The XFL halfway point is nearing and many situations have become clear while others have only further descended into chaos. A number of quarterback controversies will play out in Week 5 but some running back dilemmas are actually beginning to work themselves out. We’re breaking down what it all means for XFL Week 5 DFS and the league as a whole. Let’s get to it.
Week 4 Notes
Quarterback Controversies Abound
Dallas Renegades quarterback Landry Jones re-aggravated a knee injury that caused him to miss Week 1 and will be out another two weeks. While Jones was out previously, Phillip Nelson was hyper-conservative en route to a 5.2 yards per attempt mark. Former Syracuse passer Eric Dungey has Air Raid experience and wheels for days, rushing for 1,993 yards in college. The offense should be interesting again if Dungey draws the start this week or next.
Cardale Jones continued to plummet in the DC’s 25-0 loss at the hands of the previously winless Tampa Bay Vipers. Over the past two weeks, Jones has averaged 3.6 yards per attempt. Tyree Jackson saw some late reps in both games and a change may be on the horizon.
Jackson was a middling passer at Buffalo but would be among the faster players in the league regardless of position. Given HC Pep Hamilton’s affinity for rushing the ball, Jackson is his best option under center.
Brandon Silvers‘ time may be up in Seattle but Jim Zorn is showing his fish scales again, hinting at a quarterback by committee.
Also worth noting, Zorn quoted "…I could use them both during the game without any reservation.” When discussing QBs Brandon Silvers and BJ Daniels. Can someone please explain to me why these dunce coaches think QBBC is a great idea? https://t.co/XH0nfvmI3G
— John Ferguson (@FantasyFerguson) March 4, 2020
B.J. Daniels averaged fewer yards per attempt than Jackson and is not as good an athlete. Daniel’s 4.63 Pro Day 40-Yard Dash is speedy but may not be enough to compensate for his inaccuracy. Silvers’ 5.3 yards per attempt is tied for last among the league’s starting passers. There’s no reason to keep trotting him out.
Matt McGloin was inactive for the Guardians and Luis Perez represented a notable improvement. Perez passed 26 times for 150 yards, found the end zone once, and didn’t turn the ball over. He also managed to not blame his teammates for his own shortcomings, another notch in his belt compared to McGloin. Though this offense will still be in the lower half of the league, be on the lookout for improvement from the New York’s top receivers, Mekale McKay and Colby Pearson.
Houston Rolls But Phillips Lets Down
Cam Phillips couldn’t sustain his breakneck pace through three weeks and finally posted a dud (2-16-0). Nick Holley and Kahlil Lewis each saw double-digit targets while Phillips was thrown at three times. The 27-20 represented Houston’s lowest game total of the season. Phillips should bounce back, but expect a more evenly distributed target share going forward.
Tampa Bay’s Rushing Duo
Jacques Patrick and De’Veon Smith both hit the century mark versus DC. They were the first XFL rushing duo to do so in the same game. The Defenders allow more fantasy points to backs than any other team and Tampa’s backs ran for at a 5.1 yardage clip. Much like the NFL, rushing at an efficiency rate isn’t the path to long term success. For fantasy, both may be good sell-high candidates with Tampa still being No. 6 in the league in points scored.
- Sammie Coates (DNP – Hamstring), WR, Houston – Coates has been passed up by a number of receivers on his team, but being inactive would free up an extra deep ball or two per game for a rotational player like Sam Mobley.
- Matt Jones & Christine Michael (DNP – Knee & Illness), RBs, St. Louis – Jones has been dealing with this injury all season and should play, plus illnesses rarely hold players out. If both backs sit out then Keith Ford, who has 49 yards on seven carries this year, would be in line for a massive workload.
- De’Veon Smith (DNP – Foot), RB, Tampa Bay – Teammate Jacques Patrick may avoid any regression or touchdown deficiencies with an uptick in touches should Smith miss time.
Phillip Walker ($12,00) is still the unquestioned best fantasy passer, posting 29.5 points weekly. Week 4 was a season-low for him and he still topped 20 points. Walker leads the XFL in attempts (146), yards (987), and touchdowns (12). He’s a certainty each week, no matter his opponent or game-script. Injuries and slow reactions to changes in usage have kept enough value at other positions that Walker continues to be viable in cash.
Houston’s opponents are also interesting fantasy options. The Roughnecks rank No. 6 in passing yards allowed and No. 4 in rushing yards allowed. B.J. Daniels ($7,200) ran seven times for 84 yards last week while only playing a half of football. If Jim Zorn does fully commit to him, he may be able to survive as a passer while crushing as a rusher.
Tyree Jackson‘s ($6,500) 4.59 legs and near-minimum price make him a cash game lock in the scenario that news breaks that he’s starting a full game. That’s an unlikely but enticing universe to dream that we live in.
Darius Victor’s ($5,800) 18 carries last week were a season-high for any New York running back. Tim Cook was relegated to eight carries. Victor was only targeted once versus the Wildcats, but has five targets in his other two games. This excluded Week 3, when he exited early with a concussion. Victor may be brushing up against workhorse status at a massive discount from other three-down backs.
Lance Dunbar ($7,600) leads the XFL with 22 receptions and has seen increased rushing work in every game this year. He also ranks No. 8 with 140 rushing yards. Going back to check-down czar Phillip Nelson may even further his role in the pass-heavy offense. Dunbar splits a backfield with Cameron Artis-Payne, severely capping his total volume in a single game. Because of this, he needs to score multiple times to crush his rising price tag and is better used in tournaments.
Nick Holley ($7,100) led Houston with an 8-97-1 receiving line last week with Dallas focusing on keeping Cam Phillips in check. Holley is lined up to be a more consistent threat in Houston’s offense, passing Sammie Coates for the third spot on the team’s depth chart. Every cash lineup should feature at least one Roughneck receiver and the role change makes Holley an ideal option relative to Phillips’ and Lewis’ costs.
Houston Roughnecks WR Nick Holley has played every offensive snap these last 2 weeks. He has:
125.2 passer rating when targeted
42 yards after the catch
7 catches for a 1st down or TD pic.twitter.com/xPEqIQJUin
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) March 4, 2020
Keenan Reynolds ($6,500) has been targeted 6.5 times per game through four weeks but targets mean nothing when they’re coming Brandon Silvers‘ misguided arm. B.J. Daniels may not be an elite passer but based on Silvers’ dismal performance, he would at least be a minor upgrade. His rushing would also help extend plays, allowing all of Seattle’s receivers to find some open space.
Nick Truesdell ($4,700) was targeted 11 times through two weeks before suffering a knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines ever since. He was listed as a full participant in the Vipers’ Wednesday practice and should take the field again on Sunday. His price is too low for one of the league’s top tight ends.
Darius Victor‘s volume swing will garner him some ownership but the New York defense ($3,200) may be the way to correlate a low-owned option with the back. Dallas scored nine points in Week 1 with Phillip Nelson under center and the Guardians allow 18.2 points per game, No. 3 in the XFL.
Houston’s defense has a handful of playmakers that take the field often because of how fast their offense can score. They have two top-10 interceptions leaders and two top-10 sack leaders. Against a struggling Seattle offense, they should be in for a big day.