Week 2 was somewhat of a mixed bag in the XFL, with two poor performances Saturday before the league burst back into life on Sunday. As we enter Week 3 of the season, DFS lineups are starting to become easier to build as roles materialize and players demonstrate their talents. However, as we become more familiar with these players, so does the DraftKings pricing structure, meaning we have to search harder for values. One way in which to do that is to focus on the target share for the receivers and backs through the first two weeks. With each reception worth points by themselves, getting five or more targets for your players is a prime way to identify a player with the potential to breakout.
For the second week running, projected totals around the league have dropped. This week sees all four games with a projected total below 45, with the Guardians and BattleHawks game sitting all the way down at 40. With scoring not living up to expectations so far, finding those targets and players with solid floors becomes all the more important when building your DraftKings lineups.
Jordan Ta’amu, St. Louis BattleHawks @ HOU (DK $10,100)
It took until Week 3 for the pricing to become close to accurate on Ta’amu, and even then, he is still only the fourth-highest priced QB in Week 3. Ta’amu backed up his 20-point Week 1 performance with a 31-point performance in Week 2. The Guardians’ defense ranks sixth in the league against the QB position when it comes to fantasy points, although they have yet to be completely torn to shreds by either opponent. However, in the controlled environment of the dome, we could see them exposed after playing two games in reasonably cold weather in New York and Washington. Below Ta’amu, the options are not very exciting, with a tough matchup for both LA and Seattle, uncertainty in Tampa Bay and Matt McGloin quarterbacking the Guardians behind an extremely suspect looking offensive line.
Cameron Artis-Payne, Dallas Renegades @ SEA (DK $8,300)
This is a lot to pay for a player who provided very little in Week 1, but when you compare his numbers to the other backs, he appears to be worth it. Only one running back has more targets this season than Artis-Payne, and he is tied for the lead at the position in touchdowns. His 6.6 yards per carry is also the highest number of any back right now, and he is facing a team that allowed the Vipers to average over six yards per rush play last week.
Lance Dunbar, Dallas Renegades @ SEA (DK $6,600)
Here is the only running back with more targets than Artis-Payne at 12. He has turned those into 11 receptions for 63 yards. On top of that, he is averaging over six yards per carry and exactly six yards per touch. Dunbar’s value comes in the form that his floor is so high simply due to the volume of passing down work. If he can find the end zone on top of his receptions and yards, then this price will look a huge value.
Jacques Patrick, Tampa Bay Vipers vs. HOU (DK $4,400)
Patrick was superb last week and now has the fourth most carries in the league through two weeks. He is also a small factor in the passing game for Tampa, with five targets through two weeks. With the Vipers likely to be trailing again this week, there is a chance we see a boost in targets in Week 3.
Nelson Spruce, Los Angeles Wildcats vs. D.C. (DK $10,900)
I am always looking to target one of the expensive options that see plenty of targets, and Spruce is that guy. The former Los Angeles Rams receiver has seen 24 targets through the first two weeks, which leads the league. He is also leading the league in receptions, with 17, and yards, 192. While the value of Cam Philips is heavily tied to his ability to find the end zone, the receptions and yards for Spruce mean he is a safer player this week. However, as last week demonstrated, he also has an impressive ceiling if he can get into the end zone.
Deandre Thompkins, D.C. Defenders @ LA (DK $4,700)
Thompkins numbers do not look that impressive until you realize he only played in Week 2 for the first time. He was a surprise name at the top of the Defenders depth chart before Week 1 before being unable to suit up. However, in Week 2, he pulled in 6-of-9 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. With all eyes on Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross, Thompkins has the potential to be the best receiver in D.C., while also being available for a bargain price.
Reece Horn, Tampa Bay Vipers vs. HOU (DK $4,200)
Horn’s price remains a bargain because he has yet to put up that huge performance. However, he has already seen 13 targets, pulling in 8 of them for 93 yards. He is an extremely talented receiver and goes up against a Houston team who we have seen opponents be able to score on so far this season.
Defense and special teams
St. Louis BattleHawks vs. N.Y. (DK $3,700)
Until we see something positive from the Guardians’ offense, it is a simple play to go against them. Week 1, their deficiencies were hidden by the horror show that was the Vipers. Week 2, their performances appear to have been put down to the strength of the Defenders defense. This week, especially if offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield remains out, we see the heat really turned up on the Guardians’ offense. The BattleHawks defense does not have great numbers through two weeks, but those are somewhat biased by having faced the two run and shoot offenses in the league. However, against a more conventional offensive system, they should have the ability to cause the Guardians some problems.
Ben Role is a handicapper, DFS writer, and editor for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter @benrolfe15.