Back in February – or, as some people like to call it, “normal times” – I did something I had never done before: I went to the movies alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I had wanted to check this off my bucket list for a long time. Seeing movies with friends, family or a significant other is always a fun experience. But taking a solo trip to the theater seemed almost like a therapeutic exercise. What better way to relax than to sit in a recliner chair, popcorn and soda in hand, and enjoy a movie on the big screen?
So, on this winter day, I decided to head to my local theater and finally see Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” the critically acclaimed South Korean film that ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. The movie, of course, was exceptional. As I walked out of the theater and back to my car, I told myself I needed to do this more often.
Little did I know I wouldn’t even get the chance.
COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every inch of our society, and one of the industries that has taken the biggest hit is movie theaters. Theaters are shuttering all across the country (and even parts of the globe), and the long-term outlook is grim. A portion of theaters have attempted to reopen amid the pandemic, but moviegoers are justifiably anxious to head back into an enclosed space with strangers for a long period of time. When will it be totally safe to enter a movie theater again? I wish I – or anyone else – could answer that question.
However, when it is safe, I believe audiences will flock back to the multiplex. I believe people yearn to watch films with other people, and I don’t mean just your spouse or children in the living room.
Remember what it felt like seeing “Avengers: Endgame” in a packed theater? It was a straight-up party. People miss going to bars, restaurants and concerts, sure. But I think we’re underestimating how badly some people want to put down the remote, log out of Netflix and watch a movie on a giant screen.
Now, I could be dead wrong. Maybe once this virus dies down, it’ll be too late for theaters. The pandemic could be the final blow to an industry that was showing ominous signs of decline for years now. Maybe families are perfectly happy watching shows and movies on streaming services like Disney+. Time will tell, I suppose.
But humans need communal experiences. Whether it’s sharing a meal, playing fantasy football or seeing a movie on a Friday night, we long for those times when we can enjoy the company of family, friends and even strangers. COVID-19 has robbed us of that, at least for now. But not forever.
I don’t know many things, but I do know this: Once this is all over, and theaters are safe and ready to welcome back movie-lovers like me, I’ll be there. And I hope to see you there, too.
Now it’s time to play everyone’s favorite game: “Buy or Sell.” This week, we’ll be taking a look at two quarterbacks, running backs and receivers:
BUY: Joe Burrow (QB, Cincinnati Bengals)
Life hasn’t been easy for Joe Burrow lately. He’s faced two of the best defenses in the NFL the last two weeks in Baltimore and Indianapolis, and it went about as well as you’d expect for a rookie quarterback.
But now is not the time to wave the white flag. Burrow gets to face the Cleveland Browns in Week 7, a team which he posted 316 passing yards and three touchdowns against in Week 2. And as his first year progresses, Burrow will only get better the more reps he takes with his stud receivers.
SELL: Matt Ryan (QB, Atlanta Falcons)
It’s quite simple, really. If receiver Julio Jones is on the field, Matt Ryan excels. If Jones is out, Ryan is one of the worst quarterbacks in football. It’s uncanny. After missing time with a hamstring injury, Jones returned in Week 6, and he and Ryan delivered the goods. In fact, the latter scored almost 40 fantasy points against a lowly Vikings defense.
I wouldn’t blame you if you held onto Ryan and tried to ride the momentum – he’s playing Detroit and Carolina the next two weeks, after all – but I’d at least test the waters and throw some offers out there before anything else goes awry for this Falcons team. I’d bet “Matty Ice” has already played his best fantasy game of the season.
BUY: J.K. Dobbins (RB. Baltimore Ravens)
J.K. Dobbins owners have been clamoring for Ravens coach John Harbaugh to give their guy a chance and for good reason. Starter Mark Ingram and backup Gus Edwards have been mediocre at best to start the year and the rookie speedster has impressed with limited carries.
Will Dobbins finally get more action moving forward? It’s possible, since Ingram got banged up this past week against the Eagles. Now is the time for fantasy owners to acquire Dobbins, as some signs point toward him assuming lead-back duties in Baltimore the rest of the way.
SELL: Kenyan Drake (RB, Arizona Cardinals)
I’m going to come clean: I originally had a different name in this slot before the Monday night contests. Kenyan Drake’s performance against Dallas changed things a little bit. The Cardinals’ running back exploded for 164 yards and two scores against the pathetic Cowboys defense.
Drake’s previous high-scoring game this season? That came Week 1, when he scored just 14 points. If you drafted Drake, chances are it was in the late-first or early-second round. Up until this week, you were massively disappointed in him for not rewarding your significant investment. I’ve been low on Drake for years now, so I may be biased. However, now is the time to capitalize before his value plummets once again.
BUY: DJ Chark (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars)
Entering 2020, DJ Chark was projected to be the Jaguars’ consistent No. 1 receiver and a solid WR2 in fantasy. Thanks in large part to injuries, it hasn’t really panned out that way. Chark currently checks in as the WR31 in standard and PPR formats. Not bad, but also not what most owners expected – which makes it the ideal time to buy.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew targeted Chark 14 times in Week 6, proving that as long as he’s on the field, Chark will get plenty of opportunities. A healthy Chark could be a difference-maker for your team through the bye weeks and down the stretch.
SELL: Brandin Cooks (WR, Houston Texans)
Most fantasy owners were ready to move on from Brandin Cooks after he posted just five points against Pittsburgh in Week 3 and a goose egg Week 4 against Minnesota.
Well, maybe firing coach Bill O’Brien is exactly what the doctor ordered for Cooks and the rest of the Houston offense. He’s exploded for nearly 52 combined fantasy points the last two weeks in PPR formats, and he currently sits at WR28 on the season.
You might be tempted to hold on to Cooks and let the good times roll, but there are some notable warning signs. He’s got a lengthy injury history, and rumors are swirling that he could be on the move as part of a potential Texans rebuild. On top of that, he faces a tougher matchup in Week 7 against Green Bay, and he’s on bye Week 8. Thank Cooks for his service, but I think it’s time to move on.
Thanks for reading. For more takes, find me on Twitter @Chris_Hayes8.