The Hard Bargain: Shares
Sharing is caring. We have all heard the saying. The benefits of sharing are fairly clear when you’re an adult. You may have a friend you loan a tool to or a neighbor who gives you a cup of milk for the dinner you plan to make. Friendships grow through giving and sharing of ourselves and our possessions.
While it is natural to crave independence, sometimes in our lives, “we all need somebody to lean on.” Shoutout to the late, great Bill Withers.
Sharing 101: Leading to Relationships
I have a neighbor across the street who is a culinary enthusiast, like me. Recently, he shared some of his homemade pulled pork mac and cheese with my family. Prior, I shared a jar of the Hatch Valley green chile that my brother had shipped to me for Christmas. Needless to say, we were both very pleased by the benefits of sharing in this situation.
Of course, this is not the first time we have shared delicious treats. As I write, I am eating some mango habanero pecans he brought back from a vacation for me. In addition, another neighbor of mine shares some of his time to assist me in making improvements in my yard, helping me prune trees and adjust sprinklers.
I consider myself very fortunate to be on the receiving end of his selfless sharing. Establishing a rapport with your neighbors requires a bit of give and take. That is how we learn to depend on one another and show that we are reliable when asked upon. It goes a long way and for mature adults, it likely comes easy.
Teaching Sharing to Children
Kids on the other hand are not born understanding the mutual benefits of sharing with others. Sharing must be taught to children and, as most parents will attest, it is often a tough lesson learned. In researching my topic, I learned even the experts will tell you that children have difficulty in sharing, but it is all part of the developmental process. As a parent, to teach your children to share, understanding that it is not in their nature is a good starting point.
As they learn their self-identity, it is natural for a child to begin exhibiting his or her autonomy. If you have ever parented a toddler, you have witnessed them wanting to do things by themselves. They have watched you do receptive tasks, like making their bed or pouring a glass of milk and now they believe they are ready to do it independently. For non-parents, 3-year-olds tend to spill a lot of milk and take an excruciatingly long time to make their own beds. They also do not like to share toys, as if “It’s mine,” becomes their catchphrase.
I had a special advantage that not many other parents do. I am the father of twins. Now 6-year-olds (I can hear them in my head hollering, “We’re 6 and a half!”) my twins, the “Sneaky Girls,” had sharing somewhat forced upon them. Sure, there were plenty of headaches when one would take a toy from the other. It often devolved into fights. Still, I was able to limit the idea of solitary ownership regarding the toys, because they belonged to both of them.
When I would schedule “play dates” for them with other children, as toddlers, I would find that only children have no practice in sharing. Parents would often look sheepishly at me and apologize for their children, informing me that they are working on learning how to share. I always laughed this off, because until then, I had not realized having twins was built-in training for sharing.
Wisdom of Children
I asked the Sneaky Girls what they thought was the best part of sharing. They explained, as they were sharing a snack, that they liked how they both got some of the snack. Nobody was allowed to have the whole thing.
Though they tend to struggle with some of the younger neighborhood kids who are not as open to sharing, I try to remind them that other kids are still learning about sharing and that their experience can help them teach others about it.
When I asked why they thought sharing was important, they said that if you do not share, you might hurt someone’s feelings if they get left out. My daughters are talking about empathy. They are thinking about things from someone else’s point of view, which is vital for understanding the value of sharing. They realize their own choices have a ripple effect and impact others. No one is in a vacuum.
Sharing the Ball
Sharing is not just a challenging concept for young children, but for NFL players alike. But, just as it may help bring balance to your neighborhood or your family, so too may it bring balance to an NFL offense. Star players may not want to share the ball as we have seen outbursts on social media from players dissatisfied with how often they see the ball. I am looking at you, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Still, even a small share of the ball can bring legitimate fantasy value to lesser-known or overlooked players.
So, here is my list of running backs that may not be the most promising names in fantasy, but should carry value for you in your deeper redraft leagues because of their likelihood to share their team’s backfield touches.
Qadree Ollison (Atlanta Falcons)
Qadree Ollison does not have much NFL experience, but he stands to benefit from being part of a backfield without much NFL experience.
Atop the depth chart in Atlanta sits Mike Davis. A back now on his fifth NFL team in just his seventh year in the league, Davis has logged little time as a feature back. Serving as a replacement for the injured Christian McCaffrey in 2020, he filled in admirably, posting career highs with just over 1,000 total yards and eight total touchdowns. He also posted his career-high in carries with 165.
Though Ollison enters his third NFL season with just 23 career carries, he may well be called upon to carry a bit more of the weight in the Falcons’ backfield. In his final college season at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), Ollison carried the ball 194 times for 1,213 yards and 11 touchdowns. While NFL defenses will be more formidable than the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) defenses he faced, Ollison has established that he is capable of holding up to the demands of a heavy workload. He should have a role in the run game, and should anything happen to Davis, a pathway opens up to heavy usage for him.
Gus Edwards (Baltimore Ravens)
J.K. Dobbins is the player fantasy managers are most excited about in Baltimore though he will undoubtedly be sharing the ball with Gus Edwards in the busy Ravens’ backfield. Baltimore recently signed Edwards to a two-year, $10 million extension. Such action indicates that they do not only wish to keep him around but to keep him involved, as well.
In each of his three seasons with the Ravens, Edwards has exceeded 700 rushing yards despite never seeing over 144 carries. In 2021, with Mark Ingram no longer on the roster, the expectation should be that Edwards extends it to four consecutive seasons.
As a rookie, Dobbins did not have a single game with more than 15 carries. Baltimore trusts Edwards to do a bit of the heavy lifting and absorb some of the punishment associated with it. In 2020, Edwards carried the ball from inside the five-yard line nine times, scoring three touchdowns, providing fantasy managers with much-needed upside.
Samaje Perine (Cincinnati Bengals)
This one is a little further out there as Joe Mixon will be the lead dog in the Bengals’ rushing attack, snatching up the majority of rushing attempts in a depleted Cincinnati backfield. Giovani Bernard, who carried the ball 100+ times in two of the four seasons Mixon has been in Cincinnati, is no longer a member of the team.
Bernard’s departure leaves veteran Samaje Perine as the primary backup to Mixon. Since arriving in Cincinnati, Perine has not played a significant role in the rushing game. However, in his rookie season with Washington, he carried the ball 175 times. Expect Perine to fill much of the role previously held by Bernard and, if Mixon, who is no stranger to injury, should miss time, Perine could be in line for a major workload.
Kenyan Drake (Las Vegas Raiders)
Before you turn your nose up, hear me out. Of course, Josh Jacobs will be the primary ball carrier in Las Vegas. Jacobs carried the ball 273 times in 2020. He also led the NFL in red zone rushing attempts. But, did you know Kenyan Drake was fourth in the league in that category?
Given that he was drafted in the early second round in most drafts, he did not deliver on his draft position. Yet, even in a year that most fantasy managers declared him a disappointment, Drake managed to compile over 1,000 total yards with 10 total touchdowns. The Raiders have indicated a desire to get Drake involved in the offense in multiple ways. They do not appear to be viewing him merely as a player to spell Jacobs when he needs a breath.
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.