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XFL Slant and Go with Chris Spags: What To Expect In Week 2 And XFL DFS Picks (FREE)

Chris Spags

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Chris Spags gives Week 1 XFL DFS Picks, including Phillip Walker, in game-by-game daily fantasy lineups breakdowns for DraftKings + Fanduel

Week 1 of the XFL was a ratings and critical success for the most part so it’s time to get back on track for Week 2’s XFL DFS picks. There are more gigantic tournaments across the DFS sites after almost all the major GPPs filled in Week 1, and with a week of games and mostly more appropriate pricing, we should see things become a little less insane this go-around. But with XFL data still mostly sparse, there is likely a bit of an edge to be found for this weekend’s four-game slate. So let’s get into it with the XFL Slant and Go for Week 2!

New York Guardians (20.5 implied points) at DC Defenders (27 implied points)

Top NY XFL DFS picks:

  • Matt McGloin completed just 52% of his passes with a poor 64% accuracy in a game where the Guardians’ defense did the heavy lifting. McGloin targeted Joe Horn the most with seven targets, good for a 24% target share. Horn ran solely out of the slot and he could find tougher coverage this week from DC safety Carlos Merritt. Merritt gave up just 11 slot yards on four targets last week. The workload and price are still appealing.
  • Colby Pearson led the team with three deep targets and one touchdown during Week 1. He also led the team with 96% of their snaps while Mekale McKay had 94%. Both players turned those snaps into just four targets. Pearson is probably underpriced while McKay portends to be overpriced and overowned yet again relative to their workloads.
  • Tight end Jake Powell surprisingly saw solid work with five targets and a 17% target share. He ran the slot routes that Horn didn’t so he could be a sneakier play than Horn with both at comparable prices.
  • Darius Victor saw more carries, targets, catches, and routes than Tim Cook. Victor was also more effective with 3.9 yards after contact compared to 2.0 for Cook. I’d favor Victor this week as a result. DC has only a 56-graded run defense from PFF and Victor is cheap enough to be worth some looks.

Top DC XFL DFS picks:

  • Cardale Jones was one of PFF’s top-graded players from Week 1 with an 87% accuracy rating despite just a 61% completion rate. Jones’ receivers dropped 11% of his targets but they should get a bit stronger with DeAndre Thompkins likely to make his season debut. DC ran the ball on 50% of their plays, a situation that makes Cardale feel a little overpriced. But he’s an interesting pivot to a likely much higher owned Phillip Walker.
  • Eli Rogers had a 25% target share from Jones in Week 1 and that paid off with seven catches and 73 receiving yards. Rashad Ross saw just two targets overall but both of them were deep targets, more than Rogers’ one deep target. Rogers is likely a stronger PPR play and has some upside after Dravon Askew-Henry gave up 58 yards to the slot on just four targets last week. Linebacker D’Juan Hines also got strafed when forced into coverage with nine targets and 116 yards allowed.
  • Ross has big play upside, as evidenced by his touchdown. The stack with Jones is ungodly expensive but could have potential against a New York secondary that may be a bit overvalued. There is some risk Ross will lose snaps to the aforementioned Thompkins so a stack with Rogers and Thompkins could be much cheaper and sneakier.
  • I’d question Khari Lee’s ability to do much more than he did last week. He caught a 39-yard TD, but that was his only target of the game.
  • Jhurrell Pressley was disappointing in Week 1, though he did have 12 rushes and two catches on two targets. NY’s run defense was bad at getting stops last week so I’m intrigued to have some Pressley this week. It’s worth noting that Donnel Pumphrey stole some goal line work but Pressley was much more involved overall.

Tampa Bay Vipers (23.8 implied points) at Seattle Dragons (20.8 implied points)

Top TB XFL DFS picks:

  • Aaron Murray has yet to practice this week as of the time I wrote this article, and if he’s out, that would make Quinton Flowers an intriguing cheap play. Flowers is a dual-threat quarterback and he would see time if Murray is in. The two rotated in the second half of last game and Flowers took one deep shot despite just two pass attempts, good for a 37-yard catch. Flowers also ran four times for 8.5 yards per carry, so he has the ability to contribute in multiple ways. If Murray is in, he will likely lose enough to Flowers that he’s not worth much exposure.
  • De’Veon Smith was one of the best XFL running backs in Week 1. Smith had 16 carries for 79 yards with 4.3 yards after contract. He also had one catch while running 20 routes. Seattle’s run defense grades out well with a 76.5 grade from PFF, but it may be impossible to find a reliable workload at running back in this league. That makes Smith worthwhile.
  • Jacques Patrick saw eight rushes along with three targets for one catch. Patrick was much less of a factor than Smith overall, but he’d be the guy to watch if Smith fails.
  • Dan Williams was a top receiver play and now he has one of the biggest price jumps for Week 2. Williams had nine targets with a 25% target share, good for six grabs. He also saw one deep target. Williams traveled to Murray’s home to practice in the offseason and I’m curious to see if that game was spurred on by his chemistry with Murray or his actual talent. I may be inclined to get away from Williams more if Murray sits.
  • Jalen Tolliver would be the pivot for Williams. Tolliver saw two deep targets with 40 routes run to Williams’ 42. He also saw two red zone targets on his seven total looks. Both guys will see some of Jeremy Clark outside, who gave up 75 yards on six targets in Week 1.
  • Reece Horn had the most slot routes on the team with 21. He was comparably involved to Nick Truesdell, who ran 30 routes to Horn’s 29 with six targets to Horn’s five. I’d favor Horn at a much cheaper price, but I’d prefer to target Tolliver and Williams.

Top SEA XFL DFS picks:

  • Brandon Silvers has yet to practice as of the time I wrote this article. His absence would open up B.J. Daniels, who’s unlikely to be much worse than Silvers was in Week 1. Silvers had a 53% completion rate with 63% accuracy despite 40 pass attempts, seven of which were deep throws. Silvers struggled with the deep ball as he completed just one and he was alarmingly bad with a 42.6 passer rating in clean pockets. He could be due for a bounce back if he’s in, but Daniels is vaguely interesting if not.
  • Keenan Reynolds ran 41 routes to Austin Proehl’s 31 despite a much better day for Proehl. Proehl turned 10 targets into five grabs and 88 yards with two touchdowns after he ran 29 of his routes out of the slot. Reynolds saw seven targets, two of which were deep balls, and caught just two. Reynolds could be due for some positive regression given Tampa Bay’s 57 coverage grade from PFF. I also wouldn’t sleep on Dontez Byrd in lineups without Reynolds or Proehl. Byrd had four deep targets on 21 routes in Week 1. He’s got the speed to do damage if they sell out to stop Proehl.
  • The running back group was a full three-man committee with seven rushes and four targets for Kenneth Farrow, three rushes and five targets for Trey Williams, and nine rushes with no targets for nominal starter Ja’Quan Gardner. Farrow and Williams looked comparably good with 5.7 and 5.3 yards per carry, respectively, while Gardner was still passable with 4.1 yards per carry. Unless the workload consolidates, it’s hard to love any of the three at their current price points.

Dallas Renegades (26.3 implied points) at Los Angeles Wildcats (22.3 implied points)

Top DAL XFL DFS picks:

  • Landry Jones has yet to practice in full but he seems to be trending towards playing in Week 2. He would be a big boost over Philip Nelson, who padded stats with incessant check downs in Week 1. Nelson had 43 pass attempts with a 79% completion rate because he was terrified to throw the ball downfield. Jones hopefully has more gunslinger in him and that could materially change this offense.
  • The running backs all benefited from Nelson checking the ball down. Cameron Artis-Payne busted as chalk, but he had three rushes with four targets and catches on a Dallas back-high 22 routes. Lance Dunbar had five rushes with six catches on six targets with 15 routes run. Marquis Young had three rushes with five catches on five targets with just nine routes run. Dunbar looked the most effective with 5.4 yards per carry but none of the three seem playable with the timeshare.
  • Flynn Nagel and Donald Parham both had six targets with Parham running one more route, in line with Jeff Badet’s 30 for the team high. Nagel primarily ran out of the slot and he should be able to find decent success against Mike Stevens, who gave up 48 yards on five slot targets in Week 1. Nagel is solidly priced, but it’s possible Jones would be more willing to try going deep to Badet and Jazz Ferguson. Badet is expensive enough that it seems more logical to not invest too heavily in him and instead spread ownership amongst these guys. Parham in particular seems cheap for a guy who was as involved as anyone.

Top LA XFL DFS picks:

  • Josh Johnson is reportedly doubtful for Week 2 after practicing in limited fashion and Charles Kanoff also has yet to practice as of writing this. That would put Jalan McClendon as starter and he did not look the best in Week 1. McClendon was sacked and picked against Houston’s defense, and while Dallas was less impressive defensively, McClendon may not be ready for prime time. He’s cheap enough to pray that he’s at least as passable as Kanoff was as a contrarian value play.
  • One reason McClendon could be vaguely playable is Nelson Spruce. Spruce had a league-high 35% target share in Week 1 with 11 catches on 15 targets, good for 103 yards. He ran 41 of his 46 routes out of the slot and Dashaun Phillips was brutal for Dallas in Week 1 as he gave up five grabs for 65 yards on five targets in the slot. Spruce was one of Week 1’s best players and, while his price is tough, he could end up worth it.
  • Jordan Smallwood stands to see more routes with Saeed Blacknall likely out for Week 2. Blacknall ran the second most routes with 43 in Week 1 and he has yet to practice this week. Tre McBride is also already ruled out. Smallwood saw six targets on 28 routes in Week 1. He and Adonis Jennings should see more opportunity while Brandon Barnes could also up his targets after he got just three looks on 28 routes with the team’s only deep catch of the game.
  • Elijah Hood was believed to be one of few XFL bell cow backs in Week 1. He ended up with 12 carries and not a catch nor target with zero routes. Larry Rose saw the most routes out of the backfield with 11 in addition to a red zone carry. The situation seems like a stay away with Dallas also graded out as a 76 run defense by PFF.

St. Louis BattleHawks (21.3 implied points) at Houston Roughnecks (29.3 implied points)

Top STL XFL DFS picks:

  • Jordan Ta’amu was the closest approximation to Lamar Jackson in the XFL in Week 1. He scrambled on a league-high 44% of his dropbacks and had six rushes for 12.8 yards per carry while he completed 74% of his passes on 27 attempts. Houston’s defense will be tougher than Dallas’, but Ta’amu will need to throw it more this week. He’s an interesting play who’ll be much less owned than the quarterback across from him.
  • Hybrid TE/WR Marcus Lucas was Ta’amu’s most targeted player with a 26% target share on seven targets, good for four catches. Lucas ran mostly out of the slot with 18 out of his 25 routes. L’Damian Washington led the team with 32 routes and had five targets. De’Mornay Pierson-El and Alonzo Russell both had four targets on 27 and 23 routes, respectively. Pierson-El ran 26 of those 27 routes out of the slot. I think Russell has some potential given that he should see Houston’s worst corner in Ajene Harris. But it does feel a lot like a Ravens parallel offensively on this limited XFL DFS sample. I’d rotate guys with Ta’amu and not be afraid to run him unstacked.
  • Matt Jones was also a key part of St. Louis’ rush heavy attack with an XFL-high 59% run rate. Jones had 21 carries and one target, far more than Christine Michael’s seven carries and one target. St. Louis may end up trailing given Houston’s high-powered offense and that would marginalize Jones. But his workload was as good as any in Week 1 with a strong price this time out.

Top HOU XFL DFS picks:

  • Phillip Walker was by far my favorite quarterback on last week’s slate and now, after he came through, he’s the most expensive guy for Week 2. He has a ton of upside, though St. Louis’s defense graded out well with a 75 grade overall and a 75 coverage grade from PFF. Walker took 11 deep shots in Week 1, almost double No. 2 deep thrower Brandon Silvers‘ seven deep throws. He only connected on four of those but that’s a lot of downfield opportunity in June Jones’ run-and-shoot offense. Walker was also kept clean on 85% of dropbacks. I like Walker again, though at his price, I’m willing to take stabs at cheaper guys and stacks.
  • Sammie Coates had a team-high 23.7% target share as he ran 29 routes but caught only two balls. Cam Phillips ran 40 routes but had one fewer target with eight to Coates’ nine as Phllips caught four. Coates has to have better days. He saw five of Walker’s deep targets and only caught one. Coates wasn’t credited with a drop so his connection with Walker will get better. In short, I don’t mind looks at him at his price point.
  • Kahlil Lewis may be a pivot away from Phillips this week. Lewis will see Darius Hillary, who was killed in the slot last week, allowing 11 grabs on 12 targets for 67 yards. Lewis led the team with 26 slot routes, all of the routes he ran, while Ryheem Malone had 14 of his 14 routes also in the slot. Malone could be a little sneaky at his price point with a 36% target per route rate. I also wouldn’t sleep on Sam Mobley, another cheap guy. He saw just 11 routes but had two deep targets in that stretch, turning one into a 39-yard touchdown.
  • I also wouldn’t sleep on James Butler at running back. Butler led the backfield with nine carries and a 71% snap share. Nick Holley operated out of the slot in four-wide sets and had four targets but Butler was the most targeted running back with two catches on two targets. De’Angelo Henderson has yet to practice this week and was barely involved while Andre Williams had just two carries on eight snaps. Houston is not a run-first team with only a 28.6% rush rate in Week 1, but Butler’s three red zone touches bode well for this likely high-octane offense.

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags for more XFL content to come, including our XFL Strategy Show on Fridays, and I’ll see you guys next week for more!

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at Awesemo.com and contributes to the site's NBA, NFL, and MLB coverage as a writer and host of video content. Chris's content background from sites like Guyism, Uproxx, and Barstool Sports allows him to bring a unique spin to the world of daily fantasy sports analysis. Chris writes regular columns with NBA and NFL analysis as well as his inimitable style and his 'Four Corners' videos for basketball, baseball, and football DFS are the primary short form content offering on Awesemo's YouTube channel. You can find him on almost any given night providing analysis right up to slate lock on Awesemo's flagship Live Before Lock livestreams or on Twitter @ChrisSpags. You can contact Chris by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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