We’re now a month into the season and things have slowly started to make sense for our XFL DFS picks. week 3 was an obscenely easy week to profit with overlay across the industry and guys we know and love from this column like Cam Phillips breaking the slate as the first game. We have one huge expected absence in Los Angeles’ shifty slot man Nelson Spruce and a potential barn burner between the West division’s two best teams in Texas. As always, we have a lot to discuss. So let’s get into it with the XFL Slant and Go for week 4!
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Los Angeles Wildcats (23.3 implied points) at New York Guardians (15.8 implied points)
Top LA XFL DFS Picks
- Josh Johnson was the No 2-scoring quarterback in week 3 and he has an interesting situation this week. Johnson’s stack targets are a little muddied, as I’ll explain more about below. But Johnson is an interesting option on paper who’s looked good despite less rushing upside than he’s previously shown in the NFL.
- New York is not a good coverage team with a 56 grade from PFF and have one of the worst slot defenders in the league in Dravon Askew-Henry. Askew-Henry allows a 142 passer rating that would greatly benefit a Johnson stack with Nelson Spruce, except he’s already been ruled out this week due to a knee issue. Levonte Whitfield could be in line for most snaps as the No. 2 slot route runner in week 3 behind Spruce. But Tre McBride also saw three routes in the slot as he exploded for five grabs, 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns on just 11 routes run versus DC. I’ll have some of both of these guys because the opportunity is substantial.
- Adonis Jennings and Jordan Smallwood are the other receivers who should get a boost due to Spruce’s absence. Spruce leaves behind 9.3 targets and 34 routes per game overall. Neither Jennings nor Smallwood have been well targeted thus far, so it may be the best bet to pray McBride is capable of running more routes at his steep price tag.
- Elijah Hood was a surprise last-minute scratch which opened up more opportunity for Martez Carter. Carter responded with 41 rushing and 41 receiving yards with two rushing scores and one receiving score. It’s hard to imagine that Hood will return to an unabated workload after Carter’s showing where he had the same 3.4 yards per carry as Hood but 3.6 yards after contact per rush compared to Hood’s 3.1. Plus, Carter has far more versatility in the pass game.
Top NY XFL DFS Picks
- Matt McGloin did not bounce back in week 3 as he, in fact, yielded time to both Marquise Williams and Luis Perez. Perez and Williams are both players to watch with Williams’ rushing ability and Perez’s actual quarterback skills, but for this week, the situation may just be an avoid. The Wildcats looked like they figured some things out defensively with them now up to an 80 coverage grade from PFF after a solid showing against a much more competent DC squad in week 3.
- Mekale McKay has suffered thanks to the disastrous quarterback situation. I don’t foresee going his way much this week with his price dropping but still fairly high. He’s a dart throw pivot to the Wildcats’ McBride at the price point but not much more. Joe Horn was out last week and Austin Duke saw slightly more work as a result while Colby Pearson led the team with 20 slot routes. I don’t hate Pearson or preseason favorite Teo Redding who also saw a boost in run. But, much like McKay, Pearson’s price is too high for a team that’s been an absolute offensive dumpster fire thus far.
- Darius Victor has been limited in practice again this week, but he had a 53% snap share to Tim Cook’s 38% in week 3. If Victor is out, Cook could be worth a look against Los Angeles’ 47-graded run defense. But it’s not a situation to love with how terrible New York has looked. Justin Stockton may be the one to consider at minimum prices after he was targeted five times on just seven snaps in week 3.
Don’t forget to check out the Week 4 XFL DFS Strategy Show with Sal Vetri and Chris Spags as they breakdown all their favorite plays on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Seattle Dragons (11 implied points) at St. Louis BattleHawks (24.8 implied points)
Top SEA XFL DFS Picks
- Brandon Silvers continued his march to mediocrity with a slightly better week 3. He had a 62% completion rate and is now up to a scintillating 54% completion rate on the year with 64% accuracy. He would do well to target slot man Austin Proehl this week against Darius Hillary. Hillary allows 47 slot yards per game with a 108.1 passer rating and Proehl was back up to seven targets and an 82% snap share in week 3. This team will likely trail a lot and need to throw.
- Keenan Reynolds is Seattle’s only other receiver of note really with Kasen Williams still unable to practice. Reynolds also had seven targets in week 3 while on the field for 99% of the team’s snaps. In my estimation, he’s not quite as good as Proehl, but he sees more deep targets with 2.3 per game.
- The run game remains disastrous to attack with Trey Williams and Ja’Quan Gardner tied for the most carries in week 3 with eight while Kenneth Farrow had the most snaps. If one scores a touchdown, they’re the best play of the trio and that’s not the most worthwhile with their prices not really discounted enough.
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Top STL XFL DFS Picks
- The BattleHawks had to do very little to beat New York in the return of football to St. Louis in week 3, so you can excuse Jordan Ta’amu’s poor effort. I’d worry it’s a similar situation for him in this game. St. Louis is an 11-point home favorite and it’s a good matchup against Seattle’s 60-graded coverage unit. The team runs at a league-high 58% rate so the pass game has lower odds of upside but still could be worth some exposure.
- If they do pass, the potential stack targets are tough to suss out. L’Damian Washington led the team in routes in week 3 with 21 but saw just one catch on one target for no yards. De’Mornay Pierson-El was down to just 10 routes run, though he did get three targets on them. Alonzo Russell also saw three targets on 17 routes while Marcus Lucas had five targets on his 17 routes. I don’t think Seattle on the road will be the team to force them to throw more.
- Matt Jones had 15 carries and a 46% snap share to Christine Michael’s 13 carries and 43% snap share with no targets for either. Both will get work against Seattle’s 62-graded run defense by PFF, but neither has appreciably more touchdown equity than the other. I’d slightly favor Jones this week because he has the better floor and probability of a touchdown. But the discount on Michael will have him in play for me as well.
Houston Roughnecks (26.3 implied points) at Dallas Renegades (24.3 implied points)
Top HOU XFL DFS Picks
- I’m running out of ways to extol the virtues of Phillip “P.J.” Walker in this column. He airs the ball out more than any quarterback in the league with 7.7 deep shots per game and he’s stellar whether pressured or in a clean pocket. His offensive line does a great job blocking for him with an 87 pass block grade from PFF. In this game where Dallas should come out slinging it as well, Walker is still the top priority at quarterback.
- Cam Phillips feels like he’s due to have some touchdown regression, but he’s easily the most involved wide receiver in this high-octane Houston offense. His 26% targets per route are insane given that he runs 37 routes per game. His price is even more ridiculous now. But I don’t see how you don’t start building lineups with him, particularly with the comparably good and comparably high-priced Nelson Spruce out for Los Angeles. Phillips will see maybe his toughest defender yet in Josh Hawkins, a player giving up just a 23.5 passer rating and 0.79 yards per coverage snap. But I won’t fade him and will likely have at least half my lineups with him this week.
- Kahlil Lewis and Nick Holley remain fairly involved with 30.7 and 33 routes per game, both running out of the slot. I would be OK to play them in Walker-Phillips stacks, but they are unlikely to be must-haves. Sammie Coates continues to see work and do nothing with it. He’s down to a 25% catch rate on the year and had a few deep throws interrupted by interference in week 3. I was already tired of playing him last week, but I’ll still have a little this week. If Phillips somehow fails, Coates remains the most logical one to draw big production away. Though, I also wouldn’t sleep on Sam Mobley who ran 19 routes to Coates’ 21 and has almost as many catches per game as Coates despite less than half his targets.
- This Houston team doesn’t run enough to justify James Butler’s price tag with a 31% run rate this year. Butler had a 52% snap share to Andre Williams’ 30% in week 3, but the low run volume means Butler likely needs multiple scores to be viable.
Top DAL XFL DFS Picks
- Landry Jones is one of the chosen few quarterbacks I’d be OK with in lieu of Walker. Jones throws 40.5 times per game with a respectable 5.5 deep targets per game. I really wish Donald Parham weren’t so expensive as his obvious top target, but it is the stack that seems like the best option. Parham is at eight targets per game and he showed big play burst in week 3 on one touchdown score to push him up to 8.2 yards after catch per grab. Parham has been limited in practice with a hand injury, but if he’s in, he’s their clear top target with great size and speed. He’ll get an NFL look after the season.
- Jones could be stacked with Lance Dunbar perhaps given his 7.7 targets per game. He had nine catches on 11 targets despite running just 19 routes. Flynn Nagel and Jeff Badet had many more routes with 33 and 34 respectively, but they’re clearly a bit less of a priority on a per-route basis. Badet’s price isn’t the best but he could see more work if Dallas plays behind as they are likely to do.
- You could talk me into playing Dunbar with Cameron Artis-Payne in some lineups with both clearly involved, more than the receiver corps. Artis-Payne ran more routes with 26 in week 3 and had six grabs on six targets of his own. He also saw 13 carries to Dunbar’s eight with a 77% snap share compared to Dunbar’s 61%. The price on Dunbar is better, particularly for PPR sites, but a touchdown for both could make them both strong plays despite the poor on-paper correlation.
DC Defenders (23.5 implied points) at Tampa Bay Vipers (21 implied points)
Top DC XFL DFS Picks
- Cardale Jones was awful in week 3 as DC was boat raced on the road at Los Angeles. Jones is OK to go back to this week against a Tampa Bay defense who generates decent pressure but has yet to turn them into sacks. Jones has a weak 68.4 passer rating when pressured, but Tampa Bay runs enough plays that they could put up some points on DC.
- Eli Rogers is the most secure target for Jones, but his price isn’t great. Robert Priester has given up just a 69 passer rating on slot routes thus far and Rogers hasn’t spiked huge upside while running the majority of his routes there. It could be more of a Rashad Ross week with him up to 31 routes last game, more than Deandre Thompkins’ 29. Ross’ six targets in week 3 were a season high and bumped Thompkins down to just three targets. I like Ross for GPPs, but I’ll go back to Thompkins some too after that massive disappointment last time out.
- Donnell Pumphrey seemingly bumped Jhurrell Pressley even further down the depth chart with eight carries to Pressley’s four in week 3. Meanwhile, Khalid Abdullah and Nick Brosette both saw extended work with the game out of hand and Brosette showed something with eight carries for 75 yards. Pumphrey is likely to continue to get the first cracks against a decent but not great 69-graded run defense for Tampa, but he has far from a concrete workload.
Top TB XFL DFS Picks
- Aaron Murray has practiced this week and he could be sneaky now that Quinton Flowers has taken leave from the team due to personal issues. Murray was unlucky in his one start with a 15% drop rate by his receivers. DC’s secondary is decent, but Murray is cheap enough and it is unlikely Taylor Cornelius did enough to wrest snaps away from Murray given their similar capabilities compared to a rusher like Flowers.
- I’d favor Dan Williams over Jalen Tolliver with Williams the clear favorite amongst the two for Murray in Week 1. But I’m OK with both guys as they’ve run 37.3 and 37.7 routes per game, respectively. I’d expect Tolliver to be much more highly owned as the cheaper of the two after his eight grabs on 12 targets for 104 yards last time out. Reece Horn is just behind them with 36 routes per game, primarily out of the slot, but he’ll have a tough matchup with Shamarko Thomas. Thomas has given up just 0.31 yards per coverage snap in the slot with a 39.6 passer rating. Williams and Tolliver are more compelling options to me.
- Nick Truesdell has yet to practice this week after he missed last game. DeAndre Goolsby ran 29 routes in his place and did little with them. I’m only mentioning them for the sake of thoroughness. I don’t foresee having either other than maybe a value dart throw or two for Goolsby if Truesdell is out again.
- DeVeon Smith had a 61% snap share to Jacques Patrick’s 41% snap share, a reversal from their even split in Week 2. Smith had 15 carries to Patrick’s 10 and four targets on 20 routes run to Patrick’s two targets on 16 routes run. The work is there for both, but Smith currently is the slightly more involved back. After DC gave up three touchdowns to Los Angeles’ Martez Carter last week out of the backfield, I could see wanting a little exposure for the Tampa run game. The team has a respectable 140 rushing yards per game with a 46% run rate as well as the league’s most plays per game with 72.
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