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Start, Sit & Nobody’s Perfect

by Seth Woolcock

“Start, Sit & Seth” is the original column of In-Between Media, bridging feel-good lifestyle advice with redraft fantasy football analysis. Consistently following Seth Woolcock’s journey as a young creator, this series is now in its fifth season. Join him this week as he investigates the idea behind the Fantasy Receipts Twitter account and shares his start/sit selections for Week 7.

Predicting the future is a fool’s errand. Just ask the Mayan calendar, 2020 U.S. election projections or the AP Top-25 College Football Preseason Poll.

Yet each summer, thousands upon thousands – myself included – attempt to write the outcome of the upcoming NFL season before a snap is ever played. Then, after everything changes following the first kickoff, we spend the next 18 weeks adjusting. By the end, we’re just happy to have made it through.

The truth is that most of the analysts you see today didn’t initially set out on this path. We didn’t just wake up one day and decide to do this. Somehow, through life’s ups and downs, we managed to find it and the truly life-changing community surrounding it.

The Bad Call Police

However, like everything, it’s a double edge sword. It’s a competitive business and at times can feel like a game of keeping up with the Joneses. Hot takes sell, and sheer quantity is, unfortunately, the king of content creation.

With little evergreen content and an NFL calendar that never stops moving, old takes go by the wayside. Somewhere out there are all the bad takes – mine included – laid to rest in the cemetery of past seasons.

Until recently, that is.

An account under the alias of Fantasy Receipts has begun resurfacing analysts’ bad takes. In just a few weeks, it’s gained a solid following. It has also somewhat split the community on whether the account is a positive way to keep analysts accountable or just another well of drama.

Having no clear stance one way or the other, I set out to understand both sides of the accountability coin. There would be no savvy IP tracking, no digital fingerprinting, just communication. 

One-on-One Three With Fantasy Receipts

“It [accountability] means standing by advice you give other people,” the Fantasy Receipts Twitter account said in an Oct. 18 Twitter Direct Message (DM). “It’s being responsible for the content you put out into the world and learning to accept that you can be wrong.”

They claim they launched the account two weeks ago, “trying to just add some levity to the game so folks know their favorite analysts are all human.”

I say “they” because the account said they are a team of three with over five years of industry experience. They’re amongst us, noting some are Fantasy Sports Writing Association (FSWA) members and that they have met most of the analysts they’ve shared tweets of at The Fantasy Football Expo and Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) live drafts. They plan to keep their identities anonymous and ensure that it’s “all in good fun.”

But I think more interesting than who they are is what their cause is.

“No one is perfect,” they said. “The sooner we lean into our misses, the faster we can make our hits stronger and scalable. Fantasy comes with plenty of unknowns – so being able to recognize that no one has a crystal ball is just the start. If we track wins and loses in head-to-head weekly games, then our tweets that are meant to influence others deserve the same treatment.”

It’s an interesting sentiment that deserves some merit. 

Process Over Personal

That said, there are still l negative byproducts of having a policing force tracking fantasy receipts. They said that 80 percent of their posts are submitted. This is either done by analysts joining in on the fun themselves, like NFL Network’s Adam Rank, or from others – sometimes jaded fans who took bad advice – wanting to put an analyst on blast.

Intentionally or not, it stokes the flames of the proverbial fire of being envious of others’ platforms and successes. Like a lot of other online banter, this could also affect the confidence and mental health of those featured on the page. 

“Nothing is intentional,” they said. “… No one has a target on their back.”

Even so, I can’t help but feel somewhat sorry for some of my fellow younger analysts who are consistently featured.

Akash Patel is a 19-year-old mechanical engineering student at Boston University (BU). He has built a large social media following and has subsequently been featured on Fantasy Receipts in the past few weeks. 

“In a perfect world, we judge process, but it always has room for debate,” he said in an Oct. 20 Twitter DM. “I think that accountability is good, but… they pick and choose who to blast, and it sometimes has a mocking tone underneath it.”

At the same time, Akash says he doesn’t mind being posted on the account, and he has even submitted some to them, too.

“Some takes I look back, and I think I should’ve been thinking differently, and some I look back and think that I would do the same all over again,” he said.

Staying Authentic in Your Work

Even after hearing from the mysterious faces behind the account and discussing it with industry colleagues, I remain indifferent on it all. 

It’s not my style to get into the weeds and politics of the fantasy football industry like they are. Hell, it feels even a bit off-brand to even cover this. 

Yet, I believe in accountability. The advice I give, whether in the offseason or weekly in-season, is backed with as much analytics and film research as I can do. It doesn’t always turn out to come to fruition, but I hang my hat on giving honest – non-clickbait – guidance.

So much so that I’ve tracked every one of my start/sit selections from this’s columns five-year run. For my QB starts, I attempt to find a QB outside of the top tier that can finish as a QB1. The sit selections are borderline options, who players may be considering starting that I don’t see finishing as a top-12 option.

For RBs and WRs, I feature players that consensus industry rankings have outside the top 24 at their position. I’m looking for double-digit fantasy points in these starts and sits score correctly if they finish below that mark.

Year Weekly Start/Sit Hit Rate
QB Hit Rate RB Hit Rate WR Hit Rate
2019 56 59 59
2020 57 59 58
2021 59 67 36
2022 (so far) 50 50 67
*2018 isn’t shown due to not being a weekly column.*

As you can see, I’m anything but perfect. Last year was my first-full season predicting anything above a 65 percent rate, and I set new career highs at RB and QB. Yet, you had better luck fading my WR start/sit selections. 

It’s still early this season, but I’ve been up and down on my predictions as just about any year. In the offseason, I was hot on a rookie breakout for Breece Hall and a hero’s return for Saquon Barkley. Yet, I also whiffed, going all-in on AJ Dillon and Jerry Jeudy.

Perfection’s Pressure Point

This column doesn’t have a fairytale ending, nor a jury decision. I’m not here to say pulling receipts is worse than not holding yourself accountable for your bad takes.

But it is my place to say that nobody’s perfect. We all have our misses in life and fantasy football. If we’re not careful, those speedbumps will scar us.

Yet these imperfections and scars are what make us each uniquely human. There are countless ways to live your life and build your fantasy roster. We play the game our way because it’s more fun to be original. 

That’s the beautiful thing about it. No matter how many calls I get wrong or if I get put on blast for some bad advice, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll learn from it and move forward wiser than before.

I challenge you to do the same as a fantasy football manager and human being. Learn from your mistakes – whether that was you touting Russell Wilson as a possible QB1 overall candidate (guilty) or hurting someone you care about.

Nobody’s perfect. Just never stop trying to improve yourself one step at a time.

Alright, and here we go.

The following Week 7 start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.

Quarterback I’d Start in Week 7:

Tua Tagovailoa (Miami):  In a week with Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford on bye, solid QB plays are scarce. Thankfully, Tua Tagovailoa has returned after sitting out the past two weeks with a concussion. 

There’s only a two-game sample size this season of Tagovailoa playing without leaving for injury. But in those two games, he looked the best of his career and averaged 26.8 fantasy points per game. He’ll face a traveling Steelers’ secondary just now getting healthy. This defense has allowed a QB1 finish in four of six games this season, including to Jacoby Brissett and Zach Wilson

With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle alongside, there is no reason to sweat playing Tagovailoa this week.

Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 7:

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay):  Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have struggled against pressure this season. This was evident last week as the Jets sacked him four times in their upset win in Lambeau Field. He faces the Washington Commanders this week, who are surprisingly top six in sacks.

Rodgers’ lack of weapons is also clear, as he’s tied for 18th in 40-plus yard completions with two. Without Davante Adams this season, Rodgers has failed to clip 17 fantasy points even once. With the back-to-back NFL MVP’s upside capped, I don’t feel great about starting him in most games not against the Lions. Even with a plus-matchup on paper, I’m avoiding the Packers’ signal caller this week.

Running Back I’d Start in Week 7:

Jeff Wilson Jr. (San Francisco):  Jeff Wilson Jr. was a major bust last week, totaling .5 PPR points after four straight weeks of double-digit points. The 49ers’ usual game plan of winning with great defense and running the ball fell apart, with many key players again injured.

San Francisco could get Nick Bosa and Charvarius Ward back this week, but they still face the Chiefs. Kyle Shannahan will need to attack the Chiefs’ defense where they’re most susceptible – running backs through the air.

RBs pass-catching has torn up the Chiefs, as they’re allowing a league-high 8.8 receptions and 62 receiving yards to them per game. Outside of Week 3, Wilson Jr.’s involvement in the passing game has been seldom aside from Week 3. But they’ll need him to be involved this week, giving him a potentially higher floor than usual.

Running Back I’d Sit in Week 7:

David Montgomery (Chicago):  I’ve always been a fan of David Montgomery. But even he doesn’t possess upside in this inept Chicago offense. A young quarterback behind a bad offensive line paired with a rookie head coach was a poor recipe for success from the go. In games Montgomery hasn’t rushed for 100 yards or scored a TD, he hasn’t exceeded double-digit PPR points.

Only one game this season has the Patriots allowed any RBs to rush for even north of 60 yards. They’ve yet to allow a rushing TD, and their latest feet includes holding Nick Chubb to 56 yards on 12 carries.

With Khalil Hebert now also emerging, taking at least five touches away per game, Montgomery is hard to trust. In this matchup against the defense allowing the third least PPR points to opposing backs, it’s nearly impossible.

Wide Receiver I’d Start in Week 7:

Alec Pierce (Indianapolis):  Since returning to the lineup in Week 3, Alec Pierce has been the WR23. Averaging 6.8 targets per game along the way, Pierce has carved out a nice role within this recently more pass-happy Colts’ offense.

The matchup is certainly a golden one this week, as he and Michael Pittman Jr. get to pick on the Tenneessee Titans’ secondary again. The Titans allow the second-most PPR points to opposing WRs. Pierce put up four receptions for 80 yards on six targets. With Pierce averaging  15.1 Yards Per Reception (YPR) as a rookie, he only needs a few catches to return value.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit in Week 7:

Darnell Mooney (Chicago):  Copy and paste the earlier rant of the Bears’ disastrous recipe for success here. It’s been better of late for Darnell Mooney, scoring double-digit PPR points in two of his last three outings. However, he’s still the PPR WR69, averaging 6.9 points per game.

Mooney has the eighth-highest target share in the NFL (29.7), but it doesn’t matter because the Bears’ overall volume of plays and pace of play is so low. 

Patriots’ rookie CB Jack Jones has been sensational, and Jalen Mills and Jonathan Jones are holding their own too. I expect another primetime snoozer on Monday night and Mooney to be at the precipice.

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, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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