FanDuel XFL DFS Lineup Advice: Week 1 (2020)
The NFL season may be over, but there is still DFS football to play with the reboot of the XFL. FanDuel is providing a variety of slates for the four games this weekend with two matchups on Saturday and another pair on Sunday.
The XFL 2.0 has many new rules to get familiar with, and most of them seem to favor the passing game with fast gameplay and scoring, which sets the league up great for entertainment value and, more importantly, for fun DFS play. FanDuel is providing a slightly different game experience for the XFL, which includes rosters with one quarterback, one running back, two wide receiver/tight ends, and two flex spots, with no defense, while you manage a salary cap of $100. You can get the full scope in their training guide.
Trying to predict outcomes early in the season, especially for Week 1, will be a little bit of a crapshoot until we get a week or two of action to analyze. My preliminary analysis leading up to Week 1 has consisted of keeping up with news on starters and depth charts while performing my own analysis of coaching tendencies and player’s NFL experience and draft capital — all in an attempt to rank each team by position, which can be found here.
With that, let’s try to predict the top players to target at each position for Week 1!
Phillip Walker (HOU): $18 vs. LA
The quarterback pricing on FanDuel is very clustered, which will put three or four guys into consideration, depending on how you want to fill out the rest of your lineup. My top choice is Phillip Walker, who was named the starting quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks over Connor Cook. The Roughnecks will be coached by June Jones, who has always led some of the most pass-happy offenses in the league during his previous coaching stops. Walker played his college ball at Temple, where he posted some solid numbers. He also can run with the football, which should help give him a high scoring floor in DFS. Look for the Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Wildcats to be the highest-scoring affair in the opening weekend of the XFL.
- Josh Johnson (LA): $21 at HOU
- Cardale Jones (DC): $20 vs. SEA
- Aaron Murray (TB): $18 at NY
Christine Michael (STL): $18 at DAL
My focus at running back in Week 1 will center around the matchup between the St. Louis BattleHawks and Dallas Renegades. The BattleHawks come in as a touchdown underdog, but with Renegades quarterback Landry Jones unlikely to play, I’d expect a closer outcome that should keep both running games in play. I’ll give the slight edge to Christine Michael, as I expect the BattleHawks to be one of the most run-focused teams in the XFL this season, based on their personnel. Their offensive line ranks well in my preseason metric while the Renegades defensive line ranked as one of the least experienced.
- Cameron Artis-Payne (DAL): $19 vs. STL
- De’Veon Smith (TB): $16 at NY
Sammie Coates (HOU): $20 vs. LA
Coates is the most expensive wide receiver on FanDuel, but this is expected to be a passing league, so we should place a premium on wide receivers. I’m all-in on the Roughnecks passing attack with June Jones calling the shots, and Sammie Coates is the Houston wideout with the most NFL experience. He played four seasons in the NFL, where he posted 29 receptions for 528 yards and two touchdowns, primarily with the Steelers as a third-round draft pick. Coates could be part of a potential shootout against the LA Wildcats, who I have ranked as the second-worst defensive back group.
Rashad Ross (DC): $15 vs. SEA
The key pieces of the Defenders’ passing game feel like they are underpriced on FanDuel, including their top two wideouts, Ross and Eli Rogers. Ross was one of the receiving stars of the short-lived Alliance of American Football (AAF), where he posted 36 catches for 583 yards and seven touchdowns. Ross, along with Rogers, could form the top receiving combo in the league with a capable quarterback in Cardale Jones throwing them the ball. While the Defenders’ passing offense graded out fairly well in my preseason metrics, their opponent, the Seattle defense, looks like a unit that could struggle to stop the pass with a secondary that lacks experience.
- Mekale McKay (NY): $17 vs. TB
- Nick Truesdell (TB): $14 at NY
- Freddie Martino (DAL): $14 vs. STL
- Eli Rogers (DC): $13 vs. SEA
- Keith Mumphery (STL): $11 at DAL