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The Hard Bargain: Road Trip

by Dave Stewart

Summer vacation season is barely underway, but my family already has our longest-ever road trip under our belts. 

My niece and nephew graduated from high school in Iowa, and we chose to load up the “Sneaky Girls,” our twin daughters, and drive nearly 24 hours to be in attendance. Besides our full vehicle, we drove in tandem with my septuagenarian parents in their vehicle. 

We hit the road breaking the drive up into three days each way. Yes, that is a long time to be in the car. Keeping the kids entertained proved to have challenges. Fortunately, my kids are fairly well-behaved when it comes to traveling. I feel like we have traveled much in their short lives. 

Traveling with Kids Tip No. 1

The easiest way to satisfy a kid on a road trip (or anywhere else, for that matter) is to have a nice supply of snack foods. This trick works on adults too. We spent a decent amount of time munching on treats. 

There was trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, candy, chips, and more. It was a regular rolling buffet.

Traveling with Kids Tip No. 2

Another method of occupying children’s time was listening to a lot of Kidz Bop. If you do not know what Kidz Bop is, consider yourself fortunate. It consists of pre-pubescent kids singing current pop hits. Hearing 12-year-olds belt out adult-themed love songs just hits weird. 

On a positive note, our kids were just as entertained watching mom and dad sing along with ’80s and ’90s hits. While the trip itself was somewhat uneventful, we traveled through Wyoming and Nebraska, two long and sparsely populated states. 

We stayed in such locales as Rock Springs, Wyo., and North Platte, Neb., which are not exactly thriving metropolitan areas. We did have some success locating stops for lunch or dinner. The Crowbar & Grill in Laramie, Wyo. was a crowd favorite, and even Guy Fieri has ate there. 

Putting the trip under an analyst lens, here are the major takeaways and lessons learned.

Road Trip Lessons Learned

If you are traveling with another vehicle, like we were, both vehicles should fuel up together. We did not adhere to this policy on the way there; therefore, we made overlapping fuel stops and spent more time off the road than necessary. 

Along these same lines, if one party member needs to stop to relieve themselves, everyone in the party should attempt the same. With two seven-year-old girls, we required numerous potty breaks. Consolidating them was the best we could do. 

My favorite tip is to plan your lodging from the road. On the way out, we would drive into the town we planned to stay in and then seek accommodations. We were met with no vacancies and needed to make multiple calls to arrange lodging. On the return trip, we were booking our stays from our phones in the car. It was a simple yet worthwhile adjustment to arrive in town with a reservation waiting for us.

Traveling, especially with kids, will always be difficult. Employing even the smallest of measures to alleviate the stress or discomfort you and your family are bound to face can make a world of difference. Still, there is no denying that traveling takes its toll. 

The same is true for well-traveled NFL players. However, some of these travelers may have finally found a brighter outlook in their new location. At least, as it pertains to fantasy football, that is.

NFL Players in New Locations

Robert Woods (WR, Tennessee Titans)

Tennessee marks the third career stop for Robert Woods after being drafted by Buffalo and then emerging as a star player with the Rams. The Titans represent a team in flux at the wide receiver position. Trading away their top receiver in A.J. Brown, the Titans added Treylon Burks, a player of similar size and stature, in the NFL Draft. 

After one disappointing season with the team, they also cut veteran Julio Jones. Filling a void at wideout, the Titans traded a 2023 sixth-round draft selection for Woods. He was reported to have a say in where he was traded, and Woods claimed to be excited to join this offense. However, the trade happened before the Titans chose to trade Brown.

Beginning in 2018, Woods had three consecutive seasons with 86+ receptions, eclipsing 1,000 scrimmage yards in each. He was on a pace for a fourth before injuring his ACL in November 2022. The team is optimistic he will be ready to go for the preseason. Replacing the top two wide receivers in an offense is never easy. But Ryan Tannehill will need to find someone he can rely on, and it is a safe bet the veteran, Woods, will instill confidence. His current Underdog Fantasy ADP is WR41. I feel confident he will deliver on that value.

Allen Robinson (WR, Los Angeles Rams)

Like Woods, Allen Robinson is making career stop No. 3. Coincidentally, he was the primary catalyst in Woods’ departure from the Rams. Los Angeles signed Robinson to a $46.5 million contract in free agency, making Woods expendable. 

Allen Robinson was the PPR WR81 last year.

Robinson’s 2021 season can only be described as disappointing. Considering the draft investment, it was potentially devastating to your fantasy team.

However, the preceding two seasons had him posting 1,100+ yards each while seeing 150+ targets in both seasons. The prevailing feeling is that the Bears underutilized him during his tenure in Chicago.

Quarterback, Matthew Stafford, has expressed his enthusiasm for Robinson’s addition to the offense, citing his ability to make contested catches. Robinson will have the first shot at filling the/Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) role, which has been a top-24 Points Per Reception (PPR) finisher on a points-per-game basis in the previous three seasons. Robinson currently has an Underdog Fantasy ADP of WR22. 

Hayden Hurst (TE, Cincinnati Bengals)

This selection serves as my long shot of the month. Hayden Hurst was heralded coming into the 2018 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the 25th overall selection. He has yet to deliver a fantasy season on par with that draft capital. 

The Bengals mark the third destination for Hurst in his young career. There was optimism ahead of his first year in Atlanta, which has proven to be his best to date. Debuting with the Falcons in 2020, Hurst saw career highs with 88 targets, 56 receptions, 571 yards receiving and six touchdowns.

C.J. Uzomah, the team’s top tight end in 2021, has moved on to the New York Jets. The team’s second tight end, Drew Sample, caught 11 passes to Uzomah’s 49 last season. Hurst should have an excellent opportunity to lead the Bengals in receptions from the tight end position, and he currently has an Underdog Fantasy ADP of TE23. 

I will not promise a top-12 tight end return from Hurst, but it is within his range of outcomes playing with Joe Burrow. I will, however, promote the likelihood of his finishing far ahead of his ADP, which is free-agent value in virtually every league.

If you are embarking on a family road trip or even just a redraft fantasy league, I do hope I have given you some suggestions to ease your discomfort. As always, I am a listening ear for parents and fantasy players alike. See you next time!

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.

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