Breaking Down My 4-0 Fantasy Football Team

Breaking Down My 4-0 Fantasy Football Team

With bye weeks looming, and injuries to players piling up, the fantasy football season always gets more challenging as it goes on
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The NFL season is in full swing and fans across the nation are loving it as per usual. One of the many traditions fans like myself take part in is fantasy football, the online game where you draft players and earn points based on their performances. I'm off to a great start in my tournament league. In fact, I currently sit at an undefeated 4-0 record. Here's the team I have and the players that got me to this point!

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Marcus Mariota

There's nothing better in fantasy football than knowing you're set under center. Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota are both great quarterbacks capable of putting up big yardage both as passers and as runners. Wilson is my starter and has played great, and as long as Mariota is healthy, you can usually count on him to have a decent game.

Running Back: Devonta Freeman, Jordan Howard, Ty Montgomery, Matt Forte

The running back position is the pride and joy of my team. When I drafted this team, I wanted to make sure I would never be lacking at RB since good fantasy RB's are hard to find. Devonta Freeman and Jordan Howard are top running backs in the NFL who I can count on for triple-digit yards and at least one trip to the end zone. Ty Montgomery is my go to Flex player, and Matt Forte offers depth.

Wide Receiver: Emmanuel Sanders, Devante Parker, Jeremy Maclin, Torrey Smith

This is probably the weakest position group on my roster. Emmanuel Sanders is the only one that puts up decent numbers week to week. Devante Parker is decent but inconsistent, Jeremy Maclin is affected by Joe Flacco's struggles, and Torrey Smith is more of a depth player fantasy wise.

Tight End: Jason Witten, Eric Ebron

Even in his 15th NFL season, Jason Witten continues to produce at a good level. Witten usually gets a good amount of targets, and there's always a good chance he'll be thrown to in the end zone. Eric Ebron hasn't been great since the Lions drafted him, and he still needs to develop as a player. I'm only putting in Ebron if Witten has a bye or gets injured.

Defense/Special Teams: Patriots, Titans

Both of these defenses have potential to be top units this season. Sadly, the potential hasn't been reached yet. The Pats and Titans sit at just 2-2, and their porous defenses are huge reasons why. Hopefully, the early season rust comes off, because these defenses are better than what they've shown.

Kicker: Blair Walsh, Caleb Sturgis

Blair Walsh has been a solid starting kicker for me. I tend not to do a whole lot of moving and shaking at this position because you can't really predict how well a kicker will do. But, I do need to make a move at kicker. Caleb Sturgis is confirmed out for the rest of the season on injured reserve, having been replaced by rookie phenom Jake Elliott. Dropping Sturgis will give me room to get another RB.

With bye weeks looming, and injuries to players piling up, the fantasy football season always gets more challenging as it goes on, but 4-0 is 4-0. Here's hoping for continued good luck in one of my favorite things about football.

Also, I have a second fantasy team in another league. I'm 0-4.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons - Larry Maurer

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Drum Corps And Overcoming Myself

Sometimes, you truly are your own worst enemy.

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Late afternoons in Millbrook, Alabama were terrible. I learned that very quickly. The heat, the bugs, and the humidity were such a terrible mix. Dense grass and burnt, blistered hands made for grueling rehearsals. Surely through all this suffering I would be able to conquer anything, it seemed.

I was wrong. The biggest obstacle I'd ever face turned out, as cliché as it sounds, to be me.

My biggest obstacle - myself.Photo by Ruth Marek

I joined Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2017 season, and my rookie year would definitely showcase the impact of these negative thoughts. We were not even a week into tour when I first "broke." I had survived all-days, but once we hit the road, it seemed that I couldn't continue. That day, the pressures were particularly immense. I had been newly promoted to the marimba line, been given only nine days to learn the full show, and now we were on tour. Competition would start that very day. Needless to say, the odds were stacked against me. The grass on the field was extremely, almost unnaturally thick, making for a hellish and painful push. I'm already a small person, and of course only being a week or so into my rookie season, I didn't have the muscles for it yet. The sun was beating down on us; the temperature came close to 100 degrees. The marimba itself - yeah, the big thing I have to push around a field all day - was actually at least twice if not three times my size. On top of it all, we were under a time limit which, if violated, resulted in a penalty for the whole corps.

I could continue on for ages about all the external factors that made my experience difficult, but I would be completely ignoring the point. Those external factors made my experience difficult, not impossible. The factors weren't the problem itself. I was the problem. I didn't believe in myself. Negative thoughts thrive in negative environments. As such, the aforementioned circumstances resulted in a copious quantity of self-doubt, self-loathing, regret, and other wonderful feelings. My own negative thinking patterns created the problem.

How does one overcome oneself? It's almost paradoxical. In retrospect, I've struggled with myself for far longer than just in drum corps, and I still struggle today. But that sweltering day, in the middle of Millbrook, Alabama, I was given something that has helped me tremendously in my fight to extinguish my negative thinking patterns. That day, in the middle of my push onto the field, my legs locked up. My thighs were screaming, and I was pretty close to doing the same if I hadn't been biting down on my lip. I was leading the whole line of front ensemble onto the field, so I had to keep going. I tried to. But I couldn't.

I couldn't do it.

I couldn't do it.

I heard my section called out from the press box: "That's two minutes already! Front ensemble has thirty seconds to get set!"

I couldn't do it.

I couldn't do it.

The pain of pushing the board mixed with the pain of the humiliation I'd caused myself and my section. I began to cry. My technician, Kirstyn (whom you may remember from my previous article), ran to my side. Tears were streaming down my face, probably leaving streaks of sunscreen washed away. I thought she'd help me push. She didn't.

All she did was stare at me. I still remember her eyes, icy blue and filled with confidence, like she was willing it with everything she had to transfer to me. I remember sobbing. At this point, I'm still pushing, but barely. She said two words to me, and those two words changed my entire life: "Keep pushing."

I'd love to say that something clicked into place. I'd love to say that those two words filled me with strength and my speed skyrocketed, bringing me and my section to our place in time. It didn't happen like that, of course, but the fact that it didn't have some magical effect on me speaks to me. It shows that overcoming oneself has always been and will always be a long process, filled with successes and failures just like any other.

More than anything, those words fill me with hope. Hope that I can get through whatever obstacle I'm facing. Those words have become a sort of mantra for me, and I am immensely glad to have received that advice. I've taken on so much more in my life than ever before thanks to the hope it brings me.

If you're ever facing an obstacle, be it yourself or otherwise, keep pushing. You'll thank yourself after the fact.

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