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.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago BEars
From a game-watching perspective, this might be a game to avoid, but both of these team are going to go through some serious rebuilding this offseason, and many of these guys are playing for their jobs next year - either with their current team or somewhere else. Any player can play well when things are rolling their way, but how a player digs deep when everything is falling apart is something that every coach looks for. Guys like Matt Barkley, and Colin Kaepernick could easily be on another team next season, and if either if them want a shot at landing a starting job, they need to perform this weekend. Jordan Howard has a great matchup, facing a team that's allowing 5.1 yards per carry. He could cement himself into the starting role as Chicago's running back, even if they change out the coaching staff for next season. Cameron Meredith, Marquess Wilson and Josh Bellamy lead a Chicago receiving Corps that dropped a staggering 10 passes last week. Vance McDonald has seen a big uptick in production since Colin Kaepernick took over the starting role and he has 2 TDs in the last four games. The Bears have given up a TD reception to opposing TEs for the last three weeks. Carlos Hyde has been playing better as of late, and have 205 yards from scrimmage and a TD over the last two games. Vegas expects this to be a lower scoring game, with both teams in the low 20s. However, given the poor defensive performances and the need to really win this game on both sides of the ball, there could be a lot more offense than many people expect.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks are a 7-point home favorite despite an embarrassing 14-5 loss to Tamp Bay last week. Russell Wilson went from being the chalk QB play of the week to the guy who lost people a lot of games with his 150 passing yards and 2 Ints. He managed to avoid a complete wash out with 80 yards rushing on 8 carries, but his lack of TD production hurt a lot of DFS players last week. But you might want to go back to the well a second week as the Panthers have given up 600 passing yards and 4 TDs over the previous two weeks. He, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham should all have bounce back games this week, especially since the Panthers are especially tough against the run, averaging less than 80 yards allowed per game. The Seahawks are also looking for revenge after the Panthers bounced them from the playoffs during the divisional rounds last season. Cam Newton and the Panthers have been struggling all season, and they are in serious danger of missing the playoffs this year. Another tough road loss after the heartbreaking comeback and OT loss to Oakland last week might just sink them for the season. Ted Ginn Jr has found his 'stride' again, and lead the Panthers last week with 115 yards and a TD on 4 receptions. Greg Olsen is a staple of the passing game, but he has just 1 TD in his last seven games, and the Seahawks are especially tough to pass against, especially at home. Jonathan Stewart has 3 rushing TDs in his last two games, and posted 96 yards last week against the Raiders, but he may be a candidate to fade this week against the Seahawks. They are ranked 14th in rushing defense, allowing just 100 yards a game on average.
Mike Wallace WR BAL vs. Miami Dolphins
Mike Wallace can't wait to play his former team. Sunday's game was barely over and he was already looking at this week's matchup against the Dolphins. Granted, Wallace didn't start his career in Miami, but his time in Miami wasn't the highlight of his career. The Dolphins signed him to a big free agent contract in 2013, but after just two years with the team, the tensions boiled over in the final game of the 2014 season. Wallace and then coach Joe Philbin had a major disagreement on the sideline and Wallas was benched for the remainder of the game. Reports came out later that Wallace refused to finish the game and the Dolphins traded him to Minnesota that offseason. This will be his first game that he's faced the Dolphins since that incident, and the Dolphins come in on six game winning streak. Wallace and the Ravens are battling to stay atop the AFC North as well, and Wallace would love to put an end to the Dolphins streak this weekend. The #NarrativeStreet for this game says that Wallace will go off like he did against the Steelers just a couple weeks ago when he posted 124 yards and a TD. But approach with caution as he has just 12 receptions for 178 yards and no TDS in his last three games. It will definitely be an interesting matchup this weekend.
Paxton Lynch QB DEN at Jacksonville Jaguars
Lynch was drafted by the Broncos this summer with the 26th overall pick. He was expected to come in and become the franchise QB for years to come. But 7th round pick Trevor Siemian beat him out in training camp and has been the starter for most of the season. Lynch saw a little action back in week 4 and 5 when Siemian was injured, but Lynch returned to the bench in week 6 and has been watching from the sidelines ever since. With Siemian out again this week, Lynch will get his second start on the road against Jacksonville. The Jaguars have been especially tough on QBs as of late. They held Tyrod Taylor to 166 passing yards and a TD last week, Matthew Stafford to 278 passing yards and no TDs the week before and Brock Osweiler to just 99 yards passing the week before that. Osweiler had 2 passing TDs that week, but the Jaguars have allowed multiple passing TDs only five times this season, including that game. Lynch is looking to play his way back into the starting lineup, and with the Broncos struggling for a playoff spot now, they are going to stick with the hot hand. Lynch could secure the starting job for the rest of the season with a big performance against the Jaguars this week.
Julius Thomas TE JAX vs Denver Broncos
Thomas faces his former team this week, but he hasn't been practicing and is listed as doubtful for the game. If he plays, he'll be facing a team that gave up eight receptions for 101 yards to Travis Kelce last week. Thomas has been with the Jaguars for two seasons now and has never faced his former teammates. It will be bitter sweet for him if he isn't able to play this week.
Mike Evans WR TB at San Diego Chargers
Good luck this weekend!