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Start, Sit & Spinner

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 honors his love of the game Spinners and the traditions surrounding it, while he also shares his start/sit selections for Week 12.

Between the anxieties and disarray of the holidays, there’s joy. 

It might not be there at first glance amongst the charcuterie. But if you look closely enough at the right moment, you can see it.

It’s there on the sugar-stuffed faces of kids, just as it is on their parents’, red from wine and spirits. We might all be hurting in our own way, mostly from the now-vacant chairs surrounding the table. But in that moment, we’re smiling and – if we’re lucky – laughing and carrying on.

Finding Fun in Family Antics

For me, that moment falls within the 10 rounds of the game of Spinner. 

Spinner is the original Texas wild domino game, played with a special set of dominoes that includes 66 total dominoes. Virtually, the goal is to run out of dominoes and – like golf – the lowest combined score at the end of all rounds wins.

Spinner was invented in 1983.

I first began playing the game in 2017 with my Uncle Greg and Aunt Betsy’s family, which has since also become what I consider one of my families. I was going through that difficult chapter of my life, so it was a fun game to take my mind off things.

However, quickly into playing the first game, I realized this was no ordinary game played by any ordinary family. There were twists and turns in each hand and people yelling to let you know about it. There was bantering, and there was non-stop laughing. 

Of course, every three to four hands is met with an equally as fun intermission where parents check on kids and delinquents step out through the garage to refill beverages and smoke cigarettes.

Ultimately, win or lose, each game is a story and has something to laugh about looking back. 

A Game to Take the Edge Off

I have a lot to be grateful for each year around the holidays. But due to some past trauma, it can also flare up some unwanted feelings, too. I also feel unsettled splitting holidays in half and not seeing some people on certain holidays – with my different families and future in-laws all scattered across the state. 

Factor in the stress of continuing to produce content while traveling; the holidays feel as stressful as they are fun.

But during those 10 rounds of spinners on Thanksgiving night, I feel like I can exhale. And I feel like I’m not the only one, as just about everyone – even the quieter in the bunch – is hooting and hollering over dominoes.

While our game of Spinner and Thanksgiving celebration has been pushed back because of illness, it’s a moment I wouldn’t miss for the world. 

It also’s important to find those moments of joy during the now 17-week (or 18-week long in some cases) fantasy football season. 

Sometimes it’s just not our year in certain leagues. And whether we like to admit it or not, sometimes it’s just how the cookie crumbles no matter what choices you’ve made. Injuries, bad beats and some strange fantasy fortunes can all dictate matchups. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t find joy in the game.

Maybe you have other leagues you can shift more of your focus to. Or perhaps you can just try to be the best spoiler team out there or acquire players you like to root for. If you are in dynasty leagues, there is always work to be done. Plus, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and sports betting are a good switch-up from week to week. 

Hell, if you can, at least try to get together with some of your leaguemates for a few games from now until the end of the season. You can find a small sliver of joy in just about everything –  whether that’s life during the holidays or a turbulent fantasy football season. 

You just have to look hard enough.

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 12:

Geno Smith (Seattle):  Fantasy managers should welcome Geno Smith back from the bye week with a place in their starting lineup. Smith is the QB9 on the season on a points-per-game basis. Smith has been the most accurate QB on the season, posting an 8.3 accuracy rating. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a clean pocket or while under pressure, Smith’s accuracy rating remains No. 1 in the league.

The Raiders have been better on defense of late, but Smith should still be able to cook them on the long ball. Smith has a 75 percent catchable deep ball pass rate and two of the league’s premiere deep-ball threats in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. With extra time to prepare for the 3-7 Raiders, the Seattle crowd behind him, Smith should tally his sixth QB1 finish of 2022.

Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 12:

Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville) Trevor Lawrence has been sensational at times for fantasy teams this season, finishing as a QB1 in six of 10 starts. However, in comes the Baltimore defense that has been the No. 1 defense against QBs over the past two weeks and No. 3 over the past month.

A large part of this success has been the addition of All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith. Smith has totaled 12 tackles and one sack in his two games with the Ravens. However, he has also allowed linebacker Patrick Queen to play more freely. Queen posted a season-high 12 tackles, along with half a sack last time out. 

I like Lawrence the next two weeks against the Lions and Titans. However, I am putting him on the latter side of my Week 12 start/sit selections with Baltimore likely shortening this game with their run-heavy approach on the other side.

Running Back I’d Start in Week 12:

Rachaad White (Tampa Bay):  Leonard Fournette remains questionable with a hip injury. Yet, even if he plays, Todd Bowles says he will use a hot-hand approach at running back. Rachaad White, who carried the ball 22 times for 105 yards last time out, will likely be that hot hand for at least part of the game.

The Browns have allowed more PPR points to opposing RBs than any team since Week 2. With Tom Brady somehow on pace to break the all-time passing record, they’ll want to conserve the 45-year-old’s arm down the stretch. Play White and expect another RB2 finish for the Arizona State University product.

Running Back I’d Sit in Week 12:

Kareem Hunt (Cleveland):  Sticking with the same game, I’m sitting Kareem Hunt where I have him. Hunt has averaged just 6.2 carries per game over Cleveland’s last five games. His once fantasy-friendly receiving floor has also seemingly evaporated, as he’s averaging just 2.6 targets per game this season. 

No matter how you slice it (season-long, the last month or the last two weeks), Tampa Bay is a top-six team at stopping opposing RBs. In fact, over the last month, the Buccaneers have allowed just one total TD to RBs. In a time where young RBs are emerging, Hunt is dissipating – placing him on the latter side of my Week 12 start/sit decisions.

Wide Receiver I’d Start in Week 12:

DeVonta Smith (Philadelphia):  Packers fans are counting down the days until defensive coordinator Joe Barr is fired as much as they are Christmas. Despite the Packers having the best secondary talent-wise in the league, the Packers are allowing an average QB rating of 93.7. And even if Barry finally decides to have his No. 1 CB, Jaire Alexander, shadow this week, it’ll be on A.J. Brown – freeing up DeVonta Smith even more. 

Smith has seen eight or more targets in four of his last six games. With QB Jalen Hurts already averaging a 111.5 QB rating when targeting Smith this season, things look favorable against the Packers. Expect Smith to roast the Green Bay secondary this week, as he has all season – averaging two yards of separation per target vs. man coverage.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit in Week 12:

D.J. Moore (Carolina) Benching D.J. Moore is a tradition like no other. He has failed to crack seven PPR points in three straight games, and it doesn’t appear to be getting better anytime soon as Sam Darnold is now the Panthers’ starting QB. 

Making matters worse, Moore will likely draw Patrick Surtain a majority of the day opposite of him. Despite getting roasted by Davante Adams on two big plays last week, Surtain remains the seventh-highest-ranked cornerback, according to PFF. This all bodes poorly for Moore, who is already averaging .4 fantasy points per route run (47th best amongst WRs) and 1.4 fantasy points per target (82nd amongst WRs).

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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