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.
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
The game with the most #NarrativeStreet this week is Arizona at Atlanta. Aside from it being the highest implied point total of this Sunday's games (Vegas Over/Under is 50.5), the Cardinals are traveling west to east to play in the dread 1:00 PM time slot again after traveling to Minnesota last week. Cardinal head coach Bruce Arians was hospitalized after returning home to Arizona, but he won't elaborate on what the issue was and he was given a clean bill of health on Wednesday. The loss to Minnesota dropped the Cardinals to 4-5-1, and they are in danger of falling out of playoff contention if they drop another game. The Falcons are leading their division, but Tampa Bay is just a game behind them and they need the win to stay in the playoff hunt as well. The Falcons like to air it out, and they have the #3 total offense in the league, averaging over 416 yards a game. The Cardinals are the #1 defense in the league, averaging just 287 yards per game. Look for Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to try to beat the Cardinals through the air, and look for the Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald to do the same against Atlanta's 32nd ranked passing defense (allowing a league worst 283 yards per game and giving up 23 TDs through the air [#31 just ahead of Cleveland]). This game is expected to be a shoot-out, and you can expect both teams to be playing hard until the final gun.
San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins
The other big west coast team traveling east this week is the 49ers traveling to the suddenly ultra-hot Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have won five straight, including a come-from-behind win last week in Los Angeles, spoiling Jared Goff's first start. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been a big part of this streak, and he has 5 passing TDs against just 1 INT in his last three games.He faces a passing defense that has surrendered 979 yards passing, 8 passing TDs and has only 2 Ints in that same time period. Runningback Jay Ajayi has cooled off a bit since his back to back 200-yard rushing performances a couple weeks ago, but he should get a chance to start a new streak this week against the league's worst rushing defense. Look for the Miami offense to drive through Ajayi, but for Jarvis Landary and Devante Parker to see their fair share of action as well. Colin Kaepernick has done Ok from a DFS prospective over his last three games(814 passing yards, 5 TDs and 1 Int with 110 rushing yards and a TD as well), but his ceiling is rather low. The Miami defense is pretty strong against the pass, giving up just 224 yards per game through the air. Aside from him, it's tough to find anyone in the 49er offense that you can trust. Since Kapernick took over the offense in week 6, Carlos Hyde hasn't reached the end zone once. Shaun Draughn has 2 receiving TDs, but he has just 98 total yards from scrimmage over those five games. Vance McDonald has 180 yards receiving and 2 TDs over the last three games, and he might be the only other person to consider. Two weeks ago, the Dolphins surrendered 86 receiving yards and 2 TDs to Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry and Sean McGrath from the Chargers. If you're looking for a GPP play from the 49ers, McDonald might be your guy.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
The Patriots are a 7.5 point favorite despite being on the road for the second week in a row. The Jets are... well the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick is back under center and it's clear that the Jets are going do the best that they can the rest of the way. The Patriots don't force a lot of interceptions, and they have just 1 in their last four games. Brandon Marshall will be Fitzpatrick's top target, but the Patriots haven't allowed a100-yardd receiver since week 7, and that was Antonio Brown. Matt Forte is probably the one bright spot in this offense, and with two weeks to prepare, he will probably have a decent game, especially in PPR formats. On the Patriot side, Tom Brady is an obvious choice, Julian Edelman might also be an option, as he had 17 targets and 8 receptions for 77 yards and a TD against the 49ers last week. Rob Gronkowski has only partially practiced this week, and it's questionable how effective he will be. Martellus Bennett was the chalk play at TE last week, and his 1 reception for 14 yards probably has everyone fading him this week. With the Jets just giving up 86 yards a game on the ground, LaGarrette Blount is probably a guy to avoid this week as well. With a 27.5 implied total, the Patriots are expected to put some points on the board, but 'naked' Tom Brady (Brady without any stacked pass catchers) might be your best option.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Denver is a 3.5 point favorite in this game, but it's projected by Las Vegas to be the lowest scoring game of the week (39.5 total points). With Denver having the second best passing defense in the league, allowing just 194 yards per game through the air and just nine passing TDs all season, you can see why the Chiefs might struggle to move the ball. Add in that the Chiefs will probably be without Jeremy Maclin again this week and it probably makes sense to fade everyone on the Kansas City offense except Spencer Ware. Charcandrick West is in concussion protocol and will probably miss this game, leaving Ware with little competition for touches. While Denver held the Saints in check last week, they were torched by the Raiders for over 215 yards on the ground just two weeks ago. Trevor Siemian could be a sneaky play at QB this week, given the fact that he's had two weeks to prepare, is playing at home, and the Chiefs gave up 331 yards to Jameis Winston last week. His favorite targets Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are the guys to target if you're looking to stack.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are at home coming off a tough loss to Dallas and facing their division rival Bengals who are missing both A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. That basically spells disaster for the Bengals, a team that has really struggled this season, and they are hoping to put something together to salvage the season. With the Ravens giving up just 295 yards a game this year, it's probably a good week to avoid anyone from the Bengals side of the ball until we see how the offense performs without two of their biggest components. For the Ravens, Joe Flacco faces a team that gave up 3 passing TDs to Eli Manning two weeks ago, but held Tyrod Taylor out of the end zone last week. Steve Smith and Mike Wallace will be his main targets (with a bit of Dennis Pitta for our own Jeff Pasquino). The Bengals have been inconsistent in their passing defense (holding Odell Beckham Jr. to 97 yards and a TD two weeks ago, but 217 yards and 3 TDs to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas back in week 3), so it might be tough to pick the right receiver for the Ravens. With Flacco having just 10 passing TDs for the season, odds are he's only going to have 1 in this game. Choose wisely.
Good luck this weekend!