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.
This week's #NarrativeStreet will focus on #DFS players that you should target due to playoff scenarios. These include players who are playing for the post season and guys who are playing for next season.
Green Bay Packers At Detroit Lions
If Washington loses earlier in the day, this game could have a slightly different feel, but they need a win to make the playoffs while the Giants are already locked into the #5 seed with nothing to play for. Washington is a seven-point favorite, and assuming that game goes as expected, the final game of the regular season will be 'Win and you're in, lose and go home' Even if Washington loses, Green Bay and Detroit are playing for the division title, with the winner getting a home game and the loser going on the road. Bottom line: These teams will be fighting each other to the bitter end. On the Green Bay side, the usual suspects will be highly owned. Aaron Rodgers is on a mission, and last week he embarrassed the Vikings with 347 yards passing and 5 TDS (including 1 rushing TD). The Lions haven't had an Interception in three weeks and while they are are only 16th ranked in passing yards, giving up almost 250 yards per game, they are ranked 26th in passing TDs allowed with 29 and 22nd in team Ints with just 10 for the season. Back in week 3, Rodgers hung 205 yards passing and 4 TDs on the Lions. His favorite target Jordy Nelson is also a strong play this week. Nelson has 16 receptions for 278 yards receiving and 2 TDs in his last two games. Nelson also need eight receptions to break his career best of 98 and nine will get him an even 100. A big key to Nelson's success will be if the Lions best CB Darius Slay is healthy enough to play. Slay will be celebrating his 26th Birthday on Sunday, but he's been limited in practice due to a hamstring injury and didn't play last week against the Cowboys. One look at how Dez Bryant manhandled Johnson Bademosi and Nevin Lawson last week and you can see why Nelson makes for a great play at WR this week. Opposite Nelson, Davante Adams has already set career highs in receptions, yards and TDs this season, and he needs just 34 receiving yards to crack 1000. Adams also has 10 TDs this season, and four in his last five games. If Nelson isn't open, Adams is the guy that Rodgers looks to the most. On Detroit's side of the ball, Matthew Stafford has struggled as of late, with no passing TDs in his last two games. The Packers are weak on pass defense though, allowing 265 yards a game and giving up 30 passing TDs through the air (31st in the league). Sam Bradford had 382 yards passing and 3 TDs with no Ints against them last week and Matt Barkley had 362 passing yards with 2 TDs and 3 Ints the week before. With Theo Riddick already rulled out of this game, Stafford's arm will be the key to victory. Stafford's favorite target is Golden Tate, and Tate has 40 targets for 28 receptions and 383 receiving yards and a TD over his last four games. Other potential targets for Stafford include Anquan Boldin (2nd best totals on the team with 63 receptions for 527 yards and 7 TDs) and Eric Ebron (8 receptions for 93 yards last week). If you're looking for #NarrativeStreet motivation, this is the game to target.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
The other game of the week that everyone will be looking to is the Falcons and the Saints. Atlanta needs the win to clinch a first round bye and while the Saints are not playing for a playoff spot, they do hate the Falcons and would love to spoil their chances this week. Vegas predicts this game to be a shoot-out with a massive 56 point over/under and implied team totals of 31 for Atlanta and 25 for the Saints. Matt Ryan has been solid down the stretch with 800 passing yards, 7 TDs and 0 Ints over his last three games, most of which did not include his top receiver Julio Jones due to a toe injury. Jones is back at practice, but still not 100 percent. He will play this week, and he will play this week. Mohamed Sanu was the #2 receiver when the Falcons met the Saints last time, and he'll get a decent chunk of work this week with Taylor Gabriel already ruled out due to a foot injury. The Saints are allowing over 270 yards passing a game, so it's a good bet that Jones and Sanu will see plenty of action. As an extra incentive, Matt Ryan can crack 5000 yards passing for the first time in his career with 387 yards this week. He only needs 103 passing yards to reach his career best. On the rushing side of the game, Devonta Freeman needs just 17 rushing yards to hit 1000 and 79 to hit his career best. Against the Saints back in week three, Freeman had over 200 yards from scrimmage, including 152 on the ground. Tevin Coleman had just 12 carries in that game, but he had three of his eight rushing TDs agasint the Saints as well. Coleman has been solid in limited appearances, including 137 yards from scrimmage and a rushing TD on just 12 touches against the Panthers last week. Drew Brees just needs 142 yards passing to hit 5000 yards for the 5th time in his career. His top pass catcher rookie Michael Thomas needs just 19 receiving yards to hit 1000, and Thomas and Brandin Cooks both have 8 receivng TDs on the season. RB Mark Ingram II needs just 60 rushing yards to reach 1000 and he is 1 TD away from having 10 for the season. The Falcons are pretty tough on defense, allowing less than 100 yards per game total, but they have given up 13 rushing TDs on the season (18th in the league). In a shoot-out like Vegas predicts, guys on both sides of the ball will have plenty of opportunity to perform well this week.
Steve Smith WR BAL at Cincinnati Bengals
Steve Smith has had a great NFL career over the last 16 years, but he's calling it quits after this week's game against the Bengals. Smith only had four catches for 20 yards in their first meeting back in week 12, but this week he will have a stronger motivation to go out with a bang. Smith's also had a receiving TD in each of his last two games.
DeSean Jackson WR WAS vs. New York Giants
The Giants are locked into the #5 playoff spot and have no motivation to play this week. Washington has to win their game to have a shot at the playoffs, and will be playing hard this week. Washington has everything to play for, and that means Jackson will see a decent amount of action this week. According to NFL research, if Jackson reaches 100 yards receiving this week, he'll be the first WR in Washington history to have 4 consecutive 100 yard games.
LeSean McCoy RB Buf at New York Jets
The Ryans are gone in Buffalo and Tyrod Taylor was benched so the Bills can but him rather than pay him a $30 Million guaranteed roster bonus this off season. That means EJ Manuel will be the starting QB and Interim Head Coach Anthony Lynn will probably lean on McCoy this week. With the Jets and the Bills basically treading water this week, expect a conservative game plan and a lot of McCoy.
Antonio Gates TE SD vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Gates has already stated that he thinks that he can play one more season, but the speculation is that he won't be back with the Chargers either way. Almost everyone knows that Gate needs one Receiving TD to tie Tony Gonzalez for the all-time TE record, and two to hold the title himself. To do it against the Chiefs would be that much more motivation for Gates. It could also be San Diego's last game in Qualcomm stadium. The NFL Owners gave San Diego until January 15th to decide if they want to move to the new Los Angeles Stadium and with the failed vote back in November, it looks like the Chargers will be moving next year.
Here are a few player incentives for the final week that could also provide a little #NarrativeStreet this week.
Kirk Cousins QB WAS needs 370 yards to reach 5000.
Sam Bradford QB MIN needs 372 yards to reach 4000.
Blake Bortles QB JAX needs 396 yards to reach 4000.
Jameis Winston QB TB needs 3 passing TDs to reach 30 for the season.
Eli Manning QB NYG needs 4 passing TDs to reach 30.
Spencer Ware RB KC needs 79 yards to reach 1000 rushing yards for the season.
Todd Gurley RB LA needs 155 rushing yards to reach 1000.
Ryan Mathews RB PHI needs 1 Rushing TD to have 10 for the season.
Adam Thelien WR MIN needs 40 receiving yards to reach 1000.
Terrelle Pryor WR CLE needs 87 receiving yards for 1000 for the season and he is already thinking about next season since he's a free agent. He indicated he would be open to come back to Cleveland under the right circumstances, but he's clearly focused on his 2017 team.
Finally, David Johnson RB Arizona needs 159 rushing yards to hit 1000. Although the Cardinals have little motivation to play this week, if Johnson hits 1000 rushing yards, he will only be the 4th player to have 1000 rushing and 1000 receiving in the same season (Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and Edgerrin James).
Thanks to FBG Staffer Jeff Pasquino (@JeffPasquino) for help with a lot of the incentive stats this week.
Good Luck this Weekend!