The Mundies: “Don’t Quit Your Day Job”
“The Mundies” is a bi-weekly column by Scott Rinear, awarding life and fantasy football. Now in its second year of publishing, this column presents an optimistic outlook on life and an analytical approach to the game. Read forward as Scott analyzes finding joy in the corporate lifestyle and Dalton Schultz and Devonta Smith, fantasy football winners from the NFL Divisional Round
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me complain about my day job from time to time.
I should be clear. I do not hate my day job. Far from it. Typically when I feel the need to complain about my job (which is a perfectly healthy thing to do), it is because I would rather be doing something related to fantasy football analysis.
At the same time, I would not go as far as saying I love my day job, either. Like many, my relationship with and feelings toward what I do for a living fall somewhere in-between.
I have answered a few of the “What do you do for a living?” questions on Twitter with my official title, “Construction Manager.” But outside of a few people, I haven’t ever gone into much detail about what I actually do to pay the bills.
I find it interesting when folks in the fantasy community talk about what they do for a living. With relationships and interactions rooted mostly on social media, we only see a limited snapshot of what is happening in people’s lives. I remember my surprise when I first found out some of the fantasy analysts I follow had other full-time jobs. I remember thinking, “wait, you aren’t a full-time fantasy analyst?” I can only speak from my experience with this perception, but I am guessing I am not alone in that surprise.
There are analysts who consistently put out great content all season and all year long who are also full-time teachers or are going to school full-time. I remember thinking, “how do you possibly have the time?”
Then the 2022 season came along. By no means was I doing full-time fantasy content this season, but I committed to a weekly and monthly schedule where it’s possible someone may be surprised to find out I have a separate at least 40-hours per week occupation.
Some of this was based on deadlines set by others, but much of it was self-implemented with the weekly content I put on Twitter and onto my Patreon page. So now I have a window into that world. Balancing consistent fantasy football content creation and interaction in the community with my day job and being a husband and father is a lot. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Like many job titles, Construction Manager is about as general as it gets. And I did not set out to work in construction. In fact, “Construction Manager” is a relatively new title and not entirely accurate for what I spend much of my time doing. When I graduated from college in 2002, I had no clue what I wanted to do.
I chose Biology and Environmental Studies as my major for my undergraduate bachelor’s degree. I knew I liked science and math; my dad had taught high school biology, and my older sister majored in biology at the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!). So I figured, why not? I was forced to choose a major topic of study even though I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I chose something somewhat familiar.
After college and about five years of working odd jobs and getting by, I decided I should probably try and use the very expensive degree I had earned. So I quickly learned how to write a resumé and sent it out to a bunch of companies in the Seattle area.
How did I choose which companies to send it to? Honestly, I chose companies that sounded “sciencey.” The only picture I had in my head was something like counting fish. I have talked at length about other decisions I was making in my 2020s. I didn’t really know what I was doing. After about two months, I received a response from one of the companies. They wanted me to come in for an interview.
Now, if I was giving interview advice now, I would stress the importance of researching the company you are interviewing with. At a minimum, you should have a basic understanding of what they do. I did none of this. I showed up armed with no knowledge. As I said, I didn’t know what I was doing.
Partway through the interview, as I was clearly meandering through my best attempt at Bullsh*t (BS), the interviewer asked me point blank, “Do you even know what we do here?”
Somehow, I still got the job. So, on June 5, 2006, I started my first job in a professional field as an Industrial Hygiene Field Technician.
The field of industrial hygiene includes many things, from hazardous materials to air quality and occupational ergonomics.
The first project I was assigned fieldwork to was super interesting. A small town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains had a contamination issue. A company operating in the town had been dumping hazardous chemicals into the ground for decades. The contamination approached the underground water table, which fed directly into an adjacent river. A plan was devised to move houses and a school so the contamination could be dug up and removed. They literally picked up buildings and moved them.
My job was constantly monitoring the air during the work for a multitude of toxins. For months I set up different air monitors at various locations in the town. This was to ensure the remediation process wasn’t further contaminating the town. It involved long hours, lots of driving and tracking massive amounts of data. I loved it.
But the majority of my work in this field has involved asbestos. Now, approaching 18 years in the industry, I am considered a Subject Matter Expert (SME) with asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous rock. It has many properties that are beneficial for building materials, all in one rock (waterproof, fireproof and extremly strong, to name a few).
Based on this and its relatively inexpensive procurement, it was added to many construction materials across the world for the majority of the 20th century. The problem is asbestos takes the form of an extremely small fiber. You need a high-powered microscope to see individual fibers. Something that small can make its way deep into the human body. And if enough fibers get lodged in your lung tissue, it can cause multiple asbestos diseases (including lung cancer) that are fatal with no cure.
In the U.S. during the 1970s, regulations were put in place to address the hazards of asbestos. Because the mineral made its way into countless buildings, any impact to that building, from small renovations to full demolition, would release asbestos into the air if not controlled. In a nutshell, my job entailed assisting building owners with complying with asbestos regulations and being part of efforts to control its safe removal.
I worked at that first company from 2006 until April 2019. In that time, while being mentored by two amazing people (one of whom I am close friends with to this day), I moved up to Project Manager and eventually Senior Project Manager.
I was able to keep that job through all my issues with addiction, but I ended up getting to a point where my work stress wasn’t sustainable. I’ve realized since that my situation was partially self-inflicted. But I had to leave. It was time. I will always cherish my time with that company and was truly fortunate to work with the people I did.
Part of the process with asbestos is finding it, which involves taking small samples of any part of a building that could have asbestos and sending them to a lab. This effort took me all over the Pacific Northwest. That first company is a private, client-based consulting company, and we had clients all over the region. I got to hunt through pretty much any type of building you can think of; Schools, houses, commercial, industrial, paper mills, hydroelectric facilities and abandoned sites that looked like something out of “The Walking Dead.”
I am forever cursed to look around any building I walk into and almost subconsciously list all the things I would sample for asbestos.
I was fortunate with timing. A job opened up that I had wanted for a while, only a few months after my realization I needed a change. This realization included a mini-nervous breakdown and was the final domino, finally leading to necessary anxiety medication.
Technically, my current job is “Regulated Materials Construction Manager.” It’s a public municipal entity, and most of my work now occurs at a large airport. I do manage some small construction projects, but much of my work still revolves around asbestos. Asbestos is expensive to remove, and no law requires it to be removed just because it’s there. So until planned work comes along that would require asbestos removal (like renovation or demolition), it is managed in place. That management effort is the majority of what I do at my day job.
There have been times since I joined the fantasy community that I’ve daydreamed about doing it full-time. But it is not realistic at the current juncture. As redundant as my day job can get, as much as I might complain, I have worked hard for 17 years to get where I am at. I have a boss, and he has a boss, but I now get to dictate my own schedule. My immediate supervisor is more like a peer and colleague, and that’s how he treats me. I am blessed with amazing bosses at both companies I’ve worked for, and I am friends with both outside of work.
I have been given much flexibility in continuing to work from home and have earned the trust to get my work done, even if it’s not all between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The job security, salary and benefits are not something I can walk away from. I’ve worked hard on the work stress issues I was bringing upon myself. My wife and I both work to support our family, which is the top priority.
Regarding the fantasy community, I’m not going anywhere. I’ve said it many times, the decision to go for this thing the way I have has changed my life for the better. And who knows what’s going to happen? I can’t predict what things will look like in the future. I plan to continue as I have because I love what I am doing in the fantasy space.
But I am grateful for where I’m at professionally, especially since it all started with my former boss (and still close friend) asking me, “Do you even know what we do here?”
And now, The Mundie Awards.
THE MUNDIES AWARDS: NFL PLAYOFF EDITION
The Mundie will be awarded to a player or players who were winners during the previous week(s), whether directly by scoring a lot of fantasy points or from a volume/opportunity standpoint that puts them in a position to score a lot of fantasy points moving forward.
DeVonta Smith (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
Somewhat quietly, DeVonta Smith finished the fantasy season as the overall Points Per Reception (PPR) WR14 on a points-per-game basis. Looking at total points scored, Smith was the overall WR9. I prefer using points per game when looking at season-long positional rankings, but finishing top 10 in total PPR points highlights two positive results. Smith scored a lot of fantasy points, and he stayed healthy all season.
A big knock on Smith entering the NFL was his lack of size. An excellent route runner with an impressive college production profile, he was faded at the NFL level mostly due to his weight. At 6 feet and 170 pounds, Smith’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was at a level that had rarely seen success in the NFL. But, as with any data set based, especially one based on limited variables (such as height and weight), there are always outliers. If you want to assign the significance to BMI that many choose to, then Smith is a big-time outlier.
Withstanding the NFL’s physicality is one reason BMI is used. Along with the vague and qualitative “too-small-for-football” concern, the durability and injury risks are legitimate for smaller players. All Smith has done is played in 34 of a possible 34 regular season games in his two NFL seasons.
In his rookie season, Smith caught 64 passes on 104 targets for 916 yards and five TDs. He only got better in 2022, catching 95 of 136 targets for 1,196 yards and seven TDs. The Eagles did throw more during Smith’s sophomore season but still finished with the fifth-highest run-pass ratio and added WR A.J. Brown in the offseason.
Smith caught fire when it mattered most for fantasy managers. From Week 10 through Week 17, Smith was the PPR WR5, and during the Fantasy Football Playoffs (Week 15-17), Smith was the PPR WR2.
Smith’s season-long target share of 27.1 percent ranked 13th in the NFL. From Week 10 on, Smith’s target share rocketed up to 31.4 percent. While Brown had higher ceiling games and finished higher at WR7 in points per game, Smith was a more consistent fantasy WR, especially down the stretch.
On a weekly basis, Brown scored more than his season-long average in 37.5 percent of games played. Smith did so in 53.3 percent of his games, which was the sixth-highest among the top 36 WRs, including every game from Week 13 to Week 17.
After the Eagles’ first-round bye, Smith picked up right where he left off in the NFL Divisional Round versus the Giants. In the Eagles’ 38-7 destruction of the Giants, Smith led the team in targets (10) and caught one of Jalen Hurts’ two passing TDs.
I will be curious to see Smith’s Average Draft Position (ADP) once redraft formats spring to life this summer. I feel it will be at a great value for a player I may have ranked as a top-12 WR heading into the 2023 season.
Dalton Schultz (TE, Dallas Cowboys)
I am choosing to look past Dalton Schultz’s performance on the last drive of the Cowboys’ season.
Schultz caught the only TD pass thrown by Dak Prescott in the Cowboys’ 19-12 loss to San Francisco in the NFL Divisional Round. This was not surprising. Including the Cowboy’s two playoff games against the Buccaneers and 49ers, Schultz has caught five TD passes in his last four games, dating back to Week 17 against the Titans. This included a two-TD game in the Week 17 fantasy championships. What led to this late-season surge for Schultz? I think he was finally healthy, or at least the healthiest he had been since early in the season.
Schultz suffered a knee sprain injury in Week 2 and aggravated the injury again in Week 5. Schultz missed Week 3 and saw a total of four combined targets in Weeks 4 and 5. He then missed Week 6 after the injury aggravation. Schultz’s snap share was at 95 after two weeks. From Week 3 to Week 13, that fell to 67.5 percent, a strong indicator he was not 100 percent in the games he played.
Week 14 versus the Texans is when Schultz looks to have gotten healthy enough to play closer to what we expected after his PPR TE5 campaign in 2021. Week 14 was the first week Schultz hit 10 targets all season and the first game he eclipsed a 90 percent snap share since Week 1. From Week 14 through Week 17, Schultz was on the field for 89.3 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps.
There is no sugar-coating it. Schultz’s PPR TE11 finish on a points-per-game basis ( minimum 10 games played) was a disappointment based on what was projected and his ADP as the TE6 according to Sleeper ADP data from Sept. 1. And injuries happen in the NFL. While Schultz’s knee injury and playing a significant number of games at less than 100 percent were the major reasons for the disappointing fantasy season, it was still a disappointment. But, from Week 13 through Week 17, when it looks (statistically) like he was much closer to healthy, Schultz was the TE5.
I will likely still have Schultz ranked as a top-six TE entering the 2023 season, but there is something we all need to pay attention to between now and then. Schultz will be an Unrestricted Free Agent this offseason. The 2023 offseason hasn’t officially started yet, but the Cowboys are projected to have approximately $5.8 million in cap space.
Among the Cowboys’ 2023 UFAs, Schultz had the highest salary in 2022 by far. It is difficult to project this early if the Cowboys will attempt to re-sign Schultz. A former fourth-round pick out of Stanford, Schultz will only be 27 when the 2023 season begins, which is right around the “prime” for TEs. He’s coming off a TE5 finish in 2021 and close to that when healthy in 2022. Rookie TE (also a fourth-round pick) Jake Ferguson flashed some big play ability in 2022, but Schultz has dominated the TE targets for the last two seasons and has good chemistry with Dak Prescott. I believe the Cowboys will try to re-sign the veteran tight end.
Thank you so much for reading my analysis on Dalton Schultz and Devonta Smith, fantasy football winners from the NFL Divisional Round. As I have moved toward more analytics-based fantasy football content, my goal is to provide that content in a manner that is as easy to digest as possible.
Advanced analytics are very useful, and I think can be explained simply and logically. Please feel free to reach out to me to explain more about the analytical concepts I present in these columns. My Direct Messages (DMs) are always open.