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.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (monday Night)
This game is on Monday night, so check your contests to see if you can take advantage of it. To say that the Saints and the Falcons have a rivalry is an understatement. These teams love to beat up on each other. In a division where the Panthers are still the kings of the hill, this rivalry becomes even more important since the team that loses probably doesn’t make the playoffs. This game has the highest over/under of the week with 53.5 points expected from both teams. That’s because both teams have terrible defenses. New Orleans is averaging over 451 yards against per game (31st in the league) and Atlanta is close behind them with 412 (29th). This game could easily turn into the shootout that everyone wanted from New Orleans and New York last week. Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead IV become the obvious choices to have from the Saints. The Falcons are allowing almost 300 yards per game through the air, but have given up 7 passing TDs already. There’s a good chance that all three of these guys go off and reach value. On Atlanta’s side, the Saints have only allowed 1 passing TD but are giving up 330 yards per game. Matt Ryan should see some solid stats, and Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu should also benefit from the extra opportunities. Both teams have struggled running the ball, with Devonta Freeman and Mark Ingram II underperforming so far this season. Maybe one of these guys breaks out of their slump, but the passing game is the safer bet.
Cleveland browns at Miami dolphins
Battle for the bottom. The 0-2 Browns travel to Miami to face the 0-2 Dolphins. This game will feature two rookie coaches Hue Jackson and Adam Gase looking to post their first win. Except the deck is stacked against Jackson because his team looks more like an Emergency Room than an NFL franchise. Rookie QB Cody Kessler will be making his NFL debut. To make matters worse, rookie WR Corey Coleman is also out with a broken hand, so that means Terrelle Pryor will step into the #1 WR spot. His price tag is low, making him a potential value-pick because he’ll only need a few garbage time catches to make value. TE Gary Barnidge might also have an opportunity to come back to life, since the rookie QB isn’t know for his deep ball arm strength. It’s more likely the case that the Miami defense will feast on a low-scoring offense and create a lot of turnovers and sacks. Ryan Tannehill becomes a great QB play this week, since Miami will be without their top RB Arian Foster. Tannehill should take full advantage of a weak passing defense and give Jarvis Landry a big day as well. Jay Ajayi becomes a potential play as well because if the Dolphins get out to a huge lead, then will look to run the ball and grind the clock to get their first win. Miami is heavily favored in this game and the Dolphins will be playing hard to give their home crowd something to cheer about.
San francisco 49ers at seattle seahawks
In week 3 of the pre-season, this game looked like a blowout. Seattle should easily crush their division rivals and it should be an easy win for them. But the Seahawks have struggled this season, and their offense has struggled to generate just 15 total points so far. The 49ers blew up the Rams on Monday night, and held their own against a well-rested Carolina last week until the end of the 4th quarter. Now Chip Kelly takes his team on the road again to Seattle, where the Seahawks are always tough to beat. The game script heavily favors the Seahawks, and they are 9.5 point favorites in the game. But the 49ers always play tough, and with Seattle struggling on offense, this game could be a lot closer than most people expect. Seattle defense will be one of the most expensive this week, but they have been tough against opponents and the 49ers could tire early. On offense, the running game is a giant question mark, and you’d be best to avoid anyone until a clear plan emerges. That makes Russell Wilson the safest play, with a banged up Doug Baldwin being his top receiver. On the 49ers side of the ball, avoid the running backs against the Seattle defense. Vance McDonald has a TD catch in each of the first two games, but he only had three receptions total. If he reaches the end zone, he’ll beat value. If not, he won’t be worth having at any price. The game script says that this is a ‘get right’ game for the Seahawks. But this game could be a defensive struggle for most of the afternoon.
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers. Currently, the city of Charlotte is experiencing violet protests with serious riot concerns. Many of the Panthers, including Thomas Davis, Greg Olsen and coach Ron Rivera have come out publically, telling people to stop the violence. However, things are still not good. A state of emergency has been declared and the National Guard has come in to help. The NFL has publically said that they will play the game in Charlotte this weekend, and there is enough time between now and then for things to cool down. Expect the Panthers to play extra hard this weekend if the game stays in Charlotte. The Vikings are banged up on offense, but their defense has been pretty solid. People may be avoiding the situation, but the game narrative suggests that Carolina pride wins out and guys like Cam Newton, Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin to make a strong showing.
Odell Beckham Jr Jr. WR NYG vs. Josh Norman DB WAS. The Rematch! At the end of last season, Josh Norman got under Odell Beckham Jr’s skin so badly that Beckham came unglued and was flagged for three major penalties. By most accounts, he should have bene ejected and the NFL enacted a new rule where a player will be ejected for multiple personal fouls. (Trial 2016 season). Now that Norman is in Washington, he’ll play Beckham twice a year. Noman hasn’t been following a specific receiver so far this season, but word on the street is that he will follow Beckham in this game unless he lines up in the slot. Expect both of these guys to be extra motivated in a tough division match that is essentially a ‘must win’ for both teams. With all eyes on him and the Refs on notice to pull a quick hook if things start to get ugly, look for Beckham to keep his cool and be motivated to show Norman up with a big game.
Melvin Gordon III RB SD vs. the Indianapolis Colts. While most teams are going to more of a running back by committee approach, it looks like Melvin Gordon III will receive the bulk of the touches that Danny Woodhead had before his injury. Last week Gordon had 27 touches and rushed for over 100 yards. While the Chargers have other options at RB, Gordon seems to be the man now. This week, he faces one of the worst defenses in the league. Increased production creates a high floor for him and weak opponent raises his ceiling as well. Look for him to have another good game and reach the end zone for the third consecutive week.