So, they think they found the Zodiac Killer huh? I had this case solved in 2007 after seven marathon viewings of David Fincher’s Zodiac. The eighteen-hour film festival of sorts guided me to another cinematic treasure and the true greatest San Francisco based film of all-time, Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco. Every clue to every cipher can be found there. All those exhausted detectives. All those man hours. One viewing of HB: Dos with Sassy, Chance, and Shadow would’ve solved all your problems. You know what else is exhausting? Trying to find the right person on your waiver wire. Lucky for you, I patterned my work ethic this week after Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac (Seriously the best San Francisco based film or maybe it is Vertigo. Yeah, it’s Vertigo), pounded the coffee to find some of this week’s best options on the waiver wire.

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October is upon us and thus the gates of all things spooky have opened. Although no living room werewolf transformation or demon spawned baby can match the terrors on the field this past week. No, I am not talking of the awkward non-hug between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the end of Sunday night’s dark and stormy game. I am speaking of the gruesome injuries, quarterback play which may require an old priest and a new priest to fix, and once thought done players seemingly rising from the dead. Things are getting downright strange in the fantasy football neighborhood, so who we gonna call? Waiver Wire!

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No movie references or sarcasm this week. The fantasy football community lost someone truly beloved in Mike “Tags” Tagliere this week. As I sat on my bed and scrolled through my timeline on Saturday, I saw so many people thanking him for assisting them with their fantasy teams and how much he’ll be missed on podcasts. I also saw the messages from people in the fantasy sports industry who Tags helped get their start or was there to be a sounding board when needed. I never had the chance to meet him in person but I’ve heard from many people who knew and loved him well. The same people remembering and mourning are the ones who have encouraged, guided, and helped me. Tags never got to hear how much he was appreciated to the degree of what people are saying now. So let me encourage you, whatever you do in life, whether it be a stay-at-home dad, high school principal, or fantasy analyst: tell the people who have helped and encouraged you how much you love them and how much their help has meant to you. None of us know how long we have on this earth, but what we do know is how to say thank you. So while it might be too late, thank you Mike Tagliere for being a beacon in this industry and helping so many people. Thank you for your positivity which has rubbed off on so many of your listeners, colleagues, and fellow analysts. Your legacy is an everlasting ripple in this industry and you will be missed.

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I promise I am not going to lead every waiver wire article in with a Jurassic Park reference, although there is enough material to do so. We had a lot of John Hammond’s in the fantasy football universe last week “sparing no expense” when it came to San Francisco running back Elijah Mitchell. Bids of a full 100% of FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) were not just uncommon, they were the standard. Not since Woody Harrelson took one million dollars from Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal has a monetary for goods exchange left someone feeling so cheated. Well, it wasn’t so terrible, 7.3 PPR fantasy points isn’t atrocious. Mitchell seems to have held onto the job with the entire backfield in San Francisco, and possibly the training staff too, getting injured on Sunday. Let’s hope it works out for those who did end up spending a lot. Just remember, this isn’t Brewster’s Millions. You don’t need to spend every penny of your FAAB right away to risk losing it all. Spend up when you need a player and make competitive bids when you want a player. There is nothing worse than needing to put IOUs in a Samsonite briefcase to salvage your season, possibly leaving you feeling a bit Dumb and Dumber.

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Welcome to the very first Wright On Waivers. I will be taking over this column for the season and look forward to helping you navigate your way around the waiver wire with player suggestions to help both long and short-term needs. Your previous guide was indeed a great sherpa and wanted me to send along his best. If you have read any of my previous articles, you are aware I typically launch into these drawn-out movie tirades full of terrible analogies. I can assure you I will be focusing solely on your fantasy team this year and avoiding the proverbial opening twenty-one minutes and fifteen seconds of my favorite childhood film, Jurassic Park. Are those first twenty-one minutes important to the story? Yes. Yes, they are, but we really just want to see some dinosaurs. So, let us get to the dinosaurs.

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The night was May 14, 2003. A night I was greatly anticipating because of two big events. First the series finale of my favorite tween television series, Dawson’s Creek or The Creek to the cool kids, was airing and at midnight. Then I was going to see the sequel to The Matrix, which was easily one of the best science fiction films of the previous ten years. It turned out to be the most disappointing night of my twenty-something pop culture obsessed life.

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One of the greatest cinematic moments of my life occurred in a virtually empty movie theater on a Saturday morning, September 23, 2000. We all have these moments in our lives where we sort of wish we could look back and maybe watch ourselves for just a moment. I would give a nice sum of money to be able to go back and watch The Joey Wright see Almost Famous for the first time. Almost twenty-one years later to the date it, unapologetically, remains my favorite film. The one thing standing out upon my first viewing was our introduction to one Miss Penny Lane. A young magazine reporter is standing at the artist entrance to an arena, hoping to land an interview with Black Sabbath. He gets into a conversation with a rather fun looking young lady when he starts to insinuate, she may just be a groupie and then it happens. Floating onto the screen almost like a ghost, we first lay our eyes upon Penny Lane, portrayed by Kate Hudson.

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One of the things I value most whether it be in film, music, or literature, is originality. When you get a hold of something with a truly fresh concept, it is mind-blowing. I remember the first time I saw Robert Downey Sr.’s Putney Swope. I had never seen humor and satire done in such a confrontational and blunt manner. I was used to the kind of satire found in the early works of Mel Brooks and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Incredible works on their own, but Putney Swope was truly another level for me. If you’ve never seen the film, it tells the story of the only minority executive member of an advertising firm, who is accidentally put in charge after the sudden death of the chairman of the board. Restricted by the company by-laws from voting for themselves, members voted by secret ballot for the one person they thought would never win: Putney Swope. It is hilarious, raw, and confronts the race issues of the late ’60s as I had never seen before. Originality is paramount when it comes to me consuming my content. That being said, today I am to talk about sleepers for this 2021 season.

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Everyone has their secret shames. My wife is a high school biology teacher who has a master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Central Florida. However, every Friday night she cracks open a couple cans of her preferred adult seltzer and binge watches those Housewives shows. She is nothing like the larger-than-life personalities featured on Bravo! but it helps her zone out I guess. My secret shame is much like the Housewives in the scale of drama and infighting: professional wrestling. If you have ever found yourself glued to your favorite cable television station on a Monday or Wednesday night in the last thirty years, you know sometimes the best action occurs before the wrestlers ever enter the ring. I am talking about the elaborate entrances wrestlers make into the arena before the matches even begin. Stone Cold Steve Austin’s glass shattering, CM Punk’s needle scratch leading into Living Colour’s ‘Cult of Personality,’ and my personal favorite, Atsushi Onita’s often imitated Tokyo Dome “Wild Thing” entrance. All shining examples of starting off a match on the right foot to get into your opponent’s head even before the bell rings. Your entrance into the 2021 fantasy season needs to be just as grand!

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