XFL Daily Fantasy Football Helper, Week 5
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.
BJ Daniels, QB, Seattle Dragons ($17) - The obvious play at quarterback on the Saturday slate is MVP frontrunner PJ Walker, but if you're looking to pivot, Daniels makes sense as long as he starts. After entering for a benched Brandon Silvers last week, Daniels completed 5 of 10 passes for 100 yards but, most importantly, he showed off his athleticism with 7 carries for 84 yards on the ground. That was done in a negative game script, but Seattle's likely to be trailing against the best team in the XFL this week as, per FanDuel Sportsbook, a 12.5-point underdog. That could mean more scrambling for Daniels, which is a cheat code in fantasy football.
James Butler, RB, Houston Roughnecks ($16) - The Roughnecks have the highest pass-to-rush ratio in the XFL, so the team's running backs don't see as much volume on the ground as they could. In fact, no team has run the ball less than Houston despite their undefeated record. That lack of rushing volume is somewhat of a concern for top running back James Butler, but he's got the best running back rush share (percentage of team running back rush attempts) in the league so far, and his near 6% target share is respectable. Because of the offense he's in, he's also seeing efficient touches, which is something you can't say for the majority of the backs in the XFL. Your goal on most slates is to jam in as many Roughnecks as possible, and that's no different for Saturday's slate.
Darius Victor, RB, New York Guardians ($14) - FanDuel continues to price Victor slightly lower than where he should be since he hasn't found the end zone this year, but all of his peripheral numbers are strong. Only the aforementioned Butler has a higher running back rush share, and Victor has a healthy 6% target share as well. These numbers should be higher, too -- he missed most of a game with an injury a couple of weeks ago. He should provide some sort of floor considering he's hit seven fantasy points in his only three healthy games of his season, but if he can find the end zone, he's capable of providing a nice ceiling as well.
Kahlil Lewis, WR, Houston Roughnecks ($16) - Again, you should be trying to get as many Roughnecks into your lineup as possible, so that naturally includes one of their top receivers, Kahlil Lewis. Nick Holley and Cam Phillips have run more routes than Lewis this year, which is a key reason they're superior plays if you remove price. But Lewis will save you a dollar from Holley and five bucks from Phillips, making him a strong value. On the year, he's actually out-targeted Holley 29 to 22, and he's just one of 10 wide receivers and tight ends with a target share north of 20% across the entire league. And, remember, he's getting that type of volume in the pass-heaviest, pass-friendliest offense in the XFL. Use Cam Phillips if you can. Put Nick Holley in your lineups. But don't forget Kahlil Lewis. (Do keep in mind that he's currently on the injury report. I'll do my best to update things later in the week.)
Update: With Sammie Coates now out this weekend, Sam Mobley becomes a value play. He's listed at just $12, and with Coates sidelined, we should expect an uptick in routes run. Mobley ran 24 routes last week according to Pro Football Focus, which was a little more than Coates, but far less than the Cam Phillips-Nick Holley-Kahlil Lewis trio. Without Coates, Mobley should be on the field more. And that'll lead to more opportunity.
Keenan Reynolds, WR, Seattle Dragons ($15) - Using anyone on Seattle isn't necessarily safe, but there's interesting upside if and when BJ Daniels gets the start. Reynolds has run a route on almost 97% of the Dragons' drop backs this season according to Pro Football Focus, and he leads the team with a 24.3% target share. He's actually got one of the highest target shares in the league. Seattle's been a pretty run-heavy offense so far this year with a 1.18 pass-to-rush attempt ratio, but in a game where they could be trailing throughout, and with a new quarterback, there's potential for that number to rise. That'd be good news for Reynolds.
Flynn Nagel, WR, Dallas Renegades ($16) - Things aren't looking good for quarterback Landry Jones after suffering a knee injury during Week 4's game. You could argue that's not a big deal for Dallas since Jones has been pretty careless with the ball, and maybe that's true for real football, but it's a downgrade for fantasy purposes. We saw backup Philip Nelson play in Week 1 against St. Louis, and in that game, he threw for just 218 yards on 43 attempts. The ball was distributed to 11 different receivers, and no player had more than 6 targets. That's not a great sign for any of the Renegades' pass-catchers this weekend. If there's one to target, though, Nagel's not a bad bet since he had, relatively speaking, the combination of a lot of targets (6) and routes run (29) in that game. It's admittedly hard to trust any passing attack outside of Houston on this slate.
Other players to consider: Donald Parham, Dallas Renegades ($19), Cam Phillips, Houston Roughnecks ($21), Nick Holley, Houston Roughnecks ($17), Lance Dunbar, Dallas Renegades ($17)
Josh Johnson, QB, Los Angeles Wildcats ($21) - Johnson is the most expensive quarterback on this week's Sunday slate, but he's got the best floor-ceiling combo of the bunch. He's scored no fewer than 17 fantasy points in a single contest so far this year, hitting 22 or more in each of his last two. And without Nelson Spruce, he's clearly found a connection with Tre McBride, who now has back to back 100-yard games. No team really stands out from a projected team total this week, Johnson's playing at home, and he's facing a Tampa Bay team that's allowed one of the highest pass-to-rush ratios in the XFL so far this year. He's a safe choice.
De'Veon Smith, RB, Tampa Bay Vipers ($16) - De'Veon Smith has some of the best peripheral numbers at running back in the XFL. He's handled about 52% of the Vipers' running back rushes, a number matched by just four other backs in the league. But he's also got an 8.4% target share -- among those four backs, only Cameron Artis-Payne has the same type of rush share and target share combo. The Tampa Bay-Los Angeles game is projected to be fairly close -- the Vipers are just 1.5-point road dogs -- so Smith should be heavily involved in a neutral game script. It doesn't hurt that the Wildcats have allowed the most rushing yards this year.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, DC Defenders ($13) - The Defenders have been struggling offensively of late, so investing in anyone on the team comes with a lot of risk. Pumphrey's price point is low enough at $13 for that risk to matter a little less, though. He's become the 1A in the DC backfield since Week 1, amassing 27 carries over the team's last three games. No other Defenders running back has more than 14 over this time. And his target share is now up to 12.5%, making him one of three XFL backs with a double-digit target share. If DC can get things moving again on that side of the ball -- which, I understand, is a big "if" -- Pumphrey should easily work out.
Tre McBride, WR, Los Angeles Wildcats ($20) - Spending up for McBride may be a little tough, but it should be worth it. He saw his routes run rate rise dramatically in Week 4 -- his breakout game in Week 3 was sort of an anomaly given he ran just 11 routes, but things were stabilized this past week. In turn, he had 12 targets -- 5 more than any other Wildcat -- and he put together, as I said earlier, yet another 100-yard game. He should probably be priced in the $22 or $23 range, so he's sort of an expensive value at $20.
L'Damian Washington, WR, St. Louis Battlehawks ($14) - Washington hasn't done anything overly special for fantasy purposes, which is why he's priced at just $14. But the peripherals are there for him to have a strong game. He's second on St. Louis with a 19.6% target share, and he's run by far the most routes on the team this year, per Pro Football Focus. The Battlehawks are just obnoxiously run-heavy, so the team's pass-catchers generally need to find the end zone in order to pay off. Maybe that happens this week for Washington, or maybe St. Louis is forced to throw a little more on the road. Either way, if you're looking to spend down in order to fit someone like McBride into your lineup, Washington's at least a safe way to do that.
Rashad Ross, WR, DC Defenders ($14) - I'd put Ross ahead of Washington as a value play, even if his secondary numbers aren't as strong. He's run a route on about 77% of the Defenders' drop backs, which isn't bad, but it's not as good as Washington's rate. But Ross does have a similar target share, he's in a more pass-heavy offense, and he leads the XFL in deep-ball (20-plus yard) targets. He's got 10 more downfield targets than Washington has. So, to me, Ross is the guy you'd prefer and want in this price range. Washington's more of a floor play.
Other players to consider: Matt Jones, St. Louis Battlehawks ($17), Dan Williams, Tampa Bay Vipers ($17), Jordan Smallwood, Los Angeles Wildcats ($16), Adonis Jennings, Los Angeles Wildcats ($13)