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REVENGE


Each year a countless number of players change teams in the NFL via trades, free agency, waivers, etc. More often than not, the players’ will have a chip on their shoulder once joining the new team to prove their worth and show their former team that moving them was a bad idea. Sometimes the player in question that has changed teams will face off against his former team soon after the transaction. This creates a perfect storm that many like to call “Revenge Games”.


In the days or weeks leading up to the rematch, the player will have added motivation to perform at a high level. He’ll be texting friends, former teammates and coaches. He’ll be in the coaches and coordinators’ ear to get more snaps, targets or carries.

This is where you can reap the benefits and win your week. Revenge games are a perfect target in season long best ball or daily lineups. I always lean towards a player who may be in a “Revenge” mindset when starting my lineup.


Let's take a look at the best revenge games for the 2023-24 NFL season.


8. Mike Gesicki vs Miami Dolphins Week 2 and Week 8.


The Dolphins selected the Penn State product 42nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, and from the get-go, Gesicki looked like he had all the makings of an elite Tight End. In only his second season in 2019 he put up a line of 51/570/5 and followed that up with two TE1 seasons; a 53/703/6 2020 and a 73/780/2 2021.


And just like that, it was over. New Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniels blocking scheme left no need for the talented Tight End. Gesicki was barely used in 2022, accumulating seven catches on 13 targets in a span of EIGHT WEEKS.


Gesicki was not re-signed by Miami this off season, and stayed in the AFC East, signing in New England where he will pair up with fellow Tight End Hunter Henry. New Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is famous for his two tight end sets. Gesicki will get two cracks at his old team in the first eight weeks; the Dolphins allowed the fourth most catches, fourth most touchdowns and fifth most fantasy points to Tight Ends in 2022. You’ve got to believe that Gesicki wants to prove to his old team that letting him go way a mistake.


7. David Montgomery RB Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears Weeks 11 and 14.


A revenge game spurned by Free-Agency is a little bit different than a trade or a cut. The player voluntarily left for more money, or more opportunity. When you leave and sign within the division, well... that sounds vengeful to me. Montgomery will look to exact revenge on his former team via the ground game. Last season the Bears allowed the 2nd most yards and rushing touchdowns to running backs, 4th most yards per carry, and 2nd most fantasy points to running backs, per Pro Football Reference. Look for “Monty” to pound the rock early and often twice in four weeks.


6. Darren Waller TE New York Giants vs Las Vegas Raiders Week 9.


Darren Waller was, for the most part, an obscure tight end for the first five years of his career. Then in 2019 the stars aligned, and for two seasons Darren Waller was an absolute menace that hauled in 197 passes, 2341 yards and 12 touchdowns. Injuries have limited him in the last two years and the Raiders shipped the 30-year-old tight end to the Giants this off season. Should Waller be fully healthy he joins a Giants squad that lacks big name pass catching options. The Giants received almost nothing from the Tight End position in 2022, and Daniel Jones only threw the ball 472 times. Waller figures to be one of the top targets overall for the Giants this year and would love to show the Raiders his two elite seasons were not a fluke.


5. Elijah Moore WR Cleveland Browns vs Jets Week 17


The New York Jets thought they had a star in the making when they selected Elijah Moore 34th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Ole Miss product had a tremendous collegiate career, followed up by a strong combine. Moore had an impressive stretch from Week 7-11 in 2021 and since then... injury and inconsistency has been a problem. He was almost completely phased out of the Jets offense and was a healthy scratch Week 9 of 2022. Moore was then shipped to Cleveland and looks to start fresh with improved quarterback play in Deshawn Watson, instead of what he was accustomed to in his tenure on the Jets. However, the Jets' formidable secondary will have their eyes on Moore in hopes to keep him in check. The Jets allowed the fewest passing touchdowns, the league's lowest touchdown percentage (2.7%), 3rd fewest yards to opposing wide receivers and the second lowest passer rating, per Pro Football Reference.


4. Calvin Ridley WR Jacksonville Jaguars Vs Atlanta Falcons Week 4.


Calvin Ridley was an ascending star for the Falcons. The 2018 NFL draft pick was fresh off a 90/1374/9 season in 2020 and had caught a mind blowing 25 touchdowns in three his first three seasons.


Then 2021 happened.


Ridley voluntarily stepped away from football in October of 2021, only to be suspended for gambling a few months later. Ridley was subsequently suspended for the 2022-23 season and there was a time that it looked like the sun had set on Ridley’s NFL career. The Jacksonville Jaguars stepped in and dealt a third-round pick to Atlanta, in hopes Ridley would be able to return. Ridley was re-instated by the NFL in 2023 and will face his old team in London Week 4. How much bad blood will there be between Atlanta and Ridley? Will Atlanta be glad to see their old star back in action, or will there be some bitterness towards Ridley, as the Falcons have been in a downward spiral since Super bowl 52 and losing Ridley may have been icing on the cake.


This game has all the makings of an absolute shootout with the Falcons and Jaguars, with both teams ranking in the middle of the pack or worst in completions allowed, passing yards allowed, air yards allowed and passing touchdowns allowed, per Pro Football Reference.


3. Adam Thielen WR Carolina Panthers vs Minnesota Vikings Week 4.


Adam Thielen is a born and bred Minnesota native who played collegiate football at Minnesota State, then was an UDFA by the Vikings in 2013 After three years of primarily special teams play, no one could have predicted his 2016-2022 stretch, in which Thielen racked up 53 touchdowns in that span. This offseason the Vikings let Thielen go as an unrestricted free agent. Thielen signed with the Carolina Panthers and will look to be an immediate veteran influence on first overall pick Bryce Young. Thielen’s high target share, field stretching days may be a thing of the past, but Thielen should be a lock for a score against his old team. The Vikings had one of the worst defenses that the NFL has ever seen in 2022. In one stretch, Weeks 10-14 the Vikings defense allowed over 400 yards of offense every game. This off season the Vikings changed defensive coordinators but did little in the way of defensive personnel. Thielen will be looking for at least one score against his old mates.


2. D.J Moore WR Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers Week 10


D.J Moore spent five seasons with the Carolina Panthers, before being dealt to the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. While Moore was in Carolina there was often a black cloud of quarterback play looming over him. Despite a quarterback platoon that saw Moore catching passes from Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgwater, P.J Walker and Sam Darnold, he still managed to catch compile a tremendous stretch of at least 65 catches, 1100 yards and four touchdowns from 2019-2021. Moore now is catching passes from Justin Fields, who is looking to make a big leap in year 3. There are lofty expectations for the entire Bears offense this season, with Fields finally getting a big-time playmaker at wideout, whereas Moore will have the best quarterback situation of his career. The Panther's secondary was leaky in 2022, allowing the third most receptions, fourth most yards and fifth most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Carolina should know Moore’s tendencies well, but my money is on Moore to try to burn the safeties much as possible and show Carolina that they should have built around him.


1. Deandre Hopkins WR Tennessee Titans vs Houston Texans Week 15 and 17.


Its been a little while since Nuk was a Texan but there still could be some animosity between Hopkins and his old team. Hopkins and then Coach/General Manager Bill O’Brien had a falling out which resulted in the Texans dealing the star wide receiver, who was just 28 at the time, for a fading David Johnson. Although Nuk went on to enjoy continued success in Arizona, he is still widely regarded as one of the best receivers to ever wear the Texans uniform. Given the timing of these games, there could be playoff implications at stake here, and DeAndre surely will be out to prove he has something left. Last season the Texans allowed the fewest passing touchdowns and fewest fantasy points to wide receivers and that was without new Head Coach DeMeco Ryans and third overall pick Will Anderson. Jalen Pitre and Derek Stingley will shadow Hopkins all day. Who will prevail?


Honorable mentions: Juju Smith-Schuster vs Chiefs

Jamaal Williams vs Detroit


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