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NFL Week 3

The Hard Bargain: Communication

by Dave Stewart

“The Hard Bargain” is a year-round column by Dave Stewart offering parenting advice and weekly fantasy football advice for deeper (16+ team) leagues. Dave brings over a year of experience writing this column to NFL Week 3 and will be here to help provide lineup recommendations throughout the fantasy football season.

This was a wild weekend. Week 2 in the NFL treated us to some mind-blowing comebacks and epic fantasy performances. I spent NFL Week 2 Sunday glued to my screen as I recovered from an eventful Saturday prior. During this busy weekend leading up to Sunday’s kickoffs, I again learned a new lesson that I want to share with you.

Let me start from the beginning.

Most Fridays, I join a Zoom call with the “Happy Hour” crew. It’s a group of other fantasy-obsessed friends I have met via Twitter. A lot of joking around transpires during these Zoom calls and a lot of alcohol is consumed – oftentimes too much on my part. This leads to me being noisy late at night and sleeping in on Saturdays.

The Plot Thickens

Rising early on Saturday afternoon to find my wife feeling ill, I chose to take “the Sneaky Girls,” my twin daughters, to lunch. We met up with a friend of mine at a nearby restaurant to watch our local sports team, Boise State, battle a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent.

Later that night, my wife and I attended a movie screening of films by local directors. Things went poorly. By this time, my wife was already upset with me for binge drinking Friday night away and then following it up with beers and football all afternoon with my friends. The problem is that she did not say those things to me. I deduced them for myself later on.

Say What You Need to Say

My wife yelled at me for moving her purse out of the car’s passenger seat so I could sit down. This led to an argument that, for me, was about the purse. For her, it was about something different altogether. The night progressed with us alternately bickering and trying to pretend we had not been bickering. We capped it off with a full-blown shouting match when we returned home.

It was an awful night and one that highlighted how poor our standard of communication is. I know that we need to try harder to tell each other what is weighing on our minds, even if (and especially when) it is hard to do so. Ultimately, I need to try harder. The people we care about are most likely to be the ones who can understand how we feel. Even if they do not, the people who want to be in relationships with us will be interested enough to allow us to explain. It is the effort that matters most.

It worked out that way. After the dust settled, I made a point to tell her that I loved her. Then I apologized. I explained that I wanted to work on communication with her. I offered to listen more than I talk.

Work It Out

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker about an issue I had with their work and how it impacted me. I knew the words needed said if we were to continue a successful working partnership. Still, I was afraid to start the dialogue. It triggered my anxiety to think about how he would react and how to criticize something delicately. I did not want him to think it was personal or irreparable, just important. After a little internal dialogue, I readied myself to reach out. In the end, the conversation went well, and we agreed on ways we can work together to accomplish our shared goals.

A Two-Way Street

Ultimately, tough conversations are tough for a reason. Things that need to be said are not always easy to say. Still, when we respect the feelings of others, we can tackle tricky topics together. In an often confusing world, attempting to understand makes a difference. Remember, communication is a two-way street. Listening is even more important than speaking. My grandfather used to say, “You have two ears but only one mouth.” So, listen.

The NFL Week 3 Picks You Need to Hear

Speaking of listening, I hope you listened to me last week. My recommendations for your deep league starts went over pretty well, for the most part. Nyheim Hines let us down, but Carson Wentz and Drake London came through. Heck, even Evan Engram caught seven passes for 46 yards. If you play (Points Per Reception (PPR) scoring or roster Kyle Pitts, you’ll take it. Riding the momentum, let’s do it again for Week 3, starting now.

Mac Jones (QB, New England Patriots)

I will not pretend I did not consider going back to the well with Trevor Lawrence. But the more I look, the more I like Mac Jones here in NFL Week 3. He is playing against Baltimore. I won’t say that I think he throws six touchdowns like Tua Tagovailoa just did against the Ravens. However, I will say the Ravens have allowed 778 passing yards in two games. The corpse of Joe Flacco. is responsible for 309 them.

Baltimore is a team that tends to take early leads in their games. This is part of what has led each of their first two opponents to throw the ball 50+ times. Jones has averaged 32.5 attempts per game. In his first two games, Jones has averaged 232.5 yards. With a likely increase in volume coming, Jones should become the third consecutive quarterback to top 300 passing yards against Baltimore. When looking deep, volume is king.

Michael Carter (RB, New York Jets)

Cincinnati does not provide the easiest matchup against running backs. The Bengals rank middle of the pack in rushing yards allowed. The Jets used a second-round draft pick on Breece Hall and stated a desire to get him more involved, but Michael Carter just out-touched him for a second consecutive week. Additionally, Carter has seen 16 targets to Hall’s 10. 

Carter’s role in the offense does not appear to be going anywhere as he has an impressive 32.1 percent weighted opportunity share on the season. This ranks in the top 10 among running backs. His involvement in the passing game is especially comforting, considering Flacco has 103 pass attempts in two games. You can start Carter expecting him to see volume through the air if you are shut out of the top-32 running backs in NFL Week 3.

Jahan Dotson (WR, Washington Commanders)

Jahan Dotson has been involved in the Washington offense from the start, earning five targets in each of his first two games. More importantly, he has been involved in scoring from the start, finding the end zone three times in two starts. Two of those touchdowns came in the red zone.

The problem for Dotson is the opponent. The Philadelphia Eagles have yet to allow more than 65 yards receiving to any wide receiver over their first two weeks. This play for Dotson is about scoring a touchdown, something he has shown the ability to do. He will still see his share of targets, as the Eagles figure to take the early lead, forcing the Commanders to play catch-up. Look for him to show his trusty hands once again in the end zone.

Tyler Conklin (TE, New York Jets)

Tyler Conklin may not seem like the most obvious name, but he has been an integral part of the Jets’ passing offense thus far. He has seen at least seven targets in each of the first two contests. Like Carter, Conklin benefits from Flacco’s significant volume to date. He has either six receptions or a touchdown in each game, increasing his value in PPR formats.

Cincinnati ranks 18th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. They have given up nine receptions for 133 yards. Conklin currently has an 80.6 percent route participation rate. He is eighth among tight ends in this category. Short of a top-16 tight end, you want to roll out a player who will see multiple targets and may score a touchdown. Conklin fits the bill for NFL Week 3.

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 for NFL Week 3 and beyond.

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