If you’re looking for XFL DFS picks for the semifinals of the playoffs, then you’ve come to the right place. Focusing on both weekend contests, we’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended DraftKings lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside. Whatever you decide, good luck.
XFL DFS Considerations
Last week, my recommended DFS lineup faltered. And it’s important to briefly walk through the context because it applies to this week, as well.
I urged readers to lean heavily into two of Week 10’s four contests — one featuring the Sea Dragons, and the other featuring the Battlehawks. Each team needed to win for a shot at the postseason. But more than that, they needed to run up the score.
So my recommended lineup featured five combined players from these two squads. The problem? I picked the wrong combination. Instead of stacking AJ McCarron with Hakeem Butler, I recommended Ben DiNucci and Jahcour Pearson. And that proved to be the difference between a strong tournament finish and a simple defeat.
In hindsight, I made a mistake, and it’s a good lesson learned for late-season DFS plays in the future. Because St. Louis played first, the pressure was on them to run up their score. By playing second, Seattle had the advantage of knowing how much they needed to score, as well as how much they needed to limit their opponent’s scoring.
So my mistake was leaning more heavily into the second game, recommending the primary Sea Dragons QB-WR stack instead of the first-up primary Battlehawks QB-WR stack. Let’s keep this in our back pocket for future NFL, XFL, and USFL seasons.
In the meantime, there are two semifinal matchups to consider this weekend. Houston is facing one of the weakest offenses in the league, as Arlington has struggled to move the ball on the ground and through the air.
For the Roughnecks, Max Borghi and Deontay Burnett — their two primary non-QB weapons — are pretty expensive. Essentially, they’d need to score to be worth the investment. I’m not keen on TD dependency in DFS unless we’re talking about a cheap flyer to backfill a top-heavy slate.
That brings us to the DC-Seattle matchup. Objectively more exciting on the offensive side of the ball, this game could easily top 60 combined points, or more than double what we might see in the Texans-Renegades contest.
DC and Seattle have beatable defenses and nearly unstoppable offenses. What a glorious combo.
The biggest question I’m dealing with is whether to trust Jordan Ta’amu and Abram Smith. Both are pricey. I can see both thriving. But Smith has slowed considerably in recent weeks. Some of that might be due to managing his reps ahead of the playoffs. However, it’s tough for me to justify spending big on him when Seattle’s top players can score in bunches.
Essentially, we don’t need to worry too much about the Sea Dragons’ subpar backfield. If they score, in all likelihood, it will go through their passing attack. That should give us some degree of confidence when crafting our lineup.
Top DraftKings DFS Picks for XFL Playoffs
Today, we’re playing DraftKings’ “XFL Classic,” which includes one QB, one RB, two WRs, two RB/WR/TEs, and one D/ST.
QB Ben DiNucci, Sea Dragons ($11,200)
Let’s go all in on DiNucci. He leads the league in passing yards, QB rushing yards, yards per carry, and turnovers. It’s a mixed bag, and if it were a bag of Halloween candy, we’d have about an 80% chance of pulling out a Twix and a 20% chance of grabbing an apple. Let’s hope it’s a Twix.
RB Leddie Brown, Renegades ($4,700)
This is a surprise pick, for sure. I like Leddie Brown’s hands (i.e. receiving-game chops) and how starter De’Veon Smith is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. This is a win-or-go-home situation. Brown looks like the better back. If Smith struggles early, I think Brown will lead his team in RB touches.
WR Jahcour Pearson, Sea Dragons ($10,600)
Pearson still has arguably the highest ceiling of any XFL receiver, and this weekend is no exception.
WR Blake Jackson, Sea Dragons ($8,300)
While writing this, I had penciled in the $9,600 hit-or-miss Josh Gordon, who secured nine of 13 targets in last week’s must-win contest. But that move would prevent us from landing one of DC’s two best receivers.
MORE: 2023 XFL Standings
I can’t justify that approach. Instead, we’ll go with subtly stellar Blake Jackson, who’s caught 75% of his targets while reeling in the league’s fifth-most receptions.
WR Chris Blair, Defenders ($7,800)
Lucky Jackson costs $9,200. We have to make tough choices. Choosing Chris Blair over Jackson might not work out. At the same time, it’s a logical decision if we believe the big-play Blair needs only one or two receptions to make good on his price point.
WR Alex Ellis, Defenders ($3,000)
Yes, I’m chasing points on the ultra-cheap Alex Ellis, who scored twice last week. Still, when a starting TE has caught eight of nine passes and is coming off a performance like Ellis just had, we can call it a fluke or a sign of things to come. I favor the latter over the former. At least 6.5 DFS points seem realistic.
D/ST Roughnecks ($4,400)
Finally, I’ve got the Roughnecks beating the Renegades. If we’re pulling for Houston’s D, Luis Perez doesn’t overly concern us at QB. I’m targeting 11+ points for the Roughnecks’ D/ST, which should make them the top D/ST scorer of the week.