“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 10 and will be here to help provide lineup recommendations throughout the fantasy football season.
Fantasy Football Difference-Makers in NFL Week 9
I hope you survived Joe Mixon day. The Bengals’ back became the 17th player to score five-plus touchdowns in a single game in NFL history.
This feat has now been accomplished three years in a row. Jonathan Taylor did it last November, and who can forget Alvin Kamara’s Christmas gift to us all in 2020? Performances like that are difference-makers.
If you started Mixon on Sunday, you likely won your matchup. If you faced him, you probably didn’t. It is a simple and meaningful difference.
Making a Difference in the Community
There are many ways to make a difference, both in fantasy and in the lives of those in your community. A member of our In-Between Media (IBT) staff, Joseph Griffin, has discovered a way that his family can make a meaningful difference. Joseph is a foster parent. He and his wife have a 10-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son. They are also fostering an infant boy.
“We just felt like caring for those who are in need was something that was important to us and something we wanted to model for our kids,” Joseph said in a Nov. 5 interview.
He described the role of the entire family in providing for a young child:
“Our kids are definitely involved in the process, too. They view it as something they’re involved in, and they’re a huge help to us.”
Joseph is quick to point out that a difference is being made in more lives than just the child being fostered. Caring for others has helped shape his children’s worldview.
“Our kids have gotten a better perspective,” he said. “It has opened their eyes to some of the things they wouldn’t be exposed to [otherwise].”
The Search for Permanence
The length of a child’s placement in a foster home can vary greatly, depending on the child’s needs and the possibility of them finding a permanent home back with their biological family.
“The goal is [almost] always reunification with the birth parents,” Joseph said.
They have previously fostered three other children over the past two years, with placements ranging from just over a week to almost a year. In the right situation, he and his wife could be interested in a more permanent arrangement.
“We’re open to adoption down the road if an opportunity like that opens up,” he said.
Joseph noted that they would trust in their faith to help them recognize such an opportunity. For now, the Griffin family has chosen to be flexible and prepared to open their home to children for as long as that particular child needs to be in their home.
“We’re going to invest in the kids and love these kids just like our biological kids,” Joseph said, “for however long they are with us.”
Getting Involved in Fostering
He advised others considering taking on the important role of being a foster parent to closely examine their own family’s needs to determine what care they are prepared to provide.
He admitted to challenges but urged potential foster parents to ask themselves tough questions.
“’What if I don’t do this? What am I going to miss out on? Even more so, what are these kids going to miss out on?’” Joseph said, noting that the need is ever-present. “There are thousands of kids in foster care in every state.”
If you feel like becoming a foster parent might be right for your family, please reach out to the Department of Health and Human Services in your state.
A Journey of Fatherhood
As a dad to his biological children and to the foster children who come through his home, Joseph described what is most important to him about fatherhood.
“Forming relationships with [my kids] and watching them grow, seeing their successes and failures and kind of helping them learn life and just building those relationships.”
New fathers should prepare for “the best and the hardest thing you will ever do,“ according to Jospeh.
Invested fathers should be “putting their [kids’] needs first and doing all you can to give them the best home and best life,” he said.
He also relayed a conversation with his wife shortly after the birth of their daughter about their initial experience as parents.
“We laugh more than we ever have before, but it’s also more challenging than anything we ever experienced before,” they said.
Fostering a Passion for Fantasy Football
Despite his busy schedule as a father, Joseph is a fantasy football enthusiast. He started playing with some friends years ago, though the game took a little while to take root in him. He remembered his first foray into fantasy football fondly.
“I don’t think I was great at it,” he said, “but it was fun.”
Now, he claims dynasty fantasy football as his passion and plays in multiple leagues. Joseph is also an editor for us here at IBT and is a participant in this year’s Scott Fish Bowl (SFB).
Identifying the Difference-Makers for Your Lineups
For those of you who also play in multiple leagues, particularly the 16+ team variety, finding difference-makers for your lineups is key.
First, let’s revisit my calls from last week. Taylor Heinicke was not amazing, but he finished as QB14 for the week, so we’ll take it. Deon Jackson fizzled as Jonathan Taylor’s replacement, gaining just 36 total yards. However, he inexplicably ended up as the Points Per Reception (PPR) RB33. Isaiah Likely had only one catch, but it was a 24-yard touchdown reception, making him PPR TE9 for the week.
Josh Palmer was my call of the week. His eight receptions and 106 receiving yards made him a top-10 wide receiver.
On to Week 10!
NFL Week 10 Deep-League Starts
Jacoby Brissett (QB, Cleveland Browns)
Jacoby Brissett has been a consistent value for fantasy managers this season. While he has not blown anyone away with his performances, he has collected double-digit points in every start. He has been fairly efficient and protective of the football. The Browns rank fourth in the NFL in total yards per game. His most recent outing against Cincinnati, on Halloween, was his best output to date.
Rested off the bye week, he has the luxury of facing the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. No team gives up more fantasy points to quarterback than Miami. Brissett is averaging over 232 passing yards per game. Miami has also allowed the most rushing yards to quarterback. Brissett will not have the type of success that Justin Fields had against the Dolphins last week. However, he is averaging over 4.5 Yards Per Carry (YPC) and has a pair of rushing scores on the year.
Isiah Pacheco (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)
Isiah Pacheco has seen an increase in snaps played over the last two games. His 22 snaps against Tennessee were the most he has seen in a game to date. Although he was woefully inefficient on Sunday, he averaged 5.2 YPC over the prior two contests. His fantasy production is sure to catch up. His NFL Week 10 opponent, Jacksonville, allows the tenth-most fantasy points to running backs.
Pacheco is getting high-quality touches. Nearly 16 percent of his rushing attempts have been in the red zone. It is only a matter of time before he converts one into a touchdown. This feels like the week. The Jaguars have allowed seven rushing scores in nine games.
George Pickens (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Pittsburgh’s rookie wide receiver has seen a jump in his involvement since Kenny Pickett has become the starting quarterback. George Pickens caught just six passes over three and a half games with Mitchell Trubisky. Since Pickett has taken over, however, Pickens has 16 receptions and a touchdown.
Coming off the bye week with presumably added preparation, the Steelers take on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints allow the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. The Steelers traded away Chase Claypool, a player of similar stature to Pickens, right before the NFL Trade Deadline. With less competition for targets, Pickens should see plenty of action for Pittsburgh in NFL Week 10.
Cade Otton (TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
It is probably a bit premature to say that Cade Otton is the next Rob Gronkowski. However, it is not premature to say that the rookie tight end has Tom Brady’s attention. Otton has seen 26 targets over the past five weeks. He has at least four receptions and 40+ yards in three of them. His 68 yards against the Rams were his season high. He also found the end zone for the first time in his fledgling career.
In NFL Week 10, Otton and the Buccaneers travel to Munich, Germany, to face the Seattle Seahawks. Only the Arizona Cardinals allow more fantasy points to tight ends. The Seahawks have allowed at least 50 total yards or a touchdown to a tight end every single week of the season. Roll out Otton in your lineups with confidence.
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 10 and beyond.