Photo credit: Click2Houston
“All the world‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.” Surprisingly Shakespeare was not referring to the new XFL2020 season and PJ “TD” Walker and Cam “Bam Bam Bam” Phillips and their offensive explosion when he wrote this now-famous playline, but he might as well have been.
The XFL has seized the football stage over the last 3 weeks and if you are like me (fingers crossed you are nothing like me), you wait with bated breath each week waiting for FanDuel to release the XFL player prices so you can start searching for “your guys.” No. Just me. Moving on. Today we will examine the strategies and tools that I use each week to identify core players and develop an overall line-up construction gameplan.
Cash Games vs GPP Tournament Strategies
A quick disclaimer if you are new to DFS, make sure that you are familiar with the type of DFS contest you are entering and what the inherent advantages and disadvantages each type of contest possesses. Today we will limit our focus to cash games and GPP tournaments. Cash games generally refer to head-to-head, 50/50s and double-up, all games where roughly half of the field wins about twice their buy-in.
Participants in these contests normally lean on more reliable players who give them a solid floor without too much built-in risk. The goal of Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) Tournaments, on the other hand, is to maximize upside, by increasing your exposure to riskier players who care slate winning potential. GPP participants often max enter these tournaments (150 entries) with a core group of identified players and a pool of value plays in hopes of hitting the perfect line-up.
Tools of the Trade
Once FanDuel player prices are released, there are a number of factors that I take into consideration when I sit down to identify my core players for my lineups.
- Previous Performance Compared to Price/Points Per Dollar Value
- Weekly Offensive/Defensive Match-ups
- Potential Games Script – Vegas Team Totals
- Team’s Pass vs. Run Ratio
Previous performance is the best indicator of future production potential. This should weigh heavily in your evaluation process as you project which players will be successful from week-to-week. It sounds simple, but there are a number of factors that go into how a player performs each week. Game flow often dictates target share and player usage, and even though we think we know how a game will play out, we really are just using the data we have to make our best predictions.
Good news, after three weeks of play, offensive schemes have been established and the team’s pass or run tendencies have been exposed making it easier to prediction targets and touches. Below is a breakdown of each XFL teams’ pass vs. run ratio to help you find added value when selecting your players.
Vegas Lines & Team Totals
You might be scratching your head and openly wondering why Vegas team totals would factor into my core player build. Let’s examine the potential impact the team totals might have by examining this week’s Houston Roughnecks at Dallas Renegades game. Vegas has the over/under total at 50.5 with Houston catching a point.
The implied team totals for this game has Dallas at 25.5 and Houston at 24.5. This means that Vegas is predicting a high scoring game which presents opportunities for players to outperform their projections. Dallas passes the ball a league-high 69% of the time and Houston is nipping at their heels with a 68% passing rating. Knowing that both of these teams will probably be passing most of the game helps me identify sleepers or value plays in the lower price ranges.
QB – PJ Walker – $23
Step 1: See PJ Walker video. Step 2: Directly insert PJ Walker into your line-up. 3. Step 3: Win cash. If it sounds too easy, it isn’t. Walker has thrown 25% of the TDs this year in the XFL and has also added a rushing score. He’s accounted for 11 out of the 53 TDs scored (21%) this season. Put PJ “TD” Walker in your lineup and thank me later. Also, you can start telling people that you heard PJ “TD” Walker here first! Oh, mentioned that already. Fair enough. Next!!
PJ Walker completes the 84-yard TD WHILE getting dragged down.— XFL (@xfl2020) February 22, 2020
🖥 https://t.co/ll9uiONfjq pic.twitter.com/9RyTGBz3L8
WR – Cam Phillips – $22
Re-watch the PJ “TD” Walker Video and watch Cam “Bam Bam Bam” Phillips outrun everyone to the house for his first of 3 TDs on the day last week. Philips leads the league in receptions (20), targets (29), yards (324) and TDS (7). Put Phillips in your line-ups and ride the TD wave!
TE – Donald Parham Jr. – $19
Donald Parham Jr. is 3rd in the XFL in receiving yards with 217 and is averaging 15.5 yards per catch. He has been unstoppable for opposing XFL defenses. I love Parham this week in cash games and also in GPP tournaments. I believe he eats, as the kids are saying.
RB – Lance Dunbar – $16
Dunbar is tied for the XFL league lead in receptions with 20 and is second only to Donald Parham (24) on Dallas in targets with 23. My prediction is that the game is a back and forth slugfest, with Dallas playing from behind most of the way, opening up opportunities for Dunbar to get outside the numbers on a few screen passes. I would not be surprised if he finds the endzone this week. I’m going to feature him in both my cash and GPP lineups.
Flex – Rashad Ross – $16
Rashad “Rocket” Ross was grounded last week in his attempt to prove the LA Wildcats wrong made a mistake in trading him to the DC Defenders before the start of the season. The good news for us is that Ross has been priced down for no other reason than Cardale Jones was bad at throwing last week. Ross was targeted a team-high 6 times in the LA massacre. Despite failing to launch last week, he still leads the league in yards per reception with 23.4. I’m more comfortable playing Ross in GPPs, but he will be in my cash line-ups as well.
Flex – Reece Horn – $14
Another value play at $14 is Reece Horn. Nick Truesdell is currently doubtful for the game on Sunday and that leaves Jacob Tolliver and Horn to compete for those between the hash targets. Tolliver is priced up to $16 this week, so he will be more of a mid-range value. One of these guys pops on Sunday. For the money, Horn is hard to overlook.
Flex – Sam Mobley – $13
In week 3, Mobley had 4 targets for 2 receptions and averaged 20.5 yards per catch. My money will be on Mobley to get more downfield targets and have more air yards (shoutout Josh Hermsmeyer) than Nick Holley. Mobley is more of a GPP play than a cash game, but if you have both Walker and Phillips in your line-up you will need to find value in the $13-14 range.
RB/Flex – James Patrick – $13
Partick has been averaging 14 touches a game for the last 2 weeks; seeing 12 rush attempts and 2 targets a game. He hasn’t turned those touches into touchdowns, but there’s value to be had if his usage remains steady this week against the DC Defenders, who have given up the XFL’s 3rd most rushing yards per game at 125.3.
Flex – Josh Crockett – $12
Josh Crockett might not jump off the screen when you are scrolling through the wasteland of $12 XFL DFS players on FanDuel, but he has value as a potential downfield threat in a game that is predicted to surpass 50 points. In week 2 Crockett hauled in both of his 2 targets for 57 yards, with a long of 39 yards. He is currently the air yards leader for the Renegades. I smell value or maybe that is just Landry Jones.
Best of luck in week 4 of the XFL season and may the DFS gods be with you always!
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