2020. Week 5. Monday morning.
I walk out to the kitchen nursing a slightly unhappy stomach. I’m not sure if it’s the piece of cold fried chicken I ate last night while catching up on backlogged television shows or if it’s just another dull ache over the continued tedium of combined home/work life. “Both things can be true” might be the correct answer but one of these causes has an easier solution. than the other.
The solution for losing Austin Ekeler seems straightforward. Three weeks ago, rookie Joshua Kelley was a hero to those with foresight and a menace to those with Ekeler. A pair of lackluster outings from Kelley quieted the hoopla but with the Bolts’ best back on the self with an injury, the first-year runner will again ride to waiver wire prominence.
A buttered croissant, banana, and a cup of coffee quiet my complaining guts, though it does little to help my ailing fantasy roster. Perhaps Tee Higgins could be the antidote. The circle of life continues in Cincinnati where the young receiver has succeeded in succeeding the veteran A.J. Green. Higgins followed up his two touchdowns in Week 3 with four catches and 77 yards in Week 4. Green may yet have one more great roar in him but his time as the dominant Bengal has ended.
I head to the bathroom to wash my face. The dark circles around my eyes remind me that sleep hasn’t come easy lately. I have tight end issues. I consider looking to Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz to solve them. Schultz continues to be Blake Jarwin’s fantasy doppelganger. Oh, to be a pass-catcher in a high-volume aerial attack supported by a defense with the stopping power of a washcloth trying to catch a bowling ball dropped from a third-story window.
Packers tight end Robert Tonyan could also provide a salve to my wounded lineup. Touchdowns in three straight games — including a Week 4 hat trick — offer hope of rejuvenation. I walk 30 feet to my “office” and start the day.
The oven beeps to let me know it’s reached full temperature. Meatloaf. Fitting meal for a Monday that feels like every Monday that has ever been and ever will be. But it’s not the loaf-shaped meat product that has darkened my mood. It’s the loss of Nick Chubb and the lack of Kareem Hunt that has dampened my disposition. D’Ernest Johnson offers some hope. His role might not be as substantial as his comrades higher on the depth chart. But running backs are comfort food for Kevin Stefanski and Johnson could be deep league sustenance.
San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk is helping to sustain his team’s ailing corps of pass-catchers. Kyle Shanahan has gone deep into his offensive recipe book and helped the rookie find the end zone in back-to-back weeks. It could get even better when Jimmy Garoppolo returns to action.
The dark arts of #Belitricks have been resurrected in the Patriots backfield. But Damien Harris aims to be the Patronus that guides your fantasy roster through the gloom. His 100-yard game fresh off injured reserve against the Chiefs is a reason to feel like Sony Michel is fighting obsolescence. Such wizardry might not do much to stifle the opportunities of James White or Rex Burkhead because not even magic is foolproof.
On a midday walk, I come across a chalk drawing on the sidewalk urging me not to worry but to be happy. Sidewalk art isn’t as common as it was earlier in the pandemic. Maybe it’s because the kids are back in school now. Maybe they’ve just run out of things to draw. Maybe they’ve just run out of chalk. I take the message to heart, take a deep breath, and hope for the best.
Sometimes the best means making the best choice from a host of less-than-stellar options. Chargers running back Justin Jackson will likely take a back seat to Kelley but with Ekeler missing in action, Jackson will report for duty in L.A.’s backfield.
The Broncos passing game is trying to find silver linings after losing Courtland Sutton. Tim Patrick might be one of them. He’ll have to fend off Jerry Jeudy, DaeSean Hamilton, and K.J. Hamler to earn consistent WR targets but it appears he has a friend in Brett Rypien.
Part of 2020 has been making the most of the least. Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox has been a 2020 champion. Indianapolis might want to thrust other tight ends into the mix but Cox has been the most productive. If you realize this before Frank Reich’s staff, you will prosper.
Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who has no jokes but instead really urges you to wear a mask. Send him your fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or Instagram at MarcasG.
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