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Start Sit & Progress on August Alley

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 in this edition as he reflects on 2022 and shares his week 18 starts and sits, discussing J.K. Dobbins, Jarrett Stidham and more.

Progress isn’t always linear.

Like football, momentum comes and goes. You can study the Xs and the Os. Spend nights in your office. However, you still might not achieve your goal(s)… yet.

But in the consistency – moving the chains one play after another – that’s where progress is made. It’s hard to see when you’re in the midst of something as tiresome and encompassing as the NFL and fantasy football season.

But when you’re able to take a step back, as I am this week with most fantasy football leagues wrapped up, you see it.

August Alley

I began running again in March last year. It turns out then that when you replace playing three varsity sports as a teen with three and a half years of college, followed by a pandemic and a work-from-home lifestyle in your 20s, your body doesn’t like it. Blame it on my metabolism slowing down or unhealthy habits. Either way, I gained weight since my 21st birthday in 2019.

So, I returned to the streets, one step at a time.

I developed a consistent running route in my sleepy neighborhood tucked in the north end of this Central Pennsylvania college town. Down Ridge, onto Adams, to Thomas, Mitchell, Holmes and – just as my knees begin to ache from the pavement – August Alley.

A gravel road running parallel to the way I came, August Alley was seemingly just that – an alley tucked between two quaint streets. Yet, as I continued to run day after day, I witnessed all the changes taking place on it.

One unoccupied house’s yard was fully covered in overgrown weeds and dead trees in the spring. By August? It was completely cleaned up and had a new family moving in, just in time for the school year.

Farther down the alley, another house built a new fence around their backyard, paving a beautiful back entrance into their garage that I had never before noticed. I’ve seen bricks laid, yards leveled and even an entire addition built on August Alley – all in less than nine months.

Progress At Its Peak

As for me, your faithful columnist and aspiring avid runner, I’ve made progress, too. I’m still not where I want to be and have a long way to go. But I feel a lot better than when I began this last year. Not only has pounding the pavement helped me trim down physically, but also mentally. Usually joined by the words of Eddie Pinero’s “Your World Within” podcast, I’ve come to appreciate my runs and the time trying to detach from work.

With a recent warm spell, my substituted indoor workouts turned back into running outside. It’s there that I’ve truly been able to reflect on my progress in 2022 as an entrepreneur, creator and, most importantly, human being.

I said “yes” more often in 2022 and explored both new and familiar places – meeting people who will be a part of my story. I redefined my practices and experimented with new ideas. Losses and setbacks were overcome, with victories celebrated in-between.

Still, sometimes my emotions got the best of me. I didn’t spend enough time doing some of the things I love with the people I love. These are areas I hope to improve on this year.

As we enter 2023, I might not be completely satisfied with where I am in all aspects of my life. But just like August Alley and just like our fantasy football teams, progress was made. Everyday motions – the runs, hours spent consuming data and strokes on this very keyboard – made me better than I was before. That in itself… is enough for me.

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 in Week 18:

Jarrett Stidham (Las Vegas):  Look, I get it. It sounds gross. However, Jarrett Stidham finished as the QB3 last week, scoring 27 fantasy points in his first career start. That was against arguably the best defense in football, the San Francisco 49ers.

After another week of knowing he’s the starter, the fourth-year man gets to play the Kansas City Chiefs – a top-six matchup for opposing QBs over the past month and top three on the season. Starting Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed should be out there, but less than 100 percent after injuring his hip last week.

Game flow should work in Stidham’s favor with his future on the line. Head coach Josh McDaniels’ future could also be impacted by how the Raiders show up in Week 18. I’m trusting they go all-out and Stidham again finishes as a QB1.

Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 18:

Deshaun Watson (Cleveland):  The Steelers’ defense has been a bottom-four matchup for QBs, RBs and WRs the past month. Yet, fantasy managers and rankers continue to try to start QBs against them. Only one QB in the past six games has thrown for more than 200 yards against them. That was Sam Darnold, who threw for 225 yards, scoring 13.2 fantasy points.

Deshaun Watson had his best fantasy performance last time out since returning in Week 13. However, his 21.9 fantasy points came by completing just nine of his 18 passes. He hit a couple of deep shots and benefited from an incredible play down the sideline from Amari Cooper. With the Steelers having everything to play for and the Browns having next to nothing, I don’t expect that to be the case this week.

Running Back I’d Start in Week 18:

Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City):  Isiah Pacheco isn’t always the most exciting rookie RB to watch. However, he’s been a consistent producer, hitting double-digit points in six of his last seven outings. He’s not much of a receiving threat, but he’s seeing at least a few targets per game – keeping his floor steady.

The Chiefs’ game script rating of +2.39 (fourth best) suggests they’ll be leading and need to kill clock. Pacheco can help with that, as he’s averaging 4.7 Yards Per Carry (YPC) this season. The Raiders have been a top seven for RBs over the past month and top two on the season. This only furthers the potential for Pacheco to have a big game.

Running Back I’d Sit in Week 18:

J.K. Dobbins (Baltimore):  Welcome back to the section where I fade J.K. Dobbins. Last week Dobbins saw a season-high 17 carries. However, he continued to do nothing in the passing game, leading him below double-digit PPR points for the second consecutive week.

Even better than the Steelers’ defense is against RBs are the Bengals. They’ve held opposing RBs to the least PPR points scored in the last month. That stems from allowing just 3.1 YPC and zero total TDs. Likely without Lamar Jackson again, Dobbins’ chances to score decrease, leaving him on the latter side of my Week 18 start/sit decisions.

Wide Receiver I’d Start in Week 18:

Chris Olave (New Orleans):  A few weeks ago, I was touting the Carolina Panthers’ defense as a potential streaming option down the stretch. Boy, did they prove me wrong, allowing Tom Brady to have his best game of the season last week, throwing for 432 yards and three TDs. They’re now the most favorable matchup for opposing WRs over the past month. This week they’ll round out the season by facing the hapless Saints.

Despite a recent fall-off in production, the Saints’ No. 1 receiver is still Chris Olave. The rookie out of the Ohio State University has come back down to earth after a strong first half of the season. However, he still remains top-12 amongst WRs in target rate, air yards and target quality rating. In a game that could mean head coach Dennis Allen’s job, I expect Olave to go out with a bang to cap his inaugural season.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit in Week 18:

Courtland Sutton (Denver):  I came into the season not liking Courtland Sutton’s fantasy potential as much as others, and it looks like that’s how I’m going to go out, too.

Jerry Jeudy has caught a higher percentage of his passes than Sutton this season (66 percent to 59.8 percent), averaged a higher Yards Per Reception (YPR) (13.2 to 13) and scored five more TDs. Sutton has been OK, but he’s never hit 20 PPR points and failed to reach double digits in 35 percent of his games.

With no real ceiling or overly dependable floor, there’s little reason to play Sutton if you’re still in your league championship. That’s especially true against the rejuvenated Chargers’ defense, limiting receivers to the fourth-least PPR points in the past month.

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 playoff and uplifting content, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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