XFL Daily Fantasy Football Helper, Week 2
If you're missing the NFL and want to get some daily fantasy football action during the offseason, then you should check out the XFL. No, seriously. FanDuel is offering contests each weekend during the XFL season, and all you have to do is fill out a lineup of six players while staying under the $100 salary cap.
Maybe you're not totally in tune with the XFL, so you're not sure who to play this week. Don't worry -- I've got you.
Brandon Silvers, QB, Seattle Dragons ($17) - The quarterback choices for the Saturday slate are a little funky thanks to some question marks around the Tampa Bay Vipers. Cardale Jones is an obvious top choice, but he's also expensive. Matt McGloin's the second-highest priced quarterback, but his team's got a lower implied total at most sportsbooks (per oddsFire) than Brandon Silvers' squad, which is why Silvers makes more sense as a value. Silvers tossed three touchdowns in Week 1, and he wasn't afraid to throw it deep -- according to Pro Football Focus, he had seven deep-ball attempts, giving him a deep-ball rate of 17.5%. Among quarterbacks in Week 1, only Phillip Walker -- who's a stud -- threw it long at a higher rate. If you're not spending up on Jones, Silvers is your man for the Saturday slate as long as he plays (he's currently on the injury report).
Update: Silvers didn't practice again on Wednesday, which makes Cardale Jones, the most expensive passer on the slate, the best option. DC has the highest implied team total on the slate, and Jones is coming off a game where he tossed a pair of scores while throwing it 20-plus air yards on over 14% of his throws. The issues at quarterback on Saturday means Jones is the safest choice.
Jhurrell Pressley, RB, DC Defenders ($17) - Pressley's tied as the most expensive running back on the Saturday slate, but at $17, you're not sacrificing a whole lot to jam him into your lineup. Last week, Pressley tied Houston's James Butler for the highest running back rush share in the XFL, handling 75% of DC's rushes. He also had an above-average 8.7% target share. The Defenders are the biggest favorites on the Saturday slate, and they've got the highest implied team total as well. So if Pressley's usage continues, he could have a strong day in a positive game script.
Darius Victor, RB, New York Guardians ($16) - Victor managed to see five more carries and two more targets than running back teammate Tim Cook in Week 1, making him the more valuable running back in the Guardians backfield. As I just noted, DC's the biggest favorite on this week's slate, which makes the Guardians the biggest underdog. That's not the ideal type of environment for a fantasy back, but if a negative script hits, Victor, who was one of six backs last week with a double-digit target share, could still be fine. With ambiguity surrounding how these games may go down, it's nice to have what looks like a game script-proof back on your roster. There admittedly just aren't many reliable backs outside of Pressley on this slate.
Update: Aaron Murray didn't practice on Wednesday, which doesn't bode well for his availability on Saturday. If he doesn't go, it may actually be a boost for De'Veon Smith, since the Vipers would give Quinton Flowers, a mobile signal-caller, more reps under center. That would open up some running lanes for Smith. In Week 1, Smith handled over 57% of Tampa Bay's rushes, one of the higher marks in the XFL.
Mekale McKay, WR, New York Guardians ($16) - Both McKay and wide receiver teammate Joe Horn Jr. are strong plays this weekend at $16 and $14, respectively, but we'll focus on McKay here because he's the true number-one wideout on the team. He saw just a 16% target share in Week 1 versus Horn's 28%, and that's a key reason Horn is intriguing at his price. But Pro Football Focus pegged McKay with more routes run, and he also saw a deep target. With New York potentially playing from behind as road dogs, volume should be there for Guardians wide receivers.
Malachi Dupre, WR, DC Defenders ($15) - Dupre is listed as the third-most expensive wide receiver for DC over on FanDuel this week, and it's because teammates Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross outscored him in Week 1. The peripherals tell a slightly different story, though. Dupre led the team in routes run, and he had double the number of targets as Ross (four versus two). At $15, he makes for a nice value play, but do keep in mind that wideout DeAndre Thompkins could be back, making this wide receiver group less predictable.
Update: With DeAndre Thompkins probable to return from injury this week, every DC Defenders wideout gets bumped down a bit. Dupre's no longer as big of a value, and Thompkins makes for an interesting cheap dart throw in tournaments.
Other players to consider: Joe Horn Jr., New York Guardians ($14)
Phillip Walker, QB, Houston Roughnecks ($23) - Your way-to-early XFL MVP is Phillip Walker after he torched Los Angeles for 272 yards and 4 touchdowns last weekend. June Jones' run and shoot offense led to a near 29% deep-ball rate for Walker, by far the highest in the league. As of now, the quarterback situations for Dallas and LA are up in the air -- Landry Jones and Josh Johnson didn't play last week due to injury. So that leaves Walker and Jordan Ta'amu, who's quarterbacking the most run-heavy team in the XFL. So despite the high price, Walker's in play at this point.
James Butler, RB, Houston Roughnecks ($19) - Surprisingly, James Butler had some of the best usage at running back in Week 1. He handled 75% of Houston's running back rushes, and he was targeted 4 times for a 5.6% target share. If he maintains that workload, he should have no trouble scoring fantasy points on a team with by far the highest implied team total on the slate.
Elijah Hood, RB, Los Angeles Wildcats ($15) - The XFL isn't littered with every-down backs. At least, that's what Week 1 showed us. So when you're choosing a running back to play, it's going to be tough to find a sub-$16 or -$17 back who's in line for a lot of work. Elijah Hood, though, isn't in a terrible spot at just $15. He handled almost 71% of LA's running back rushes in Week 1 (second-highest among backs on the Sunday slate), but he wasn't all that effective in a negative game script. Maybe another poor game flow situation happens for Hood -- the Wildcats are underdogs this week, after all. That may seem like a death sentence given Hood's goose egg in the target column last week, but he actually ran 24 routes, the most of any LA running back. They're deploying him as a pass-catcher, so targets should eventually come.
Sammie Coates, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($17) - Coates had probably the least efficient game at pass-catcher across the entire league last weekend, and that'll likely lower his ownership a bit in Week 2. The secondary numbers were there, though. He trailed only Cam Phillips in routes run on the team, he saw the highest target share on the team, and he had five deep-ball targets, which ended up leading the XFL in Week 1. Houston has the highest implied team total on the slate, so getting big-play potential from the team isn't a bad idea.
L'Damian Washington, WR, St. Louis Battlehawks ($13) - St. Louis finished Week 1 with the lowest pass-to-rush ratio in the league. They want to run the football, but they also had the luxury of being able to do so because they played in a neutral and positive game script. As underdogs by more than a touchdown in Week 2, they may not have that luxury against Houston. That means the pass-catchers are all in play to see an uptick in volume. That includes L'Damian Washington, who led the team in routes run last week, running a route on every single drop back. He's the fourth-most expensive wideout on the Battlehawks, but you could make the argument that he deserves to be the priciest.
Other players to consider: Jeff Badet, WR, Dallas Renegades ($15), Marcus Lucas, TE, St. Louis Battlehawks ($15), Adonis Jennings, Los Angeles Wildcats ($13)