XFL Fantasy Football: Gdula's Game Notes for Week 4
The XFL's first three weeks have been a wild ride, but at least we're starting to know more and more which teams and situations we can trust -- and which ones we can't.
Here are notes on all eight teams -- snap rates, efficiency, and market shares -- to help you build your XFL lineups on FanDuel for Week 4.
All injury news from the XFL's official injury report, unless otherwise noted.
Core Plays: Players suited for all types of daily fantasy games -- cash games and tournaments -- and players to target when building a main lineup.
Secondary Plays: Players who have good matchups or situations but are overpriced. Or players who are affordable but have tough matchups.
Tournament Plays: Players with paths to production but who are either overpriced or have tough matchups and who rate out with low production floors. Not everybody is in play in DFS, but players without the best prices and matchups still deserve consideration in large-field tournaments.
Los Angeles Wildcats (-7.0) at New York Guardians
The Guardians have been exposed as one of the XFL's worst squads, and the Wildcats are second in points scored despite playing without starting quarterback Josh Johnson in Week 1. There's heavy money on the Wildcats to cover, even though they're injured. There's not much appeal in New York's assets.
Los Angeles Wildcats Offense Notes
- Josh Johnson ($21) is the priciest play on Saturday's slate, and he leads the XFL in yards per attempt (7.8) and quarterback rating (113.9). The Guardians are last in the league in passing yards per attempt allowed (7.45), well above the league average of 5.94.
- Nelson Spruce ($19) is tied for the XFL lead in targets (28) and leads in target share (28.3%). He has a 21.7% target share in two games with Johnson, still best on the team to help adjust for the garbage time from Week 3's blowout win. Spruce is out this weekend.
- In two games with Johnson at quarterback, Adonis Jennings ($12) has a 16.7% target share, and Jordan-Elijah Smallwood ($15) is at 13.3%. Again, they blew out DC in Week 3, so shares are a smidge low. This trio had been pretty sturdy to start the season, and the absence of Saeed Blacknall ($10) has helped.
- Last week, Tre McBride racked up 5 catches, 109 yards, and 2 touchdowns on a limited snap rate (27.1%). He is limited in practice to start the week.
- Tight end Brandon Barnes ($12) has played at least 65.4% of the snaps in three straight games.
- Elijah Hood ($13) didn't play in Week 3, and Martez "Mr. Excitement" Carter ($15) played 61.0% of the snaps while handling 12 of 25 carries. Carter did not practice Wednesday. Larry Rose ($12) was limited. Hood was not on the injury report.
- New York is seventh in tackles for loss rate and generally just one of the weakest defenses across the board in the league.
New York Guardians Offense Notes
- The Guardians' quarterback situation is quite dreadful. Matt McGloin ($15) has been the second-worst quarterback in the XFL by quarterback rating and has not finished either of his past two games. Marquise Williams ($14) has rated out better than McGloin -- but not by much. Former AAF quarterback Luis Perez ($13) had seven drop backs last week as well. A transition from McGloin should benefit the offense, but that doesn't seem likely.
- Mekale McKay ($13) leads the team with a lowly 16.7% target share but has played at least 90.0% of the snaps in every game. He's cheap, and New York should have to throw.
- Colby Pearson ($14) is second on the team with a 15.4% target share, followed by Joe Horn ($11; 12.8%) and Jake Powell ($12; 11.5%). Horn didn't play last week, and over the first two games, McKay has a 22.0% target share, and Horn is up at 20.0%.
- Teo Redding ($11) is trending up with a 52.0% and 67.2% snap rate the past two games; he had five targets last week, second-most on the team behind Austin Duke ($13; 6).
- Tim Cook ($13) and Darius Victor ($12) have more or less split work overall this season, but Victor led 53.4% to 37.9% in the snap rate department last week and led 10-9 in carries.
Core Plays: Josh Johnson (QB, LA), Tre McBride (WR, LA)
Secondary Plays: Martez Carter/Elijah Hood (RB, LA), Adonis Jennings (WR, LA), Mekale McKay (WR, NY)
Tournament Plays: Jordan-Elijah Smallwood (WR, LA), Tim Cook/Darius Victor (RB, NY), Colby Pearson (WR, NY)
Seattle Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks (-12.0)
The Dragons' implied total is 13.0 points. So. There's that. St. Louis is rolling, and they will get their second straight home game against one of the XFL's cellar dwellers. There is heavy action on the over, around 85% of the bets and money.
Seattle Dragons Offense Notes
- Oh, boy. So the total is 13.0 points, and the Dragons have scored 48 points through three weeks.
- Brandon Silvers ($17) is rather pricey. He is actually sixth among 12 qualified quarterbacks in quarterback rating, but that's boosted by his six passing touchdowns, three of which came in the opener. Silvers is ninth in yards per attempt (5.6) and has PFF's worst passing grade through three games. St. Louis is second in yards per attempt allowed. He should have heavy volume, but the touchdowns will likely be scarce.
- To help with the iffy efficiency, at least the team has fixated targets on Keenan Reynolds ($16) and Austin Proehl ($18), who lead the team with a 25.3% and 23.0% target share, respectively. Nobody else is above 10.3% (running back Trey Williams ($14)). Reynolds is tied for third in deep targets (seven), via ProFootballFocus.
- The Dragons run a full three-headed committee in the backfield. Trey Williams, Kenneth Farrow ($14), and Ja'Quan Gardner ($12) each have between 22 and 27 carries. Williams leads in targets with nine, Farrow has seven, and Gardner has three. None of the three have surpassed a 42.0% snap rate in any game yet, but Farrow has led every week. Their total is just officially in the teens, and they split work.
St. Louis BattleHawks Offense Notes
- My BattleHawks are looking good. Jordan Ta'amu ($20) is second in yards per attempt (7.5) and third in quarterback rating (102.3) -- despite just 4 passing touchdowns. Seattle is sixth in passing yards per attempt allowed but actually third in quarterback hit rate. Ta'amu is DFL in deep attempt rate (just 3.7% of his 82 passes have been at least 20 yards downfield), so time in the pocket isn't anything we should really care about much here.
- Ta'amu has really concentrated his targets on four players: De'Mornay Pierson-El ($16; 23.1%), L'Damian Washington ($14; 17.9%), Alonzo Russell ($15; 16.7%), and Marcus Lucas ($13; 16.7%). Again, there's not a lot of downfield work here, but the efficiency is good, and the BattleHawks are second in offensive plays per game.
- The BattleHawks have passed on 42.4% of their plays. The XFL average is 60.6%. That leaves plenty of work for running backs Matt Jones ($17) and Christine Michael ($15). Each have had at least 13 carries in each of the past two weeks. Michael has scored in consecutive games. Seattle's rush defense is actually decent, but the spread and heavy rushing volume will negate that.
Core Plays: Jordan Ta'amu (QB, STL), Matt Jones (RB, STL), De'Mornay Pierson-El (WR, STL), L'Damian Washington (WR, STL)
Secondary Plays: Christine Michael (RB, STL), Keenan Reynolds (WR, SEA)
Tournament Plays: Brandon Silvers (QB, SEA), Alonzo Russell (WR, STL), Austin Proehl (WR, SEA), Trey Williams (RB, SEA)
Houston Roughnecks (-1.5) at Dallas Renegades
The highest total of the weekend also comes with a tight spread between two of the top three teams in the XFL. Full-on shootouts have been rare in the XFL, but this could be one. Both teams are pretty concentrated with their usage, as well. Everyone is betting Houston, but there's a majority on the over, as well.
Houston Roughnecks Offense Notes
- Houston is a pretty easy offense to figure out.
- Phillip "PJ" Walker ($23) has thrown for 10 touchdowns, and nobody else has more than 6, and he actually has had 27.8% of the league's passing touchdowns. Walker has put up 32.48, 22.5, and 38.64 FanDuel points. The Renegades are dead last in yards per attempt allowed (7.5). He's a lock-level play.
- Cam Phillips ($22) is second in the XFL in target share (27.7%) and has played at least 91.7% of the snaps in every game. He's also tied for third in deep targets (seven).
- Kahlil Lewis ($16) is second on the team in target share (18.8%), followed by Sammie Coates ($12; 15.8%) and Nick Holley ($14; 11.9%). Coates' snap rate has fallen each week and was 48.3% in Week 3. Sam Mobley ($13) outsnapped him (56.7%) last week.
- James Butler ($17) has accounted for 52.3% of the team's carries and has played at least half of the snaps in every game (71.0%, 65.5%, and 51.7%). He's attached to a great offense, too.
Dallas Renegades Offense Notes
- In two games with Landry Jones ($18) under center, tight end Donald Parham ($19) leads the team with 22.2% of the targets, and running back Lance Dunbar ($16) is second at 21.0%. Jeff Badet ($14) leads the receivers with a 16.0% target share, and then it's running back Cameron Artis-Payne ($18) at 13.6%.
- Those four plus Flynn Nagel ($15) are playing elevated snaps the past two weeks, giving us a pretty clear idea of how to stack Dallas.
- Landry Jones is tied for third in yards per attempt (7.1) in the XFL and is third in completion rate (71.6%). He hasn't been amazing, but he's been good. Houston is a stingy defense (second in yards per play), but this game is the most intriguing of the entire weekend.
- Artis-Payne has accounted for 52.6% of his team's rushing attempts, the second-highest rate of any running back and an average of 10.0 per game. Dunbar has 19 carries (33.3%) and 23 targets, the targets the most of any running back in the XFL.
Core Plays: PJ Walker (QB, HOU), Cam Phillips (WR, HOU), Cameron Artis-Payne (RB, DAL), Lance Dunbar (RB, DAL), Donald Parham (TE, DAL), James Butler (RB, HOU)
Secondary Plays: Landry Jones (QB, DAL), Kahlil Lewis (WR, HOU), Nick Holley (WR, HOU), Jeff Badet (WR, DAL)
Tournament Plays: Flynn Nagel (WR, DAL), Sammie Coates (WR, HOU)
DC Defenders (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
Tampa Bay is the XFL's only winless team through three weeks, and the Defenders are 2-1 with a point differential of just +9. The spread is way tighter than I would've first thought, even after DC lost by 30 in Week 3. It has flowed from 1.0 to 2.5, at least.
DC Defenders Offense Notes
- The Defenders let up 39 points in Week 3 and totaled 103 passing yards. Cardale Jones ($19) was 13 of 26 last week for just 4.0 yards per attempt with 0 touchdowns and 4 picks. He is now down to 6.6 yards per attempt, sixth among 12 qualified passers. Tampa Bay -- despite the winless record -- does rank third in passing yards per attempt allowed, and they're first in passes defended rate. Jones isn't necessarily a lock.
- In two games with DeAndre Thompkins ($17), Eli Rogers ($15) leads the team with a 22.0% target share, Thompkins is second at 20.3%, and Rashad Ross ($16) is third at 18.6%. Based on snap rate, Rogers is both the best bet and the cheapest, but this is a pretty equal trio right now.
- Last week, the running backs divvied up work, as Donnel Pumphrey ($14), Nick Brosette ($11), and Khalid Abdullah ($10) each had eight carries, and Jhurell Pressley ($12) had four while dealing with injury. Pressley had a 45.1% rushing share through two games, seventh among all running backs. It's a bit of a messy situation.
Tampa Bay Vipers Offense Notes
- The Vipers have just 39 points through three games, second-fewest, and have let up 74, an XFL high. Of their 39 points, 27 came last week.
- Last week, Taylor Cornelius ($14) disappointed on his 35 drop backs (16 completions, 193 yards, 6.2 yards per attempt, 1 touchdown, and 1 pick). He now has averaged 6.0 yards per attempt with 3 interceptions and a single passing touchdown.
- In two games with Cornelius, Jalen Tolliver ($16) leads the team with a 23.5% target share. Reece Horn ($14) is at 20.6%, and Dan Williams ($17) is third at 16.2%. Then it's all sorts of spread out from there, but it's worth noting that Nick Truesdell ($13) didn't play in Week 3. Tolliver soaked up 12 of 34 targets in that game, and Williams had 7 and Horn had 6. Truesdell did not practice on Wednesday.
- De'Veon Smith ($15) leads the team with 42 carries, followed by Jaques Patrick ($13), and Smith has cleared 61.0% of the snaps in two of three games. He's the better bet and does lead 8-7 in targets over Patrick.
Core Plays: Eli Rogers (WR, DC)
Secondary Plays: Cardale Jones (QB, DC), DeAndre Thompkins (WR, DC), Rashad Ross (WR, DC), Donnel Pumphrey (RB, DC)
Tournament Plays: Jalen Tolliver (WR, TB), De'Veon Smith (RB, TB), Dan Williams (WR, TB), Reece Horn (WR, TB), Taylor Cornelius (QB, TB)