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 – Week 5 by Slim Gaede
Frank Gore vs San Francisco
The 49ers Hall of Fame contains some of the greatest names in NFL history – Montana, Young, Rice, Lott – and after Gore retires his name goes up alongside these guys. A 3rd round pick in 2005, Gore shredded both knees at Miami but left school early anyways because his family was in dire straights. Since rushing for 1,695 yards (over 2,000 scrimmage yards) in 2006, Big Frank became the face of a struggling franchise – the classic great player on a bad team. He was always that dude all the fans loved and teammates were inspired by on a daily basis.
The 2012 season was magical in San Francisco, and for so many reasons it still hurts that my boys were unable to gain those final five yards in the Super Bowl…Gore deserves to be a champion! Frank rushed for 110 yards and a TD in that loss to Baltimore, and he totaled 319 yards and four TDs in three playoff games that season. He played two more seasons in SF, finishing with 11,073 rush yards and 75 total TDs, and now appears he’s playing his final season in Indy. Currently, Frank sits at 13,256 rushing yards – just three short of passing Eric Dickerson for 7th all time. By season’s end, he’ll surpass Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson for fifth in league history.
Truly a first-class man and Hall of Fame player, Frank will face his old franchise for the first time. Although no animosity exists on either side, he could easily see a few extra carries, especially in goal line sets. I love this guy, and I can see myself rostering him as my flex player in DK tournaments. Frank is the man!
Philip Rivers at Eli Manning
Ever felt like there was a guy you know who is exactly like you, yet this guy always seems to come out ahead all the time? This is the life of Philip Rivers. After Eli Manning was selected 1st by the Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft, he was traded to New York for Rivers (the 4th overall pick) plus two more picks – which turned into LB Shawn Merriman and K Nate Kaeding. The two have forever been linked together and their careers constantly compared.
How about a blind resume – which one of these QBs should be considered a lock Hall of Famer, and which one is considered not worthy of the Hall?
6 time Pro Bowler – 46,940 yards – 320 TDs – 64.4 % completions – 97-83 career record
4 time Pro Bowler – 49,327 yards – 326 TDs – 59.9 % completions – 108-95 career record
With 23 fewer games started, QB1 looks like the better player, right? Trouble is, QB2 has two unlikely Super Bowl wins and a famous last name. QB2, now known as Eli, also pulled off the biggest upset in Super Bowl history by beating the 18-0 Patriots during the 2007 season. However, do you recall which team almost beat New England in Foxboro for the AFC Championship that year?
Philip Rivers and his Chargers trailed Tom Brady 14-12 entering the 4th quarter of that game, nearly pulling off an incredible upset before falling 21-12. Did I mention Rivers was playing with a torn ACL? One of the gutsiest performances I’ve seen in sports. This came after a stunning 28-24 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Colts and Eli’s big brother in the Divisional Playoffs. San Diego had an awesome squad that year, and they were only a few plays away from a Rivers vs Eli Super Bowl, which would have settled this debate long ago.
Another issue entering this contest are the rumors flying around that Eli could be traded after this season so NY can draft a 1st round QB. Eli doesn’t have the reputation of being the most mentally tough guy, so it will be interesting how these rumors effect his play. Another factor are the records – both teams at 0-4 – and trying to figure out what happens here on out with both franchises. Either way, things are ugly on both sides, but I can promise one thing – Rivers wants to beat Eli badly. This game means everything to him, even with his team at 0-4.
Green Bay at Dallas
Everyone’s Game of the Week is a rematch of last year’s incredible NFC Divisional playoff game, won by Green Bay 34-31. The Pack appeared to be running away, leading 28-13 heading into the 4th quarter at Jerry World. The Cowboys made a furious comeback, concluded by a Dan Bailey 52 yard field goal to tie the game with 35 seconds left. After a miraculous Aaron Rodgers throw on 3rd down, Mason Crosby silenced Cowboy fans nationwide with a 51 yard knuckleball FG as time expired. Dallas’s 13-3 dream season came to a surprising end, without a playoff win (as usual).
2017 has been strange already, and Dallas has sleep-walked to a 2-2 record, losing last week at home to the Rams. The defense is garbage again, but the offense has been unable to produce like last year. Green Bay’s offense misses pieces each week, and they appear to be without Davante Adams (get well soon dude) and Ty Montgomery this week. They could be down to a 3rd string RB (whoever that might be), and with Dallas’s secondary struggling mightily, A-Aron should be a top target. Jordy and Cobb should be heavily involved with what projects to be a complete lack of running game.
Both Rodgers and Dak threw for over 300 and multiple TDs in this matchup in January, and we expect another shootout. It’s weird saying this, but the Pack has the 7th ranked defense entering this game – facing an above average but yet-to-be-great Dallas offense. Can Dez finally step up and dominate a game? He must show up in a massive way Sunday. Zeke ran for 125 in the playoff game, but his production has been down also. With GB injuries and an emerging defense, along with an under-performing Dallas offense, it’s hard to say we’ll see another epic game in this matchup. It definitely seems Dallas needs this game more, so I expect a hint of desperation on their side.