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 Diego Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
There are a couple different story lines that can play out in this meeting. The most obvious is the loss of Keenan Allen by the Chargers. Travis Benjamin steps into the #1 spot now, but he finished last week with just 7 receptions for 32 yards. Tyrell Williams was the big play threat in the game, but he finished with just 2 receptions total. On the rushing side of the offense, Danny Woodhead had more touches and yards than Melvin Gordon III did, but Gordon had 2 rushing TDs. On the other side of the ball, Jacksonville may or may not have Chris Ivory back for the game, but with T. J. Yeldon averaging just 1.9 YPC, you can bet if Ivory is healthy, he will play. Blake Bortles had 320 yards passing last week, and they face a San Diego defense that could be one of the worst in the league. The Chargers surrendered 413 yards of offense to Kansas City last week, and the Jaguars are going to attack, especially if Ivory can’t go and Yeldon is ineffective again. Vegas puts the over/under at 47 for this game, but you could see Jacksonville scoring four or more TDs in this game as well.
Oakland raiders vs. Atlanta falcons
The Falcons fell apart last week, making Jameis Winston look like Tom Brady. This week, they travel to Oakland, where Derek Carr is coming off a 35-34 shoot-out win over the Saints. On Atlanta’s side of the ball, Julio Jones had a disappointing performance last week, but he should rebound this week against the Raiders. Willie Snead IV had 9 receptions for 172 yards and a TD, and Brandin Cooks added another 143 yards and 2 TDS last week, so Jones and former Bengal Mohamed Sanu should factor in heavily. The big question is if Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman can get the running game back on track. Freeman and Coleman combined for 20 carries and just 41 yards last week, but Raiders kept the Saints in check allowing just 88 rushing yards last week so don’t expect much. On Oakland’s side of the ball, they would love to start the season at 2-0, and the Falcons pass defense looks like a great opportunity for Derek Carr to air it out. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree will be the main focus, and you would expect one or both to make it into the end zone this week after being shut out last week. The Falcons held the Tampa running game in check, giving up just 90 yards on the ground, so expect the Raiders to slug it out through the air again. This could easily turn into another 60+ point shoot out with both QBs posting 300+ passing yards.
Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers
The game script really is tilted toward Carolina in this case, and the Panthers are favored by almost two touchdowns. The Panthers are coming off their second consecutive loss to Denver, and they are anxious to prove that they are team that can make it back to the Super Bowl. They’ve had an extra three days this week to think about how they get the team back on track. Let’s bring in the 49ers, a bad team that came in on Monday night and embarrassed the Rams in a game many expected them to lose. San Francisco is playing on a short week. They traveled from the west coast to the east coast this week and the game starts 3 hours earlier. The Chip Kelly up-tempo offense is going to look slow and plodding this week against a strong defense that has something to prove. The 49ers are set up to take a beating and the Panthers are looking to hand one out. Cam Newton is not Case Keenum and Greg Olsen is not Lance Hendricks. Kelvin Benjamin seemed to silence his detractors with a 91 yard, 1 TD performance against the Broncos last week, but he will show he’s the top guy against the home crowd as well. Don’t be afraid to lean heavily on the Panthers this week.
Dez Bryant WR DAL vs. Josh Norman DB WAS. This week doesn’t look good for Dez Bryant. He struggled against the Giants last week with just 1 reception on 5 targets. Now he faces Josh Norman, one of the NFL’s best shut-down corners. Bryant claims that he’s up to the challenge, but with rookie Dak Prescott throwing the ball, Bryant is going to have his work cut out for him.
Carson Wentz at Chicago Bears. Wentz had a solid performance against the lowly Cleveland Browns last week, but this week he travels to Chicago and will face the Bears on Monday night. Brock Osweiler had a decent game against Chicago last week, but he had better talent around him that Wentz does in Philadelphia. The Chicago secondary is still pretty banged up, and although Kyle Fuller may play this week, he’s not going to be 100%. In a prime-time matchup, Wentz has an opportunity to shine on a national stage.
Terrance West vs. Cleveland Browns. West returns to the Browns after starting his career there back in 2014. Cleveland has a terrible defense, and they surrendered more than 130 yards on the ground to Philadelphia last week. That being said, West is clearly buried in a RBBC in Baltimore, and his upside is going to be severely limited. West is dirt cheap in DFS so there is some potential for a GPP upside play, but it’s not something you want to bet the farm on this week.
Gary Barnidge vs. Baltimore Ravens. On the other side of the ball, Gary Barnidge had a terrible week against the Eagles, with just two targets and zero receptions. But the good news for Barnidge is that Robert Griffin III went down to injury and will be out for several weeks. Josh McCown takes over as the starting QB, and Barnidge had some monster games against the Ravens last year with McCown throwing the ball. 21 targets, 15 receptions, 230 yards and a receiving TD in two games with McCown under center. Barnidge was a disappointment for week 1, but his upside this week looks great.
Alfred Morris RB DAL vs. Washington. It wasn’t that long ago when we were thinking of Alfred Morris as the future running back in Washington. He had 1600 rushing yards as a rookie and 13 rushing TDS. But his role gradually decreased in Washington, and last year he didn’t come close to 1000 rushing yards and averaged only 3.7 YPC. Now Morris is in Dallas, backing up the future of their rushing offense Ezekiel Elliott. But Morris looked better running the ball last week for the Cowboys and this week he returns to Washington, the Cowboys hated rival. Morris may not be the primary back anymore, but he has something to prove against a team that was really quick to cut him loose. Add in the fact that Dallas needs to win this game, or fall to 0-2 in division games and you can see Jason Garrett giving Morris as many chances as he can to hammer a Washington defense that surrendered 143 rushing yards to 33 year old DeAngelo Williams. .
Baltimore Ravens - Raven's long-time assistant coach Clarence Brooks passed away on Saturday morning after a long battle with esophageal cancer. He was their DL coach for 11 seasons, and they promoted him to assistant coach last December when he was diagnosed. The Ravens loved this guy and will be extra fired up against the Browns this week.
Good Luck this weekend!