XFL Daily Fantasy Football Helper, Week 4
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.
Josh Johnson, QB, Los Angeles Wildcats ($21) - The most expensive quarterback on the Saturday slate is also the most valuable one. The only alternative at the position that you can play confidently is Jordan Ta'amu, and while he's fine to use on a small slate, St. Louis' offense has by far the lowest pass-to-rush ratio (0.71) in the XFL so far this year. Ta'amu's deep-ball rate (rate of throwing it 20-plus yards, per Pro Football Focus) is also complete trash at just 3.7%. There's just less intrigue and opportunity with him. With Johnson, though, you've got a passer who's chucking it deep on nearly 23% of his throws, and he's thrown 3 touchdowns on those types of tosses. An injury to wide receiver Nelson Spruce -- who's reportedly out for Week 4 -- does ding Johnson's potential a bit, but LA's still got solid options at pass-catcher to fill his void.
Matt Jones, RB, St. Louis Battlehawks ($17) - Both Jones and teammate Christine Michael are strong plays this week given the Battlehawks are double-digit favorites. Michael's low-key been productive the last couple of weeks, as he's only seen three fewer attempts than Jones. But Michael's also not battled Keith Ford for touches, who's been sidelined with an injury. Ford was a full participant in practice last week, but he was still inactive for Week 3's game. If he's back, then it'll likely hurt Michael more than Jones -- Jones was the clear workhorse in Week 1 when they were all healthy. So Jones, who's got the most rush attempts in the XFL this season, makes for the safest play at running back for the heavily-favored Battlehawks.
Darius Victor, RB, New York Guardians ($12) - Do I enjoy using players from the New York Guardians in daily fantasy football? Do you enjoy colonoscopies? Victor's in play simply because he's $12, and he's gotten the most run for New York this season. Despite sitting out most of Week 2 with an injury, Victor has just one fewer rush than teammate Tim Cook, and he's got the same target share as his other running back teammate, Justin Stockton. If and when this script turns negative for the Guardians, he'll likely still see snaps given his usage in the passing game -- he's run the most routes for New York when he's been active this year. He's not a terrible punt this week.
Adonis Jennings, WR, Los Angeles Wildcats ($12) - With the news about Nelson Spruce's knee (again, he's reportedly out this weekend), things really open up for the Wildcats' pass-catchers. Tre McBride was last week's darling, catching 5 of his 6 targets for 109 yards and a pair of scores. He only ran 11 routes, but because of that usage and the Spruce injury, we should expect him to be on the field more. So play McBride. If you need more of a value play, though, Jennings could work. Despite just one catch for six yards last week, he tied Spruce for the most routes run on the Wildcats (per Pro Football Focus), and he's seen four deep-ball targets over the last two weeks. There's some positive regression that could hit his stat line, and maybe that hits without Spruce in the lineup.
L'Damian Washington, WR, St. Louis Battlehawks ($14) - As I noted earlier, St. Louis likes to pound the rock. No team has a lower pass-to-rush rate this year and, in turn, no team has fewer pass attempts. That means less volume for the team's pass-catchers. But this is an ugly slate, so you can still use Battlehawks' wideouts. Washington is probably the best value, since he's listed at just $14 despite having the highest routes run rate on the team this year. St. Louis has a high implied team total, so there's always a chance he finds the end zone, too.
Mekale McKay, WR, New York Guardians ($13) - The Guardians offense has posted the fewest passing yards in the league to start the year. To say they have a quarterback problem is an understatement. McKay, then, isn't a slam-dunk play -- he's more of a cap savings one who's seen good peripheral numbers. He's run a route on almost 96% of New York's drop backs this season, which is 17% better than any other Guardians' pass-catcher. His 16.7% target share is also the best on the team. He's talented and has the ability to beat defenders deep -- he's got five deep-ball targets this year -- making him a decent-enough value on this not-so-talented slate.
Other players to consider: Tre McBride, Los Angeles Wildcats ($17), Keenan Reynolds, Seattle Dragons ($16), Marcus Lucas, St. Louis Battlehawks ($13)
Landry Jones, QB, Dallas Renegades ($19) - If you check out OddsFire, the Roughnecks-Renegades game this weekend has by far the highest total. Not only are both offenses good, but they're the only two teams in the XFL with a pass-to-rush attempt ratio above 2.0. It's the obvious game to stack. The quarterbacks in the game are good plays as a result, but Jones is the better value compared to PJ Walker given he's $5 cheaper. Jones has now thrown four picks in his two starts so far this year, but he's also averaging 290 yards and a pair of touchdowns per game. Since interceptions aren't as big of a deal for fantasy purposes, we shouldn't make them a big deal when picking out our DFS quarterback. Houston's been relatively average against the pass, too, allowing 6.3 yards per attempt. In a potential shootout, Jones is a good option.
James Butler, RB, Houston Roughnecks ($17) - Butler leads the XFL in running back rush share, he's fourth in rushing yards, and his near 7% target share is respectable given the pass-friendly offense he plays in. Like I just mentioned, you should be targeting this Houston-Dallas game this weekend since it sets up to be the highest-scoring on the slate. And at $17, fitting Butler into your lineup shouldn't be the most difficult thing in the world to do.
Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Renegades ($16) - The most expensive Dallas running back is Cameron Artis-Payne, and he's a fine play this week due to his involvement in the Dallas offense. Don't overlook his teammate, Lance Dunbar, as a result, though. Dunbar's been out-attempted by CAP 27 to 14 over the last two games, but he's seen four more targets. And, keep in mind, those are two games where Dallas played in positive game scripts -- that type of game flow favors Artis-Payne more than the pass-catching Dunbar. There's enough of a weekly fantasy point floor for Dunbar in that type of game environment, but what happens if and when Dallas is trailing? Against the top team in the XFL this week, isn't it possible -- almost probable -- that the Renegades trail? If that's the case, expect Dunbar to see a lot of volume through the air. After all, on the season, no XFL running back has come close to his 18.6% target share.
Eli Rogers, WR, DC Defenders ($15) - It's hard to have firm takeaways from last week's DC Defenders performance. Everything was just...off. But what we did see was another week of Eli Rogers leading the Defenders in routes run, and he's now got by far the best target share on the team at 24.4%. That's the kind of thing we're looking for in DFS. At $15, he's a great way to save a little cap in order to stack the Houston-Dallas game.
Nick Holley, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($14) - Cam Phillips, if you can afford him, is clearly the dude you want at wide receiver for the Roughnecks. Holley is an interesting value play this week, though. He's only got a 12% target share on the season, but he actually ranks second on the team in routes run rate, behind only Phillips. And while a 12% target share isn't great, it's also not as bad when you consider the team he's playing for. Houston has thrown four more touchdown passes than any other team in the XFL, they've thrown it deep at one of the higher rates in the league, and they have the highest pass-to-rush attempt ratio in the XFL. So, yeah, a 12% target share isn't ideal. But for a player in this offense? That's not shabby. Hopefully, the targets align more to his routes run this week in a high-scoring affair.
Jeff Badet, WR, Dallas Renegades ($14) - Another cheaper player from the most stackable game of the weekend is Jeff Badet, who's struggled to put anything meaningful together this year. The good news, though, is that his peripherals are strong. He's second on the team in routes run (and he'd likely be first without an injury in Week 2), and he's also leading the wide receivers in target share. Dallas does funnel their targets to running backs and tight ends. Their running backs have seen over 35% of the team's targets, while the tight ends are at 25.8%. Those are both highs in the XFL. But Houston's now seen a wide receiver hit double-digit targets against them in each of their three games played this year. Badet is an intriguing value play.
Other players to consider: Cam Phillips, Houston Roughnecks ($22), Donald Parham, Dallas Renegades ($19), Jalen Tolliver, Tampa Bay Vipers ($16), Rashad Ross, DC Defenders ($16)