XFL DFS Picks: The XFL DFS Daily Plug Week 1
The XFL DFS Daily Plug is our weekly XFL write-up that highlights the top XFL DFS picks for FanDuel & DraftKings. The Plug then provides actionable information for each slate by giving lineup construction advice, making specific recommendations on how much of your bankroll to allocate, and exactly what types of contests to play -- all depending on the type of player you are. Be sure to read all the way through to the end!
Keep an eye on this page, updates will be made IN BLUE on gamedays if anything changes. The XFL has added an Injury Report page, so check that as well closer to lock.
Dallas Renegades, -9
DC Defenders, -9
Highest Game Totals:
Highest Implied Team Totals:
Lowest Team Totals:
Biggest Line Moves:
Introduction to XFL DFS
Didn't play last week? Got you covered - there are still the normal differences in fantasy football scoring for these two providers. FanDuel remains 0.5 points per reception, with no bonuses. FanDuel rosters will consist of 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TEs, and 2 flex players. There are no defenses in FanDuel XFL contests. FanDuel has also opted (for now) to only offer 2 game main slates, instead of full weekend 4 game main slates.
DraftKings has PPR scoring, and the same 3 point bonuses as NFL for passing/rushing/receiving. DraftKings rosters will consist of 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WRs, 2 flex players, and 1 DST. TEs have been lumped in with WRs on DraftKings.
With the XFL’s rules for 1, 2 or 3 point conversions, both sites have decided to award the respective amount of points scored on a conversion to players. Example: if a QB throws a successful 3 point conversion to a WR, both players will earn 3 fantasy points.
Note: should any game go to overtime, each offense gets to run 5 two-point conversion plays. Any successful conversions will accrue fantasy points accordingly.
XFL DFS Picks, Lineup Advice, Slate Notes
- Bankroll allocation: 1-2%. This is a high-risk slate - play in the big contests with any satellite tickets you’ve won, focus on satellites, single-entry GPPs, leagues/contests and multipliers. Should there be significant overlay available in double-ups and other “low-risk” contests come Saturday afternoon -- or if you can find any contests with inexperienced entrants -- consider adding those into your high-risk allocation.
- Low-risk lineup strategy: This is still daily fantasy football at its core. The way to build a lineup with a high floor is by rostering players that are anticipated to have a high volume of touches - typically starting RBs. The high-owned RBs we’re projecting on this slate fit that category. Consider rostering 3 of those guys if you feel confident enough to play low-risk in Week 1 of XFL DFS. With salary not being a concern (more below), this is not the time to get cute at the QB position in low-risk, either.
- High-risk lineup strategy: For your high-risk lineups, start each with a 3-1 game stack -- that is, a QB, two of his pass-catchers (WRs preferred), and an opposing player from the same game (also, preferably a WR). Similar to NFL, we give the edge to RBs in the FLEX on FanDuel and WRs in the FLEX on DraftKings. Fill out the remainder of your roster using the salary and ownership principles in the next two bullet points.
- Salary allocation: Since FanDuel & DraftKings salaries were released before the first depth charts surfaced, you can essentially ignore the salary cap in Week 1. On FanDuel, it’s possible to roster all starters and only use $75 of your $100 salary cap. On DraftKings, the disparity is even more pronounced -- you can roster all starters and use just $25,000 of your $50,000 cap. The takeaway? An immediate edge is not using the entire salary cap, or even close to it. While you’ll likely want to spend a bit more than the minimums listed above based on our top plays below, leaving 5 to 25 percent of your salary cap remaining is the sweet spot in high-risk contests.
- Balancing ownership: As we mentioned in the bankroll allocation section, this is a high-risk slate. But high-risk doesn’t mean you have to get completely crazy and roster 6-7 off-the-wall plays. Use 3 to 4 of the high-owned top plays below per lineup. You can then roster some of our anticipated low-owned plays (particularly at WR) to differentiate. This, in addition to leaving a liberal amount of salary on the table, should set you up to have some unique shots at reaching the top of your tournament leaderboards.
- Underperforming WRs: Available after Week 2
- Weather: Saturday games in Los Angeles and Houston will be played in the best conditions. Sunday’s game in New York could be chilly and wet, but nothing to be overly afraid of for DFS purposes. The final game in Dallas has the “worst” weather, which a chance for rain and 10-15 mph winds per Kevin Roth, but still not a huge concern.
- High-risk contest selection: It’s a great slate for multiple high-risk lineups. Smaller bankrolls & those on time restrictions should create 3 high-risk lineups. If you can afford more, make 5 to 20 lineups with the goal of hitting 25X return on one of them (or earning multiple satellite tickets). There are plenty of leagues, contests, and single entry GPPs on both FanDuel and DraftKings to focus on. For single entry, the $5 entry fee, $5K Huddle or $12 entry fee, $10K Fair Catch on DraftKings are great places to spend your high-risk allocation. On FanDuel, we always prefer 100-player leagues. Beyond that, there’s the $1 entry fee, $1K Sat XFL Squib, the $2 entry fee, $1K Sat XFL Safety, $5 entry fee, $2.5K Sat XFL Spike and the $10 entry fee $1K Sat XFL Scramble. Have a larger bankroll? The $50 entry fee XFL $2K Chop Block and $100 entry fee XFL $2.7K Spy contests are the best ones available to you on DraftKings. On FanDuel, there’s the $100 entry fee $2.5K Sat XFL Blitz available.
Showdown/Single Game: The pricing on DraftKings (we only have Saturday games available) makes it very very easy to roster starting QBs and RBs in each game. There are big (for XFL) tournaments on both FanDuel and DraftKings for the LA-HOU game, and it's very easy to build rosters for these single game contests with LA QB Josh Johnson priced like a starting QB, but very likely inactive on the slate. We recommend that you target this specific game for any low-risk allocation on the slate on DraftKings. Do that by rostering Walker at CPT, flexing Kanoff/McClendon (whichever LA QB starts), Elijah Hood and Andre Williams. Consider rounding out the lineup with one of the WRs we like in this game below, Houston defense, and the kickers. On FanDuel, there are satellites for a lot of the big future tournaments mentioned below on each single game slate you should try and play as well.
SUNDAY Showdown Update: FanDuel wised up after yesterday's pricing, making it impossible to fit 2 RB + QB in low-risk lineups today. If you play single game on FD, stick to high-risk and roster QBs in the MVP spots. On DraftKings, it's still incredibly easy to fit 2 QB + 2 RB (QB in CPT) for contests of any type.
- DraftKings: Only tickets for the the February Freeze series available.
- FanDuel: Consider playing for tickets to enter “Next Week’s XFL Special”, as this appears to be the only XFL specific satellite. For other sports, look at the NAS SUPER Intimidator on 2/16, NHL SUPER Goal on 2/18, the NBA Legendary Layup on 2/20, the TEN Super Smash on 3/12, the MLB Opening Day Rally on 3/26, and the PGA MEGA Eagle on 4/9.
- UPDATES will be posted in BLUE.
- Injuries to Monitor:
- OUT: SEA WR Kasen Williams, DC WR DeAndre Thompkins, SEA TE Cam Clear, TB DeAndre Goolsby, NY TE Keenan Brown
QUESTIONABLE: SEA WR Alonzo Moore, LA QB Josh Johnson, LA WR Tre McBride, DAL QB Landry Jones, STL TE Cole Hunt
- DAL WR Jazz Ferguson is dealing with multiple injuries, but expected to play at least limited snaps Sunday. Only playing "some" snaps makes him difficult to roster in any format.
- LA QB Josh Johnson is expected OUT, with Charles Kanoff drawing the start per the LA Daily News. McClendon may "split time" with him, so this is a QB situation to avoid in fantasy.
- LA WR Tre McBride is OUT, did not travel.
- DAL RB Lance Dunbar has been added to the low-owned RB player pool. Despite not being listed on the depth chart, we do expect Dunbar to see playing time. A prolific pass-catching RB, Dunbar is a low-owned option on the two-game slates on both sites.
- OUT: SEA WR Kasen Williams, DC WR DeAndre Thompkins, SEA TE Cam Clear, TB DeAndre Goolsby, NY TE Keenan Brown
Top Plays by Position
Listed in order of our preference. An underlined play is a leverage play.
High-owned: HOU Phillip Walker, DC Cardale Jones, TB Aaron Murray
Low-owned: NY Matt McGloin, STL Jordan Ta’Amu, DAL Phillip Nelson
High-owned: DC Jhurell Pressley, DAL Cameron Artis-Payne, STL Christine Michael, LA Elijah Hood, TB De’Veon Smith, SEA Ja’Quan Gardner, HOU Andre Williams
Low-owned: HOU Nick Holley, NY Darius Victor, DC Donnel Pumphrey, SEA Kenneth Farrow, NY Tim Cook, HOU De’Angelo Henderson, DAL Lance Dunbar (Sun Only)
High-owned: HOU Sammie Coates, HOU Kahlil Lewis, DC Malachi Dupre, NY Mekale McKay, DAL Jeff Badet, LA Nelson Spruce, STL De’Mornay Pierson-El, SEA Keenan Reynolds, TB Nick Truesdell, LA Jordan Smallwood
Low-owned: DC Rashad Ross, DAL Freddie Martino, TB Jalen Tolliver, TB Reece Horn, TB Daniel Williams, STL L’Damian Washington, NY Colby Pearson, DC Eli Rogers, LA Adonis Jennings, STL Alonzo Russell, STL Marcus Lucas, SEA WR Dontez Byrd, DAL WR Jazz Ferguson, TB Seantavius Jones, NY Austin Duke, NY Teo Redding, DAL Donald Parham, LA Tre McBride
High-owned: Houston, DC, STL
Low-owned: Dallas, New York
Team Notes: Playing Time, Starters, Roles, Depth Chart Analysis
Seattle at DC, 2pm EST Saturday
- Injuries: WR Kasen Williams, TE Cam Clear are OUT.
- Dontez Byrd is listed as Williams’ backup on the depth chart -- there has been zero mention of Byrd in the DFS industry, so he’s likely a 1% owned high-risk play.
- Colin Jeter will start for Cam Clear.
- Brandon Silvers is the unquestioned starter at QB.
- The backfield situation is murky -- Trey Williams was their first round pick, yet he’s listed third on the depth chart. Kenneth Farrow was their second round pick and named team captain, yet he’s number two on the depth chart. The “starter” is Ja’Quan Gardner but most reports detail this as a running back by committee.
- Keenan Reynolds (former college QB, WR with the Baltimore Ravens) is a candidate for backfield handoffs and the XFL’s double pass, bumping his outlook slightly.
- Austin Proehl will be the other starting WR.
- DC’s spread and team total has increased a full point since lines opened.
- Injuries: WR DeAndre Thompkins OUT.
- Rashad Ross was listed behind Thompkins on the initial Week 1 depth chart, despite being one of the few XFL WRs with NFL experience and a popular fantasy selection in the industry before the season began. He dominated the AAF last year with the Arizona Hotshots and will likely see a significant role in Week 1 if the depth chart holds true.
- Cardale Jones is the team’s undisputed QB.
- Jhurell Pressley meets the XFL Week 1 trifecta: AAF relevance (leading rusher), high team total, top of the depth chart. He should see safe volume and will be one of the highest owned players on the slate.
- His backup & change of pace backfield mate is Donnel Pumphrey, whc was a great pass catching back in college and NFL preseason. He’s a dart throw play in case he gets involved in a DC trailing game script.
- Eli Rogers (tons of NFL experience) was expected to be the slot WR, but he’s listed third on the depth chart. Do note, however, that DC only lists 2 WR positions on their depth chart (whereas most teams list 3), so with Thompkins out, Rogers could easily be the number 3 WR on gameday. He’s a good high-risk play in the hopes that people don’t analyze the situation deeper.
- Malachi Dupre is minimum price on DraftKings, but $18 on FanDuel. Either way, he’s listed as a starting WR and perhaps has even more certainty in his role than Ross and Rogers.
- Khari Lee is the starting TE and he averaged more than 11 yards per reception in both college and the NFL preseason. Likely too deep for DraftKings’ four game slate, he’s a low-owned option on FanDuel’s two game slate.
L.A. at Houston, 5pm EST Saturday
Los Angeles Wildcats
- Starting QB and NFL veteran Josh Johnson has been sidelined with an injury and is unlikely to suit up.
- There are mixed reports on who will start in his place, but Charles Kanoff is the favorite. We’ll update pregame with any word.
- With the word that Johnson likely won’t play, the spread has moved from HOU -5 to HOU -6.5.
- Tre McBride, a popular preseason season-long XFL fantasy pick, is dealing with a thigh injury and is questionable to play. He’s initially listed on the initial depth chart as a backup to Jordan Smallwood.
- Elijah Hood is penciled in as the workhorse RB, but likely without his starting QB in a game where the betting markets are indicating they should be trailing, he may cede work to any of the other three RBs on the roster, all of whom had higher reception shares in college.
- Nelson Spruce, who had some NFL preseason run, drew target volume in the AAF, and dominated target share in college, will be the slot WR for LA and a popular choice in DFS.
- Adonis Jennings, who actually saw a higher percentage of his AAF’s team air yards last season than Spruce, is the other starting LA WR, and he’s been virtually undiscussed in the industry. Another 1% high-risk play and game stack pivot.
- Brandon Barnes is the starting TE but can be ignored.
- Houston will run an Air Raid offense with four WRs on the field for most snaps -- they don’t even have a TE on the roster.
- Phillip Walker will draw the start at QB and due to the offensive scheme has perhaps the highest upside on the slate.
- Andre Williams is listed as the starting RB but the dude has caught like 10 passes in his entire life. His prices are drastically different between the two sites, so expect him to be higher-owned on DK where he’s cheap.
- His “back up” is De’Angelo Henderson is quicker and plays better in the passing game. He’s a “let’s hope the depth charts are wrong” high-risk RB.
- Sammie Coates is the WR1, has legit NFL success, and will be one of the most popular plays of the slate in this offense.
- Kahlil Lewis is cheaper than Coates but perhaps holds similar upside given his number two WR standing on the depth chart and previous college/NFL preseason production.
- Cam Phillips is the WR3 but will play plenty. He’ll carry significantly less ownership than Coates and Lewis.
- The most intriguing play here is Nick Holley who is a RB by trade but listed as the fourth WR on the initial depth chart. It’s possible we get a cheap RB who’s actually playing WR, making Holley a great high-risk play and game stack contributor.
Tampa Bay at New York, 2pm EST Sunday
Tampa Bay Vipers
- TE DeAndre Goolsby is OUT with a neck injury, 2nd on depth chart.
- The Vipers are led by Marc Trestman, former Chicago Bears head coach. Trestman is a 3 time Grey Cup champion in the CFL.
- He brought an OC from the CFL on board to help run the Vipers, Jamie Elizondo.
- We expect the Vipers to run a version of the West Coast offense, which is good news for pass catchers on the Vipers.
- QB1 Aaron Murray probably has the most impressive NCAA resume in this iteration of the XFL. As a four year starter at the University of Georgia, Murray averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt (Y/A), with a touchdown on an astonishing 13.1% (!) of his throws. His success in the SEC is likely why he’ll start the season as one of the more popular fantasy plays at the position.
- With the double forward pass in play, Quinton Flowers is a QB/RB hybrid (listed at QB3 on the depth chart) for the Vipers. The former USF QB averaged 8.3 Y/A in the air, while also rushing for 41 total touchdowns and averaging 6.1 yards per carry while doing so. We’ll be interested to see if he takes any meaningful passing volume away from Murray, or just simply splits time with the next player below.
- RB1 DeVeon Smith rushed for 345 yards and 6 touchdowns in the AAF for the Orlando Apollos, and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. He led the 3-man backfield in carries - but saw just 9 targets in 8 games. In his college career at the university of Michigan, he also averaged less than 1 reception per game. Smith is the best DFS play in this Vipers backfield this weekend at his $6300 on DraftKings, but doesn’t have much passing game upside it looks like.
- RB2/RB3 Jacques Patrick last played for Florida State, where he first split reps with Dalvin Cook, then future NFL Draft pick Cam Akers. As a complementary back for the Seminoles, he averaged a respectable 4.9 yards per carry with 8-9 carries per game in his career.
- The WRs are where it's at in this offense this week. Jalen Tolliver, Reece Horn and Dan Williams are atop the depth chart, but are all $3400 or less on DraftKings. Horn is the best value on FanDuel of the bunch at just $13. He’s also likely to be the most popular WR in this group, as most spring football fans will remember he was the leading WR on the AAF’s Memphis Express last year.
- Seantavius Jones was the Vipers’ second skill position player selected in the draft, yet he’s listed behind the three WRs above on the depth chart. Like Rashad Ross, he’s a “let’s bet on skill and not the depth chart” high-risk play.
- TE Nick Truesdell was the 5th overall pick in the skill player segment of the XFL Draft, and should see plenty of work in this offense. In fact, at more than double the price of his teammates on DraftKings, he’s probably the ultimate contrarian play.
New York Guardians
- TE Keenan Brown is OUT, was listed 4th on depth chart.
- With a large 2-point spread move in New York’s favor, they have to be considered as the highest upside underdog stack.
- The Guardians are led by coach Kevin Gilbride, a former NFL Head Coach with the Chargers, but also an offensive coordinator for 25+ years in his career. Gilbride most recently coached the offense for the New York Giants, and helped guide Eli Manning to each of his 2 Super Bowl victories.
- Starting QB Matt McGloin has 7 NFL starts under his belt, so he’s one of the more experienced signal callers in the XFL as a pro. With the line movement back towards the Guardians in betting markets, we love using McGloin in tournaments Week 1, and stacking him with the WRs below.
- MeKale “Alpha” McKay is listed as the “X” WR on New York’s depth chart, so we should expect the University of Cincinnati product to be the lead target on deep shots here. He led his San Antonio Commanders AAF squad in air yards last season while playing in a similar role.
- Austin Duke will play the role of the “Z” WR, so expect to see him moved around pre-snap quite a bit at the line of scrimmage in this offense. At min-price for a WR on DraftKings, Duke is an easy pivot off of Alpha McKay, who is likely to carry the highest ownership here. Duke’s dominance of his college team’s offensive opportunity far far outshines every other WR on this Guardians team, for what it's worth.
- Gilbride runs a version of what’s called the “Erhardt-Perkins” offense, named for its innovators. For our purposes, it's best to think of this offense as the one many playcallers in the Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick coaching tree utilize. In this offense, the slot WR typically plays an important role. While Duke will find himself running out of the slot as the “Z” receiver at times, this means WR Colby Pearson is on our radar as a tournament play here as well.
- In the backfield, expect Oregon State product Tim Cook to lead a committee here. Cook split backfield work with DC’s Jhurell Pressley for the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots last season, and was actually slightly more efficient on a per carry basis (4.9 yards per carry) than Pressley. He had just 3 targets in 8 games, however.
- While listed as RB3 on the initial depth chart, Justin Stockton appears to offer the most pass-catching upside in this backfield, as the former Big 12 back with Texas Tech has the highest receiving game production history on the roster. Stockton is listed behind Darius Victor, the pride of the Towson Tigers on the depth chart.
St. Louis at Dallas, 5pm EST Sunday
St. Louis BattleHawks
- This squad projects to have potentially the most pre-historic, run-heavy offense in the entire XFL. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long runs a “spread” offense that skewed towards the run on 52% of offensive play calls in his years at Oklahoma and San Diego State.
- This is good news for perhaps the most “famous” RB in the XFL, former Seahawk and Packer Christine Michael. Fantasy football is still a game about opportunity at its core. Michael is the clear favorite to receive backfield touches against a Renegades offense already being forced to start their QB2. As a 9 to 10 point underdog, Michael likely goes lower owned than his cheaper, home favorite counterparts at the position.
- Starting QB Jordan Ta’Amu last got some run with the Houston Texans in the 2019 NFL preseason, and guided an Ole Miss offense that featured rookie NFL standouts AJ Brown and DK Metcalf. Ta’Amu is a dual-threat QB, who averaged just over 9 rush attempts per game at Ole Miss while throwing for 9.5 Y/A. He’s another strong tournament QB option, as a.) a huge road underdog and b.) the signal caller in an offense most expect (including us) to be run-heavy.
- L’Damian Washington, Alonzo Russell, and De’Mornay Pierson-El are on top of the depth chart for the BattleHawks at WR. Washington most recently got some run with the AAF’s Birmingham Iron, and likely serves as their field stretcher at the position. Pierson-El was a standout player with the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions, and should benefit from running as the slot WR. Russell will be the other outside WR. Pierson-El will likely carry the highest ownership based on his history and his higher price tag on DraftKings. Washington and Russell should be the lower owned options with more upside on DraftKings, as both come with modest salaries.
- Marcus Lucas is a WR who might be converting to TE, as he’s listed as TE1 on the BattleHawks depth chart.
- The Renegades are the biggest favorite of the weekend. They opened as 6.5 point favorites, and that line has moved 2.5 to 3 points higher, with Dallas listed between -9 and -10 at most books.
- Despite this, it seems very dicey that QB1 Landry Jones draws the start. He suffered a knee injury in December that could force him to miss this league opening game for Dallas.
- Phillip Nelson is expected to start for Dallas, and he most recently saw action with the San Diego Fleet in the AAF. He wasn’t very good, averaging just 6.7 Y/A. Now, he’s being asked to run Hal Mumme’s “air raid” offense, which should rival Houston’s run-n-shoot as the most pass-heavy scheme in the league.
- Cameron Artis-Payne got some run in the NFL with the Panthers for 4 seasons, and now expects to lead the Renegades backfield. As the largest home favorite on the slate, expect CAP to be one of the highest owned players in general.
- At WR, Jeff Badet should lead the Renegades. The Oklahoma product is a burner, who ran a 4.27 second 40 at his Pro Day. In an offense that we can expect to press the ball downfield often, Badet has the speed and athleticism to potentially become the Tyreek Hill of the XFL.
- Flynn Nagel and Freddie Martino are listed as the other starters in this offense on the initial team depth chart. Jazz Ferguson was listed on the injury report at the beginning of the week, but got a full practice in on Friday, so should be ready to go. He’s another candidate for us to roster and “hope” he gets more playing time, as he’s easily one of the better athletes on the roster.
- Reports are Jazz Ferguson is now dealing with a thigh injury to go along with his hand injury from earlier in the week. He is still expected to play, but will likely see limited snaps. His vast uncertainty makes him difficult to play in any format.
- Listed as the TE2 behind Sean Price, Donald Parham might be the ultimate tournament play in the Renegades air-raid offense. The Stetson University TE’s highlight reel shows a player who literally looks like a grown man playing against boys. While the competition level is clearly going to be higher here in the XFL, the pride of the Stetson Hatters offers far more upside than his low price ($2,600 DK, $11 FD) reflects.
We will be hosting an XFL DFS Twitch on our channel Friday night at 9pm EST! Join us, ask questions, and subscribe for access to our members-only Discord. Statistics cited from XFL.com.