XFL Daily Fantasy Football Helper, Week 3
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.
Landry Jones, QB, Dallas Renegades ($19) - In Jones' debut last weekend, the Renegades threw the ball 40 times versus 20 running back runs despite largely playing in a positive game script. And now, through two games, no team has a higher pass-to-rush attempt ratio than the Renegades. That's by design -- Hal Mumme is their offensive coordinator, and he's one of the founders of the air raid offense. That means entering each week, we know there'll be plenty of opportunity for the Dallas passing attack. That'll be no different on Saturday when they face the Dragons, a team allowing a higher yards per attempt rate to opposing passers than the league's average.
James Butler, RB, Houston Roughnecks ($17) - Butler was able to find the end zone last week to help save his fantasy day, and after two weeks, he's second in the XFL in running back rush share. If you cut that down to just the running backs playing on Saturday, then he's at the top of the list. Teammate Andre Williams did dig into Butler's workload in Week 2, but Butler still saw more carries and targets. Houston has the highest implied team total on the slate, making Butler a pretty safe option at $17.
Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Renegades ($15) - Cameron Artis-Payne is the straight-up best Dallas running back option this week, but he comes with an $18 price tag. If you can afford him, then great. Feel free to use him. But Dunbar, at $15, provides some value. He has a worse rushing floor compared to Artis-Payne (he's carried the ball 11 times to Artis-Payne's 17), but he's got more of a receiving one (12 targets to 9 targets). He's not an awful alternative. The biggest concern is that the Renegades gain a lead against the Dragons (they're decent road favorites according to oddsFire), which would force Artis-Payne onto the field more. It's just that the running back options are lacking on the Saturday slate, so if you can't afford Artis-Payne, Dunbar's not a bad fallback.
Update: With Vipers' quarterback Aaron Murray out again, you can punt the running back position with Quinton Flowers, who's listed as a running back, at $12. He ran the ball five times while throwing seven passes for the Vipers last week, but he wasn't overly productive, hence his price tag. But the Vipers haven't been effective offensively this year. If they decide to change up the offensive gameplan a bit and use the mobile Flowers at quarterback more, then he'll easily pay off.
Keenan Reynolds, WR, Seattle Dragons ($17) - If that negative game script does hit for Seattle, then it could benefit Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds saw a 47% target share in Week 2 -- which is nuts, by the way -- catching 3 of his 8 targets for 87 yards and a score. Per Pro Football Focus, he led Seattle with 19 routes run, and, on the season, he's run a route on almost 97% of the Dragons' dropbacks. That's the second-highest mark in the league behind only the most expensive wide receiver on the slate, Cam Phillips. Putting faith in a receiver not playing for the Roughnecks or Renegades on this slate is a little frightening, but if you're looking at either Seattle or Tampa Bay, Reynolds is the strongest option.
Nick Holley, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($15) - After a miserable Week 1 performance, Sammie Coates' routes per drop back rate dropped this past weekend, and that ended up benefitting Holley, who saw his routes run rate rise from 67.5% to 97.1%. In turn, Holley's target share was bumped up by over five percentage points. Cam Phillips and Khalil Lewis are the preferred pass-catching options in this Roughnecks passing attack, but Holley, who's much cheaper than those guys this week, may be the best value.
Flynn Nagel, WR, Dallas Renegades ($13) - Nagel only saw three targets during Landry Jones' XFL debut this past weekend, but he was on the field a whole lot. No pass-catcher for Dallas ran more routes, and Nagel now has the highest routes run percentage on the team. According to that same routes run data, there's a very clear top-three group of pass-catchers on this Dallas team, running backs aside. You've got Nagel, Jeff Badet (who was injured for a small portion of their Week 2 game), and tight end Donald Parham. Of those three, Nagel provides the best cost savings, which is why he's getting a shoutout here. You can't necessarily go wrong with any of them, though.
Other Players to Consider: Reece Horn, WR, Tampa Bay Vipers ($15). Cam Phillips, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($21). Khalil Lewis, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($18). Jeff Badet, WR, Dallas Renegades ($16).
Cardale Jones, QB, DC Defenders ($20) - The Defenders are big road favorites this week, which makes Cardale Jones a pretty safe option. LA's been torched two weeks in a row by two of the better quarterbacks in the league, and they've now allowed the highest yards per attempt in the XFL. We'd usually adjust for that type of schedule strength, but it's not like Jones isn't part of that same top tier at the position. With such a high implied team total, he's a safe option for the third straight week.
Matt Jones, RB, St. Louis Battlehawks ($16) - You shouldn't have a problem fitting Matt Jones into your lineup even though he's the highest-priced running back on the Sunday slate. At $16, he's not really all that expensive. St. Louis is a big home favorite against New York, so a positive script is likely. That'll lead to more opportunities for Jones, who's seen 58.7% of the Battlehawks' running back carries, one of the higher marks in the league. And if a plus game flow situation does hit for Jones, then watch out, because St. Louis loves to run the football -- their 0.80 pass-to-rush attempt ratio is the lowest in the XFL. It all makes Jones a very strong play.
Darius Victor, RB, New York Guardians ($12) - If you'd rather punt the running back position, look Darius Victor's way. After leading the New York backfield in rushes and total opportunities in Week 1, he left Week 2's game after a brutal hit. He passed concussion protocol, though, and should be able to suit up this week. If he does, he's got a chance to see a nice combination of rushing and receiving work given his 9 attempts and 3 targets in Week 1. Because of his lack of production last week (which, again, was due to an injury) he's only $12, making him a nice value.
Eli Rogers, WR, DC Defenders ($15) - The only thing missing from Eli Rogers' XFL performance thus far is a touchdown. He's third in the league with a 26.3% target share, and even with DeAndre Thompkins back in the lineup for DC's Week 2 contest, Rogers still saw over 23% of the Defenders' targets. Due to the lack of scoring, Rogers is listed as the third-most expensive receiver on the Defenders (behind Thompkins and Rashad Ross), but he could walk away from this game with the most targets on the team. Volume is what you look for in fantasy football.
Mekale McKay, WR, New York Guardians ($14) - If you roll with McKay in Week 3, you're hoping the Guardians get their act together at quarterback. The peripheral numbers are there for him, though. He's seen 22% of the team's targets through two games, and he's run a route on over 95% of New York's drop backs. That rate is third-best in the XFL. The Guardians are big underdogs against the Battlehawks, which could lead to a good bit of throwing and, in turn, more volume for McKay. You'd ideally be playing someone like Nelson Spruce, of course, but Spruce isn't $14. Given McKay's usage, he's a nice value play.
Adonis Jennings, WR, Los Angeles Wildcats ($13) - Digging even deeper, Adonis Jennings offers some value at just $13. He was an air yards king in Week 2 -- he ended up seeing three deep-ball targets from Josh Johnson -- but he only came through with a 3-catch, 21-yard performance. He did, however, run 28 routes, which wasn't far off from top receivers Nelson Spruce and Jordan Smallwood. The matchup isn't great this week, but Jennings is profiling to be an interesting tournament if the Wildcats continue to chuck it deep at the 19% rate they did in Week 2.
Update: Don't overlook Saeed Blacknell this week. His probable status makes the aforementioned Adonis Jennings a little tougher to trust because, in Week 1, Blacknell ran the second-most routes for LA, behind only Nelson Spruce. He also saw as many targets as Jennings. Blacknell was inactive last week, which is the reason for his price drop. But if he goes, at $10, he's a great way to save some cap.
Other Players to Consider: Elijah Hood, RB, LA Wildcats ($14). Nelson Spruce, WR, LA Wildcats ($20). Rashad Ross, WR, DC Defenders ($17).