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.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets
After Ryan Fitzpatrick melted down last week against Kansas City, throwing SIX interceptions and the Jets were blown out 24-3, head coach Todd Bowels held what he called a 'come to Jesus' meeting with the team. At 1-2, the team is struggling, but they still have a reasonable chance of making the playoffs if the stop the skid before it gets too far along. To help bolster a passing game that is hampered by injuries to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the Jets signed recently released TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins this week as well. But the question is, will that be enough for the Jets to turn it around as the Seattle Seahawks limp into town. Russell Wilson is suffering from a high ankle sprain and now an MCL sprain, but the Seahawks insist he's going to start. Thomas Rawls has a hairline fracture of his fibula, and with the injury to Wilson, you can expect the running game to go through Christine Michael again this week. But the Jets are especially tough against the run, and only surrendered 78 rushing yards last week in their big loss. Vegas predicts this to be the lowest scoring game of the week, with just 40 total points and the Seahawks a 2.5 point favorite. Look for a tough defensive matchup, where it might be difficult to find any offensive players worth having on your DFS roster this week.
Detroit Lions at Chicago bears
If Miami and Cleveland were the 'battle for the bottom' last week, this game might be a close second. The Chicago Bears look more like an Emergency Room waiting area with Jay Cutler, Jeremy Langford, Alshon Jeffery and Kadeem Carey all out or limited in practice this week. This leaves rookie Jordan Howard as the most health RB, set to get the bulk of the carries against a stingy Detroit defense that surrendered 103 yards to Eddie Lacy last week. Howard also caught a few balls out of the backfield last week, so in full PPR formats, he should have a good time making value. Brian Hoyer will get the QB start again, with Kevin White and Zach Miller as his most healthy receiving alternatives. Despite a crushing loss to Dallas last week, Hoyer had a good day from a DFS perspective, throwing for 317 yards and two TDs with no interceptions. The Lions are pretty soft against the passing game, and they have given up eight TD passes (including four to Aaron Rodgers last week) against just one interception. On the other side of the ball, Detroit is coming off a tough division loss to the Packers that saw Matthew Stafford throw for 385 yards and three TDs, and Marvin Jones Jr post a career best 205 receiving yards and two TDs. These teams don't like each other, and although this game won't feature the great Calvin Johnson vs. Charles Tillman match-ups of old, there will still be some bad blood. Both teams need this win, and both will have to throw to get it. Expect both teams to air it out, especially if the Bears get down early like they did last week against the Cowboys.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
So the big story line for this game will be the return of Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers have very few offensive weapons that they can count on, and Bell’s return can’t come soon enough. He will take over as the starting back and probably see the bulk of the carries. In his first game back, look for him to have a solid game this week at a reasonable price across all of the major sites. But what does that mean for DeAngelo Williams? The conventional wisdom says he'll be back on the bench this week, but that might not be the case. Bell was in a similar situation last year, and didn't last long before he was lost to injury for the season. Pittsburgh may say they want to throw him in the deep end of the pool, but Williams could see some touches. Also, Williams catches the ball well, and given the lack of options not named Antonio Brown in the passing game, Williams could see some time there as well. It's also worth noting that although Kansas City has been pretty tough on opposing quarterbacks so far this season, it was against Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler and Philip Rivers in week 1 when he lost Keenan Allen during the game. Ben Roethlisberger seems to play with more swagger against the home crowd, and he's going to test this KC defense in ways they have not been tested before. On the other side of the ball, Spencer Ware looks like someone to fade this week because the Steelers are tough against the run. But Ware is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, and had over 100 yards receiving week 1 against the Chargers. The Steelers gave up six receptions for 128 receiving yards and a TD to Darren Sproles last week and nine receptions for 100 yards and a receiving TD to Giovani Bernard back in week 2. Spencer Ware will be under-owned this week because of the rushing matchup, but he might be a nice GPP play in full PPR formats.
Drew Brees vs. San Diego Chargers. Waay back in 2001, the Chargers pulled off the steal of the draft, trading down from the #1 overall pick, allowing Atlanta to take Michael Vick and taking LaDanian Tomlinson at #4 overall. But they were overjoyed to see Purdue QB Drew Brees magically fall to them in the second round. Brees spend his first five seasons in San Diego as their field commander before moving on to New Orleans for the last 10 seasons. Brees might not be ready to retire, but this is very likely his last game in front of a San Diego home crowd. This game is already slated to be a shoot-out, but Brees will have some extra motivation this week, playing in front of the fans who supported him for the first part of his NFL career.
Kirk Cousins vs. Cleveland Browns. This should have been the RGIII's return to Washington, but he's on IR now, and the Browns are just about the worst team in football. Kirk Cousins has been the starter for awhile now, but I'm sure he was looking forward to sticking it to Robert Griffin, if only to show him why Washington made the right decision. Washington is 1-2 though, and they need this win badly. Expect Cousins to play tough anyway.
Cam Newton at Atlanta Falcons. Newton was embarrassed last week at home against the Minnesta Vikings, but this week he travels to division rival Atlanta. The Falcons have given up 950 yards passing and a whopping 10 passing TDs against just 2 INTs through the first three weeks of the season. If Newton is looking to redeem himself, the Falcons present a golden opportunity to do so. Let's not forget that the Falcons ruined the Panther's perfect season last year, beating them 20-13 in Atlanta on Dec 27th. Does Cam need any more motivation to have a big game? I don't think so.
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Tennessee Titans. Hopkins and the Texans were shut out last Thursday against the Patriots. They also lost one of their team leaders in J.J. Watt for the season. They come home after a long rest to face the Titans who look tough on paper against the pass, but a closer look reveals something more. Each week, the Titans have given up 100 yards receiving to an opposing receiver. Stefon Diggs had seven catches for 103 yards in week 1, Marvin Jones Jr had eight catches for 118 in week 2 and Michael Crabtree had eight catches for 102 last week. Hopkins 'defended' his QB this week, saying that Osweiler is 'Doing the best that he can.' That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it might also motivate Osweiler to look to Hopkins a little more in this game as well.