XFL Fantasy Football: Gdula's Game Notes for Week 6
It's pretty crazy to think that the XFL is entering Week 6 already, but that's our reality. We're fresh off a pretty offensive-friendly Week 5, and we have a new week of data and trends to apply to our DFS lineups.
Here are notes on all eight teams -- snap rates, efficiency, and market shares -- to help you build your XFL lineups on FanDuel for Week 6.
All injury news from the XFL's official injury report, unless otherwise noted.
Houston Roughnecks at New York Guardians
St. Louis BattleHawks at Tampa Bay Vipers
Dallas Renegades at DC Defenders
Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons
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.
Houston Roughnecks (-6.5) at New York Guardians
Despite a negative point differential (-6), the Guardians are 3-2 on the season, but they may not be as fortunate against the 5-0 Roughnecks, who have outscored opponents by 47 points over five games.
Houston Roughnecks Offense Notes:
- The Guardians rank second in overall defense based on ProFootballFocus' grading system. Houston is first, so this is the toughest possible matchup for PJ Walker ($23) and company.
- Walker's offense leads the league in points scored and yards per play, so we don't have to get too nervous about the matchup. Walker himself has scored at least 21.26 FanDuel points in every game this year. The consistency is just unmatched.
- Cam Phillips ($22) is pricey and is hard to stack with Walker, but he ranks first in the XFL in target market share (25.1%) and has cleared a 91.7% snap rate in all five games. Just note that he did not practice on Wednesday.
- Since Nick Holley ($18) improved his role in Week 2, he has a 16.5% target share to rank him third on the Roughnecks behind Phillips (25.9%) and Kahlil Lewis ($15; 20.9%). Holley has scored in consecutive weeks, while Lewis has been below 8.4 FanDuel points in four straight.
- Last week, Sam Mobley ($14) played every snap and had 9 targets (a 23.7% market share). He's a clear value play in this spot -- especially if Phillips were to miss.
- Running back James Butler ($18) has had his snap rate drop in every game (71.0%, 65.5%, 51.7%, 49.2%, and 42.7%). He got back on track last week from a production standpoint with 52 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns as well as 3 catches for 17 yards. New York doesn't rate out as a particularly worrisome rush defense, either.
New York Guardians Offense Notes:
- So, the Guardians have a dreadful matchup, but they have put up respectable numbers against the Wildcats and Renegades -- mid-level defenses -- the past two weeks.
- That sample size is relevant because that's when Luis Perez ($16) played nearly every snap. Perez ranks fourth among 12 qualified quarterbacks in yards per attempt (6.9) and in quarterback rating (92.7).
- The Guardians' lead target getters in these two games are Mekale McKay ($17; 11), Colby Pearson ($16; 11), Teo Redding ($12; 7), Jake Powell ($11; 6), and Joe Horn Jr. ($11; 6). Of note, McKay has four downfield targets in that span, tied for fourth in the XFL.
- In healthy games, Darius Victor ($14) has averaged a 55.1% snap rate and handled 55.7% of the team's rushes (11.0 per game). Tim Cook ($13) is nearly as pricey but has been stuck below 38.0% of the snaps in three straight games. The real issue is that Victor has not yet scored a touchdown and has only once cleared 62 yards.
Core Plays: PJ Walker (QB, HOU), Cam Phillips (WR, HOU), Sam Mobley (WR, HOU)
Secondary Plays: James Butler (RB, HOU), Nick Holley (WR, HOU), Mekale McKay (WR, NY), Kahlil Lewis (WR, HOU)
Differentiation Plays: Luis Perez (QB, NY), Darius Victor (RB, NY), Colby Pearson (WR, NY), Teo Redding (WR, NY), Jake Powell (TE, NY)
St. Louis BattleHawks (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
St. Louis dropped their Week 5 game by a score of 15-9, and their 3-2 record is attached to a plus-20 point differential. They have now lost by 13 total points in their two games and have been a consistent team week after week. Tampa Bay had scored 12 points through Week 2 but has since put up 27, 25, and 34 points in their past three while allowing 34, 0, and 41. Whew.
St. Louis BattleHawks Offense Notes:
- Jordan Ta'amu ($19) has run for at least 31 yards in four of five games but has been below 175 passing yards in two of his past three games. Over that three-game stretch, he has totaled one touchdown. That has resulted in 6.16, 22.86, and 10.06 FanDuel points. Tampa Bay is now the worst-rated defense in the XFL, via PFF. They're seventh in coverage grade.
- Ta'amu has found his top four assets: L'Damian Washington ($16), De'Mornay Pierson-El ($16), Marcus Lucas ($12), and Alonzo Russell ($14) have 22.2%, 20.6%, 18.3%, and 13.5% target shares, respectively. Interestingly, Pierson-El has played 33.3%, 47.4%, and 35.9% of the snaps as a slot player over the past three games. He still has a 17.2% target share, third on the team. Washington and Lucas are tied for first at 23.4%.
- Last week, Matt Jones ($16) outsnapped Christine Michael ($15) for the third time this season, doing so every other week since the opener. Jones played 56.3% of the snaps, compared to 35.9% for Michael. The timeshare hurts them both, but they're priced fairly for a run-heavy, efficient offense.
Tampa Bay Vipers Offense Notes:
- Taylor Cornelius ($18) ranks fourth in the XFL in yards per attempt (6.9) but seventh in quarterback rating (73.9). St. Louis ranks first in passing yards per attempt allowed, so the Vipers' uptick in scoring could take a step back, but they did put up those points against Houston, DC, and LA, three of the four best coverage defenses in the XFL, via PFF. St. Louis is second, so they'll get a fourth straight.
- In four games with Cornelius starting at quarterback, Cornelius has peppered three players: Reece Horn ($15; 23.3%), Dan Williams ($18; 21.8%), and Jalen Tolliver ($17; 21.1%). All are playing elevated snaps, too, so we can buy in if we like this game -- and there's reason to do so.
- De'Veon Smith ($17) is trending toward a workhorse-light type of role. He has played 61.3%, 61.2%, and 77.1% of the snaps the past three games. He also has 74 carries over five games and has at least 8.9 FanDuel points in four of five games.
Core Plays: Jordan Ta'amu (QB, STL), Matt Jones (RB, STL), L'Damian Washington (WR, STL), De'Veon Smith (RB, TB)
Secondary Plays: Reece Horn (WR, TB), Dan Williams (WR, TB), Marcus Lucas (WR, STL), De'Mornay Pierson-El (WR, STL)
Tournament Plays: Jalen Tolliver (WR, TB), Taylor Cornelius (QB, TB), Christine Michael (RB, STL), Alonzo Russell (WR, STL)
Dallas Renegades at DC Defenders (-4.0)
The Defenders' home splits are back in play for the second straight week, and they are the only home favorite of the weekend. Dallas will again play with their second-string quarterback under center, and DC may be undergoing a quarterback swap of their own.
Dallas Renegades Offense Notes:
- Last week, Philip Nelson ($15) threw for 210 yards (4.3 per attempt) with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. He now has -- through two starts -- a league-worst 4.6 yards per attempt average, along with no touchdowns and 3 picks. Nelson did throw it deep five times last week after doing so just twice in the opener.
- Dallas has averaged 10.5 points in two games started by Nelson and 23.0 in three games started by Landry Jones.
- In those two starts, the team's target leaders are Flynn Nagel ($16) and Donald Parham ($18) with 15 targets. Jeff Badet ($13) follows with 12 targets. After that, it's the two running backs (Lance Dunbar ($16; 10) and Cameron Artis-Payne ($17; 8)).
- With the downgrade at quarterback, the running backs are going to have trouble getting into scoring position, and that can kill a back's floor and ceiling, despite their heavy involvement in the offense (each play around 58% of the snaps, on average).
DC Defenders Offense Notes:
- The Defenders have averaged 24.3 points in three home games and 4.5 points in two road games, though that does come with just five offensive touchdowns in the three home games and one in their two road games.
- Last week, Cardale Jones ($16) got yanked, and Tyree Jackson ($14) played 82.3% of the snaps but tallied just 8.76 FanDuel points. He completed 9 of 14 passes for 39 yards (2.8 per attempt). He didn't attempt any passes 20-plus yards downfield, but he did run 6 times for 31 yards. Jones has low-owned appeal but could get benched. Jackson may not have a lot of passing volume. If Jones returns, we can look to these three receivers at cheap tags. If it's Jackson, the passing volume and depth may be kept in check.
- Last week's target leader was running back Jhurell Pressley ($15; 4). Following him were Khari Lee ($14; 3), DeAndre Thompkins ($13; 2), and Rashad Ross ($14; 2). As for the overall market shares, we should look at things since Thompkins returned in Week 2. The three relevant pass catchers are Eli Rogers ($15; 23.4%), Ross (21.3%), and Thompkins (18.1%).
- Pressley and Donnel Pumphrey ($13) each played just shy of 50% of the snaps last week in their win over the BattleHawks. Dallas ranks right around the XFL average in yards per carry allowed and tackle for loss rate sustained.
Core Plays: None
Secondary Plays: Cameron Artis-Payne (RB, DAL), Lance Dunbar (RB, DAL), Donald Parham (TE, DAL), Flynn Nagel (WR, DAL), Eli Rogers (WR, DC), Rashad Ross (WR, DC), Donnel Pumphrey (RB, DC)
Tournament Plays: Cardale Jones/Tyree Jackson (QB, DC), Jeff Badet (RB, DAL), Jhurell Pressley (RB, DC), DeAndre Thompkins (WR, DC)
Los Angeles Wildcats (-3.0) at Seattle Dragons
The better of the two Sunday games features one of the XFL's best quarterbacks -- if not the best. B.J. Daniels ($17) for Seattle isn't that quarterback I had in mind, but he did post his second straight solid fantasy outing in Week 5.
Los Angeles Wildcats Offense Notes:
- Josh Johnson ($22) is expensive, but it's for good reason, really. Johnson's four starts have yielded 17.14, 25.72, 22.4, and 31.42 FanDuel points. The team has averaged 28.0 points per game since he returned for Week 2.
- Looking at things since Week 3 to coincide with the upswing for Tre McBride ($20) shows a clear number-one role for him. He has 25.3% of the team's targets in that span. Nobody else is above 14.1% (Jordan-Elijah Smallwood ($17)).
- In Week 5, however, Saeed Blacknall ($15) climbed back up to an 80.9% snap rate after injury. He and McBride tied for the team lead in targets with seven apiece. Third on the team was Smallwood with five targets.
- DuJuan Harris ($14) led the backfield in snap rate for the second straight week, but his number fell from 71.0% to 42.6%. Martez Carter ($12) and Larry Rose ($13) each played a quarter of the snaps. This looks pretty ugly overall.
Seattle Dragons Offense Notes:
- B.J. Daniels ($17) has notched 16.4 and 19.56 FanDuel points in the past two weeks, and he played every snap last game. He has totaled just 214 passing yards but also has 114 rushing yards to go along with it. He ran for two touchdowns last game. It's not really fair to do this, but if we remove his rushing scores, he would have posted only 7.56 fantasy points.
- The past two weeks have seen Austin Proehl ($17) take the lead in targets -- with just nine. Keenan Reynolds ($14) has had seven, and Alonzo Moore ($12) and Dontez Byrd ($11) have each had six.
- Daniels has thrown downfield on 18.2% of his passes, ranking him fifth among qualified quarterbacks, so we have that angle, but the overall pass volume has been very low (42 targets since Week 4, seventh in the XFL).
- Running back Kenneth Farrow ($14) has led the backfield in snap rate in every week. Despite that, he hasn't gotten to 50 rushing yards or 12 FanDuel points in any week yet this year.
Core Plays: Josh Johnson (QB, LA), Tre McBride (WR, LA)
Secondary Plays: Saeed Blacknall (WR, LA), Jordan-Elijah Smallwood (WR, LA), Austin Proehl (WR, SEA)
Tournament Plays: B.J. Daniels (QB, SEA), Keenan Reynolds (WR, SEA), DuJuan Harris (RB, LA), Kenneth Farrow (RB, SEA)