XFL Fantasy Football: Gdula's Game Notes for Week 2
We finally have some XFL data to dig into after a pretty strong Week 1 slate of games. While we learned a lot about which players actually produced for our fantasy lineups, what do the peripherals and opportunities have to say about how to build XFL lineups on FanDuel for Week 2?
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.
New York Guardians at DC Defenders (-6.5)
The Defenders are pretty hefty home favorites after a convincing opening win. They're favored by 6.5 and are -265 on the moneyline. The betting action is pretty split with about half of the bets and money on either side, according to oddsFire. There is actually more than 75% of the action on the Guardians' moneyline, however.
New York Guardians Offense Notes
- The Guardians averaged 5.02 yards per play in Week 1, ranking them fifth in the XFL. That came along with just 2.75 yards per carry and 6.29 yards per pass attempt. They were the only team not to be sacked and played the majority of their opener from ahead.
- Running back Darius Victor ($16) led the team with 9 carries and had 3 targets while playing 51.0% of snaps. Tim Cook ($14) played more snaps (52.9%) but had just 4 carries and a single target. We could be looking at a bit of a timeshare, and the Guardians are road underdogs.
- Matt McGloin ($19) was fine, not great, in Week 1. McGloin was 15 of 29 for 182 yards (6.29 per attempt) with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. McGloin draws a DC Defenders defense that defensed 22.0% of pass attempts in Week 1. He actually ranks fourth among quarterbacks on the Saturday slate in my projections.
- New York's Week 1 target leaders were Joe Horn Jr. ($14; 7), Jake Powell ($13; 5), Colby Pearson ($17; 4), and Mekale McKay ($16; 4). Via research from Jim Sannes, the deep target leaders were Horn (4) and Pearson (3) with McKay and Teo Redding ($11) each getting one. It's worth noting that Pearson and McKay both cleared a 94.0% snap rate and Horn played 78.4%.
DC Defenders Offense Notes
- The Defenders rank third in yards per play (5.27) after a week of action and that's despite a league-low 2.43 yards per carry. Cardale Jones ($21) had the passing game humming with a league-best 9.04 yards per attempt. The Guardians allowed 7.44 yards per attempt (third-best) to the Vipers last weekend, so Jones is in a pretty intriguing spot at home for Week 2. He also ran 7 times for 27 yards.
- Jones fixated on Eli Rogers ($17), giving him 30.4% of the targets (7 total). Rogers played 68.9% of the snaps. The team actually ran a pretty diverse offense, in part due to their lead -- most likely. Three tight ends saw a target and played at least 24.6% of the snaps. No receiver topped a 77.0% snap rate (Malachi Dupre ($15). Tight end Khari Lee ($14) did play 96.7% of the snaps but had just one target. This offense really favored Rogers as a receiver. Rogers and Rashad Ross ($18) each had two deep targets but nobody else had more than one of the eight downfield tosses. Of note, Ross had just two targets and played 59.0% of the snaps, so he had high-leverage looks but not many of them, and that's of particular concern with possible starter DeAndre Thompkins ($12) listed as a full participant.
- Jhurell Pressley ($17) handled half of the team's carries with 12 because Jones was involved as a rusher, but Pressley accounted for 12 of 16 running back carries and played 59.0% of the snaps. Donnel Pumphrey ($11) played 42.6% of the snaps and did out target Pressley 3-2. As home favorites, Pressley should be preferred again.
Core Plays: Cardale Jones (QB, DC), Joe Horn Jr. (WR, NY), Eli Rogers (WR, DC)
Secondary Plays: Jhurell Pressley (RB, DC), Darius Victor (RB, NY), Mekale McKay (WR, NY), Malachi Dupre (WR, DC), Jake Powell (TE, NY)
Tournament Plays: Matt McGloin (QB, NY), Rashad Ross (WR, DC), Colby Pearson (WR, NY), Tim Cook (WR, NY), Khari Lee (TE, DC)
Tampa Bay Vipers (-3.0) at Seattle Dragons
The Vipers looked rough in the opener, scoring just three points, but their peripheral stats weren't too bad. They may have a quarterback conundrum on their hands, however, and that makes them a tough trust. Seattle, meanwhile, struggled against the Defenders. The total is down a point after some high-frequency betting on the under.
Tampa Bay Vipers Offense Notes
- Aaron Murray ($15) was on the sideline to start the second half of Week 1 due to struggles, but he still averaged 6.79 yards per attempt (the league average was 6.37) despite a lowly quarterback rating of 45.1. Seattle let up a league-high 9.04 yards per attempt last week. If he starts, he's a bounce-back candidate. He may not play and is dealing with a foot injury. Quinton Flowers ($18) had a wild 26 snaps in Week 1: 5 drop backs to 21 handoffs, 2 pass attempts, 2 sacks, 4 rushing attempts. He would hurt the pass-catchers but be an intriguing play in his own right.
- What helps us with the Vipers is their snap and target distribution. Again, this could be out the window if Murray sits... Receivers Daniel Williams ($19) and Jalen Tolliver ($16) played a lot. Williams played every snap, and Tolliver played 97.2% of snaps. Williams led with 9 targets (28.1%), and Tolliver had 7 (21.9%). Tight end Nick Truesdell ($14) played 95.8% of snaps and had 6 targets (18.8%). Reece Horn ($13) saw 5 targets at a 69.4% snap rate. We would love to see that tight usage all season.
- Running back De'Veon Smith ($17) handled 55.2% of the team's carries (16 of 29) in the opener and played 65.3% of the snaps, but Jacques Patrick ($12) chipped away with 8 carries and 3 targets.
Seattle Dragons Offense Notes
- Brandon Silvers ($17) threw for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns but also had 2 interceptions and was charged with 9 passes defensed. Things could've gotten ugly fast, but Seattle is in their home opener this weekend. Tampa Bay was the only team not to record a sack in Week 1 and had a quarterback hit rate of just 6.9%, below the XFL average of 14.1%.
- Without Kasen Williams last week, the team did fixate on two receivers, and Williams is still not practicing in full. Keenan Reynolds ($15) played 94.2% of the snaps last week, making him the only Dragon to crack the 70.0% mark. Austin Proehl ($20) played 69.6%. Proehl led with 10 targets, and Reynolds had 7. Dontez Byrd ($14) and running back Trey Williams ($16) had 5.
- The team added former CFL receiver SJ Green, but he is not in the player pool.
- Ja'Quan Gardner ($13) was the nominal starter last week but had just 9 carries and no targets on a 27.5% snap rate. Kenneth Farrow ($15) outsnapped him (42.0%) and had 7 carries and 4 targets. Problematically, Trey Williams also out-snapped Gardner with 31.9% of the snaps and had 3 carries and 5 targets, including a short receiving touchdown. Seattle looks messy.
Core Plays: None
Secondary Plays: Dan Williams (WR, TB), Aaron Murray/Quinton Flowers (QB, TB), Jalen Tolliver (WR, TB), Austin Proehl (WR, SEA), De'Veon Smith (RB, TB), Keenan Reynolds (WR, SEA)
Tournament Plays: Brandon Silvers (QB, SEA), Reece Horn (WR, TB), Nick Truesdell (TE, TB), Jacques Patrick (RB, TB), Trey Williams (RB, TB)
Dallas Renegades (-3.5) at Los Angeles Wildcats
The Renegades are road favorites after a 15-9 loss to St. Louis at home in Week 1, so that should tell us a lot about expectations for this week. The Wildcats were drubbed 37-17 on the road against Houston in Week 1. The spread has tightened from 4.0 to 3.5, and the total is up a half of a point despite roughly three-fourths of the action on the under.
Dallas Renegades Offense Notes
- Quarterback Landry Jones ($19) is still limited in practice, so it could be another week of Philip Nelson ($16), who was 34 of 43 -- a good completion rate -- for only 218 yards in Week 1 (just 5.06 yards per attempt). Nelson threw 20-plus yards downfield only twice, giving him the lowest deep attempt rate of any starting quarterback. We could be dealing with a low-ceiling offense here until Jones returns.
- The skill position players are looking all sorts of messy, as no receiver, tight end, or running back played more than 61.3% of the team's snaps in the opening game. No player had more than 14.0% of the targets or more than 35.7% of the carries.
- The carry leader was Lance Dunbar ($15) with five, followed by Marquis Young ($12) and Cameron Artis-Payne ($14) with three. Artis-Payne did play 51.6% of the snaps, outperforming Dunbar (37.1%) and Young (22.6%). However, the targets favored Dunbar (six) and Young (five) to Artis-Payne (four). So, if the Renegades do play from ahead as the spread suggests, Artis-Payne could see the biggest workload. It's just not a great situation overall.
- Jeff Badet ($15) played a team-high 61.3% of snaps last week but had just four targets (9.3%). Flynn Nagel ($16), Donald Parham ($13), and Dunbar led the team with six targets each. Again, there wasn't much downfield work to separate the pack.
Los Angeles Wildcats Offense Notes
- Quarterback Josh Johnson ($18) was in pads in practice early in the week and could make his debut this weekend. He projects as one of the best quarterbacks in the XFL and has rushing upside, which is of utmost importance in fantasy football for a quarterback.
- Last week, Chad Kanoff ($17) started and went 21 of 39 for 214 yards (5.49 yards per attempt). He scrambled four times and accounted for 21 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Kanoff is listed as out. Johnson is questionable. Jalan McClendon ($15) would start.
- The targets were fixated on Nelson Spruce ($20), who had 15 of 39 attempts (38.5%). Next in line was Jordan-Elijah Smallwood ($18) with 6 targets (15.4%), and he did account for 4 of 10 downfield targets. Five other Wildcats had three targets: Adonis Jennings ($13), Jalen Greene ($10), Brandon Barnes ($12), Saeed Blacknall ($11), and Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield ($14). Blacknall is doubtful.
- Blacknall led the team in snap rate (76.9%), and Smallwood actually ranked fourth in snap rate among the receivers playing just 57.7%.
- Elijah Hood ($15) had one of the best workloads among all running backs in the opener with 12 carries but no targets. He played 70.5% of the snaps, making him one of two backs to crack 70%. If Johnson were to play, then running lanes should be there for Hood.
Core Plays: Josh Johnson (QB, LA), Elijah Hood (RB, LA), Nelson Spruce (WR, LA)
Secondary Plays: Lance Dunbar (RB, DAL), Jeff Badet (WR, DAL), Jordan-Elijah Smallwood (WR, LA)
Tournament Plays: Philip Nelson (QB, DAL), Cameron Artis-Payne (RB, DAL), Adonis Jennings (WR, LA), Flynn Nagel (WR, DAL), Marquis Young (RB, DAL), Saeed Blacknall (WR, LA)
St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks (-8.0)
This game has the highest total of the weekend but is also the biggest spread, in favor of the Roughnecks, who looked pretty dominant in Week 1 with their 37-17 home win over the Wildcats. St. Louis, meanwhile, churned out a 15-9 win over Dallas. There's a lot of action on the under.
St. Louis BattleHawks Offense Notes
- The BattleHawks ran 71 plays in Week 1, tied for second-most in the XFL. They dropped back just 29 times and ran 42 times for the lowest pass rate in the league.
- Jordan Ta'amu ($20) threw just 27 pass attempts but completed 20 of them for 209 yards (7.74 yards per attempt). He also ran 6 times for 77 yards, giving him some fantasy juice with his legs. Houston did record 16 quarterback hits -- twice as many as any other defense -- against the Wildcats last weekend. Ta'amu was hit only twice on 29 drop backs, tied for the second-lowest rate in the XFL.
- St. Louis did feature a tight rotation at receiver, playing L'Damian Washington ($13) 96.0% of the snaps, Alonzo Russell ($18) 80.0%, De'Mornay Pierson-El ($16) 77.3%, and Marcus Lucas ($15) 73.3%. Lucas led the team with seven targets, followed by Washington (five), Pierson-El (four) and Russell (four). Russell accounted for two of four deep targets.
- Matt Jones ($18) dominated the backfield touches (21 carries, 1 target) and snaps (64.0%) over Christine Michael ($13; 7, 1, 30.7%). In a run-heavy offense, Jones would carry significant value even as an underdog. Jones is on the injury report as questionable. Keith Ford ($13) is out, so Michael could be the lone healthy back. And then, whew, we'd have to consider him.
Houston Roughnecks Offense Notes
- Houston is looking like a very promising XFL offense due to market shares and efficiency.
- Running back James Butler ($19) -- not Andre Williams ($14) or De'Angelo Henderson ($11) -- dominated the backfield with a 71.0% snap rate, a position best in Week 1. Butler had 9 of 12 running back carries and 2 of 3 running back targets. As a hefty favorite, Butler really stands out on Sunday.
- Phillip "PJ" Walker ($23) lit up the XFL in Week 1, as he threw for 4 touchdowns and 272 yards on 38 attempts, and he also ran for 26 yards on 3 carries.
- Walker threw 9 times to Sammie Coates ($17), who caught just 2 balls for 26 yards but had a league-high 5 downfield targets. Cam Phillips ($19) played every snap and had eight targets. Following suit were Kahlil Lewis ($18) and Ryheem Malone ($11) with five targets each. Lewis played significantly more snaps, though.
Core Plays: Phillip Walker (QB, HOU), L'Damian Washington (WR, STL), James Butler (RB, HOU), Sammie Coates (WR, HOU)
Secondary Plays: Jordan Ta'amu (QB, STL), Cam Phillips (WR, HOU), Matt Jones (RB, STL)
Tournament Plays: Alonzo Russell (WR, STL), Marcus Lucas (TE, STL), De'Mornay Pierson-El (WR, STL)