DraftKings XFL: Week 3 Plays
DraftKings XFL: Week 3 Plays

We're two weeks into the inaugural XFL 2.0 season, and both chemistry and roles at the skill positions are starting to cement themselves on each squad. We now have a modest sample of two games to work with in terms of our DFS evaluations and research, and Week 3 presents us with an opportunity to capitalize on some of that information in the form of some appealing salaries for several players.

DraftKings is offering a full array of cash games and GPP contests based on the league's games during each week of the regular season and postseason. In this weekly article, we'll highlight multiple options at each position.

As a reminder, check out our XFL DFS 101 series for a full breakdown of the basics of playing XFL contests on DraftKings, as well as a look at how some of the ways the XFL differs from the NFL can affect DFS strategy.

Quarterbacks

Cardale Jones, DC at LA ($10,800)

Jones is naturally going to cost you a pretty penny, but he still checks in $700 cheaper than the Roughnecks' P.J. Walker, who's now at a price point that makes it exceedingly difficult for him to generate an adequate return on. Meanwhile, Jones has demonstrated excellent early rapport with his talented group of pass catchers, and alongside Walker and the BattleHawks' Jordan Ta'amu, has arguably been the league's most consistent quarterback through two weeks from a fantasy perspective.

The Ohio State product has scored 20 and 19 DK points in his first pair of contests, respectively. Jones has supplemented strong work through the air with 42 rushing yards, and he'll draw a vulnerable Wildcats defense in Week 3. Los Angeles is allowing 277.5 passing yards and 31 points per game through the first two weeks, numbers which dovetail perfectly for fantasy purposes with Jones' XFL-leading 511 passing yards heading into the contest.

Brandon Silvers, SEA vs. DAL ($7,500)

Those who either witnessed Silvers' Week 2 performance against the Vipers first-hand or took a glance at the game's box score are very likely surprised to see his name among Week 3 recommendations. However, as ugly as Silvers' numbers (7-for-18, 91 yards, one TD, one INT) were, there's reason for optimism in his matchup versus the Renegades, especially at his price and likely modest ownership.

To begin with, Dallas' Air Raid approach on offense should facilitate some extra plays for Seattle over the course of the game. Then, when looking past Silvers' forgettable Week 2 effort, it's important to note Silvers looked much more competent in the opener versus a tough DC secondary, accumulating 19 DK points on the strength of three touchdown passes. The Dragons have some firepower in their receiving corps as well, with Keenan Reynolds' 68-yard touchdown grab in Week 2 serving as the latest example.

ALSO CONSIDER: Jordan Ta'amu, STL vs. NY ($10,100); Taylor Cornelius, TB vs. HOU ($7,200)

Running Backs

Donnel Pumphrey, DC at LA ($7,000)

Pumphrey fell flat as a Week 1 recommendation, but it turns out the Dragons' front seven he faced that day could prove to be one of the league's best. What we saw out of the speedster in Week 2 is what's likely much more reflective of his considerable physical talent. The 2017 fourth-round pick of the Eagles generated 11 DK points on 17 touches against the Guardians, averaging 4.3 yards on the ground and 8.7 through the air.

Pumphrey's speed is elite, and the Defenders have clearly tried to scheme some plays to him in space over the first two weeks. That should certainly remain the case against a suspect Wildcats defense, with their vulnerability to the pass already elaborated on in Cardale Jones' entry earlier. It's also worth mentioning L.A. is yielding 102.0 rushing yards per game over the first pair of contests, a figure that includes the Renegades' Cameron Artis-Payne's 99-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 2.

Trey Williams, SEA vs. DAL ($5,000)

Granted, the Dragons' backfield hasn't been easy to figure out from a workload perspective early, although the good news is all three of the team's backs have been getting a solid amount of work. One factor that could help ease the logjam this week is injury. Kenneth Farrow is dealing with a ribs injury and Ja'Quan Gardner also has been dealing with an ankle issue. Although the each of the pair is labeled probable, they could both be somewhat affected by the injury come Saturday.

Williams has proven versatile over the first two games, playing a bigger role as a receiver in Week 1 versus the Defenders on his way to notching five catches and one touchdown through the air. He then paced the backfield in carries in Week 2 with 11 totes, which he parlayed into 45 yards. Williams' price has held steady this week, and he faces a Dallas defense that's yielded 124.0 rushing yards per contest thus far. While that number is heavily influenced by the 191 they gave up to the BattleHawks in Week 1 – 77 of which came from QB Jordan Ta'amu – Williams' workload and ability to contribute as a dual threat make his salary highly appealing.

ALSO CONSIDER: Darius Victor, NY at STL ($4,700)

Wide Receivers

Kahlil Lewis, HOU at TB ($9,100)

Lewis' teammate Cam Phillips came through in spectacular fashion in Week 2 with a three-touchdown performance, but he's bugged by an ankle issue this week despite the probable designation. His potential limited status could therefore push Lewis into the role of No. 1 receiver in the Roughnecks' prolific passing attack, making him a worthy consideration if you're paying up at the position.

The Vipers' numbers against the pass look strong from a yardage perspective, as they yielded just 82 net yards to the Dragons' Brandon Silvers in Week 2. However, they allowed the Guardians to compile 182 in Week 1, and they've yet to face anything resembling Houston's Run-and-Shoot attack. Moreover, Tampa Bay checks in with three cornerbacks that sport sub-60.0 grades on Pro Football Focus through the first two week, and Lewis has already logged 13 targets over the first two games (average of 13.25 DK points) with Phillips in the lineup.

Keenan Reynolds, SEA vs. DAL ($7,400)

As mentioned in Silvers' entry earlier, Reynolds was the one-man highlight of an otherwise moribund Dragons passing game in Week 2 with his 68-yard touchdown grab. Kasen Williams (quadriceps) has already been ruled out and Dontez Byrd (knee) is potentially slated to battle through a knee issue, which only serves to bump up Reynolds' potential role in a game during which Seattle may have to be more aggressive through the air than usual.

The Navy product hasn't been at his most efficient through the first two weeks, but that's partly been on the shoulders of Silvers. Additionally, Reynolds has logged 15 total targets in that first pair of contests; one of the best barometers we can lean on when trying to evaluate players at this early stage of the league. Considering Reynolds' big-play ability and the fact the receiving corps could be short-handed this week, he's certainly worthy of a look as a mid-tier option.

DeAndre Thompkins, DC at LA ($5,700)

Another performance along the lines of his Week 2 debut and Thompkins' price won't be in the sub-$6K range for another week. The Penn State product posted a 6-92-1 line against the Guardians after missing the opener due to a foot injury, with Cardale Jones notably hitting him for a 13-yard touchdown to cap off Thompkins' first XFL drive. The immediate chemistry between quarterback and receiver is naturally very encouraging for fantasy purposes, and the fact Thompkins now gets a crack at a suspect L.A. defense at his price makes him one of the best potential fantasy-point-per-dollar values of the week.

The Wildcats' vulnerabilities to the pass were already enumerated in Jones' entry earlier, and it's also worth mentioning Thompkins' position mate Malachi Dupre could miss the Week 3 contest due to a shoulder injury. That would result in an instant bump up the depth chart for Thompkins, who saw an impressive nine targets right out of the gate in last Saturday's victory. Thompkins also projects to draw the Wildcats' Roman Tatum's coverage most often according to Pro Football Focus, and Tatum has notably surrendered the fourth-highest yards per route covered (1.80) in the XFL through two weeks.

ALSO CONSIDER: Nelson Spruce, LA vs. DC ($10,900); L'Damian Washington, STL vs. NY ($8,000); Alonzo Russell, STL vs. NY ($5,900)

Flex

Jacques Patrick, TB vs. HOU ($4,400)

The Vipers have a legitimate two-headed backfield monster in the form of Patrick and De'Veon Smith, but it was the former who led the team in carries in Week 2 versus a stingy Dragons run defense. Patrick still managed to rattle off 73 rushing yards on just 14 carries, adding two catches for 18 yards in a performance that netted 10.1 DK points.

The FSU product will be in a much better statistical matchup in Week 3 at his bargain price, considering the Roughnecks check in allowing 110. 5 rushing yards per contest over the first two weeks. Patrick has also done an excellent job fighting for yards, with Pro Football Focus noting he ranks third in yards after contact (94) through the first two games. A back with his seemingly locked-in role at his price certainly stands out – especially with the luxury of a flex position to slot him into – and his ability to serve as an outlet out of the backfield should keep him involved even if Tampa Bay has to tilt more towards the pass in order to keep up with Houston.

Reece Horn, TB vs. HOU ($4,200)

And speaking of the Vipers possibly being forced into a pass-heavy attack, Horn, like his teammate Patrick, stands out as another potentially mis-priced player. The dependable receiver has already been enjoying a solid role through the first two games, amassing 13 targets (eight catches) on his way to tallies of seven and 10 DK points, respectively. As per Thursday reports, quarterback Aaron Murray will miss another game in Week 3 due to his foot injury, which means Horn will be poised to once again work with the Taylor Cornelius/Quinton Flowers combo that fed him eight looks last week.

The Roughnecks make for an appealing DFS target with respect to opposing receivers, as Houston's up-tempo pace is likely to both afford the Vipers extra plays and dictate an aggressive approach. Horn's excellent route running and hands make him very well equipped to exploit those conditions, and it's also worth noting the Roughnecks check in surrendering an elevated 230.0 passing yards per contest over the first two weeks, along with four touchdowns through the air.

Team Defense

St. Louis BattleHawks vs. NY ($3,700)

The BattleHawks defense faced a tough test in the Roughnecks and their Run and Shoot attack in Week 2, and although St. Louis narrowly fell by a 28-24 score, they impressively limited Houston's P.J. Walker to 160 net passing yards. A week prior against the Renegades, the 'Hawks amassed four sacks and an interception on their way to allowing Dallas just 267 total yards. With what has to be considered an upgrade in matchup over last week, I like St. Louis as a mid-priced defensive option to roll with in Week 3.

The Guardians appear to be "in transition" on offense, to put it nicely, with quarterback Matt McGloin famously critiquing the playcalling at halftime on national television in Week 2 before promptly throwing a pick-six on the first series of the second half and earning a benching. While the veteran is capable of playing much better than he displayed in that loss to the Defenders, the reality is McGloin has been a turnover-prone signal-caller dating back to his college days. The BattleHawks have the ability to bring the pressure and have surrendered a stingy 68.0 rushing yards per contest through two games as well, and they'll have the added advantage of what should be a sizable and raucous crowd in a game that will mark pro football's return to St. Louis.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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