels like home at times. Yet, leaving so frequently has built up a tolerance to the idea of home.

Until recently that is.

Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa, now within walking distance of our apartment.

In August, my girlfriend and I moved into our first place together – an apartment in a beautiful neighborhood on the north side of town. It was as close to as perfect as we could ask for. It was an ideal location, has parking for all three of our vehicles, more than enough space for both of our belongings and two different decks.

With the addition of Beaver Stadium and our favorite downtown pubs and campus chill spots all within echoing distance, I thought I finally found it again. Home.

But as we enjoyed a crisp fall Saturday night from our third-floor balcony this past weekend, I realized that it’s Katie – and the people we love – that make somewhere feel like home. Not the geographical location and the specifics of the structure or objects within it.

With a fresh perspective, I set out to get other input on the concept of home. However, I also had a hazy idea of where to look for experts in the field that didn’t lead me to apply for a home loan from some sketchy real estate salesman. So my journalism skills led me to a place that some of find a second home within virtually – social media.

Thoughts from Friends

Fellow Centre County resident and owner of Hello Social Co., Ellen Matis said, “When I was in high school I heard a song lyric, ‘home is not places, it is love.’ That’s always really stuck with me.”

The lyrics Matis refers to leads us to The Apache Relay’s alternative track, “Home is Not Places.” Though this was my first time hearing the track, it perfectly enraptures my epiphany.

The next thoughts on the subject took me back to one of my hometowns, where Julie Bakaysa, a social worker and mother to In-Between Media staff member Jared Bakaysa said, “Home for me means family, wherever you are together. It means a ‘safe place’ free from judgment, where you are just yourself, allowed and encouraged to be yourself because it’s safe and comfortable. Home is where there is infinite caring and love for one another and where you all find your biggest supporters and cheerleaders in your life.”

I think Julie highlights something special about the best homes, it that it is really only complete when it is filled with family. And the thing about family is that she isn’t just referring to the family you’re related to by blood – but your chosen family, as well. A lot of times too this chosen family can be just as supportive and accepting of you as anyone else.

At least that’s how I know I and fellow fantasy football analyst Charles Herrman (Herms), founder of The Lateral and contributor to Football Absurdity, Rumboyz Fantasy Network and 30TwoBit, feel about it. “Home is a sense of belonging to me,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s a physical location per se. I feel ‘home’ in my house, but also at Malcolm’s parents’ house, at Nationals Park for a ballgame or at my local watering hole. It’s less about the venue and more about the people there.”

Home: Final Thoughts 

After hearing the above and countless others’ stories about the idea of home, I’ve concluded that you need three things to create a home: love, safety and family.

The same can be said for what it takes to put together a truly great fantasy football team. You can hit on all the breakouts and sleepers and avoid the busts, but if you don’t love the game itself, your league and your players, it’s tough to fully invest.

When putting together a championship-caliber fantasy football roster, you also need safety. Yes, we’re always shooting for upside in this game. But it’s often players who aren’t the flashiest, but just provide consistent scores week after week that can win you championships. I think of players like Travis Kelce, Keenan Allen and – so far this season – Chase Edmonds.

Maybe most importantly, to create a real home or fantasy football team, you need the right family. It might not always be the people you imagined at first that will help you live your life to the fullest or win championships, but it’s the family you created and maintained yourself. People will both disappoint and surprise you along the way.

Eventually, you might have to cut people out who aren’t who you thought they were. Just like how I had to drop Browns’ tight end Austin Hooper in some leagues this week after not being the screaming value I projected him to be.

But at the end of the day, all of it will just make your home that much stronger – wherever that is – because the coordinates don’t matter. What does matter is that your loved, safe and around the right people, whether that’s in an Airbnb in Bum-F*** Egypt (BFE), a one-bedroom apartment in the city or a van overlooking the ocean.

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:

Aaron Rodgers (Packers):  After only one fantasy QB1 finish in the first three weeks of the season, Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, is being consistently ranked as a borderline top-12 play. I’m here with this selection to tell you to not get cute.

Rodgers has six touchdowns so far this season. That’s not an awful number, but for where most fantasy managers drafted the California kid, they expected more. But Rodgers is still completing passes at a 68.2 percent clip and is top 10 in Adjusted Quarterback Rating (QBR) with a 60.9 rating.

This week he returns home to Green Bay to face the visiting Steelers, whose defense has not looked the same as they did a year ago when they got off to an 11-0 start. With both linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith banged up, they’ve allowed opposing quarterbacks an average of two touchdowns per game for an average fantasy output of 22.7 points per game. With playmakers Davante Adams and Aaron Jones both ready to roll, I’m ready to do the same with Rodgers in my lineups here in Week 4.

Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:

Derek Carr (Las Vegas):  Through three weeks, Derek Carr leads the league in passing yards and is the fantasy QB9. With the confidence rising on Carr and the Raiders as a whole, I’m expecting them to let fans and fantasy managers down in Week 4 as they travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers.

Despite the rookie head coach Brandon Staley’s defense not looking too overwhelming on paper, they’ve been nothing short of superb this season. They’ve held opposing quarterbacks to 210.7 passing yards per game, good for an average of just 16 fantasy points per game. Also, keep in mind that this in back-to-back weeks of facing Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes – two of the league’s premier passers.

Running Back I’d Start this Week:

Javonte Williams (Denver):  It’s been a slow start for rookie running back Javonte Williams as he currently sits as the PPR RB40 across leagues. But if a breakout week is on the horizon for the former University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heel, I think it’s this week as the Baltimore Ravens come to town.

With the Ravens still possessing one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league, I expect Denver offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to fight fire with fire to keep the ball out of Lamar Jackson’s hands. Even though Baltimore’s defense has allowed just 3.1 Yards Per Carry (YPC) to opposing backs, they’ve been exposed to the position in other ways. They’ve allowed the most rushing touchdowns to running backs in the league (five) and the third-most receiving yards per game (65.7) to them.

All this on top of Williams’ backfield mate Melvin Gordon dealing with a rib injury makes me excited to give Williams another rip this week.

Running Back I’d Sit this Week:

Damien Harris (New England):  Somehow, even with James White exiting last week’s game after just one carry, Damien Harris produced just 3.1 PPR points. Even crazier? He’s been a good deal of lineups I’ve seen submitted this week.

Harris has a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense who is once again a top-10 defense against running backs, allowing just one rushing touchdown to them this season. But it’s also a game where the Patriots will need to air the ball out to keep up with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and company. Unless they fall into the end zone a few times, I see no value in starting anyone in the Patriots’ backfield this week.

Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:

Jaylen Waddle (Miami):  I’ll be honest, I think I missed on my evaluation of rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle. He’s has looked polished in the first few weeks of his career as he’s currently top five in the league in receptions with 22.

The issue so far for Waddle is that he’s lacked big plays and hasn’t been efficient with his receptions, averaging just 7.6 (YPR). However, I think he gets this figured out in Week 4 against the Colts’ defense that has allows the most YPR (15.9) in the league. Despite the possible quarterback woahs for the dolphins, I’m a go on the former Crimson Tide this week. 

Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:

Emmanuel Sanders (Buffalo):  I’ve liked what I’ve seen out of both Emmanuel Sanders and the red-hot Buffalo Bills lately, which is why this sit selection may come as a surprise to some.

The Bills are at home this week to face the Houston Texans. This is the kind of game where the “Bills Mafia” may be back in the parking lot jumping through tables by the end of the third quarter. Since they’ve been trailing the last few weeks, teams have run the ball more, hurting some of the fantasy receiving options. They’ve allowed just 11.3 receptions per game to opposing receivers. 

With Sanders averaging just 6.7 targets per game and already having two sub-par games this season, he’s not worth the risk of single digits this week with no teams on bye.

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.