V for Vendetta – NFL Week 15 – by Slim Gaede
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.
A.J. Bouye vs Houston
Bouye signed with Houston as an undrafted free agent from Central Florida in 2013 and quickly worked his way into the starting lineup. By the end of the 2016 season, Bouye had staked his claim as one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. Houston did not make resigning Bouye a priority, and his 5 year, $67.5 million contract ($26 million guaranteed) from Jacksonville has turned out to be one of the biggest bargains of the offseason.
Along with fellow stud corner Jalen Ramsey, Bouye ranks as one of the league’s top CBs, and the two are easily the top duo in football. Jacksonville’s top ranked defense leans heavily on this duo, daring opposing teams to test them outside. This D is the nastiest in the league and may allow the Jags to go all the way (depending on Blake Bortles of course).
Houston”s defense has fallen apart after injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The Texans are shredded on a weekly basis by every opponent – do you think they would like to reconsider keeping Bouye? To make matters worse, Houston will start 3rd string QB T.J. Yates, in essence feeding him to the wolves. The Jags D will be a top fantasy option this week, and with good reason.
Mike Zimmer (MIN HC) vs Cincinnati
So the Vikings finally lost after eight consecutive victories. No big deal. Zimmer has done a helluva job coaching this team in his 4th season, and after being successful in his first three years, his team has risen to new heights in 2017.
What’s a major sign of great coaching? How about losing your starting QB (who really wasn’t your guy to begin with) and your electrifying rookie RB to season-ending injuries and actually becoming a better team! The Sam Bradford injury proved to be a blessing in disguise, as Case Keenum has dominated the league out of nowhere. Dalvin Cook going down was rough, but Murray and McKinnon have combined into a deadly backfield combination.
Zimmer showed in his defensive coordinator days in Cincinnati (2008-2013) he could lead a group. In Minnesota he’s proven to be a leader of men, and his team plays hard on every snap. In retrospect, the Bengals should have fired Marvin Lewis and hired Zimmer in 2013, so what better way to prove himself again? Zimmer will have his bunch fired up for this contest, not only due to the matchup, but home field advantage is still within reach.
The Bengals enter this contest with nothing to play for at 5-8, and they were just blasted at home by Chicago 33-7. Andy Dalton was benched, and half of the starters on defense are injured. On paper, Cincy has no shot in this game, and I expect the Vikings to blow them out early. Cheers to Zimmer showing his former employer what they’re missing!
Julius Peppers vs Green Bay
Peppers, the 2nd overall pick by Carolina in the 2002 NFL Draft, will forever be remembered as one of the finest pass rushers of his generation and definitely the best athlete to play defensive end, possibly ever. He’s recorded 153 career sacks with the Panthers, Packers, and Bears, and he returned to Carolina as a 37-year-old pass rushing specialist in 2017, after spending his last three seasons in Green Bay.
Does anyone know he’s still playing in the league? Would you believe he’s recorded 9.5 sacks this season? The dude continues to ball regardless of where he lines up or who he’s playing for.
Carolina keeps winning, and at 9-4 holds a strong position in the NFC Playoff hunt. A win against Green Bay would practically lock up a playoff spot, but the big question remains – will Aaron Rodgers return from his collarbone injury and play in this game? At 7-6 the Packers have stayed afloat without Rodgers, but every game is must-win from here on out.
I can see the game script now – Rodgers returns and needs a late drive to keep Green Bay alive in for the playoffs. Peppers picks up a strip sack against his old teammate on the final drive to ice the game for Carolina. The writing is on the wall!