The Hard Bargain: Feeling Guilty
“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 11 and will be here to help provide lineup recommendations throughout the fantasy football season.
A Rollercoaster NFL Weekend
If you were to tell me you saw Week 10 playing out the way it did, I would know you were pulling my leg. We watched several upsets. Players emerged from seemingly nowhere, while others tended to disappear. It was certainly not the usual NFL weekend. If you were fortunate enough to come out on top of your fantasy matchups this week, chances are you’re feeling pretty good. If you took another loss while jockeying for playoff position, you might not be feeling great.
Feelings of Guilt
When it comes to parenting, there are definitely times you do not feel great. Being a parent is a demanding job, and it is one that many parents feel they are failing at much of the time. This results in a feeling commonly referred to as “mom guilt.”
I am aware that my role in my household is different from traditional gender expectations. I stay home with my children, and I have done so since they turned one year old. It was due to multiple sets of circumstances that my family arrived at this arrangement.
My work in behavioral health resulted in inconsistent income. The childcare network that we had established began to diminish. We simply could not afford full-time daycare, as it would have required me to pay over 80 percent of my income. It just did not seem sensible to us for me to work full-time hours for part-time pay only to hand that money over to someone else to raise my children.
The Pressure to Do More
By my estimation, this arrangement has been both beneficial and detrimental to my family. I am a changer of diapers and a creator of meals. I have provided my daughters with entertainment and education. Online learning turned me into a makeshift school administrator. When it comes down to it, I have been the primary caretaker in their lives.
On the negative side, it is hard for me to free myself from the feeling that I should be doing more. For the last seven years, I have not made significant contributions to household finances. I have learned to be more budget-conscious and do what I can to limit our expenses. However, I am left feeling that I never do enough.
I sought out a support system that led me to befriend other stay-at-home parents. An overwhelming majority of them were mothers. Many of them explained mom guilt to me. I understood some of what they were dealing with, but I often wished I could talk to a peer about my “dad guilt.”
Dad guilt originates from that feeling of being not enough. Despite an increasing number of dads seeking larger involvement in their children’s lives, a prevailing ideal exists that the right way to do that is by maintaining employment and bringing home a paycheck.
In reality, being involved in your children’s lives requires being present. Splitting yourself between time with the kids and other responsibilities is bound to make you feel like a failure. When it is time to be with the kids, truly be present with them and give them your attention. If it is time for something else, devote yourself to that project fairly. You cannot be everything to everyone.
You Are Enough
How do you deal with dad guilt? I say you meet it head-on. Remind yourself that you are enough. I am quite certain your family would exhibit the same sentiment. You must also learn to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life. We all make them, and hopefully, we all learn from them.
Savor those bonding moments with your kids and shut out the rest of the world whenever possible. When it simply isn’t possible, focus on your task at hand. If you have read this far, you care enough. You are enough. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re trying.
Fantasy Manager Guilt
You may be feeling guilty about how you have approached your fantasy squad this year. Maybe you regret your draft picks, or you have left the top scorers on the bench at various points during the season. There is still hope. As long as you have managed three or four wins, you likely still have a path to the playoffs.
Learn to forgive your fantasy mistakes. Respect the waiver wire and send out those trade requests before your deadline hits. If you are able, heed my suggestions.
Although after last week, I cannot blame you for doubting me. Jared Goff and Isiah Pacheco simply did not do enough. Cade Otton was the first tight end to fail to gain either 50 receiving yards or a touchdown against Seattle in 2022. But then there was George Pickens. He caught three passes for 32 yards. He also scored a rushing touchdown while contributing 23 yards on the ground.
Breathe in, breathe out, and let’s talk Week 11.
NFL Week 11 Deep-League Starts
Kenny Pickett (QB, Pittsburgh Steelers)
I cannot pretend that this call is not a little gutsy. Kenny Pickett has had his struggles, along with the Steelers as a whole. At the risk of being called a homer (I have been a Steelers fan for 40 years), I believe I have seen progress from the rookie signal caller. Pickett threw for his third-highest yardage total in six appearances in Week 10. He also rushed for his season-high total after increasing his rushing output in five consecutive games. Pickett reached the end zone on the ground for the third time this year.
In NFL Week 11, he’ll face off with division rival Cincinnati for the first time in his brief career. While the Bengals are not the easiest matchup for quarterbacks, Pickett will have the advantage of playing then in the same stadium he has been playing in for six years. He completed his second turnover-free game of the season on Sunday in a game where the Steelers ran the ball effectively. With six plays of 20-plus yards in the game, the Steeler offense is showing new signs of life. I anticipate Pickett playing his second multi-touchdown game of the year.
Elijah Mitchell (RB, San Francisco 49ers)
One of the many eye-opening occurrences on Sunday was how the workload was split in the 49ers’ backfield. After Christian McCaffrey posted his best game of the year preceding the 49ers’ bye week, Elijah Mitchell returned from injury to lead the backfield in touches.
Despite seeing just 35.2 percent of offensive snaps, Mitchell carried a 45.5 percent opportunity share, equal to McCaffrey’s. McCaffrey was on the field for 64.8 percent of the team’s snaps. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters he expected the workload to be split evenly. If Mitchell gets anywhere near half the work against Arizona in NFL Week 11, you will be exhilarated to have him in your starting lineup.
Christian Watson (WR, Green Bay Packers)
My goodness! Christian Watson had a coming-out party in Week 10. My recommendation of him here is based on more than that, though. Being able to use him in Week 11 is no doubt contingent on whether you had waiver priority or not.
The Packers have been looking for a No. 1 wide receiver since trading Davante Adams in May. While Romeo Doubs appeared to be on that path, he is in the early stages of a multi-week absence. Watson seized the opportunity in Week 10 and now faces the woeful Tennessee secondary. Allowing the fourth most points to wide receivers, expect them to allow Watson’s second-greatest day of his career to date in NFL Week 11.
Hayden Hurst (TE, Cincinnati Bengals)
Hayden Hurst has not seen the end zone since Week 5. However, he has caught 18 of 20 targets since then. He has at least four targets in all but two contests. Finding a tight end to fill in for you is difficult. Any tight end regularly seeing four-plus targets per game counts.
Coming off a bye helps. The extra rest and game planning should serve Hurst well. Pittsburgh is around the middle of the round when it comes to allowing fantasy points to tight ends. With Ja’Marr Chase remaining on the shelf, Hurst will continue to receive ample opportunity in the passing game.
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 11 and beyond.