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.
V for Vendetta – NFL Week 8 by Slim Gaede
Jamaal Charles at Kansas City
A third round pick from Texas in 2008, Charles surpassed all expectations to become one of the greatest Chiefs of all time (not to mention a top fantasy RB for years). Charles rushed for over 7,400 yards and added over 2,400 receiving yards in his nine seasons in KC. He also scored 64 TDs, helped rebuild the franchise into a winner, and became KC’s all-time leading rushing (passing Priest Holmes) in 2014.
His biggest downfall – torn ACLs in 2011 and 2015, and other injuries stemming from these beat up knees. Who knows what heights he could have reached had he stayed healthy? Charles was a Hall of Fame talent who posted HOF numbers when healthy. And now he travels back to KC to face his old team on Monday, with both teams in a desperate situation, coming off back-to-back losses.
Denver’s offense has been abysmal these last two weeks, basically putting up nothing against the Giants and Chargers. This offense needs a spark, so maybe Charles will be more involved in the gameplan. He’s looked solid when given space to run, but these opportunities have been few and far between.
Personally, I believe Chiefs’ fans forgot about Charles fairly quickly, and they already could care less about everything he meant to the franchise. They were upset when he signed with the Broncos, and although the man deserves a standing ovation when he enters the stadium, I doubt KC fans honor him at all. I would love to see Charles go off and upset his former team, but it’s hard to envision. Both teams need this win, so it will be a war, but Denver’s offense has been so bad, I can’t see them doing much better on MNF in a hostile environment.
Miami at Baltimore
Nothing like a Thursday Night fun fest featuring the two worst offenses in the NFL! What better way to kickoff Week 8? The strangest thing about this matchup of completely dysfunctional offensive units is – the game is very important to both teams. Neither defense has been impressive, but somehow Miami enters at 4-2 and Baltimore 3-4, both still with playoff hopes.
The Fish are 31st in scoring and last in yards per game, but Jay Cutler cracking some ribs Sunday may have saved their season. Matt Moore came off the bench and led them to a huge win over the Jets, and now the team’s best QB finally makes his first start of the year. Despite nearly being shut out in weeks 3-4, Miami received the boost it needs with the Cutler injury. Moore is a fiery leader with nothing to lose, and he’s one of the NFL’s top backups. He definitely provides a spark to an otherwise talented offensive unit.
Baltimore cannot put the ball in the end zone, and Joe Flacco continues to struggle completely passes and pushing the ball downfield. The Ravens are last in passing yards, 31st in total yards, but 23rd in scoring due to multiple defensive and special teams TDs. WRs Wallace, Maclin, and Perriman continue to battle injuries, and RBs Collins and Buck Allen can’t provide any consistency. This is a difficult team to watch play football.
It’s almost certain this will be an ugly, low scoring contest Thursday night. This should be a good night to have some drinks with friends, clean the house, or do anything besides watch football. However, for DFS purposes, this game provides a gold mine of fadeable possibility! Inexperience players believe you need to roster players in the Thursday game if you’re playing the full slate, but the best way to approach, especially in this case, is a full fade. Now is the perfect time to bet heavy on the Thursday slate and fade everyone from this contest. This sets you up for an easy win Sunday. You’re welcome!
Philip Rivers at New England
Unless Rivers miraculously wins a Super Bowl before he retires, his career will always be loaded with “what-ifs”. He definitely could have been Eli Manning (as I’ve explored in previous articles) – the numbers show Rivers trumps Manning, but those two Super Bowls cement the otherwise unworthy Eli as a Hall of Famer. And then there’s Tom Brady, the man with the career every QB envies. Rivers has lost 6 of 7 career matchups with Brady, but it was 10 years ago destroyed Rivers’ hopes of being the next Brady.
The 2006 Chargers finished 14-2 and earned the #1 seed in the AFC. In his third season Rivers threw for 3,300 yards and 22 TDs, and LaDainian Tomlinson had the best season by a RB in NFL history – 2,300 scrimmage yards and 31 TDs! The MVP matched with a solid young QB and old school coach in Marty Schottenheimer looked poised to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Enter TB12 and his 12-4 Patriots. A stunning 24-21 upset at San Diego in the Divisional Playoffs crushed Rivers and LT, and the loss caused Marty his job (even at 14-2). Brady’s boys blew a 21-3 lead at Indy in the AFC Championship Game, but enacted revenge on the entire league the next season with an undefeated year. As previously discussed Mr. Rivers (on a torn ACL) willed his team into a rematch in Foxboro for a trip to the Super Bowl, and the Pats narrowly escaped with the win.
Since these two career-altering games, Rivers has been nowhere near the promised land despite incredible play each season. Season after season of disappointment have grown the sense of urgency, but there is good news – at 3-4 the Chargers are playing exceptional football, and both KC and Denver have dropped two straight. If the Chargers can pull off this huge upset, they’re right back in the mix in the AFC West.
Rivers needs this game as a legacy win and to keep his team in contention, and with the Patriots defensive struggles, I can see him coming up huge here. There couldn’t be a better spot for an upset! Go Chargers!