The XFL is back and now we have some actionable data to plug our brains into. The teams are still new and trying to piece together their best roster and offense around that roster, so there will be plenty of things that make us scratch our heads as we move forward, but we’re in the information age of the league at least.
Landry Jones, Dallas Renegades ($9,500)
Jones continues to practice this week and looks ready to make his XFL debut. If he can go, he’ll get to face the team that gave up the most passing yards and passing touchdowns in Week 1. Dallas, under Bob Stoops and Harold Mumme, threw the ball 43 times to 12 rushing attempts despite being tied or in the lead through three quarters. Jones should have plenty of opportunity against a team that was killed through the air and just lost their defensive coordinator.
P.J. Walker, Houston Roughnecks ($10,600)
Walker was so far ahead of the rest of the quarterbacks in Week 1 that you can’t overlook him even though his price skyrocketed. Even with a big lead for much of the game, Walker still threw the ball 39 times, so there’s no doubt the volume will be there in the Run N’ Shoot. He faces a BattleHawks defense that didn’t face much of a vertical threat in Week 1, so they haven’t been tested like they will be this week.
DeVeon Smith, Tampa Bay Vipers ($7,500)
Smith looked good in his debut, gaining 87 yards on 17 touches, which is the most of any running back for Week 1. His lack of receptions or a touchdown hurt, but a touchdown is coming if he can average 17 touches a game, especially in one that his team trailed throughout.
James Butler, Houston Roughnecks ($6,300)
Butler isn’t someone I think is a must play, as his two touchdowns in Week 1 came on just 11 touches, but his price isn’t out of this world and we know he’s getting touches near the goal line on a team with a strong overall offense. And the fact that he saw 44 snaps to Andre Williams’ eight is a great sign that he can at least continue to see 10+ touches moving forward.
Matt Jones, St. Louis BattleHawks ($5,900)
One of the questions for Jones is if Christine Michael is going to get another shot at a good chunk of work despite putting up an awful game in Week 1? Jones ended up being the bell-cow in a close matchup, as he rushed 21 times for 85 yards. That usage blows away all the other running backs in the league, but he will likely have a tougher time seeing 20+ touches against a good Houston offense. But, as long as he remains the top back, I expect him to get strong touches at a good price.
Jeff Badet, Dallas Renegades ($8,700)
I like the Renegades passing game in this matchup and Badet led the team in snaps last week. He didn’t do much, but he has the speed to take the top off a defense and Landry Jones should have a better chance of getting him the ball than Phillip Nelson.
Dan Williams, Tampa Bay Vipers ($7,600)
Williams caught 6-of-9 targets for 123 yards against the Guardians and now faces a Seattle team that Cardale Jones had the highest passer rating and yards per attempt against in Week 1. Pro Football Focus also graded their coverage as worst in the league for Week 1. The Vipers are a bit of a mess at quarterback, but they were last week as well and Williams went off. I’d also be happy giving Jalen Tolliver and Reece Horn a shot in this matchup.
De’Mornay Pierson-El, St. Louis BattleHawks ($8,000)
I expect the BattleHawks to need to throw more against the high-powered offense of the Roughnecks, which would be great for super-slot Pierson-El. He led all receivers in yards after the catch and had a first down on three of his four receptions. PFF graded him as the fourth-best receiver of the week and I expect him to see more targets this week.
Dallas Renegades ($4,800) at LA Wildcats
I don’t love their price, but the Wildcats are in disarray and are hurting at quarterback, with both Josh Johnson and Chad Kanoff hurting. The Wildcats also gave up 16 QB hits and five sacks to the Roughnecks last week and if Dallas can come close to that kind of pressure, the Wildcats backup quarterback would be in deep trouble. If Johnson does end up playing, I will probably back off this pick due to the price, but for now, the situation looks ripe for some bad quarterback play from L.A.
I am an avid fan and user (my username is cogresha) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.