Home Columns Sunshine on the Sideline: Direct Relief & Rookie QBs

Sunshine on the Sideline: Direct Relief & Rookie QBs

by Tom Cuda

This year saw a record-breaking hurricane season with 30 named storms and 12 land-falling storms just in the continental U.S. California is seeing destructive wildfires, and natural disaster rates are increasing across the world. Governments are struggling to keep aid flowing, and people are in need of help everywhere. That’s where Direct Relief, a California-based nonprofit, comes in. 

Direct Relief delivers disaster and humanitarian relief to 80+ countries and all 50 states. The nonprofit has been helping people since its creation in 1948 and maintains a near-perfect, if not entirely perfect, score with Charity Navigator. Direct Relief has received 10 consecutive four-star ratings, the highest rating given, and has gotten a 99 or higher for nine of those 10 years. 

This organization’s work stretches beyond disaster relief and covers humanitarian relief for resource-poor communities as well, which allows its operation to set down roots and continue the long task of targeting aid for the communities that need it most. This year, it has helped with COVID-19 relief in addition to natural disaster response. This is a charity that can always put your donations to good use. Please consider giving whatever you can to help Direct Relief and its life-saving work. 

Rookie QB Roundup

Giving dynasty advice during the first week of playoffs is difficult. I and the rest of the fantasy staff here at In-Between Media have been doing our best to get you ready to win your leagues, and even for dynasty leagues, the advice is largely the same. It’s all about the short-term and winning here and now. So, I’m going to forgo playoff advice this week and instead start rounding up rookie performances. This week, I’m going to hit the rookie quarterbacks, see where they’re at currently and briefly talk about their prospects heading into next season.

Justin Herbert (QB, Los Angeles Chargers)

An absolute surprise, and I mean that. I bagged on Justin Herbert coming into the season. I was sure that he would fizzle and couldn’t cut it in the NFL. And despite his struggles against the Patriots in Week 12, it’s clear I was very wrong about Herbert. 

He’s completed 295 of 455 passes for 3,224 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. If you were on the Herbert hype train this year, take that victory lap, my friends, you did well. For everyone else, it’s clear that he’s worth the investment if you’re in need of a young QB to replace your aging veterans. 

Joe Burrow (QB, Cincinnati Bengals)

Joe Burrow proved to us this year that he’s the real deal. Despite the ACL tear, Burrow showed the world that he’s the future of the Bengals. All the odds were against him this season – an injury-plagued team, no preseason – yet Burrow was the guy from his day one. None of it mattered when he went out there and played his heart out.  

Sure, there were growing pains and rough weeks, but that’s just football. Burrow has the intangibles that teams hope they’re getting when they draft franchise quarterbacks and his numbers of 2,688 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions only tell part of the story. I don’t care if he doesn’t play a game in 2021 because the Bengals want to protect him, I’m still getting him on my dynasty rosters and waiting for his comeback.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Miami Dolphins)

Tua Tagovailoa was one of the players I was most excited about coming into this year. I think he’s a fantastic quarterback with a bright future ahead of him. Tagovailoa has been mostly serviceable since taking the starting job in Week 8, holding a 99.4 quarterback rating. I’m certainly not ready to pull him off my taxi squad and have him using up a place on my active roster, but I’m happy with his development so far. The Miami Dolphins were recently in a full rebuild, and it takes time to get chemistry, training and repetitions down to the point where everyone is clicking completely. 

So far, Tagovailoa has completed 86 of 136 passes for 898 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s kept the ball safe but been a little sloppy mechanically and hasn’t broken off any dominant fantasy performances yet. But, he’s winning games, and that counts for a lot as far as future opportunities are concerned. I’m buying him wherever I can in dynasty. I think with another offseason of practice and training he’ll be ready to take a big step next year. 

Jake Luton (QB, Jacksonville Jaguars)

Not a whole lot to say here, Jake Luton worked his way to a starting role in week 9 and was serviceable, completing 26 of 38 for 304 with one touchdown and one interception. He then went on to post two atrocious games, just to get benched in week 12. Luton is not on my radar long term and I’m not interested in him in dynasty formats as Jacksonville will be looking for their next franchise quarterback come the draft.

Jalen Hurts (QB, Philadelphia Eagles)

Jalen Hurts was name the Philadelphia Eagles’ starter this week by head coach Doug Pederson.

Jalen Hurts finds himself in one of the more interesting quarterback rooms right now. Carson Wentz is still under a massive contract with the Eagles, and even though Hurts was drafted in the second year, Doug Pederson has kept with Wentz, despite his struggles. 

That all changes this week as Hurts has been named the starter for Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. Of course, Pederson has said a mediocre performance here could mean Wentz is right back at it in Week 15. That said, Hurts has an opportunity here to show off his talent. 

For me, Hurts is someone I view as a bit of a project. He has some great qualities – good arm strength, performs well under pressure and is fast. But, he sometimes struggles working through his progressions and has some sloppy mechanics. His flaws are coachable, and I’m perfectly happy to have Hurts on my taxi squad and see how he develops regardless of how he performs in Week 14 as he’s sure to see more opportunities in the future. 

Jordan Love (QB, Green Bay Packers)

Jordan Love is a very love/hate type of player in the dynasty. Some people love him, while others think he’ll be no better than Mitch Trubisky. But, with him landing as Aaron Rodgers’s backup, I kind of see it as a bit of a moot point. 

Aaron Rodgers has been on fire this year, and he’s still only 36. Dynasty is a long-term format, but I’m not looking to have Love on my taxi squad for four or five more years waiting for Rodgers to retire. For right now, I’m fine with keeping Love on my taxi squad until I know I can replace him with someone I’m more excited about next year, but honestly, if I need the spot for another player, I have no issues dropping him. 

Ben DiNucci (QB, Dallas Cowboys)

Not much to say here either. Ben DiNucci got the chance to start one game against the Eagles and did nothing with the opportunity. DiNucci completed 21 of 40 for only 180 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions, sending him back to the bench and leaving him off the dynasty radar moving forward.

Find me on Twitter @ThomasCuda and check out my other columns here on In-Between Media.

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