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.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Will he play or won’t he? That’s the big question. Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice this week after tearing his meniscus back in week 6. At the time, it looked like he might be lost for the season. After surgery and a bye week, he’s back at practice, looking to play. This would be a huge boost for the Steelers who have been struggling with Landry Jones under center and travel to face their hated rivals the Baltimore Ravens this week. If Roethlisberger is able to go, it’s an immediate boost to the entire Pittsburgh offense, most notably Antonio Brown who also saw a major downshift in performance with Jones at QB. Sammie Coates Jr, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Eli Rogers become immediate GPP considerations as well because they are so bargain-basement priced that an uptick in production will have them reach 2-4x value, especially if the score. From the Baltimore side of the ball, Pittsburgh has one of the weaker pass defenses in the league. They allow an average of 283 passing yards a game (26th in the league), and the Joe Flacco has over 550 yards passing in the last two weeks. His favorite target, Mike Wallace began his career in Pittsburgh as well, so there is plenty of #NarrativeStreet to go around.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
To say that these teams hate each other would be an understatement. This rivalry has been going strong since Al Davis fired Mike Shanahan back in 1989. Shanahan hated Davis so much that he once told Elvis Grbac to throw a football at him during a pre-game warm-up. The rivalry has died down a bit since then, but these team still hate each other and this week they both enter the game at 6-2, tied for the division lead. The Raiders have struggled at home, losing 2 of their 3 home games so far. The Broncos are 2-1 on the road, and are coming off a big win at home against the Chargers last week. Rookie Trevor Siemian struggled last week against the Chargers with just 276 yards passing, no TDs and a pick. The Raiders were the worst team in the league against the pass, but have ‘improved’ to 27th overall, allowing just 650 passing yards and 3 TDs over their last three games. The Broncos are also banged up with C.J. Anderson missing on offense and Aqib Talib out for his second week on defense. But the Broncos are still the #1 pass defense in the league, allowing just 183 passing yards per game. Look for Devontae Booker to carry the load on offense, and Demaryius Thomas to have a solid game after posting 30 targets over the last three games. The line has moved a bit on this game from early in the week, but the Raiders are currently a 1 point favorite. One thing is for sure though, this game will be a dogfight to the end.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Neither of these teams is very impressive, and they are basically playing for pride this week. That being said, the Jets have the second worst pass defense in the league and the best run defense in the league. This might be the week to fade Jay Ajayi (coming off back to back 200 yard rushing games) and focus on Ryan Tannehill and Jarvis Landry. If you want a RB from this game though, consider Matt Forte against the Dolphins and their 30th ranked run defense. Nasty division rivalry aside, this is a good game to look for contrarian plays.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
The Vikings are on a two game losing streak, but Detroit coming to town can change that. The Lions are giving up over 370 yards per game and have allowed 19 total passing TDs this season. Norv Turner quit as the offensive coordinator this week, and we’ve seen what having a new OC can to for teams like Buffalo this season. This looks like a great week to be on guys like Kyle Rudolph and Stefon Diggs.
Ezekiel Elliot RB DAL at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are terrible at stopping the run and Elliot is already proving that he can put up big numbers on just about anyone. With 493 yards from scrimmage over the last three games, and the Browns ranked 32nd in the league, allowing over 421 yards per game, this seems like a no brainer for your DFS lineups. Look for the former Ohio State standout to run all day and night on the Browns this week, especially with a bunch of the OSU faithful at the game.
Percy Harvin WR BUF at Seattle Seahawks (Monday Night)
You have to choose the Monday Night slate, and Harvin may not even be available for the games this week, but it’s definitely #NarrativeStreet that he’s coming out of retirement to face his former team in prime time. If you can find him, he will definitely be site minimum priced.