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fantasy football week 9 starts

The Hard Bargain: Self-Care

by Dave Stewart

Starting the Self-Care Conversation

Life is hard. We have all felt overwhelmed at times by our own situations and responsibilities. That is a completely normal way to feel. I believe that normalizing not feeling well is a key step towards erasing the stigma of mental illness.

The inverse of mental illness is mental wellness, and just the way you would take steps to improve your physical wellness, the same is needed to promote your mental wellness. In the spirit of the Movember movement to support and improve men’s health, I will discuss ways to care for your mental well-being. 

Fortunately, through the sports world, the conversation is being brought into the open by courageous individuals willing to be candid about their mental health. Athletes like Naomi Osaka, Lane Johnson and Calvin Ridley have opened up a discourse on mental health by being vulnerable in the public eye. So many of us, particularly men, have been told to keep these types of personal struggles to ourselves. I believe there is nothing more harmful than doing so.

Moving Past Self-Care Stigmas

We must come to a point where we feel comfortable talking about what is going on with ourselves. No one said it would be easy, but finding a trusted friend or family member to whom you can talk is of paramount importance to your mental well-being. You may also want to talk to a professional counselor or therapist about your experiences and how they impact your health. Seeing a counselor is no different than going to a doctor for a regular check-up or when you are not feeling well physically. 

Because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness, many people feel shame or embarrassment, which becomes a barrier to receiving the necessary treatment. Some people fear the judgment of others and that too becomes a barrier to treatment. I want to encourage you to challenge these ways of thinking.  Seeking treatment for mental health concerns is normal and vital to your overall health. You must care for yourself. 

Self-Care: Next Steps in a Shared Journey

Self-care is an important component of promoting mental well-being. It is OK to not feel OK. Sometimes, you may have to take time for yourself. Establishing a self-care routine is something that we all should do. There are so many possibilities available.

Some folks like to go to the gym for a physical workout, which has a positive effect on their self-esteem and thoughts about themselves. Others may like to have a quiet meditation or simply drink a cup of tea in their favorite chair. Going for walks, having conversations with friends, spending time with family or pets or listening to the rain are all examples of positive self-care activities. It is not so important what you do for self-care, but rather that you do it.

Mental health crises may arise for any of us, at any time. I have experienced my own mental health issues over the years and I am currently working to manage my depression and anxiety through both self-care and medication. If there is one thing I would like to impart to anyone reading this, it is the truth that you are not alone. Others have experienced or are experiencing very similar feelings to what you may be going through. Raising awareness and promoting care for mental health issues will always be personal for me. Please take care of yourself.

If you are experiencing any type of mental health issue, tell somebody. There are always people who will care and want to help you get the treatment you need. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  

Self-Care for Your Week 9 Deep League Fantasy Lineups

There is no easy way to transition from such an important topic to fantasy football, but please indulge me. While Ridley takes some needed time away from the football field, many other events have transpired over the last several days that may be harming the health of your fantasy team.

From the tragic events involving Henry Ruggs to players like Aaron Rodgers and Saquon Barkley going on the COVID-19/Reserve List, you may be reeling to fill holes in your Week 9 lineups. As if these situations weren’t enough, Odell Beckham, Jr. was also just cut by the Cleveland Browns and Derrick Henry will miss at least eight weeks after undergoing foot surgery.

This fantasy football season has been one of the most difficult to navigate in recent memory. In the interest of your success, or at least your ability to set a lineup, I have a few suggestions to give your lineup the self-care it needs.

Jordan Love (QB, Green Bay Packers)

Rodgers’ misfortune in contracting COVID-19 could have a silver lining for your fantasy team. Undoubtedly, if you roster Rodgers, you probably rushed to pick up his backup upon hearing the bad news. Little is known about Jordan Love, who will be making his first NFL start in Kansas City on Sunday.

During the 2021 preseason, Love played in two games. He completed 12 passes in each game for a total of 271 yards and one touchdown. In theory, he has also learned a lot watching Rodgers, one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, leading the team. Love has told the media that he has a great relationship with Rodgers and tries to learn as much as he can from him.

Making his regular-season debut against Kansas City is a blessing. The Chiefs currently allow the second-most points to quarterbacks and Love should have the services of Davante Adams available to him on Sunday.

Derrick Gore (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)

Derrick Gore is a newcomer on the fantasy football scene. In Week 8, he saw his first significant action of the year. In a game against the New York Giants, where Patrick Mahomes was not as productive as usual, the Chiefs showed a strong desire to utilize their running game and Gore was the primary beneficiary. He carried the ball 11 times for 48 yards. He also found himself in the end zone to cap off an 11 -play scoring drive on which he carried the ball seven times.

Darrel Williams received 13 carries to Gore’s 11, but Gore was the only back with a rushing score. Gore averaged 4.4 Yards Per Carry (YPC) and converted five first downs. I will not claim this to be the safest play, but Gore established himself as an asset in the run game for Kansas City. If you are reaching for an emergency running back, you could do worse than Gore.

Van Jefferson – (WR, Los Angeles Rams)

DeSean Jackson, a dangerous deep threat, was released by the Rams this week. His departure should lead to an increased role for Van Jefferson. Jefferson has nearly equal speed to the fleet Jackson and, through eight games, is averaging 16.3 yards per reception. Jackson had only a 6.2 percent target share, but he averaged 27.3 Yards Per Reception (YPR). Look for Jefferson to improve in both categories.

Jefferson has seen a 14.2 percent target share to date. With Matthew Stafford posting career highs in completion percentage and Yards Per Attempt (YPA), Jefferson’s prospects are looking up. Do not be afraid to start him if you are in need of a receiver this week.

Albert Okwuegbunam – (TE, Denver Broncos)

Noah Fant is on the COVID-19/Reserve List and his chances of playing against the Cowboys in Week 9 are in question. While Fant could still play, as long as he returns two negative tests 24 hours apart before Sunday’s game, his placement on the list was due to a positive test.

Were Fant to play, Albert Okwuegbunam suddenly loses much of his appeal for this week. But, if you roster Fant, getting Okwuegbunam is one of the wisest moves to make. The Cowboys are slightly-below league average in terms of fantasy points allowed to the tight end position. Fant has yet to miss a start and commands a 19.6 percent target share.

Okwuegbunam has a target share of 8.4 percent, even with Fant active. The most promising statistic for Okwuegbunam is his 92.3 percent catch rate. He has caught 12 of the 13 targets directed his way on the season. If there’s no Fant this week, Okwuegbunam is a strong fill-in play.

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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