Home Columns The Hard Bargain: Angry Birds

The Hard Bargain: Angry Birds

by Dave Stewart

A Legacy of Anger

Anger is one of the most complex emotions known to humankind. It can come on quickly and resurface far more frequently than we would like. Anger is powerful, can be dangerous and must be managed. For many of us, the words we regret most were likely uttered in anger. 

One of my “Sneaky Girls,” my six-year-old twin daughters, tends to have angry outbursts. When she gets upset, she can be quick to yell, scream, cry or otherwise throw a fit. It is quite a struggle to redirect her and get her to use the coping mechanisms that we have discussed. I often encourage her to take a deep breath before she reacts or to simply walk away when her sister does something that makes her feel angry. She has yet to master these techniques and often has difficulty regulating her emotions. The worst part is that she is learning this pattern from me. 

Hot tempers seem to run in my family. I am fully aware that I struggle to manage my own anger at times. I am a yeller. When I get upset, I get loud, sometimes in a mean-spirited fashion. I acknowledge that this is a learned behavior that I acquired by watching my father and older brothers, and yet, here I am passing it on to another generation. 

Breaking the Cycle of Anger

Modeling appropriate behavior was a part of my job responsibilities when I worked for a behavioral health company. This modeling is just as important as a parent. Children observe their parents’ actions. They study them for social and behavioral cues and they respond by mimicking those practices. Children are like little mirrors, reflecting your worst qualities at you. I see fear in my children’s eyes when I yell at them, and it hurts my feelings because I never want them to be afraid of me.

To grow in this area, I am focusing on mindfulness and being aware of my actions and reactions. I make it a point to share my victories in managing my anger with my daughter. We talk about the way we speak to others and the importance of speaking with kindness. Feeling angry will always be part of our lives, but we are learning that hurting others with our words does not have to be.

I like to meditate and just go to a quieter space to collect my thoughts. When I feel irritated, taking a walk through my neighborhood helps me cool off. Different techniques work for different people, but finding coping skills that work for you is imperative to control your anger. 

Don’t Look Back in Anger:
Week 5 Deep League Lineup Recommendations

One thing that may have you irked right now is all the injuries that are piling up for your fantasy football teams. Some of the players you drafted early who have underperformed to date may also be making your blood boil. My deep cuts for your Week 5 starting lineups are here to help you cope with the mounting frustrations you may be feeling in knowing whom to start this week.

Justin Fields (QB, Chicago Bears)

If you were on Twitter this week, you undoubtedly saw that Head Coach Matt Nagy named Justin Fields the Bears’ starter going forward. Nagy said that barring injury, Fields would be his starting quarterback moving forward. With that news, the Fields’ fans rejoiced.

Fields has had some trouble with his accuracy in his first two starts and he has two interceptions with zero passing touchdowns thus far. However, he is coming off of his strongest performance to date, completing 64.7 percent of his passes and throwing for 209 yards in Week 4. He had some impressive throws, particularly in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions.

His Week 5 opponent, the Las Vegas Raiders, are dealing with injuries in the secondary. Cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette are expected to miss Sunday’s game. Add to this that Fields will likely be called upon to pick up some of the slack in the running game with RB David Montgomery sidelined, and it is clear that the rookie quarterback is ready to return value.

Tony Pollard (RB, Dallas Cowboys)

Tony Pollard has taken on a larger role in the Cowboys’ backfield in 2021 and he has been efficient in doing so. With 9.3 rushing attempts per game, he is averaging 6.8 Yards Per Carry (YPC) and boasts a 10.81 percent big-run rate (runs over 10 yards.) He has also displayed his elusiveness with a 26.7 percent juke rate.

On Sunday, Dallas hosts the Giants, who have struggled against the run this season and have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points against running backs. Pollard’s backfield mate, Ezekiel Elliott, was also held out of Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury. While it is possible this was just a veteran rest day for Elliott, it’s certainly a situation that bears monitoring. Regardless, Pollard is proving to be worthy of a start in deeper leagues even if Elliott plays.

Jaylen Waddle (WR, Miami Dolphins)

Jaylen Waddle has caught 25 of 31 passes this season. His 80.6 percent catch rate is the highest in the league among players targeted 30 or more times this year. He has a healthy 21.2 percent target share and could be in line for an increase in targets with teammate Will Fuller headed to injured reserve with a finger injury.

Waddle has the added advantage of a matchup with Tampa Bay, a team whose secondary is riddled with injuries. With cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting out last week, the Buccaneers signed veteran Richard Sherman and played him on 98 percent of defensive snaps in Week 4. Cornerback Carlton Davis also left the Week 4 matchup with a quad injury. As of Today, Dean was the only one of the three injured Tampa Bay corners on the practice field, though he is still listed as questionable. Look for Waddle to take advantage of a depleted secondary on Sunday.

Cameron Brate (TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

I will stick with the Miami at Tampa Bay for my tight end selection, as well. Cameron Brate is now the de facto primary pass-catching tight end for Tampa Bay in the absence of Rob Gronkowski, and Miami has not performed well against tight ends to date. The Dolphins have allowed at least 60 yards or a touchdown to the position in each of their first four games. Averaging 30.5 snaps per game, Brate totaled 50 snaps and a season-high six targets last week with Gronkowski injured.

I expect to see a few more targets thrown Brate’s way against the Dolphins. If you are hurting at tight end, you could do a lot worse than firing up a guy like Brate, who is likely to score a touchdown on Sunday.

Finding the Cure to Our Anger

If underperforming players or the injury bug have gotten you angry with your fantasy team, take a look down your bench for one of these starts selections mentioned to calm your aggressions. You might even be able to find Brate on your league’s waiver wire. With tranquility and focus, we can find a solution to our fantasy ire. Perhaps, we can practice these same techniques to curb our real-life vexation, as well. Be kind to your lineups, and to one another, as well!

Life is hard, but it gets a little easier when we learn to lean on each other. Find me on Twitter @DaveFantasy for more life and fantasy sports content.

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