Are you an absolute fantasy football fanatic, a DFS junkie or just someone intrigued by the new XFL Football League? Well, if so, I have good news — DraftKings and FanDuel are both offering contests for the XFL, and we're putting out content in support of those contests.
In today's article, we'll be highlighting some of the best DFS plays of the Week 2 XFL slate.
Phillip Walker, Houston Roughnecks (vs. STL)
Walker didn't have Jordan Ta'amu's rushing production (77 yards to Walker's 26), and he didn't play as well as Cardale Jones according to our grades (90.8 to 70.3), but he did lead the league in the stat that mattered most — fantasy points. And, well, he didn't just lead the league; he paced the rest of the field, scoring 32.5 fantasy points, or 57% more than the next-closest quarterback. That's going to make him both an unavoidable value for cash games and an easy fade for large-field tournaments as the obvious highest-owned player on the slate.
Josh Johnson, Los Angeles Wildcats (vs. DAL)
Assuming that he's actually active this week, Johnson would be the next-best play. Outside of mentioning the fact that he's up against the defense that ranks second-worst in passer rating allowed (112.5), there's not much to add beyond what we had penciled in for last week's article:
As a 10-year NFL journeyman, Johnson is easily the most-experienced quarterback in the XFL. And he's also probably the best quarterback in the XFL — as every other starting quarterback either never made it to the NFL or had their career cut short much more quickly. At age 33, Johnson is far removed from the 2008 NFL Combine, when he ran a blazing fast 4.53 40-yard dash after back-to-back 700-plus rushing yard seasons in college. Even so, he probably still has the best rushing upside of any XFL quarterback. In 2018, he played in four games for the Washington Redskins, averaging 5.8 rushing attempts and 4.5 rushing fantasy points per game.
Darius Victor, New York Guardians (@ DC)
In the XFL (opposite to our NFL strategy), it makes sense to pay up at wide receiver and quarterback and pay down at running back. You also (again, opposite to NFL DFS) probably want to be starting wide receivers in the flex. With that in mind, Victor might be your best RB1 play at $4,100 on DraftKings. He only saw nine carries and three targets in Week 1, but he also had the largest share of his team's volume out of the backfield. Victor's 10.1 weighted opportunity points ranked sixth-most (though they were less than 1.0 away from third-most), but his 72% weighted opportunity share led the position.
Christine Michael, St. Louis Battlehawks (@ HOU)
Michael was benched after fumbling in Sunday's game, and Matt Jones was gifted a workhorse workload in his place. He totaled a league-high 13.8 weighted opportunity points on 21 carries and one target. Michael, meanwhile, ended the game with negative fantasy points. With Jones (and Keith Ford) missing multiple practices, Michael would be a top value play if Jones sits, no matter how gross it may feel.
Nelson Spruce, Los Angeles Wildcats (vs. DAL)
More so than any other player, Spruce feels like the lock-button play of the week. In Week 1, he led all receivers in targets, with 15, which was five (or 50%) more than the nest-closest player. Ridiculously, he led the league in routes run and targets per route run, drawing a target once every 3.1 routes. Considering Spruce was also a ball hog in the AAF, where he again led all 78 qualifying wide receivers in targets per route, this doesn't feel like any sort of anomaly. And, considering that he was productive on his targets last week (11 catches for 103 yards), we know we can feel confident paying up to roster him and his elite target volume.
Sammie Coates, Houston Roughnecks (vs. STL)
Coates was one of only five wide receivers who drew eight or more targets last week. While he is the only pass-catcher of the bunch with an NFL pedigree, he still failed to do anything on those targets. While the other four wide receivers averaged 20.5 fantasy points per game, each exceeding 16.5, Coates scored only 4.6 fantasy points. That's left him a little cheap, and probably, a lot more under-owned. Not only did Coates see terrific target volume, but he also saw terrific target quality. Five of his targets came from passes that traveled 20 or more yards through the air, which easily led the league.
Most deep targets (balls traveling 20 or more yards through the air) in Week 1
Dontez Byrd, WR, Seattle Dragons (vs. TB)
At only $3,800 on DraftKings, Byrd is a phenomenal value and upside play for large-field tournaments. He saw five targets last week, which was good but not amazing (15th-most on the week), but, like Coates, his target quality was elite. Four of Byrd's five targets came on balls traveling 20 yards or more down the field, which ranked second in the XFL last week. If he only catches one of those this week, he could pay dividends at a minuscule price-tag and a near-zero ownership percentage.
Jalen Tolliver saw seven targets last week and is somehow priced at just $3,900 on DraftKings. Equally as absurd, Donald Parham saw six targets last week and has a price tag of only $3,200. Similarly, though it's not as exaggerated, Marcus Lucas saw seven targets and is $4,600. To an even lesser extent, Dontez Byrd, Reece Horn and Ryheem Malone are all under $4,000 and saw five targets last week.