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The Hard Bargain: Tempted

by Dave Stewart

The Temptation of the Forbidden

Danger! High Voltage! Keep Out! Everyone has seen these signs before, but no one in their right mind would ever want to go anywhere near the objects or areas these signs are warning about. The average person does not actively seek danger, much less have any interest in being around high voltage wires.

As for me, I would not even entertain the thought of trying to enter this type of restricted area, had it not been for those last two words. Keep Out.

With these two words, my brain, and my adrenaline, instinctively start to race. Why should I keep out? What is inside this restricted area that someone does not want me to see? Suddenly, effortlessly, I can envision myself climbing the chain-link fence. Despite the dangers, no obstacles can stop my imaginary pursuit. I am not afraid of the razor wire I will throw my jacket over it or something; I don’t know, I’ll figure it out when I get up there.

At that moment, as I imagine doing the unthinkable, have I lost all of my sensibilities?

Most of you are probably nodding your heads yes. However, you likely face situations each day wherein you give in and pursue endeavors despite the inherently negative potential consequences. This phenomenon, known as the “forbidden fruit effect,” is at its essence a desire that lurks inside of all of us. As humans, we do not like when anything is prohibited. It threatens our freedom, something that we all believe is valuable.

A great example of this can be seen playing out in the handling of COVID-19. People have greatly differing opinions of mask mandates, vaccinations and so much more. Ultimately, these differing opinions come down to how we each perceive the idea of freedom, and our response when we are told we must comply with something that inherently challenges our innate desire to rebel against external mandates. 

Temptation’s Relational Impact

Still, the forbidden fruit effect has to do with so much more than just potentially being electrocuted or contracting a dangerous, communicable disease. It is part of our everyday lives.

My daughters are attending school virtually once again this year. Though they are not yet 7 years old, they have a surprising mastery of technology. They can use their school-issued iPads to access their live classes and their homework assignments, as well as YouTube and other distractions. While they spend much of their school day independently and unsupervised, I make sure to check in on them frequently.

One of my daughters has an attraction to YouTube videos, although I have expressly forbidden her from viewing them on the school device. You know where this is going, don’t you?

After I caught her for the 100th time (exaggeration for effect) I sent her to time-out. I lectured her about following rules and questioned why she watches videos she knows she is not allowed to. “I just like them,” she said. “That’s all.” After confronting her about her disobedience, she started feeling sad and guilty about her behavior. She told me, “I don’t like myself.” That got me. I told her she was not bad. It was this choice that was bad. “I just feel unloved,” she sobbed.

This girl knows how to pull on her dad’s heart. I gave her a big hug and told her there was nothing she could do to make me stop loving her. Even when I am angry with her, I still love her. Her response gave me a lot to think about because I have made it a conscious effort to tell my kids they are loved. Sometimes they tell me they know because I say it all the time, which I think is great, as it is exactly what I am going for.

To make the most out of our relationships, it behooves us to consider the forbidden fruit effect and understand how it impacts our loved ones. Temptation is universally hard to resist. As Irish poet Oscar Wilde said, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” Therefore, when it comes to my children, I am choosing to understand and respect their freedom, knowing that they will be unable to resist disobeying my direction and knowing that, even when they disobey, I am going to love them anyway.

Tempting Week 3 Deeper League Plays

As we look ahead to Week 3 in your deep leagues (16-team+), I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do or to impose any restrictions as to how you set your lineups. Whether you win or lose, or whether you follow the advice below, just know I’ll still love you anyway. But maybe you do take this advice, you know, just to be contrarian.

Jared Goff (QB, Detroit Lions)

Why would you want to start Jared Goff? He is currently ranked as the QB23 for Week 3 according to ESPN’s consensus ranking. He is playing against the vaunted Baltimore defense, or is he?

In reality, the Ravens have been atrocious against quarterbacks so far this year. They have allowed the most passing yards in the league so far. Sure, they just squared off against Patrick Mahomes, but they also  gave up 435 passing yards to Derek Carr in Week 1. Now they face Goff.

But, you may think, he has no receivers, right? Quintez Cephus has now caught a touchdown in back-to-back games. T.J. Hockenson is emerging as one of the premier tight ends in the NFL. Goff also has two prolific pass-catching running backs at his disposal in D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.

Why else should you start Goff? What about his uncanny accuracy? It sounds crazy and it’s early, but he has a 68.8 percent completion rate thus far. He is quietly playing very well and yet, nobody wants him. If you have needs at quarterback, Goff can fill them. If he has not been grabbed off the waiver wire, do not miss him. If you already roster him, do not fear starting him. Goff is a temptation you can give in to.

Tony Pollard (RB, Dallas Cowboys)

I can admit, I am an Ezekiel Elliott fan. While I understand there are reasons to be for or against Elliott within the fantasy football industry, I bring my stance on Elliott up simply to explain that I am not typically a Tony Pollard guy. But, as the season has unfolded, it has become hard to argue with myself.

Pollard is going to be part of this offense, even with Elliott healthy. Week 2 was his breakout rushing performance, but he also caught four passes in the season opener against Tampa Bay. Through two weeks, Pollard has 16 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown, adding seven receptions on seven targets for 60 yards. His efficiency has been something to marvel at.

He is averaging 7.7 Yards Per Carry (YPC), has a healthy 17.4 percent juke rate, has only run 10 routes, yet has seen seven targets and, of his 60 receiving yards and has amazingly generated 78 yards after the catch. Pollard is creating yards and playing his way onto the field. Count on him to finish within the top-25 at the position this week

Robby Anderson (WR, Carolina Panthers)

Robby Anderson only has four receptions through two games, yet he has turned these four receptions into 95 yards and a touchdown. The reunion with Sam Darnold looks like it’s quietly turning into what many had hoped.

Now, the Panthers square off with a less-than-intimidating Houston defense. Anderson is seeing 21.0 air yards per target. Darnold clearly wants to find Anderson down the field. We are talking about a big play waiting to happen. With 23.8 Yards Per Reception (YPR) and a 25 percent touchdown rate, one big play is all it takes for Anderson to return value in your lineups.

Darnold is currently  throwing for 292 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception per game. Expect Anderson to find that big play against Houston, rewarding fantasy managers.

Dan Arnold (TE, Carolina Panthers)

Let’s get crazy two pass catchers from Carolina! Houston has offered little resistance to tight ends through the first two weeks, and it is not like they have been playing against Travis Kelce or Darren Waller. The tight ends that have hurt them the most thus far have been James O’Shaughnessy and Harrison Bryant.

Dan Arnold has a better athletic profile than either of those tight ends. He came alive last week for three catches and 55 yards. Can he take advantage of the Texans’ defense the way Bryant and O’Shaughnessy have? With a 71 percent catch rate and 10 routes per game, I think he has a fair shake. I like Arnold as a surprising top-12 tight end this week.

Resisting the Temptation to Judge Others’ Motives

As you think about how tempting it would be to plug one of the above players into your lineups this week, don’t forget to set your waiver wire priorities, in addition to your lineups.

Additionally, let your loved ones know they are loved. Do not make them feel guilty about giving into temptation. It is only human to do so. Understand others and their motives in the way you understand yourself. When you assume their motives are nefarious, you will believe that they are. However, they are likely no more nefarious than your own. Perhaps, they are simply struggling with their own forbidden fruit.

Be mindful. Be compassionate. Be aggressive on the waiver wire. Your fantasy leagues will not win themselves.

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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