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 York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
This game has plenty of potential narrative to think about. First off, the Cowboys and Giants are strong division rivals. Not as bad as Dallas and Washington, but the Giants and Cowboys still hate each other. Add in the fact that a team might win the NFC East with a 9-7 record, and division games become critical if you want to make the playoffs. Dak Prescott gets his first start for the Cowboys against a team that was dead last in passing defense last year. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten could really shine. Meanwhile on the other side of the ball, coach Ben McAdoo and OC Mike Sullivan want to show they can lead the Giants back to the playoffs. The Dallas defense is missing key folks and have been vulnerable to the pass. The Giants are looking to make a statement, and will turn to Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr Jr to help bring home the win.
LA Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Chip Kelly comes into San Francisco, a team that was a punchline by the end of last season. Blaine Gabbert is bargain basement prices in DFS, but with Kelly calling the shots, could he become the next Nick Foles? The question marks at running back with Carlos Hyde and Shaun Draughn, Gabbert is going to be the focal point of the offense. On the other side of the ball, the Rams have departed St. Louis, but their offense came with them. Case Keenam is the starting QB and the WR corps has a bunch of question marks (Pharoh Cooper, Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin). That means heavy use of Todd Gurley against one of the worst run defenses in the league last year.
Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles new head coach Doug Pederson vs. Browns new head coach Hue Jackson. QB Robert Griffin III hasn’t taken a snap since 2014, but he’s starting for the Browns. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is starting for the Eagles against a team that could have drafted him, but traded their #2 overall pick to the Eagles for a mountain of draft picks, including Philadelphia’s 2017 1st rounder. The Eagles are going to be aggressive on defense, meaning RGIII isn’t going to have the time to go deep. Look for Gary Barnidge to be the safety valve that he needs when the pressure is on. Wentz has emerging TE Zach Ertz to give him security as he navigates his first official NFL start. The Cleveland defense isn’t as tough as the Eagles will be, but Wentz still has a lot to learn about the speed of the NFL so look for a decent performance from the Browns as well.
Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears
This game has a lot of people with something to prove. Houston QB Brock Osweiler moved on from Denver despite Peyton Manning’s retirement. He felt the Broncos should have offered him a lot more money, and will be eager to prove that the Texans made the right decision. Running back Lamar Miller is happy to be out of Miami, and the weak Chicago defense could be just what he needs to prove he’s a top tier running back. With Miller’s soft hands, and DeAndre Hopkins leading a talented group of WRs, the Houston offense should come up with some big numbers. On the other side of the ball, the Chicago offense also has something to prove. Jeremy Langford takes over the starting RB job for Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery is playing under a one-year deal in the hope of landing a big off-season contract. Former 1st rounder Kevin White missed the entire last season, and he’ll be looking to make a statement as well. And then there’s Jay Cutler, hoping to continue his solid, if unspectacular performance from last season. The key here is that the Houston defense will bring the house, taking advantage of Chicago’s offensive line woes. Can Cutler stay alive long enough to keep the offense moving? If so, this could turn into a shoot-out. If not, it could turn into a blow-out.
Adrian Peterson RB Min vs. Titans defense. With Shaun Hill or newly acquired Sam Bradford as the two options for QB this week, the Vikings will lean on Peterson to carry the load.
Arizona Defense vs. the Patriots. Jimmy Garoppolo at QB. Rob Gronkowski limited by a hamstring issue. LeGarrette Blount against a stout run defense. Look for the Cardinals to control the Patriots pretty easily this week.
Tyrod Taylor QB BUF vs. Baltimore Ravens. Taylor was Joe Flacco’s backup for much of his career. Now Taylor faces the Ravens in his second year as the starter for the Bills. While Taylor claims he has nothing to prove, you can bet he’s going to take every opportunity to show the Ravens that they should never have let him go.