The Hard Bargain: More Than Just Books
“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 8 and will be here to help provide lineup recommendations throughout the fantasy football season.
Week 7 was a rough go in fantasy football. The bye week robbed us of many significant fantasy contributors and sent us scrambling for replacements. If you were without Josh Allen or Justin Jefferson last week, you can once again breathe easy.
Only two teams are on bye in NFL Week 8. Unfortunately, those two teams are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, so you could be looking deep once again. I will help you with that shortly.
A Valuable Resource
First, I want to extoll the virtues of one of my favorite resources: the public library. As a bookish person, I love the library. I am fortunate that I have raised my twin daughters, “the Sneaky Girls,” to enjoy reading, as well. We currently have at least 10 books from the library around the house. It is nice to be able to check them out and return them, both for space concerns in my home and the amount of money I could spend if I was buying all the books I wanted.
In Search of Enrichment
Everybody knows you can check out books at the library, but did you know there is a lot more to love about your local library branch? Let me share what I have loved about my library.
When I first became a stay-at-home dad, one of my most pressing concerns was what to actually do with my kids throughout the day. Of course, I would cook for them, feed and dress them, clean up after them and otherwise tending to their basic needs. All that does take up quite a bit of your time. Still, I knew I wanted some way to enrich their lives somehow. My life needed a little enrichment, as well.
Once Upon A (Story) Time
I started by taking them to a weekly story time event at the nearest library branch to my home. They listened to a story, and every session ended with a musical bubble party created by the library’s bubble-blowing machine. Toddlers go bananas for those things.
We continued by attending music and movement classes, and I looked for more events at other local branches. At one point in time, I had library events to take the kids to four times per week. An added benefit of this was that I met a lot of parents and found friends to commiserate with. Seriously, I made most of my parenting friends at the library. I am an old dad, and by the time we had kids, all of my friends either had older kids or were not planning to become parents.
More Than Just Books
Most of the libraries in my community have children’s play areas with building blocks, magnetic tiles and other learning-based toys. I have spent plenty of time scrolling Twitter or reading a book while the kids stretched their imaginations playing at the library. We started checking out books to teach them about everything from colors and numbers to animals and machinery. Kids love machines, and I have not figured out why yet. If you don’t believe me, show a kid a garbage truck and watch them go nuts.
It is not just about books, though. We can check out movies on DVD or Blu-Ray. We get video games once in a while. They even have music on CD, if you remember what those are.
Every time we enter the library, my kids go straight to the area where they can draw or write about their favorite things to do. It changes seasonally, but the library posts those pictures and words by the front desk. Then we proceed to the arts and crafts area, where there is always something to create. They also have huge community coloring pages that are a lot of fun to see get filled in as library goers add their own contributions.
Something for Everyone
The public library has been a blessing for me in my parenting experience, but the resources provided do not stop there. My library offers mental health support with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) on staff and available by appointment. They offer free legal advice for low-income patrons once a month, provided by local attorneys who volunteer their time. Even housing resources and case management are available to those experiencing homelessness. There is something for everybody.
You should go to your local library. Especially as the cold weather months close in on us, there are plenty of things to entertain your child while you keep warm indoors. You can even ask about digital content available through various library apps. I frequently listen to audiobooks I check out for free on my phone with my library card. It is almost like I have the library in my pocket.
An Open Book
The reason we are here is to pocket victory in fantasy matchups. Like an open book, I lay bare. Last week, I was not much help to you. I gave you Marcus Mariota, who proceeded to reach his season-low in pass attempts and yardage, serving up his second-worst fantasy day of the year. Then there was Kenyan Drake, who after turning 10 carries into 119 yards and a touchdown in Week 6, managed to turn his 11 carries into a measly five yards in Week 7. Alec Pierce posted his second-lowest output and Daniel Bellinger fractured his orbital bone early in the second quarter. Ultimately, this was not my finest performance of the season.
Yet, I’m ready to give it another shot in NFL Week 8.
NFL Week 8 Deep League Starts
Andy Dalton (QB, New Orleans Saints)
Andy Dalton is in the saddle again as the Saints’ starting quarterback. However, this week Jameis Winston is healthy. Head coach Dennis Allen told reporters via teleconference that Dalton would be the team’s quarterback “moving forward.” The Saints’ offense may be better served for it.
Last week, in Arizona, Dalton was prolific. He threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns as he fought to bring the Saints back in the second half before ultimately falling short. His promotion to the starting lineup could not come at a better time. The Saints face the Raiders in the Superdome on Sunday. Las Vegas currently allows the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
The Raiders are tied for the third-most passing touchdowns allowed and tied for the most rushing touchdowns given up to quarterbacks. Dalton is not much of a runner, so I am not predicting he will score a rushing touchdown. Although, he does have 22 rushing scores in his career.
I am expecting him to shred the Raiders’ secondary, just like everyone else has done. Even Russell Wilson threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns against them. It was the only week Wilson was sound for fantasy purposes this season. Last week, Davis Mills topped 300 passing yards and tossed a pair of scores. Start Dalton with confidence.
D’Onta Foreman (RB, Carolina Panthers)
Christian McCaffrey is now a 49er. On Sunday, the Panthers faced Tampa Bay, who are generally solid against running backs. Unfortunately for the Bucs, D’Onta Foreman, along with Chuba Hubbard, got over on them. Foreman carried for 118 yards on 15 carries in his first extended work of the year. The Panthers’ offense was run-heavy, and they will probably seek to stay that way to avoid putting too much on quarterback P.J. Walker’s plate.
Foreman also caught both of his targets in the passing game. Atlanta, the Panthers’ Week 8 opponent, has allowed the third most receptions and receiving yards to running backs. Thus, there is potential for Foreman to hurt them through the air in addition to on the ground. Hubbard left early with an ankle injury in Week 7 and could be hampered by it in Atlanta. Look for Foreman to do the heavy lifting against the Falcons.
Jerry Jeudy (WR, Denver Broncos)
It has not been the rosiest of seasons for the third-year man out of The University of Alabama. Drafted in the sixth round in most Points Per Reception (PPR) drafts, fantasy managers had high hopes for Jerry Jeudy in a Russell Wilson-led offense. Those hopes, and Wilson’s, have yet to be realized. However, something interesting happened when Wilson missed Denver’s Week 7 contest.
Starting in Wilson’s stead, former Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien only had eyes for Jeudy. Jeudy saw a season-high 11 targets from Rypien, putting away seven of them (another season-high) for 96 yards. There is a clear connection between these two. With Rypien potentially starting again in London in the first game of the NFL Week 8 Sunday slate, Jeudy should be heavily involved. Even if Wilson is back, he has looked for Jeudy 15 times in their last two starts together.
Harrison Bryant (TE, Cleveland Browns)
With 42 targets on the season, David Njoku has been the sixth-most targeted tight end in 2022. Njoku also suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 7. Fortunately for him, it will not require surgery, but it will keep him out for a minimum of two weeks. Enter Harrison Bryant. The former John Mackey Award winner has seen 21 targets this season playing behind Njoku.
Now, without Njoku out and with fellow tight end teammate Pharaoh Brown in the concussion protocol ahead of NFL Week 8, Bryant is the last man standing. He has athletic upside and good hands. Bryant will provide a security blanket for Jacoby Brissett, who has been efficient, if not spectacular, at quarterback.
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 8 and beyond.