XFL Daily Fantasy Football Helper, Week 1
The NFL season may be over, but things are just getting started for the XFL.
After nearly 20 years of nothing, the league is back. XFL football is being played once again. And, hopefully, it's going to be better than ever.
A new football season means more opportunity to make some cash over on FanDuel. If you're not sure who to play this weekend -- it's understandable if you've never heard of Adonis Jennings or Kahlil Lewis -- I've got your back. Yours truly has been studying up to make sure you win more than you lose this season.
Let's take a look at the top plays for both weekend slates.
Phillip Walker, QB, Houston Roughnecks ($18) - Pricing this week is relatively flat across positions, which isn't much of a surprise given the limited information we have on these teams. You can save a little bit of your $100 cap by using Phillip Walker, though, since he's the third-most expensive quarterback on a two-game slate. Houston's head coach, June Jones, loves his run and shoot offense, and while head coach at Hawaii and SMU at the collegiate level, his teams almost always were far above the nationwide average in pass-to-run ratio. With a strong weapon in Sammie Coates to throw to, Walker makes perfect sense as a value quarterback in this pass-friendly scheme.
Elijah Hood, RB, Los Angeles Wildcats ($20) - To reiterate, there's not a whole lot of variance price-wise here in Week 1. That means paying up for some players is more than doable, and Elijah Hood is one of those pricier guys to target. He's a big-bodied back at about 230 pounds, and he was once an NFLer, spending some time with the Oakland Raiders. That alone tells us he can't be that bad, right? Los Angeles spent a first-round pick on Hood in the skill position draft, so it's likely they'll want to feature him. And he should be able to handle that big workload. Not only does he have the frame for it, but back during his Sophomore season at the University of North Carolina, he handled almost 16 carries per game, good for a 41% rush attempt share. If you're playing the Saturday only slate, he's a strong option.
DeAngelo Henderson, RB, Houston Roughnecks ($13) - The starter in Houston's backfield is Andre Williams, but Williams lack pass-catching ability. At least, that's what we've seen throughout his career. At Boston College, Williams had 704 rush attempts and just 10 catches across four seasons. In the NFL, Williams caught just 19 of a possible 42 targets. His hands are made of stone. That makes DeAngelo Henderson a little intriguing at just $13. He, too, once played in the NFL. That's a plus. But Henderson's a smaller, shiftier back who actually has some semblance of a receiving profile. At Coastal Carolina, he had three seasons with 20-plus receptions, catching nearly 100 balls during his four years there. The two backs make a nice thunder and lightning combination, and it wouldn't be surprising if Henderson sees a good amount of work in the backfield as a result.
Sammie Coates, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($20) - Maybe I've got a Houston bias, but of all the teams playing on Saturday, they seem to have the most upside offensively. So spending up for Sammie Coates makes sense. He's a speedy field stretcher who had an elite yards per catch rate at the college level, and that led the Steelers to draft him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Of all pass-catchers in the XFL, you could easily argue that Coates was the most complete prospect coming out of school. As I mentioned earlier, Houston should be pretty pass-friendly under June Jones. Combine that with the talent -- or the potential talent -- and you've got lots and lots of upside here in Week 1.
Rashad Ross, WR, DC Defenders ($15) - Ross isn't listed as the most expensive wideout on his own team for this slate, but it shouldn't shock anyone if he's the most effective one for the Defenders. He was one of the most productive wide receivers in the AAF last year, and he graded out as Pro Football Focus' top pass-catcher. Sure, that was the first time since probably high school that Ross was ever ultra productive, but if nothing else, he's always been efficient. And that's due to his 4.4 speed. Per NoExtraPoints.com, Ross had an absurd 40% air yard share while playing in the AAF. The XFL is going to feature a fast game, and that should favor Ross, especially with volume distribution up in the air. Even if he sees fewer targets than expected, he's got a chance to do a lot with just a handful of them.
Other players to consider: DeAndre Thompkins, DC Defenders ($14), Ja'Quan Gardner, Seattle Dragons ($9)
Aaron Murray, QB, Tampa Bay Vipers ($18) - The last time we saw Marc Trestman coaching an American football team, he was in Baltimore as offensive coordinator. During his two-year stint there, the Ravens ranked in the top-10 in the league in neutral script (games are within six points) pass-to-run ratio. As Bears head coach in 2013 and 2014, he ranked 17th and 6th, respectively, in neutral script ratio. The Vipers could toss the rock around at a high rate, which will benefit starting quarterback Aaron Murray. At $18, you're saving a couple of bucks by using him as opposed to some of the other starters this weekend.
Christine Michael, RB, St. Louis BattleHawks ($18) - Anyone who's played NFL fantasy football over the last five years knows Christine Michael. He's a physical freak who crushed the NFL combine, and he spent seven years in the NFL, accumulating over 1,000 yards. St. Louis has the second-worst odds to win this year's XFL Championship according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which means they could be trailing in games. That doesn't bode well for a running back. But the BattleHawks spent their first-round pick on Michael, and the players behind him on the depth chart don't have the type of experience and profile that he has. They'll likely be riding Michael this season. You just have to hope the team is better than expected.
Tim Cook, RB, New York Guardians ($17) - Unlike Christine Michael, Tim Cook was selected in the fourth round of the XFL skill position draft. But, like Michael, Cook doesn't have a whole lot of tough competition behind him on the depth chart. There's concern that the 240-plus pound Cook won't be much of a pass-catcher since his AAF season saw him catch just two of three targets in eight games. And looking at his college profile, he didn't flash any ability as a receiver there, either. He should see the most work in the backfield in Week 1, though, and given his size, he'll be the team's goal-line back.
Mekale McKay, WR, New York Guardians ($17) - McKay found some success in the AAF last year, ranking seventh in receiving yards and fifth in target share. His college production was lacking (as is the case for a lot of these guys), but he's got good size (6'4'', 200-plus pounds) to be a strong red-zone threat for the Guardians. He's the top receiving option for New York, but he's priced below every other number-one wideout on FanDuel for this opening slate. Since he's had some production in the AAF -- since we can feel comfortable that he's not terrible at football -- he makes for a nice value at just $17.
Nick Truesdell, TE, Tampa Bay Vipers ($14) - We've seen tight ends thrive in Marc Trestman's offense in the past, most recently with Martellus Bennett when he played in Chicago in 2013 and 2014. In the XFL skill position draft, the Vipers took Nick Truesdell with their first-round selection, making them the only team to take one in the first three rounds. There's at least some chance that Truesdell ends up with the most targets on this team, which makes him a nice value play at $14.
Other players to consider: L'Damian Washington, St. Louis Battlehawks ($13), Joe Horn Jr., New York Guardians ($15), Jeff Badet, Dallas Renegades ($19)