This article is part of our DraftKings USFL series.
We're teed up for the two games that will decide the two teams that will battle for the new USFL's first championship, with the four best teams from the regular season set to duke it out Saturday. As would be expected, each team involved in the playoff round developed a steady core of players that could usually be relied on each week for fantasy production, which will certainly be helpful when building rosters for this weekend's clashes.
USFL DK contests will require players to roster one quarterback, one running back, two wide receivers or tight ends, two FLEX spots with either a running back, receiver or tight end and a team defense.
USFL DFS Picks and Plays – Semifinal Playoffs
Quarterback Plays for USFL Semifinal Playoffs
J'Mar Smith, BHAM vs. NO ($10,200): The quarterback position is going to require heavy investment on this especially small slate, so we kind of have to throw fantasy-point-per-dollar thinking out the window a bit. Smith has plenty of ceiling, can contribute with his legs and has a reliable running game and defense to support him, making him very worthy of consideration. He gave way to Alex McGough for most of the Week 10 win over the Bandits, but Smith's last full game of the season saw him net 15.5 DK points while throwing for a season-high 260 yards. He scored at least 15 DK points on six occasions overall this season, including a high-water mark of 20.3 against the Breakers back in Week 3. New Orleans boasts an ornery defense, but the combination of Smith's mobility and strong supporting cast could get him to a strong return.
Luis Perez, NJ vs. PHI ($9,400): Generals head coach Mike Riley has found plenty of success with the usually scoffed-at two-quarterback system, and there's little reason to believe he won't deploy Perez and De'Andre Johnson in much the same way he did during the regular season. Perez averaged a modest 9.7 DK points per game during the campaign but finished stronger than that number would imply, scoring 12.4 to 17.2 in three of the last five games despite splitting time. Riley's carefully crafted passing game also afforded Perez no shortage of high-percentage throws, as he completed over 70.0 percent of his passes on an outstanding six occasions overall. His sharpest game just happened to come against this same Stars team – which gave up an elevated 212.5 passing yards per game -- when he generated a 77.8 percent completion rate and tossed three touchdown passes.
Running Back Plays for USFL Semifinal Playoffs
Jordan Ellis, NO at BHAM ($9,600): Ellis does carry a bit of risk in the sense that he's had to split time with Anthony Johnson in recent weeks, but the Breakers' lead back is likely to be leaned on quite a bit in this do-or-die matchup. The versatile back has enjoyed a steady role in the passing game as well, logging as many as seven targets in a game this season. He also accrued his second-highest rushing total of the season in Week 3 when he gained 90 yards on 25 carries against the Stallions, and there's a strong chance Breakers head coach Larry Fedora turns to the running game and quick passes out of the backfield a good bit again in an attempt to tame the Stallions' furious pass rush somewhat. The USFL rushing yardage leader finished with a solid average of 11.2 DK points per game this season, and he should be set up to at least get into that range again with enough touches.
Trey Williams, NJ vs. PHI ($9,000): Williams just so happened to turn in his two most productive performances of the season against the Stars, recording 22.4 and 22.1 DK points in Weeks 3 and 10 on 110- and 114-yard rushing performances, respectively. The versatile speedster finished with 705 total yards on the season overall despite sharing the backfield with Offensive Player of the Year winner Darius Victor, but Williams still encouragingly logged double-digit carries in five of the last six regular-season games. With the Stars having given up a whopping 151.2 rushing yards per game and New Jersey sporting the heaviest run offense in the league this season, Williams should be set up for success yet again against Philadelphia.
C.J. Marable, BHAM vs. NO ($7,700): Marable had a few spike performances this season that make his current salary a potential bargain, even as he also has a fairly even timeshare going in his backfield. Bo Scarbrough has developed his own steady role in Birmingham's ground attack over the latter portion of the season, yet Marable requires $500 less of an investment, is the more productive receiver and finished the season with 18.6 DK points against the Bandits. He also had tallies of 17.6 and 23.1 DK points this season, and New Orleans finished the regular season giving up 112.9 rushing yards per game.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Plays for USFL Semifinal Playoffs
Kavontae Turpin, NJ vs. PHI ($10,600): Fresh off winning USFL MVP, Turpin will look to continue making the same kind of out-sized impact he proved capable of all season in this matchup. The slight speedster contributes in the running, passing and return games, which led to him tallying double-digit DK points in eight straight games to finish the regular season. Turpin posted 14.2 and 11.8 DK points in his two games against the Stars, and the combination of Philly's aforementioned vulnerability against the run and the fact they also gave up well over 200 passing yards per game set him up for a potential standout effort.
Marlon Williams, BHAM vs. NO ($7,600): Williams hit his stride nicely in the latter portion of the season, scoring 12.0 to 20.9 DK points in four of the last five games. The FSU product also produced tallies of 17.8 and 11.7 in Weeks 2 and 3, and his second matchup against the Breakers just happened to also be his most productive game of the season. Williams posted a 7-109 line on 12 targets that generated the aforementioned high-water mark of 20.9 DK points, and although Victor Bolden's absence in that game certainly played a part, it's worth noting Williams saw 12 targets again the following week against the Gamblers with Bolden back on the field and generated a solid 13.5 DK points.
Alonzo Moore, NJ vs. PHI ($5,100): Moore is an intriguing value option to consider on a Generals team that was highly adept at racking up time of possession this season and therefore often saw productive passing and rushing performances from its skill players. Moore put one of those together on the receiving end in Week 10 against these Stars, totaling 27.4 DK points on the strength of a 7-84-2 line on eight targets. His salary has only risen $600, and while Moore only had three double-digit DK-point tallies this season, he also went big in another one of those instances, posting 22.4 against the Maulers back in Week 4. With a big-play profile that can see him pay off his modest salary on one play, he's definitely under consideration for tournaments.
Bug Howard, PHI at NJ ($4,300): Howard burned the Generals twice this season and has shown plenty of rapport with quarterback Case Cookus, making him a definite consideration as a value play for either cash games or tournaments at his miniscule salary. Howard averaged 18 DK points over two games against New Jersey, most recently producing a 5-101 line on six targets in Week 10. He also flashed his upside with a two-touchdown effort against the Bandits in Week 2 that generated 19.6 DK points, and he hit double digits on four occasions overall in terms of DK-point tallies. The Generals finished the regular season yielding 205.2 passing yards per game as well, enhancing Howard's already strong case.
Team Defense Plays for USFL Semifinal Playoffs
Birmingham Stallions ($5,300) vs. New Orleans Breakers: The Stallions averaged 8.4 DK points per game during the regular season on the strength of 27 sacks, nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, one safety and one defensive touchdown. They enjoyed their encounters with the Breakers as well, producing 15 and 11 DK points in the two regular-season meetings between the teams. Whether it's Kyle Sloter (knee), Zach Smith, or a combination of the two in Saturday's game, Birmingham certainly has the ability to wreak havoc and goad either signal-caller into mistakes; in fact, the Stallions picked Sloter off four times overall in the two games. While New Orleans is likely to get its fair share of yards over the course of the game as was the case in each prior meeting, turnovers could ultimately lead to a fruitful return for coach Skip Holtz's defense.
USFL DFS Cheat Sheet for Semifinal Playoffs
Total salary cap expenditure: $26K
This trio enjoys secure roles and could form a rock-solid core of production in your lineups. Perez won't blow it out of the water yardage-wise most of the time, especially while ceding time to Johnson on occasion, but his high-percentage style should lead to plenty of completions and steady production. Trey Williams has had plenty of success against the Stars' porous run defense as noted earlier, while Marlon Williams has taken on a steady role in recent weeks and has big-play ability to spare, all at a very appealing mid-level salary.