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.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati bengals
The Bengals and the Browns kick off their division rival series this week in Cincinnati. The Browns are the doormat of the league, and Vegas seems to back that up, listing them as a 10 point underdog to the Bengals this week. For the Browns, It’s Head Coach Hue Jackson’s return to Cinci where he was the OC last season. Jackson passed up an opportunity to succeed Marvin Lewis as the Bengals head coach down the road for a chance to be the top dog in Cleveland now. His team is about as banged up as they come, and Josh McCown looks like he’ll sit another week in favor of Cody Kessler again this week. Kessler’s coming off his game of the season, passing for 336 yards and 2 TDs against the Titans last week on the road. He may be without his primary weapon Terrelle Pryor though as he battles a hamstring injury. Pryor was cut from the Bengals last summer and they were pretty upset with him for posting videos of their OTAs on his social media. Jackson’s known Pryor since his rookie season in Oakland, and the two of them would be pretty motivated to show up the Bengals this week if it works out. If Pryor can’t go, Andrew Hawkins (also a former Bengal) would probably see a lot of action this week, along with TE Gary Barnidge. On the other side of the ball, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green should have a field day with Brown, a team that’s given up almost 700 yards passing and 6 passing TDs over the last two weeks. Dalton hasn’t thrown an interception in his last three games, and despite a couple tough losses, he’s done well from a fantasy perspective. Dalton will also have his favorite TE Tyler Eifert back this week against a team that’s given up 6 receiving TDs to tight ends over the last three weeks.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
Tom Brady is in mid-season form, and he’s torched his first two opponents for nearly 800 passing yards and 6 passing TDs. His favorite TE Rob Gronkowski looks to be 100% and the addition of Martellus Bennett gives Brady yet another weapon to pick apart a Steeler defense that ranks 30th in the league for passing yards allowed per game. On the defensive side of the ball, New England faces interception prone Landry Jones, filling in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger. Jones has more career interceptions than TDs and he looked absolutely terrible in the pre-season, throwing 4 interceptions against the Eagles back in early August. The Patriots are a seven point road favorite this week with almost 28 total projected points. This looks like a one-sided match-up, especially from a #DFS perspective, with the one exception being Le'Veon Bell who the Steelers might lean on to help control the clock and prevent a blow-out. Given the Pittsburgh pricing on most sites though, this seems like a good game to fade from their side of the ball, and a good game to stack from the Patriot side.
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (Monday Night)
You’ll have to keep an eye on the games that you play if you want to take advantage of the Monday Night slate this week, but the Denver Broncos can’t wait for former QB Brock Osweiler to return home. Osweiler looked like the QB of the future at certain points last season, but after losing his job back to Peyton Manning for the playoffs, bolting to Houston after a very public contract battle and then skipping the Super Bowl Ring Ceremony earlier this year, the Broncos are very glad to be rid of Osweiler. In fact, Denver LB Brandon Marshall is particularly motivated to face his former team-mate this week. We’ve seen Osweiler under pressure and this doesn’t look good for him. The Broncos will be well rested for this game, having 11 days to think about their loss last Thursday night to the Chargers. Rookie QB Trevor Siemian struggled in that game while still nursing a hand injury, but he’s back to practicing at full speed and should be ready for the game. The Texans are still a tough pass defense though, having given up just 4 passing TDs all season, so Trevor Siemian may not be the guy you want to start this week. This could be the week for C.J. Anderson though, as the Texans as the Texans as 28th in the league for rushing yards allowed and have given up eight rushing TDs this season.
Mike Gillislee RB BUF at Miami Dolphins
Last week LeSean McCoy ran all over Chip Kelly and the 49ers, but he suffered a hamstring strain and he hasn’t practice this week. It’s looking less and less likely that he will play, meaning Gillislee could be the feature back against his former team. Gillislee started his career in Miami, but was cut after his rookie season and has bene with the Bills for the last two seasons. He’s had a rushing TD in each of his previous two games, and is rock-bottom priced on all of the major sites. The Dolphins have only given up 1 TD to a running back this season, but they do give up a decent chunk of yards. Gillislee could be a nice addition to a cash-strapped lineup this week with a little extra motivation to beat his former team in a big division game for the surging Bills.
Sam Bradford at Philadelphia Eagles
Bradford was all set to be the starting QB for the Eagles this season, before Teddy Bridgewater went down to injury and was lost for the season. The Vikings tossed out a 1st round draft pick and the Eagles didn’t think twice before shipping off Bradford and installing Carson Wentz as their starting QB. The move seems to have worked out well for both teams as Bradford has performed well and the Vikings are 5-0, with one of the top defenses in the league this season. Wentz has performed extremely well for a rookie QB thrown into the deep end of the pool and the Eagles are exceeding expectations so far this year despite a couple of tough losses. This week Bradford returns to Philadelphia this week, having two weeks to prepare. The Eagles have looked very vulnerable to opposing QBs in their last two games, surrendering five passing TDs to Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins. If Bradford can stay clean in this game, he has the extra motivation to do well and could be an interesting DFS play this week.