It’s something more present in many kids’ lives growing up than it ought to be.
Although, some of the greatest memories a teenager can have are the unplanned, friends-call-you-that-they’re-outside-and-come-get-in-the-car type of unpredictability.
The type of unpredictability in which you and what seemed like hundreds of people from your tiny town gathered around a bonfire all night until the sun came up.
That type of unpredictability is all fun and games. But then there’s the bad kind of unpredictability.
This is the kind of unpredictability in which you’re a kid just trying to graduate high school, and you come home from practice and dinner still isn’t made and the house needs to be cleaned.
So you improvise.
You find something you can whip up quickly for your siblings and yourself, and you clean the stack of dirty dishes and clean up the leftover food still sitting there from breakfast.
Then there is the really bad type of unpredictability.
The type when you come home and your parent is passed out drunk in the middle of the afternoon.
The type of unpredictability where one day the person you thought you knew turns out to be the total opposite.
When the only stability in your life is you sitting alone late at night in your unfinished truck with just yourself, your thoughts and the company of some Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Thomas Rhett.
But those were the deep thoughts and tears that pushed you to be a better person, work harder and tell yourself that you were going to be something, no matter how much it took.
What it took for me was surrounding myself with great friends that believed in me and choosing the IUP journalism department and The Penn.
I got to learn about something I loved every day: writing and the media. Every Tuesday I got to pick up stories to write about and actually get published. Also on my walk back to my dorm, I got to walk with the girl I was secretly (or not so secretly) crushing on.
I had an education, a steady paycheck, the top fantasy football team in my league, all the friends I needed and eventually I’d get the girl, too. Finally, I had stability, for the time being.
That was the 2016 fantasy football season. I had what I thought was the dream team: Rookie Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon in his breakout season, young Amari Cooper, veteran AJ Green and a handful of flex options, including pre-ACL-tear Allen Robinson and Carlos Hyde.
Well, just like my fantasy football season that year, my life slowly started to fall apart once I left IUP following my freshman year.
But, that’s a story for another time.
When I returned to IUP in the fall for my sophomore year, again I returned to stability. This time I got to spend every Monday and Thursday night editing at The Penn office.
Sure, sometimes it sucked when all my friends were at home watching football or going out. But it was better this way. It was stable.
This year, my junior year of college, I’m fortunate enough to spend just about every day in The Penn office, and I couldn’t be happier. No more unpredictability and finally complete stability of what was in front of me.
Like fantasy football, life is filled with unpredictability. But you try to build your “team” with players and pieces that will give you stable production that will win you the “championship.”
Week 1 of this NFL season was as unpredictable as any I can remember. Who thought we’d see Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay’s backup quarterback, score 42.3 points on the New Orleans Saints defense that was a top-10 D/ST last year?
Or who saw crazy stat lines coming from Oakland’s tight end Jared Cook? Who saw coming virtually unowned players like Denver running back Phillip Lindsay and San Diego running back Austin Ekeler carving out viable fantasy opportunities for themselves?
Well, after a wild Week 1, here are my starts and sits for Week 2.
Quarterback I’d Start this Week:
Jimmy Garoppolo(San Francisco): Jimmy Garroppolo didn’t have the best week last week, but in his defense, he was up against a stacked Minnesota secondary that’s been preparing for him for months. This week he’s at home against a Lions’ defense that made rookie Sam Darnold look like a seasoned veteran. Jimmy G is a go for me this week.
Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:
Without a great offensive line, a stable run game, Jimmy Graham gone and Doug Baldwin most likely out for a while, Wilson will be on the run. He has enough pure skill he could put up a solid stat line, but if you had another option with a better matchup, this would be the time to use them.
Running Back I’d Start this Week:
Jay Ajayi (Philadelphia): I think the Eagles will be in charge of the contest against Tampa Bay this week. And with Carson Wentz still probably going to be out, the Eagles will want to shield Nick Foles as much as possible.
Running Back I’d Sit this Week:
Peyton Barber (Tampa Bay): The Eagles’ front seven last week put a hurting on the Falcons’ running back duo. While Peyton Barber seems like he has the job to himself, the Bucs could go with Jacquizz Rodgers for pass-catching purposes if they’re playing from behind. And I imagine they will be unless Fitzpatrick still has some magic left.
Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:
Mike Williams (San Diego): Last week, all three Ravens wide receivers lit up the Bills. Mike Williams, in his first game back from injury, brought in five receptions for 81 yards on a career-high 44 snaps.
With Travis Benjamin dropping a touchdown, it looks like Williams should be Rivers’ go-to-target behind Keenan Allen. I’d consider Williams a strong flex this week. Go, Chargers, go (Insert Arnold Schwarzenegger voice here.)
Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:
Tyreek Hill, on the other side, had seven receptions for 169 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
There are too many mouths to feed in Kansas City, and last year the Pittsburgh defense was top 10 against wideouts.
Sorry, Sammy, I’m out.
Tight End I’d Start this Week:
With Marquise Goodwin’s health still a concern, and a matchup against the 0-1 Monday night losers in Detroit, Kittle is a start for me at the barren tight end position.
Tight End I’d Sit this Week:
Austin Hooper (Atlanta): Austin Hooper, the third-year Falcons’ tight end was listed on the injury report this week.
Going up against a stacked Carolina linebacker core with Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson that held Dallas’ starting tight end to only 18 receiving yards, I wouldn’t advise hanging with Mr. Hooper this week.
This column was originally featured at ThePenn.org September 13, 2018.
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