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Start, Sit & Some Pittsburgh Rap Legends

by Seth Woolcock

You ever feel stuck?

The kind of stuck where you spend more than an hour just looking up at the ceiling, searching for a topic to write your freakin’ fantasy football column stuck?

You try just about everything to pull inspiration from, but still…nothing.

And then, just when you’re about to throw in the towel, you hear something, and it comes to you.

For me, all I needed to hear in that momentarily lapse of inspiration was some music from my two all-time favorite rappers.

Wiz Khalifa and the late, great Mac Miller – both hailing from the city of Pittsburgh.

It’s hard to explain exactly what it is. Wiz’s laugh? Mac’s charisma? Or the relatable stories they tell in their most memorable tracks?

Whatever it is, both of these rap legends, using their own personal narrative elements and storytelling fashion, have the ability to take you back to a certain time and place in your own life.

For example:

“Black and Yellow” (2010) – Wiz Khalifa

I didn’t like rap music as a kid. I always thought it was too hard, too loud and just too overdone.

However, that all changed one day when I was 12-years-old at a Steelers’ game at Heinz field in 2010, the season they made an elastosis run to the Super Bowl.

Before, after and throughout the game, the sounds of young Wiz’s “Black and Yellow” brought a different type of energy to the city. Going home that day, I knew he and his music were going to be special.

“Donald Trump” (2011) – Mac Miller 

One evening back in junior high, I was at the kitchen counter doing homework when a song my brother downloaded on our iTunes called “Donald Trump” came on my iPod by surprise.

I don’t know what the single from the young Pittsburgh rapper was about, but for those two minutes and 26 seconds, it made me get up, dance and feel like I was someone way cooler than my awkward, 13-year-old self.

“When I’m Gone” (2011) – Wiz Khalifa

I was in the eighth grade, surrounded by two of my childhood best friends is when my love for Wiz Khalifa, and music as a whole, began to come to fruition.

“When I’m Gone” was and still is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. To this day, every time I hear that opening-minute piano solo, I go somewhere. The smooth melodies and storytelling create a strong sense of relatability that makes me feel like Wiz knows me and my deepest thoughts.

“Cameras” (2011) – Wiz Khalifa

Although Khalifa’s song “Cameras” was released in his 2011 on his debut album “Rolling Papers,” it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I really came to understand and appreciate it.

The lyrics “It’s hardly a secret, you ain’t gonna trying to get where you’re going until you reach it” couldn’t have been any truer to me than at that time.

I didn’t have much support from my family when I told them I wanted to go to college for a degree in journalism. So, when I left for college, I was determined to do everything I could to try and make it in this industry.

While most of my fellow classmates were out partying at night, I was up late, days at a time, writing multiple stories for the campus newspaper that I envisioned that one day, with enough hard work, I could become the editor-in-chief of.

 And as that infamous saying goes, “the rest was history.”

“Thoughts from a Balcony” (2012) – Mac Miller

While music often has the power to create and remind us of good times, some of the best can also get us through the not-so-good times. I was a college sophomore, struggling both mentally and emotionally when I first heard Mac’s “Thoughts from a Balcony.”

Even though the song derives from “Macadelic,” a mixtape that critics consider his darkest project, it helped bring closure to my past and prepare me for what lied ahead as I overlooked Indiana from my college loft.

“The Question” (feat. Lil Wayne) (2012) – Mac Miller

Last September, following the death of our beloved Pittsburgh rapper, we spent the night on my girlfriend’s porch with a few friends, trying to find some light on a day where we felt like we had lost one of our own.

Nate Miller, a great friend of both myself and “The In-Between,” requested the track “The Question feat. Lil Wayne” to end the night.

Raw emotion, deep thoughts and even some tears were shared as it came across the JBL speaker on that stagnant fall night.

“On and On” (2011) – Mac Miller

I put my headphones in as I exited my house, following the final day of the 2019 spring semester.

Running late after getting off work, trying to meet up with some of my favorite people at the local bar – my girlfriend and some Penn alumni who had become some of my best friends throughout the years.

I swear, when “On and On” came through my beaten-up Apple headphones that night, I couldn’t be more filled with happiness and anticipation to see the people that I had so much love for.

“Young, Wild & Free” (2011) – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa

If there was ever a song that could describe my generation, it’s this 2011 hit.

Still to this day, whenever I’m in need of a song that has the power to bring a room full of people together, I look no further than “Young, Wild and Free.”

It’s hard to describe exactly, but it makes you feel, even if just for a moment, like you’re doing everything exactly right in life.

And getting stuck is a feeling that most fantasy football owners feel at some point or another throughout the course of the season. Your draft picks haven’t panned out, you missed out on the big-time free-agent finds and you find yourself amidst of all the other par to sub-par teams in the league.

But, listen, you can’t give up. There is still work to be done. Trades to be made, players to acquire and weeks to win.

Whether it’s Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa or whatever music you need to hear to get you unstuck – listen to it and act.

Now, let’s get to it.

Quarterback I’d Start this Week: 

Gardner Minshew II (Jacksonville):  “Minshew Mania” has officially made its way to fantasy football. Gardner Minshew, a sixth-round rookie, has scored at least 16 fantasy points in every game this season, including Week 1 when he came off the bench to replace the injured Nick Foles.

Oh, and his matchup this week?

A Saints defense that allows the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, allowing on average more than 275 yards and 1.60 touchdowns so far this season.

Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:

Baker Mayfield (Cleveland):  After a negative two (-2) performance in Week 5, Baker Mayfield sits at QB28 on the season.

Facing the Seahawks on Sunday, Mayfield, who’s constantly been under deres in the pocket and forced to roll to his right, will have Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah on opposite ends coming after him. Until Cleveland can get the pass-protection situation figured out, Mayfield is un-rosterable, let alone start-able.

Running Back I’d Start this Week:

Adrian Peterson (Washington):  Now, let’s get something straight. I’m not saying go out and start Adrian Peterson over a bunch of top-25 running backs. However, times are tough at the position, and Peterson has RB2 upside this week.

He’s had a nice rebound after being inactive for the team’s first game in favor of the now-injured Derrius Guice.

Peterson’s facing the Miami Dolphins this week, the worst defense against opposing running backs. Head coach Jay Gruden was just let go, and Colt McCoy will be the third Washington quarterback to be under center within the last three weeks. It should be “All Day” on Sunday as Washington looks to salvage something from this season.

Running Back I’d Sit this Week:

Miles Sanders (Philadelphia):  Death, taxes and running back by committees in Philadelphia.

Miles Sanders is a risky flex start, especially after Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson hinted that backfield-mate Jordan Howard, who has four touchdowns in the last two games, is in line for more carries.

While it was nice of him to mention that he won’t neglect Sanders if he gets the hot hand, I’m not starting a running back in hopes of him getting the “hot hand” against a Minnesota defense that is fifth-best against opposing running backs so far this season.

Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:

DJ Chark Jr. (Jacksonville):  Minshew’s favorite target, DJ Chark Jr., is currently WR5 on the season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

This week he’s facing a Saints defense that, outside of Marshon Lattimore, is not playing up to par and just allowed Amari Cooper to go nuts for 11 receptions, 226 yards and a touchdown.

If trends and stats say anything this week, it is to start Chark Jr.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:

Diontae Johnson (Pittsburgh):  Although rookie Diontae Johnson has been impressive thus far and now takes a step up on the depth chart after James Washington’s injury, he’s more of a bench stash this week.

He’ll be going to Los Angeles with third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges under center to face a Chargers’ defense that’s allowed only 11.6 receptions and 150.8 yards to opposing wide receivers.

But while he shouldn’t be started this week, he’s worth a roster spot moving forward.

This column was originally featured at ThePenn.org October 10, 2019.

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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