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Start, Sit & Old Habits Die Hard

by Seth Woolcock

Old habits die hard.

And no, I’m not talking about the Mick Jagger song.

Old habits die hard is a tendency to fall back into old habits and ways, even though you know where they lead you.

Back in high school, my best friend Chris “Udo” Udovich was the friend who got his license way before most of us.

Because of his early birthday, high school sports being done for the year and his sweet new ride, an early 2000s deep blue Jeep Grand Cherokee, Udo was my and my other three best friends’ ride home just about every day after school.

It was the day before the last day of school. The bell rang and we all ran to the Jeep.

 I hopped into the middle of the back seat, with Tyler and Shane Rolick on both sides of me and the dad of the group, Jake Shrubb, riding shotgun.

This day we were, “taking the long way home,” according to Udo.

Forty-five minutes later we found ourselves on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest facing a decision. We came upon a popular mudding spot called “Smurf Pits.”

The pit of mud seemed deep, but not deep enough to stop us from trying to drive Udo’s Jeep through it.

We found long sticks to attempt to measure the depth, and Shrubb told us it wasn’t a good idea.

But ultimately, when Udo decided to conquer the Smurf Pit, all four of us were along for the ride.

After a running start we hit the pit – or really, pond – with a ton of speed.

Next thing I know, a huge wave of water hits the front windshield, and water starts pouring in all sides of the Jeep.

Udo yelled for everyone to open their doors while we could, eventually just causing more water to flow in.

By the time you know it, the five of us were on the roof of the halfway sunken vehicle going nowhere.

Miles away from any civilization, we knew we were in trouble.

I walked barefoot to the main road, about 3 or 4 miles, where there was cell service to ensure we would be able to make it out before sundown.

When I returned to the pits with a friend with a truck, I found the guys huddled under bushes for shelter, using their t-shirts as umbrellas against the rain.

After getting the Jeep unstuck, it was clear that it had some mechanical issues from all the water intake, and we wouldn’t be able to just start it up and drive it home.

So, we towed the Jeep behind the truck with Udo trying to control it without any power steering.

We should’ve thought it over more because next thing we know we take a turn and Udo and the Jeep slide right into a ditch.

After that, we knew it was time to face the consequences.

We went back to my garage where Udo called his parents and owned up to what happened.

Udo got grounded for a month, and although he and his dad eventually got the Jeep, now named Lone Survivor, to run, it was never the same.

See, my point is that we learned what not to do with a vehicle that day, to not even put yourself in that situation.

We also learned that Udo should probably not own a Jeep, ever.

And even though we learned from the experience of sinking Udo’s Jeep, we still occasionally fell back into our old habits of testing our limits. Eventually, I would get my own car stuck once or twice.

And as for Udo, he’s still my best friend. He eventually swapped the Jeep for a nice Buick – which he ended up trading in a few weeks back for a four-door Jeep Wrangler. Proving that some of us never learn, even when we know better.

And as for me, even though I never sunk a Jeep, I’ve sunk a fantasy team or two.

This week I traded San Diego running back Austin Ekeler for an old friend, New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell.

And even though I know better and have been a Crowell owner before, I fell back into my old habits.

Last week when I wrote that you should start Steelers’ tight end, Jesse James, my head knew better.

But I fell captive to my emotions, as the week before I was at the Steelers’ game and saw James destroying the Kansas City secondary.

And then last week I saw Vance McDonald stiff-arming a defender and taking one to the house.

When will I ever learn?

So even though we learn something over and over again and experience something, again and again, we can still occasionally fall back into our old behaviors if we’re not careful.

Old habits die hard.

Now, let’s get to it.

Quarterback I’d Start this Week:

Matt Ryan (Atlanta) or Andy Dalton (Cincinnati):  With both teams looking like their starting running backs will be out yet again, and with a clear 70-degree day forecasted for Sunday’s game in Cincinnati, we could see another shootout for the Falcons against the Bengals.

And after losing free safety Ricardo Allen last week, the Falcons are now already down five defensive starters.

Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:

Dak Prescott (Dallas):  Just about every other starting quarterback in the NFL is a more viable option than Dak Prescott at this time.

Having more turnovers than touchdowns and with no clear target in site, it would be a smart choice to pick up and play anyone other than Prescott.

Running Back I’d Start this Week:

Carlos Hyde (Cleveland):  Carlos Hyde is ninth-ranked at the running back position thus far.

While it’s important to note that his 3.3 yards per carry is the lowest average of his career, he still has the workhorse role on this Browns team.

With Baker Mayfield now at the helm, it feels like a mediocre reboot of “Major League,” where the Browns become an intriguing team that contends for an AFC playoff spot.

Running Back I’d Sit this Week:

Alfred Morris (San Francisco):  With new starting quarterback CJ Beathard targeting running backs more than anyone else in the league, either Alfred Morris will end up getting more work in the passing game, or San Francisco could ditch Morris all together and just run Matt Breida, the better pass-catching option.

I tend to think that head coach Kyle Shanahan will go with the latter of the two.

Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:

Young, Second-Option Receivers:  JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Calvin Ridley, Tyler Lockett and Mike Williams are just a few of the young wide receivers who seem to be having breakout seasons.

With all the coverage Julio Jones, Antonio Brown or DeAndre Hopkins take up, it opens up talented No. 2 wide receivers. If you have one of the above-mentioned, play them. If you don’t own them, go get them while you still can.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:

Corey Davis (Tennessee):  Another classic case of a talented player in a tough situation.

The fifth-overall pick from 2017 is gifted, but I don’t think an injured Marcus Mariota, nor a healthy Blaine Gabbert, has what it takes to be competitive and get the ball to Corey Davis against the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles defense this week.

This column was originally featured at ThePenn.org September 27, 2018.

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.

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