We’re onto our third week of the XFL and now we have some real reads on these teams for this week’s XFL DFS picks. Houston, Dallas and St. Louis have offenses we can look to moving forward while Tampa Bay and New York may very well be weekly disasters in the making. There are a lot of moving pieces with injuries and Vegas has yet to release over/unders for this weekend’s slate. So let’s get into it with the XFL Slant and Go for Week 3!
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Houston Roughnecks (-6.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
Top Houston XFL DFS Picks
- Phillip Walker had a down day against St. Louis but was still the No. 2 quarterback on the week with 22.5 fantasy points on 20-for-31 passing with three scores. Walker will face another decent secondary this week, and while he should be the top-projected quarterback again, I don’t mind thinking about other quarterbacks as we did last week. Walker and his obvious primary target, Cam Phillips, are an exceedingly expensive stack and Phillips should see a lot of Anthoula Kelly at corner, a defensive back who’s allowed just a 48.5 passer rating so far this year. Houston’s heavy pass approach, a 67% pass play rate, will give Walker chances every week, but he shouldn’t be a “set it and forget it” play at his current price point.
- Sammie Coates saw less opportunity than Week 1, but he’s still No. 2 in target share on the team with 19%. I think Coates is a more intriguing stack with Walker this week than Phillips when accounting for price, but with how Coates has burned me thus far, I won’t go nuts on his ownership. That could change if Phillips, who has yet to practice this week, misses the game. I also feel similarly about Kahlil Lewis and Nick Holley; Holley has now run more routes per game with 30 to Lewis’s 27.5 and he sees more deep targets than the much more highly priced Lewis as well. The premium on the top guys is a little steep compared to the rest of the receiver corps’ opportunity.
- James Butler seems too expensive for a guy who has eight carries and two targets per game. He’s been able to get into the end zone in each of Houston’s two games, but Tampa Bay has a 78-graded run defense by PFF. There are likely cheaper options with more of a workload.
Top Tampa Bay XFL DFS Picks
- Aaron Murray has yet to practice this week and that could open up more disastrous quarterback play from Taylor Cornelius and, to a lesser extent, Quinton Flowers. Cornelius completed 59% of his passes in Week 2 with a 10% sack rate and 7% interception rate. He was 0-for-5 on deep balls and inaccurate on all of those throws. Houston generates solid pressure with four sacks per game and guys like LaTroy Lewis, Kaelin Burnett and Kony Ealy are each generating pressures on over 15% of their pass snaps. This could be a stomping for the Roughnecks defense but one with some contrarian GPP appeal with how likely Tampa Bay is to trail (especially if Murray gets in).
- De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick were closer to a time-share in Week 2 with an even 50.7% snap share for both. Patrick actually saw 14 carries to Smith’s 11 and could be an interesting value play with a much cheaper price than Smith’s.
- It’s hard to like the pass catchers much if Murray misses. As we expected last week, Jalen Tolliver and Dan Williams’ roles mostly leveled out. Williams now runs 33 routes per game to Tolliver’s 33.5 with a 19% target share that slightly favors Williams compared to Tolliver’s 16%. Reece Horn remains the only slot guy of note with a slightly lesser 32 routes per game and also a 19% target share. Williams and Tolliver also had to contend with Seantavius Jones up to 16 routes run with a 37% snap share. Jones was waived after Tampa Bay acquired CFL standout S.J. Green, but the whole situation looks like an avoid.
Dallas Renegades (-5) at Seattle Dragons
Top Dallas XFL DFS Picks
- Landry Jones guided Dallas to their first win in a surprisingly fun game against LA in Week 2. He looks like a strong option against a Seattle team without much to note. Donald Parham led the team with 11 targets in Week 2 and he’ll see a mix of Steve Williams and Nick Temple in the slot, two poor cover guys giving up 1.9 and 2.2 yards per coverage snap, respectively. Parham and Flynn Nagel should both benefit but Parham has been more of a clear target monster with a 28% target rate per route compared to just 13% for Nagel. Nagel has 34.5 routes per game to Parham’s 30, though, so he could be an interesting GPP pivot for slightly cheaper.
- Jeff Badet saw nine targets in Week 2 but didn’t do a ton with them. He’ll see iffy coverage this week and would interest me in stacks with Jones, particularly if Jazz Ferguson misses again after he was a late scratch last time out. Badet seems like a safer play than Josh Crockett, who had 57 yards in Week 2 on two catches but ran 30 routes to Badet’s 33.
- Cameron Artis-Payne asserted his dominance of the backfield in Week 2 after a bomb in Week 1. Artis-Payne had 14 carries and a 66% snap share along with five catches on five targets. He had 99 rushing yards and 32 receiving yards, including two rushing scores. Dallas has a heavy 66% pass rate compared to a 29% rush rate but Seattle’s 62-graded run defense from PFF can make Artis-Payne have upside again in a game where they’re expected to have a lead. Lance Dunbar remains the most intriguing pivot with a 53% snap share and slightly fewer routes per game than Artis-Payne.
Top Seattle XFL DFS Picks
- Keenan Reynolds benefited from a hip injury to Austin Proehl as Reynolds parlayed eight targets into three catches for 87 yards and a score while Proehl ran just 11 routes. Reynolds’ three deep targets per game lead the receiving crew, but his 33% catch rate overall is downright brutal. Proehl has practiced this week and he could be in a good spot for a bounce back. Dashaun Phillips is Dallas’ primary slot corner and he’s allowed 2.3 yards per coverage route with a 119 passer rating allowed.
- Brandon Silvers looks awful so far with a 49% completion rate with just 56% accuracy on his throws. Seattle should trail once again and that makes Silvers at least a little interesting given how concentrated his targets are. Dontez Byrd has yet to practice this week and that’d mean Silvers likely has to feed Reynolds and Proehl for a very obvious and not hideously priced stack.
- Dallas has a tops-in-the-XFL 83-graded run defense and that makes the three-headed monster backfield for Seattle an avoid. Kenneth Farrow led the team with a 37% snap share while Trey Williams had the most carries with 11 compared to Farrow and Ja’Quan Gardner’s 10 each. It looks like a bad situation for these guys to have upside.
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New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks (-10)
Top New York XFL DFS Picks
- Matt McGloin was an absolute debacle versus DC last week as he completed just 42% of his attempts for 2.3 yards per pass. He’s completed just 48% overall with a 60% accuracy rate on the year. It’s likely a better matchup for him this week and I don’t mind praying he figures it out. McGloin still throws five deep shots per game and there are some holes in St. Louis’ secondary. Marquise Williams is the backup and is likely breathing down McGloin’s neck with some tantalizing dual-threat ability, so McGloin needs a good game this week to hold him at bay.
- Joe Horn was a massive disappointment last week with one grab on three targets on only 19 routes. Horn and McGloin had a miscommunication on a potential deep touchdown and he saw less action after the game was out of hand. Horn gets a solid slot matchup against Darius Hillary this week, a guy who’s given up 8.5 targets per game and 53.5 slot yards per game thus far. I don’t mind going back his way as a value.
- Mekale McKay and Colby Pearson are higher-priced stack options to consider as well if stacking McGloin. McKay led the team with 30 routes and seven targets last week as he saw run deep into the game with Williams at quarterback. McKay is the safer option but Pearson did see four targets on the 18 routes he ran.
- Darius Victor was concussed early in last week’s game and he seems like the preferred back for New York. Tim Cook has just 2.8 yards after contact per rush compared to Victor’s 4 and it’s a split backfield that favors Victor if both are healthy. It’s still not a great matchup either way given St. Louis’s 78 run defense grade from PFF.
Top St. Louis XFL DFS Picks
- I advocated for Jordan Ta’amu as a Walker pivot last week and he ended up the top-scoring quarterback with 30.6 fantasy points. Ta’amu has been nasty so far with a 78% completion rate, 86% accuracy and six rushes per game with 9.1 yards per rush. Ta’amu doesn’t throw downfield much — just 1.5 attempts of 20-plus yards per game — but he’s been good with his low-risk throws thus far. He’s very much in play again even though he’ll likely need to throw less than he did versus Houston in Week 2.
- De’Mornay Pierson-El is expensive but could be in one of the best spots this week. Pierson-El will see Dravon Askew-Henry in the slot and he’s allowed a 142 passer rating when targeted this year. Pierson-El is an explosive after-catch guy with 8.0 yards after catch per reception. His 7.5 targets per game look good in lineup builds that assume New York doesn’t get completely stomped.
- I’d be less inclined to point chase L’Damian Washington even though he leads the team in routes per game with 33. Washington is likely to find Jamar Summers outside, a player who seems like he could be one of the best defensive backs in the league, as he has given up a 52.0 passer rating this season. Tough defense on Washington could open up Alonzo Russell, who had an 85% snap share just like Washington did in Week 2.
- Matt Jones had 16 carries and one catch on one target to Christine Michael’s 15 carries and two catches on two targets. St. Louis leads the league with 77 plays per game and it seems like these guys both could have upside against New York’s 57-graded run defense by PFF. Michael is cheaper and had a 49% snap share compared to Jones’ 43% so Michael could be sneaky even if both are firmly in play.
DC Defenders (-8.5) at Los Angeles Wildcats
Top DC XFL DFS Picks
- Cardale Jones has looked like the league’s top real-life quarterback with an 81% accuracy rate and a low 1.4% interception rate. He’s in play once again against a Los Angeles team who should force him to do more than New York did last week. Jones and Eli Rogers intrigue me as a pricey stack. Rogers will see Mike Stevens in the slot and he gives up 1.8 yards per coverage snap this year. Rogers was en route to a big game in Week 2 before New York completely mailed it in last week, and he still had eight targets with an 88% snap share.
- DeAndre Thompkins burst onto the DC scene with a team-high nine targets despite playing just 64% of the snaps. Thompkins was targeted on 33% of his routes run and he also saw 15 slot routes in addition to two deep targets. He looks underpriced for his role in this offense, though Rashad Ross will likely continue to take a little bit of his potential opportunity off the table.
- Donnel Pumphrey saw 51% of the snaps compared to Jhurell Pressley’s 39%. Pumphrey had 12 carries and three catches on five targets while Pressley had 11 carries and two catches on two targets. Pumphrey’s likely to have more of a role as long as he continues to start with Pressley not quite living up to his AAF track record thus far. I don’t love either at their current price points, but I’d think you have to favor Pumphrey with a nice matchup against Los Angeles’ 35-graded run defense by PFF.
Top Los Angeles XFL DFS Picks
- Josh Johnson looked passable in his XFL debut with a 53% completion rate on 64% accuracy that was hurt by a 9% drop rate by his receivers. Johnson took seven deep shots in his debut, a good sign for him. Johnson’s price looks good as a home underdog.
- Nelson Spruce is the obvious top stack target with Johnson. DC shut down the slot last week, but Tyree Kinnel has given up 2.3 yards per coverage snap with a 119 passer rating. Spruce is still very much in play with a league-high 31% target share on 40.5 routes run per gameF. Jordan Smallwood had a 95% snap share that was even higher than Spruce’s 80% in Week 2. He and Adonis Jennings are the guys I’d consider in addition to, or in lieu of Spruce if stacking up Wildcats.
- Elijah Hood has a decent theoretical workload with a 64% snap share, but he only saw 10 carries with no catches on one target. Larry Rose and DuJuan Harris seem like non-factors behind him but I still don’t love Hood other than in lineups that assume DC somehow fails miserably against an Los Angeles defense that’s looked bad across the board thus far.
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