Last week was a tough one for XFL DFS picks with the untimely fantasy demise of uber chalk Houston WR Cam Phillips. But, after a player owned by more than half the field prominently busted, we should be able to find a bit of an edge this time out. The warning signs were there for Phillips with a tough individual matchup and some negative regression due his way and we’ll do our best to heed them for the stretch run of the XFL season. I’m bound and determined to get us back on track with some strong plays this week so let’s get into it with the XFL Slant and Go for Week 5!
Use promo code XFL2020 to get $40 OFF an Awesemo+ XFL Yearly Pass! That’s $49.95 for the entire season of Awesemo+ XFL! Offer valid until Feb. 15.
Seattle Dragons (16.8 implied points) at Houston Roughnecks (29.3 implied points)
Top SEA XFL DFS picks:
- BJ Daniels took over for Brandon Silvers in the second half of last game and he’s an interesting play in this spot on the assumption he starts. He’s more inclined to run than Silvers as he had seven rushing attempts for 84 yards. He will also almost certainly have to throw in a game against high octane Houston on the road. It can’t get much worse than Silvers for Seattle.
- Daniels didn’t really prioritize a target during his stint but TE Evan Rodriguez caught his lone touchdown pass. A week of getting first team reps should get him more on the same page with Austin Proehl and Keenan Reynolds after he didn’t really favor those guys over Alonzo Moore and Dontez Byrd. Slot corner Deatrick Nichols was strong versus Dallas last week and now gives up just a 59 QB rating against him. That may make it less of a Proehl situation and one to hope that Daniels can connect better with Reynolds downfield. Reynolds still leads the team with two deep targets per game.
- The running back situation remains a dumpster fire and it seems unlikely to improve here. Daniels led the team in rushes while Kenneth Farrow led the backfield with a 54% snap share and turned that into just five rushing attempts. I’m willing to be wrong if Farrow, Trey Williams, or Ja’Quan Gardner suddenly gets a preponderance of touches in a game where it doesn’t make sense they would.
Top HOU XFL DFS picks:
- Phillip Walker remains the first place to look at QB against a Seattle team with a 53 coverage grade from PFF. He has the most upside on the slate, as is the case almost every week, and this home spot with the slate’s highest team total doesn’t seem like one to go away from him.
- The question is whether Walker and Cam Phillips are the stack again or if we see the ball spread around once more. I worried in this column last week about Cam’s eye popping numbers that seemed due for regression as well as Josh Hawkins’ shutdown corner pedigree. The latter immediately reared its head during the game this week. Coach June Jones spoke with the commentators about Hawkins’ ability and their desire to use the week to spread the ball around. And spread the ball they did as Kahlil Lewis saw 13 targets, Nick Holley saw 10, and Phillips had just three. As it was last week, it’s a good slot matchup against Steve Williams’ 1.8 yards per coverage route allowed so exposure to Holley and Lewis makes sense alongside and in lieu of Cam. Phillips hasn’t been limited by his ankle injury in practice this week as he was previously and I’ll likely have around 50% of my lineups with Cam once again given his slate destroying upside.
- Blake Jackson and Sam Mobley could also see more work with Sammie Coates sidelined in practice so far this week. Mobley ran 24 routes to Coates’ 21 last week with Jackson not far behind at 14. With all of the other core receivers priced up, some exposure to these guys could make sense after Jackson paid off with a TD last time out.
- The run game looks like an avoid for me with James Butler’s price still too high for a team with a 31% rush rate. He had 11 carries last week and he’s a touchdown dependent play for partial slates against a decent Seattle run defense with a 74 grade from PFF.
Check us out on TWITTER, where we talk sports, share articles and have lots of giveaways. Just click HERE
New York Guardians (14.8 implied points) at Dallas Renegades (22.3 implied points)
Top NY XFL DFS picks:
- Matt McGloin is healthy again but the expectation is that New York will stick with Luis Perez after a respectable showing last week. Perez was mediocre last time out with 150 passing yards on a 69% completion rate but that may be an improvement for New York. The offense is still perilously low octane so I can’t imagine I’d want much of him, even though his 81% accuracy rating thus far does give some hope for his targets.
- Mekale McKay’s price is down but he’s been less of a priority target than Colby Pearson for whatever reason. Pearson saw six targets to McKay’s four last week, though McKay did receive his throws further down the field with 69 air yards to Pearson’s 20. Jake Powell also led the team with 30 routes run. Powell’s barely playable value but I wouldn’t hate stabs at Pearson and McKay individually.
- Darius Victor seemingly seized control of the backfield with 18 carries on a 56% snap share last game. His price is up enough that I wouldn’t go out of my way to get him but some exposure seems fine while Tim Cook would be out of my player pools.
Top DAL XFL DFS picks:
- Landry Jones hurt his knee last week and it seems like he’ll be out at least two weeks. That means more Philip Nelson for a Dallas offense after he’s been mostly trash thus far. He’s been accurate with an 82% completion rate but is even more of a checkdown artist than Jones has been. That might be good for the running backs and Flynn Nagel but Nelson himself doesn’t seem worth rostering much.
- Nelson worries me but I love the Dallas guys running out of the slot. Dravon Askew-Henry cannot cover anyone with a 142 QB rating allowed on the year. Donald Parham saw 10 targets last week and, as a more explosive slot threat than Nagel, I’d want some of him at his elevated price point. I’d completely avoid Jeff Badet at this point with him complaining last week and still only seeing six targets.
- Cameron Artis-Payne is a better play than Lance Dunbar with their prices up. Artis-Payne runs 21.5 routes to Dunbar’s 18 per game and Artis-Payne’s 10.5 carries per game are more than Dunbar’s 7 per game. Both get work so both should have exposure but I’d definitely favor CAP. It’s a good matchup for both with Dallas less likely to open up the play book with the conservative Nelson in the mix. New York has a 60 run defense grade from PFF as well as a poor 50 coverage grade that Nelson is less likely to fully exploit.
St. Louis Battlehawks (26.8 implied points) at DC Defenders (22.3 implied points)
Top STL XFL DFS picks:
- Jordan Ta’amu was forced to do a little more last week as Seattle surprisingly stayed in their game. He completed 20-for-27 for 264 yards and a score and ran 16 times for 63 yards on top of that. With DC back at home looking to stop a painful skid, I like the idea of going back to Ta’amu in the hopes for a competitive game. His rushing game gives him a floor and some upside if DC is less of a dumpster fire this week.
- L’Damian Washington led the team in routes with 30 with 25 for Alonzo Russell and just 15 for De’Mornay Pierson-El. Pierson-El is the most productive by far with a 28% target per route rate but his price is too high for a guy getting as few routes as he does. It’s a tough slot matchup against Shamarko Thomas with his 39.6 QB rating allowed so I may be more inclined for Washington or Brandon Reilly who had four targets despite just 16 routes run. I don’t think it’s crazy to play Ta’amu naked either with the lack of concentration for his targets.
- Matt Jones and Christine Michael have both missed practice this week with knee issues and illness respectively. If they’re out, that would make Keith Ford an actual lock at his value price with Lenard Tillery in play after he rejoined the team after he was recently waived. Jones and Michael both look fine after a down week last week. DC’s 60 graded run defense is bad and gets very little stops in the run game. The disappointment of last week will likely make this group under-owned.
Top DC XFL DFS picks:
- Cardale Jones was awful again last week as he completed 9-for-22 for 72 yards with an INT. He’s played far better at home than on the road this year so maybe he gets back on track here but St. Louis’s team is good enough to make me not want a lot of him this week.
- Rashad Ross saw a ton of air yards with 139 on seven targets last week, the second most in the league. St. Louis’s secondary has been decent on the outside but I’d still take some dart throws his way. The matchup is the best for Eli Rogers against the 104.3 QB rating and 1.4 yards per coverage route that Darius Hillary gives up in the slot but Ross has more potential to damage with a big play. Rogers has yet to score more than 14 FP in a game this year and he needs more volume and a more reliable connection with Cardale to be useful as a PPR slot man. Deandre Thompkins’ 22 routes were just behind Ross’s 24 and Rogers’ 26. He’s been a non-factor lately but he should probably still be in player pools in the hopes Cardale sucks a bit less.
- Donnel Pumphrey had a 56% snap share with just seven carries while Nick Brossette entered the fray with a 39% snap share and six carries. Brossette had far less good results than his garbage time effort versus LA with just 12 yards on his six carries. Maybe Jhurell Pressley gets back in the mix this week but it all seems like an avoid once again.
Tampa Bay Vipers (21 implied points) at Los Angeles Wildcats (23.5 implied points)
Top TB XFL DFS picks:
- Taylor Cornelius had a decent day last week with 24-for-31 passing with one passing score and 36 rushing yards and a TD there as well. He still has Aaron Murray breathing down his neck but the job seems like Cornelius’s unless he really comes out and throws a dud.
- Dan Williams led the team with 11 targets last game on 31 routes, substantially more than Jalen Tolliver’s four targets on the same amount of routes. Williams also had 92 air yards to Tolliver’s 18. Los Angeles’ secondary has looked better since they changed defensive coordinators so I’m not sure I’d go out of my way for either guy this week but the lean should be towards Williams. Reece Horn also seems involved enough as the primary slot man to be worth a look. Mike Stevens in the slot might be the worst defender in a secondary that, overall, hasn’t given up much.
- The run game is way more appealing against Los Angeles’s 53 run defense grade from PFF. DeVeon Smith has missed practice so far this week and, if he misses, we could see a serious workload for Jacques Patrick. Patrick had 108 rushing yards on 21 carries last week while Smith had 122 rushing yards on 24 carries. Tampa Bay leads the league with 74 plays per game and runs almost 50% of the time and there are no other RBs currently on the roster besides these two. I’d still be okay playing either guy, both not much of both in the same lineup, if Smith and Patrick are both in.
Top LA XFL DFS picks:
- Nelson Spruce has yet to return to practice and it seems likely he’ll remain out. That should mean more opportunity for Tre McBride to continue an obscene early run. McBride was up to 41 routes run last week and he turned that into 12 targets that were good for eight grabs and 125 yards as well as a TD. He’s likely going to see Anthoula Kelly, a CB who gives up a 117 QB rating this year and 1.95 yards per coverage route. That could be abject death for TB’s secondary and McBride’s a guy I want a lot of this week. Much like Cam Phillips last week, McBride’s run seems untenable with a 35% target per route rate and 4.5 yards per route run. But he’s PFF’s top graded WR this year and may just have more talent than anyone he faces.
- Jordan Smallwood also saw more work with Spruce out last week as he had seven targets, good for five grabs and 75 yards. He ran the most slot routes last week and could see even more if Spruce remains out with Kermit Whitfield waived this week. He, Adonis Jennings, and Saeed Blacknall all get a bit of a boost because of Whitfield’s departure.
- I’d avoid the run game with Elijah Hood and Martez Carter’s statuses up in the air. If he makes it back in, Hood has not done much with his opportunity on the year and Tampa Bay is a decent run defense with a 72 grade from PFF. With Carter out and Hood hurt last week, they yielded to Dujuan Harris, who led the backfield with a 71% snap share, and Larry Rose. Neither guy did much of anything. Carter being available could be worth a little exposure but everyone else here seems unplayable.
Looking for more XFL DFS picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data, cheatsheets and more on the Awesemo XFL home page, just click HERE