Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
There I was: a care-free 18-year-old college freshman with peach fuzz on my face and Nike Air Maxes on my feet, in line for a Mac Miller concert that would kick off my first-ever IUP Homecoming Weekend.
At the time, surrounded by my best friends, thousands of strangers and a pre-mature buzz that swept across campus. I never really knew how lucky I was.
No, instead of any of us thinking about what the future might have in store for us and each other, we did exactly what Wiz (Khalifa) and Snoop (Dogg) told us was all right to do – live a little “Young, Wild & Free.”
So filled with youth, optimism and ill-advised decision-making, it was times like that where we attempted to recreate all of the non-realistic college movies we had seen growing up.
But as I’ve come to learn throughout the years, sometimes the issue with those films is that the audience never learns what happens after the credits roll.
Unless there is an attempt at some half-assed sequel, we never learn what comes of the young friend group after the boy gets the girl and after the infamous weekend ends.
As naive youth so often do, we believed that there would be countless more memorable weekends in store and that they, along with the way things were, would never change. Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that due to the realities of work, some extenuating circumstances and time apart, people and the way things are change more times than not.
Fast forward to nearly three years later.
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2019, 12:20 a.m.
Instead of being up late, formulating plans for the upcoming illustrious weekend, I’m up writing, finishing my second weekly fantasy football column.
Over the years, what became of never thinking about work on homecoming weekend eventually turned into working the Thursday night of homecoming (which this year turned into working both Thursday and Friday nights of homecoming).
And when I do find time to celebrate the long-standing IUP tradition this weekend, it obviously won’t be the same as it once was.
Instead of it mainly being spent getting rowdy with some the same kids I went to high school with, it will hopefully be spent with some of those old friends I still hold close, mixed with a slew of some other amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know over the last three years – celebrating the friendships and memories IUP brought us and the time and vibes we’ll share together in that moment.
And see, just like homecoming, fantasy football isn’t the same as it used to be. But that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to play it.
Aside from constantly adding and subtracting to the cast of characters, new trends and strategies have accounted for all the last-minute wins and the painful defeats through the years.
Whether you like it or not, because of both past good and bad experiences with the game, you as an owner are constantly being forced to adapt.
And while sometimes there’s something glorious and rewarding about revisiting a past moment in time or looking toward an uncertain future, there’s also something special about living in the spectacular now and taking in all it has to offer.
Now, let’s get to it.
Quarterback I’d Start This Week:
Jacoby Brissett (Indianapolis): Brissett, who stepped in as the Colts starting quarterback after Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement, is actually the only quarterback with multiple passing touchdowns in each of the team’s four games so far this season.
Likely to be trailing early against the Chiefs on Sunday, leading to a pass-heavy game script for Indianapolis, Brissett is one of the best options at quarterback this week, especially with his favorite target, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton likely returning to game action this week after missing Week 4.
Quarterbacks I’d Sit This Week:
Replacement quarterbacks (Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Jacksonville): It’s been getting harder and harder each week to pick quarterbacks to bench because of the disparity of the once-plentiful position.
But with that being said, you’re still going to want to stay clear of the new crop of starting quarterbacks at least for this week.
Gardner Minshew II is banged up facing a good Carolina front seven. Teddy Bridgewater faces an improved Tampa Bay defense. While Mason Rudolph, the Steelers’ starting quarterback, is being subbed out for a running back to play the wildcat a good portion of the time.
Do yourself a favor this week and play a veteran and experienced quarterback this week, even if that veteran quarterback has to be Andy Dalton.
Running Backs I’d Start This Week:
Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert (San Francisco): Kyle Shanahan’s undefeated 49ers team is currently seventh in the league in rushing yards. And that’s after playing one fewer game than every other team but the Jets, following their Week 4 bye.
With Tevin Coleman still fighting to get back from an ankle injury and facing a Browns’ defense that allows an average of more than 85 rushing yards and five receptions to opposing running backs, both Breida and Mostert should produce solid RB2 and flex numbers respectively for your lineup.
Running Back I’d Sit This Week:
Josh Jacobs (Oakland): Coming into the season, Jacobs was drafted as a fringe RB1. But after an impressive debut in Week 1, his snap share has been reduced in each of the last three weeks.
The rookie is a risky option this week against a stifling Chicago front seven that’s allowed only 11.5 fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Wide Receiver I’d Start This Week:
Courtland Sutton (Denver): Sutton has been one of the few bright spots on a bad, 0-4 Denver Broncos’ team.
In a game in which you expect Denver’s now Bradley Chubb-less defense to struggle stopping a Chargers’ offense that should have Melvin Gordon back on the field for the first time this season, Joe Flacco is going to have to throw the ball to catch up.
And with his teammate Emmanuel Sanders banged up, Sutton, who is currently WR15 on the season, should see even more targets thrown his way.
Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:
Geronimo Allison (Green Bay): Allison was a popular waiver wire add this week following the news that Davante Adams, Green Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver, is likely to miss Sunday’s game.
However, it might be best to leave Allison on your bench or on waivers, as he hasn’t had more than four receptions in any game this season and is facing a Dallas defense that ranks the fourth-best against opposing wide receivers.