Very often, success in DFS is dependent on correctly predicting the game script. A good place to start is the Las Vegas over/under and point spread. However, sometimes players and teams have extra motivation. Sometimes this motivation will exceed the game script. Predicting these outliers can lead your team to success. In this article, we’ll identify some items that go beyond the numbers. Those little bits of extra motivation that can lead to big DFS success. A place we call Narrative Street.
New England Patriots AT San Francisco 49ers
There is plenty of narrative to go around in this game, and DFS players should be all over the Patriot side of the ball. For starters, Tom Brady and the Patriots will be angry as heck after suffering an embarrassing loss at home to Seattle last week. Add in the fact that San Francisco has one of the worst defenses in the league, and you can easily see why Vegas has New England as a 13 point road favorite with an implied team total of 32 points scored based on the Vegas over/under. But this is also Tom Brady's homecoming game. Brady grew up in San Mateo California and loved watching the 49ers as a kid. It's surprising to know that this is the first time Brady has faced the 49ers in San Francisco though, and playing in front of family and friends will be even extra motivation for him and Julian Edelman (who also grew up in Redwood City CA). With Rob Gronkowski out this week, Martellus Bennett is great value-priced TE in most formats, and LaGarrette Blount brings his 12 rushing TDs up against the league's worst rushing defense. The Patriot stacks will be hot and heavy this week with an extra helping from #NarrativeStreet.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Think the Steelers will have a little extra motivation this week against their division rivals? After the taking the lead against the Cowboys with under a minute to play, the Pittsburgh defense completely imploded and allowed Ezekiel Elliot to run untouched for a 32 yards score in front of their home crowd. The Steelers are still in the division hunt though, and they travel to face their long time rival Cleveland, a team that is allowing more than 30 points of game this season. LeVeon Bell faces a run defense that ranks second worst, only to San Francisco and the Browns are especially vulnerable to backs who can catch the ball as well. Antonio Brown is on fire, and he had 21 receptions for 340 yards receiving and 2 TDs in his last three games. Look for both of these guys to come up big this week, and for Ben Roethlisberger and even the Pittsburgh defense to be solid DFS play as well.
Jared Goff QB LAR vs. Miami Dolphins
After the Rams put up just nine points on 165 passing yards against the Jets last week (one of the weaker pass defenses in the league), the Rams announced that 2016 #1 overall pick Jared Goff would make his NFL debut at home against the Miami Dolphins. Goff played for three years for the University of California, and the Rams home crowd will be behind him all the way. He faces a tough Miami defense though, and he doesn't have a lot of options around him so his ceiling may be a little low. That being said, it's hard to underperform any worse than the Rams did last week in New York, so it is possible that Goff comes off the bench to spark the team to a much-needed win.
Dak Prescott QB DAL vs. Baltimore Ravens
Tony Romo ended the QB controversy rumors in Dallas this week with a public declaration that most NFL fans already knew: Dak Prescott has earned the right to be the starter in Dallas.This week Prescott is at home, facing a Baltimore team that's coming off a long rest after beating the Browns last Thursday night. Prescott showed strong poise and leadership last week in the back-and-forth matchup against the Steelers on Sunday night, leading his team on a game-winning TD drive that began with just 42 seconds on the clock. He'll have a tougher time this week though as the Ravens are ranked #5 in the league, allowing just 210 passing yards per game. They have given up 16 passing TDs though, which gives Prescott and the Cowboys some interesting GPP upside this week.
Robbie Gould PK CHI vs. Chicago Bears
Narrative Street for a kicker? Yep. Gould was loved by many Chicago fans, but the Bears cut him this summer because they were looking to add cap space and added Conner Barth. as his replacement. Barth has been inconsistent all season for the Bears, while Gould has found a new home in New York after replacing Josh Brown last month. The Giants are on the rise, competing for a playoff spot and the Bears are in a death spiral after a crushing loss to Tampa Bay last week. As a 7.5 point home favorite this week, Gould's going to get plenty of opportunities to show Chicago why they made a mistake cutting him. Think he'll happy to show up his former team in front of his new home crowd? As happy as Superfan Bill Swerski would be to share a plate of polish sausage with Coach Ditka.
Good luck this weekend!