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 Buffalo Bills
There is plenty of narrative to go around in this rematch of division rivals. There’s certainly no love lost between head coaches Rex Ryan and Belichick, and Ryan took great pride in shutting out the Patriots in front of their home crowd back in week 4. It was New England’s first and only loss of the season. But it was also without Tom Brady under center and Brady’s been on fire since returning from suspension the following week. Now he brings the red hot Patriots to Ryan’s house for a game that should be a slugfest for 60 minutes. The Bills have been tough on opposing QBs, surrendering just four passing TDs in their first seven games. But they’ve never faced a QB like Brady, and this week will be a different story. Add in the fact that LeSean McCoy hasn’t been practicing due to his hamstring injury and will most likely miss this game, and you can see that the Bills will have an uphill battle from the start. Stud TE Rob Gronkowski wasn’t quite 100% when he faced the Bills earlier this season, but he’s back in top form as he returns home this week. Gronkowski grew up in Buffalo, and a chunk of the fans will be in the stadium cheering for him this week. Chris Hogan has fallen off the fantasy radar since putting up 114 receiving yards three weeks ago, but he spent his first three seasons in Buffalo and will be extra motivated this week as well. He’s a boom or bust player who could just as easily post 2 catches for 20 yards in this game though.
Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham returns to New Orleans, the team that made him a top three fantasy tight end just a few seasons ago. Drew Brees has already admitted that it will be odd to face his former team mate, but the fans love Graham and they will no doubt be cheering loudly for him in this game as well. Graham is not nearly as effective in Seattle from a fantasy perspective as he was with the Saints, but his role has increased as of late and he should be a big factor against a team that ranks 30th in passing yards allowed. Add in the fact that Russell Wilson’s injuries have kept him from running a lot this year (33 rushing yards total vs. 33.3 average per GAME last year), and you can see how Graham could be in for a big night. The line on this game is 48, with the Seahawks just a 3-point favorite on the road. That due in part to the fact that the Seahawks traveled to Arizona last Sunday night and played five full quarters of football before returning home in the early hours of Monday morning. They are on the road again this week and playing in a 1:00 PM start, so expect the team to be a little flat. That’s good news for Drew Brees and the New Orleans passing game. Brees has cranked out 832 passing yards and 7 TDs in his last two games, and he’ll need to throw a lot since the Seahawks are pretty stingy against the run. If this game turns into a shoot-out, Seattle is going to have a tough time keeping up down the stretch.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (MONDAY NIGHT)
The #NarrativeStreet is small for this game, but there is a little. Chicago is coming off an embarrassing performance last Thursday Night against their division rival Green Bay. Minnesota experienced their first loss of the season when they traveled to Philadelphia on Sunday. The Vikings are on the road again, but in desperate need of a division win here to stay in front of the Packers. Chicago is still pretty banged up, but Jay Cutler has been cleared to play and will return as the starting QB with Bryan Hoyer now out for the season. That’s good news for Alshon Jeffery who has been an afterthought with Hoyer under center. Eddie Royal is not practicing again, but new standout Cameron Meredith has also been limited. Anyone beyond Jeffery is going to be a question mark. Starting RB Jeremy Langford has been practicing and could also see some playing time, limiting Jordan Howard’s upside as well. With the other injuries on defense, this could be a ‘get right’ game from the Minnesota side of the ball with Kyle Rudolph, and Stefon Diggs.
David Johnson RB ARI at Carolina Panthers
Johnson has 41 touches in the Sunday night slugfest that the Cardinals had with Seattle last week. Now they have to travel to the east coast for a 1:00 PM start against the Panthers who are coming off a bye week. The Panthers rank 7th in rushing yards allowed with just 89.5 per game. Johnson has been a stud this season, but this might be the week that you want to fade him from your DFS lineups. This match-up looks to be heavily slated against him.
There isn’t any bad blood between these two per se, but this is a bit of a showcase game for both of them. Wentz was a highly sought after QB out of college and the Eagles traded a boatload of picks to move up and select him. Prescott was a 4th round pick by the Cowboys this year, and the 8th QB off the board behind guys like Cody Kessler, Jacoby Brissett and Christian Hackenberg. Yet Prescott and the Cowboys are leading the division at 5-1 while the Eagles are game behind and looking to catch up. These teams are bitter rivals, and they always play each other tough. Both of these young QBs would love to lead their teams to victory so expect both of them to go all out this week.