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NFL Week 17

The Hard Bargain: Full-Time Grind

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 17 and will be here to help provide lineup recommendations throughout the fantasy football season.

For Week 16 of the NFL season, we were treated to a full Saturday slate of games followed by a Christmas Day triple-header. It felt like an extra helping of football. Some fantasy players delivered while others face-planted. What else should we expect during the fantasy playoff semi-finals?

At this stage of the season, you just need to keep going.

Meet Nate Polvogt

To give readers and myself that motivation to keep going through the remainder of the fantasy football season, I sought some advice from someone who knows a thing or two about hustling.

Nate Polvogt, 40, from Arvada, Colo., is a content creator who writes here at In-Between Media (IBT) and FantasyPros. He also provides video content for RotoUnderwold and Sleeper. Nate is also one of the co-hosts of the “In-Between Fantasy Football Podcast.”

Nate started playing fantasy football when he was a teenager, initially filling a spot in his father’s office league. He recalled days of sitting at the dining room table watching “Monday Night Football” and tabulating fantasy scores by hand from the newspaper sports page.

NFL Week 17

Nate and Jen snap a photo at the Denver International Airport in August.

A typical day for Nate is long and packed with football. Every day begins by catching up with the news of the day. On writing days, he generally writes in the morning and spends afternoons on player research and formatting written work for publication.

He does multiple weekly shows and player video segments. Essentially, each day is spoken for with his research and content creation. Then, like many of us, Nate spends Sundays watching football for 10 straight hours.

“It’s a lot, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Nate said.

Still, he doesn’t lose touch with the enjoyment of being in the fantasy industry.

“The fact that people pay me to do this, the fact that you wanted to talk to me about it, that’s just so cool, man,” Nate said. “This is like a dream.”

Nate works in tandem with his wife, Jen Polvogt, managing editor at Razzball and editor with IBT and FantasyPros. Both of them are chasing their dream of full-time employment in the fantasy industry.

“We’re hustling because we want this to be our full-time gig, and we’re making it our full-time gig,” Nate said.

Creating a Work-Life Balance

The Polvogts have a five-year-old son, Jackson. Balancing parenting duties and work duties can be challenging. They have breakfast in the morning with him before either walking or driving him to school.

That’s when the work day begins. Nate described how he and his wife seek the work-life balance by ending their work day when their son gets home.

“We go pick him up and come home to make dinner. We hang out and watch TV with him or he watches football with us at night,” Nate explained. “But we’ve made that family time. Once he’s home, we just try not to work.” 

Nate, Jen and Jackson pose for a photo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in July.

At five, the youngest Polvogt is a budding football fan.

“Apparently he’s a Rams fan, a Packers fan, a Broncos fan,” Nate said. “And then he just picks a team to root for in every other game on Sunday.”

Nate had some wisdom to share with fathers-to-be: 

“Be OK with making mistakes. Just make sure you learn from it as a parent. Be better. Learn your kid. You’re going to make mistakes on the way there.”

Nate claimed that he doesn’t know whether or not that is good advice. But as a dad, I assure you he is very accurate.

Nate also had advice for those hoping to become fantasy sports content creators.

“Hustle,” Nate said. “Get your name out there. I got the work that I did because I hustled. I made sure people knew who I was. Write that first piece. Record that first podcast. Get it to the people you need to get it to.”

Nate encouraged those with questions about creating their own fantasy sports content to reach out to him. He said he is happy to give advice.

Just keep going. That’s what it’s all about. 

NFL Week 16 Recommendations Recap

You want to keep going in your fantasy leagues too. Hopefully, you have reached the final in your own league. Last week, I gave you my deep starts, and I had some success. Kenny Pickett came up a touchdown shy of the 250-yard, two-touchdown performance I called for. James Cook hit big with 100+ total yards and a touchdown. However, Chris Moore and Cade Otton disappointed.

Let’s give it another try this week.

NFL Week 17 Deep-League Fantasy Starts

Brock Purdy (QB, San Francisco 49ers)

The rookie has looked pretty good behind center for San Francisco. Since becoming the starter, he has thrown two touchdowns and scored at least 15 fantasy points in each game. With an assortment of high-end weapons around him, Brock Purdy has been able to distribute the ball effectively. 

Purdy has thrown three interceptions this season. However, he is unlikely to throw one against the Raiders this week. Las Vegas has come up with just five picks this year, ranking 30th in the league in this category. The Raiders have allowed 22 passing touchdowns through 15 games.

 AJ Dillon (RB, Green Bay Packers)

With his role in Green Bay’s offense growing, AJ Dillon has earned double-digit carries in his last three games. He has nine red zone touches in his last two. Dillon has also been no stranger to the end zone, scoring four times in the last three contests.

For four consecutive games, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has targeted Dillon at least three times. Minnesota has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards to running backs. This is another area where Dillon stands to do damage. Expect the touchdown streak to continue in NFL Week 17.

George Pickens (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)

Scoring the game-winning touchdown against the Raiders was not the only thing George Pickens has done of late. He has gained at least 50 yards receiving in five of his last six starts. He caught all five of his targets on Saturday night.

The matchup against Baltimore is a favorable one. Pickens compiled 78 receiving yards against the Ravens just three weeks ago and figures to have another solid performance this week.

Tyler Conklin (TE, New York Jets)

Over the span of his last four games, Tyler Conklin has seen 21 targets. The return of quarterback Mike White from a rib injury will serve as a boost for Conklin in NFL Week 17. White tends to target Conklin more than Zach Wilson does. 

Even more significant than the return of his quarterback is the matchup against Seattle. The Seahawks allow the second-most Points Per Reception (PPR) points to tight ends. Look for Conklin to exploit the weakness of this defense and have a healthy receiving day against Seattle.

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 16 and beyond.

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