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.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
There's a lot of #NarrativeStreet to go along with this game. If Dallas wins, they clinch the division and possibly a first round bye if Detroit or Seattle also lose this weekend. The Giants are the only team to beat the Cowboys this season, and a second win will give them all tie-breakers in the unlikely event that the Giants and the Cowboys tie. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot were rookies in their first NFL game when these teams first met, but both have shown massive improvement in their gameplay this season. The Giants are coming off a tough loss to the Steelers last week, but they are still well in the playoff hunt and need this win to keep pace. Shane Vereen has been practicing this week and expects to be active for this game as well. Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant are two of the NFL's premier receivers and although they don't directly face each other, they are both fierce competitors who want to come out on top. These teams may not have as big of a rivalry as the Cowboys and Redskins, but they will certainly be more than happy to send the other home with a loss this weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
The Bengals and Browns are playing for pride in this game, but given the long history between them, that doesn't mean they will be taking it easy on each other. The Bengals are without two of their top offensive weapons, but Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and Jeremy Hill have all stepped up to fill in the gaps. It came together last week for them in the 32-14 thumping of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns are winless in 12 attempts this season and their defense is one of the worst in the league. The Bengals certainly don't want to be the team that gives Cleveland their first win, and the Browns may not get another chance win a game this year. Terrelle Pryor is the star of the offense, and Robert Griffin III is making his return to the field this season after getting hurt in week 1. Pryor is playing hard for a big free agent contract and Griffin is trying to prove he can be Cleveland's QB of the future (or anyone's QB of the future for that point). Vegas picks this to be one of the lowest scoring games of the week, but the nice part for DFS players is that most of the players here will be priced low enough that even an above-average performance can have them reach value. If you're looking for a punt play this week, this game might be where you find it.
Christine Michael RB GB vs. Seattle Seahawks
Christine Michael had a couple good games for the Seahawks and DFS players earlier in the season. But when Thomas Rawls returned, the Seahawks cut Michael loose. The Packers have been desperate to find anyone who can carry the ball, and they grabbed Michael off waivers just hours after he was cut. The former second round pick has just 10 carries since coming to Green Bay, but the latest reports indicate that they want to get him more involved in the offense. He'll have an extra motivation this week against his former teammates, but he'll face one of the toughest run defenses in the league. Approach with caution this week.
Russell Wilson QB SEA at Green Bay Packers
On the other side of the ball, Russell Wilson has struggled a little these last few weeks, and he has just two passing TDS in his last three games. But Wilson is looking forward to this weekend's game, especially if the weather reports are true. The current forecast has 2-4 inches of snow in Wilson's future, but Wilson is hoping for more. Wilson was born in Ohio, and played football at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, so he's familiar with cold weather and especially with Wisconsin football. The Green Bay pass defense has been suspect as of late, and Wilson needs to keep Seahawks on their path to the playoffs. Look for Wilson to have a bounce-back game this week against the Packers and have a great chance to reach value this week.
Jeremy Kerley WR SF vs New York Jets
The 49ers haven't had many things to be excited about this season, and last week's loss in Chicago was a crushing disappointment. But then the Jets absolutely collapsed on Monday night and now have to go on the road to face the Niners, and Jermy Kerley can't wait. Kerley spent his first five seasons with the Jets, but he was released during the off-season and bounced around to several teams before finding a home in San Francisco. Kerely isn't exactly lighting the world on fire this season, but he is San Francisco's #1 receiver. The 49ers need a win and they need something to turn their current skid around. The Jets present a golden opportunity, and Kerley could have his best game of the season, with the extra motivation of sticking it to the Jets.
DeSean Jackson WR WAS at Philadelphia Eagles
DeSean Jackson has faced his former team a couple times since parting ways with the Eagles back in 2014.He tore them up in 2015, but his last two games against them haven't been great. This week Washington faces the Eagles with everything riding on the outcome. They're on the outside of the playoff bubble and need a division win to have any chance of making it this season. The Eagles gave up 332 yards to a Bengal offense that has is limping along without two of it's best weapons. If Brandon LaFell can put 95 yards and a TD on the Eagles, DeSean Jackson with extra #NarrativeStreet motivation should be able to do it as well.
Good luck this weekend!