The revenge factor in pro sports is commonly overlooked – athletes love nothing more than sticking it to their old teams. Revenge cannot be measured by statistical analysis, but one thing experienced DFS players know – revenge is real! Football and basketball provide the perfect setting for one player to make the ultimate difference in any given game.
Each week this article will explore certain players, coaches, and teams with something extra to play for. I am not necessarily advising everyone to play these guys, but the extra motivation will be there, so these plays are something to consider.
Blaine Gabbert vs Jacksonville
What more can you ask for in a revenge game? One of the worst draft picks in NFL history, Jacksonville was duped into selecting Gabbert 10th overall in 2011. Anyone who watched him play at Missouri knew he couldn’t read a defense and never would be a winning player, but the 2011 Jags were similar to the current Browns – no matter who they picked it was the wrong move.
Gabbert labored for three seasons in Jacksonville, going 5-22 with 22 TDs and 24 picks before being forced out of town. “Blame” Gabbert, as his teammates nicknamed him in Jacksonville, now faces off against his former team as the new starting QB in Arizona. He actually played well for awhile in Houston Sunday, throwing three TDs. But Blame will always be Blame, and he threw two costly 2nd half interceptions in a closely contested game.
The Jags come into this one with an incredible 7-3 record and have the NFL’s easiest remaining schedule. Despite the limited ability of QB Blake Bortles, head coach Doug Marrone as built the league’s #1 overall defense and #1 rushing attack. This combination remains deadly, even in today’s passing-dominated football.
At some point, Bortles will be called upon to win a game, most likely in the playoffs, and he’ll fall apart. For now, this nasty defense fears nobody, and they’re not about to let a garbage dude like Gabbert punk them. Load up on the Jags D and expect at least four Blame turnovers. Best defense in the NFL vs 3rd string QB = DFS gold.
Joey Bosa at Dallas
Sometimes the best things to happen are the things that never happen at all. Joey Bosa was easily the top-rated pass rusher coming out of Ohio State in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Cowboys, sitting 4th in the draft, were reportedly torn between Bosa and his teammate Zeke Elliott. With a pathetic pass rushing unit, Dallas was locked on Bosa, but owner/GM Jerry Jones loved Zeke. This pick was to serve as the turning point in the draft…
Until the Chargers at #3 shocked everyone by drafting Bosa, which allowed Dallas to easily select Zeke, and along with the 4th round selection of Dak Prescott, the Cowboys’ franchise exploded back into contention.
Bosa, on the other hand, was short-changed in contract talks, and rightfully held out the first four games in order to maximize his value. Since entering the starting lineup, Bosa has started 21 games and recorded 21 sacks – the best mark in league history at this point in his career. Coupled with fellow pass rushing demon Melvin Ingram, LA has built one of the scariest pass defenses in football (and nobody seems to notice).
The most important thing to watch as Thursday approaches is the status of Dallas LT Tyron Smith. The Cowboys have been totally dominated with backup LTs the past two games, so Smith’s status could easily determine who wins this game. Without him, expect Bosa and Ingram to dominate your Turkey Day. Where is that stupid Turducken thing John Madden used to give out on Thanksgiving?
You can’t be jealous of something you never had, right? I’m certain Cowboy fans love Zeke (even with his suspension putting an end to their season), but we know RBs are a dime a dozen. Despite Zeke’s obvious greatness, playoff games are won by pass rushers. Big time games are played by big time QBs, and the only way to stop these guys – put them on their ass! Dallas couldn’t cause issues up front against Aaron Rodgers last year in that memorable NFC Divisional Playoff game, and it cost them a 13-3 regular season. Think Bosa could’ve helped that cause? I’m just saying.
Adam Gase (Miami HC) at New England
Sure the Patriots are 8-2 and massive favorites in this contest, and the Fish are 4-6 and spiraling out of control. But we have a two-way narrative here, and Miami head coach Adam Gase sits squarely in the middle of everything.
Gase was supposed to build an offensive juggernaut in Miami and mold young QB Ryan Tannehill into a top 10 guy. With Tannehill out for the year, Gase mistakenly turned to dumpster fire Jay Cutler (who hopefully misses this game). Miami ranks 30th in total offense, and Gase’s frustration shows after every contest. Constantly criticizing your players never works for a coach, and he could get himself fired if he loses the locker room.
Gase has fallen far from the guy who led the Denver offense to an AFC Championship win over New England in 2013, and the Pats have taken him down twice since then. Bill Belicheck and Tom Brady have long memories, and they have never forgotten this championship game loss. Add this to the fact Miami is an AFC East opponent, I do not believe the Pats will show any mercy in this one.
Gase would love to take revenge for the two losses in this matchup last year, but he’s losing his team. Belicheck and TB12 would love to pour salt in that wound and embarrass another division opponent. Does Miami have any chance to keep this close? Will Gase lose his cool after the beatdown? That could be the most interesting aspect of this one…