DraftKings Week 10 XFL DFS Tournament Plays


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DraftKings Week 10 XFL DFS Tournament Plays

A lack of NFL football, or football in general, is a terrible thing. But football is still hanging around, thanks to the XFL! And since DraftKings is offering DFS fantasy tournaments, it’s time to discuss the top plays and contrarian options so we can bink some XFL tournaments.

I’ll be going position by position, highlighting my favorite plays for tournaments, with a TL;DR included for those who don’t want to read my reasoning and just want the top-value plays. I’ll also include teams’ implied totals directly below, to help readers get a sense of the offenses Vegas thinks will put the most points on the board.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jake Tribbey discussed his love for spring football on the Two-Point Stance Podcast, while he and Chris Wecht will discuss the entire XFL slate Thursday afternoon, including best bets, on the Fantasy Points XFL Breakdown on our YouTube channel.

XFL Projections are available to any Standard or Premium Fantasy Points subscriber.

Team Totals

Orlando Guardians (19.75) @ St. Louis Battlehawks (27.75)

DC Defenders (22.75) @ San Antonio Brahmas (19.25)

Houston Roughnecks (20.75) @ Arlington Renegades (20.75)

Vegas Vipers (18.75) @ Seattle Sea Dragons (27.75)

Injury Reports

Justin Freeman from RunTheSims is kind enough to aggregate injury information for us here. That sheet is a great resource, and I would recommend bookmarking it for future reference.


In the TL;DR, I’ll list out the top plays in order of value (according to me). This isn’t super strict, it does not factor in ownership, and in some cases, it’s sort of arbitrary. It also doesn’t matter nearly as much as my readers think it does. What does matter is maximizing the correlations within your lineups, and making sure you include at least a few players on each tournament team who should be on the lower end of ownership (I highlight a few in my write-ups). Get creative!

Plays ranked in order, with tier 1 in bold, and assumes notable questionable players suit up…

QB: Jalan McClendon, Ben DiNucci, AJ McCarron, Luis Perez, D’Eriq King, Quinten Dormady, Jack Coan

RB: John Lovett, Jacques Patrick, Brycen Alleyne, Jon Hilliman, Devin Darrington, Brian Burt, Brian Hill, TJ Hammonds, Phillip Lindsay, Abram Smith

WR/TE: Marcell Ateman, Eli Rogers, Alize Mack, Brandon Smith, Tyler Vaughns, Sal Cannella, Ben Putman, Geronimo Allison, Juwan Green, Cody Latimer, Darrius Shepherd, Blake Jackson, Jahcour Pearson, Jeff Badet, Jordan Veasy, Tavonn Salter, Hakeem Butler, TJ Vasher, Josh Gordon


Jalan McClendon ($9,200): McClendon is averaging 21.6 DraftKings FPG, 224.0 passing YPG, and 42.7 rushing YPG in his three starts this season. If extrapolated out to the full season, those numbers would rank 2nd, 3rd, and 1st among QBs. So, it’s pretty obvious that McClendon is the top QB value of the week priced as QB5.

The matchup isn’t great — Seattle grades out as the XFL’s 2nd-best pass rush (77.9 PFF pass-rush grade) and the 3rd-best coverage unit (75.0 PFF coverage grade), while allowing just 18.2 PPG (2nd-toughest). And that’s reflected in the Vipers’ league-low implied team total (18.75). But negative gamescript should just put the ball in McClendon’s hands even more, so I’m not sure it’s a significant negative factor for his fantasy outlook. He’s the top value in our projections and one of my favorite plays for tournaments.

Luis Perez ($8,600): I’m not sure Perez is any good, but he did drop 22.9 DraftKings points in only his 2nd game with Arlington. His passing matchup is certainly tougher in Week 10, as Houston gives up about 24% less passing YPG than DC, but, Houston may not play their defensive starters throughout this game.

In a Week 9 post-game press conference, HC Wade Phillips said, "If it's the last game of the year and we have everything wrapped up, we will want to play our starters some but we don't want to take a chance on getting our top players injured.” That leaves things fairly open-ended, but it does provide some hope Perez could be throwing against backup defensive backs for as much as a full half of play. Combine that with his reasonable price tag and a must-win setting for Arlington, and it’s easy to justify Perez in tournaments if we assume relatively low ownership (a safe assumption in my book).

D’Eriq King ($8,400): HC Reggie Barlow didn’t give any indication on if DC will rest their starters ahead of a meaningless Week 10 game for the Defenders. But I have a suspicion that these DC starters could be rested, including starting QB Jordan Ta’amu. And if that happens, D’Eriq King will easily be the most valuable QB in XFL GPPs.

King has recorded 126 QB snaps this season, roughly equivalent to two full games. But he’s been a fairly consistent fantasy producer in that limited sample, largely thanks to his rushing. Per four quarters, King is averaging 24.4 DraftKings FPG and 56.4 rushing YPG – marks that would easily lead all QBs. If we knew Ta’amu wouldn’t play a snap this week, I’d lock King into every tournament lineup I make.

The only problem is that we don’t know that. There is a real chance DC plays Ta’amu in his usual role, or gives him a full quarter, or half, to keep him fresh. Playing King without this information is as risky of a bet as you can make in DFS.

That risk will be reflected in rock bottom, near 0% ownership. And the payoff (King playing a full game, or close to a full game at QB) is high enough that I’ll roster him on about 10% of my teams unless we get word Ta’amu is going to play at least a quarter.


Weighted opportunity, snap/route shares, and raw opportunities through 9 weeks:

Weighted opportunity by week:

Brian Hill ($10,300): Hill earned his worst full-game usage of the season in Week 9, earning a 30% snap share and just 5 carries.

The reason? The St. Louis offense simply preferred their RB-less personnel packages, as WR Gary Jennings stole 8 backfield snaps (and 4 carries), while a traditional RB was only on the field for 40% of the team’s offensive snaps.

This was a big departure from the Battlehawks’ usual tendencies, and it’s made projecting this backfield for Week 10 incredibly difficult. The argument for playing Hill is just a bet that St. Louis returns to their previous scheme, when Hill was a lock for a 70% (or better) snap share and ~80% of backfield usage. But I’m worried we’ve seen a serious shift here. Hill is still playable, given his past usage, but we must remember that his floor is now among the worst in the XFL if St. Louis no longer intends to keep their RBs on the field.

Phillip Lindsay ($7,300): I was hoping for a high-end bell cow role from Lindsay, but Week 9 killed those dreams. On Sunday, Lindsay earned just 8.0 weighted opportunity points (10th among RBs), a 27% snap share (13th among RBs), 11% route share (14th among RBs), and a meager 49% of backfield weighted opportunity in the league’s 2nd-least valuable backfield. Concerningly, we saw RB/TE hybrid Charlie Taumoepeau lead the backfield in snap share (30%), while the Sea Dragons largely abandoned personnel groupings that included a traditional RB.

So, Lindsay’s hope at a bell cow workload is probably completely cooked. If we could roster him at extremely low ownership, he would likely have some juice in tournaments, especially against a Vegas allowing the 2nd-most rushing YPG (114.6) and YPC (4.4). But I fear Lindsay’s Week 10 ownership could be over 10%. If that’s the case, he’s close to unplayable. I may have a few shares in game stacks, but Lindsay profiles as one of the weakest RB plays of the slate.

Devin Darrington ($5,700): Darrington was just the 3rd instance this season of an RB earning at least 90% of backfield weighted opportunity after he recorded 94% of backfield carries (16 total) and another 2 targets for 134 total yards (8.3 YPC) and a score. This was abnormal usage, as backfield teammate Jah-Maine Martin was a surprise inactive 90 minutes before kickoff.

I’m not sure if Martin will be active this week, but if he isn't, Darrington can be safely considered the top RB play of the slate. His usage in Week 9 was some of the best we’ve seen all season.

Martin being active would largely kill Darrington’s value, but not entirely. He was already emerging as the lead RB, ranking 5th among all RBs in snap share (53%) and 4th in backfield weighted opportunity% (68%) in his two prior games with Martin. And after last week’s excellent performance, I’d expect his grip on the RB1 spot only to tighten.

And the matchup is perfect. St. Louis is giving up a league-leading 131.0 rushing YPG and 4.7 YPC while grading out as the league’s 3rd-worst rush defense, per PFF.

So, Darrington is one of the best plays at any position of the season if Martin is inactive. And he’s probably still a good play if Martin is active and his ownership drops to ~15%. I’ll have shares regardless, as I really like the play.

John Lovett ($5,200): Rod Smith hasn’t practiced this week, meaning Lovett could be headed towards a bell cow-like workload this weekend if Smith is unavailable. Last week, Smith played on just 4% of snaps and earned 1 carry, leaving Lovett to handle 78% of backfield usage (measured by weighted opportunity).

If we project Lovett for ~70% of backfield usage this week (~12.2 fantasy points), then he’s easily a top-3 RB play by value. Vegas being listed as 8.5-point underdogs with a league-low 18.75 implied team total doesn’t seem great for Lovett’s scoring prospects, but Lovett averages 14.4 DraftKings FPG (RB2 over the full season) in the Vipers’ last four losses – so there is a solid argument he benefits from negative gamescript thanks to his awesome receiving ability (position leader in YAC).

Lovett is the top RB play of the slate if Rod Smith sits, but expect that to be reflected in his ownership.

Brycen Alleyne ($4,200): If we consider Max Borghi a “top player” for the Roughnecks (I do), then Alleyne could (should?) have his best usage of the season this week…

Alleyne has been efficient with his touches thus far, averaging 4.5 YPC (Borghi is at 4.0) and 6.5 yards per reception (Borghi is at 6.2). So, if Alleyne were to earn ~60% of backfield weighted opportunity (11.3 FPG this season), he would be right there as the top projected RB value of the slate.

That’s a speculative take, of course. But you need to be speculative to have an edge in this spots. Barring any pregame news, Alleyne is one of my favorite tournament plays of the week.


Jeff Badet ($9,900): Badet missed all of Week 8 and most of Week 7 while nursing an injury, but he’s averaged a 90% route share, 26% target share, 6.6 targets per game, 59.5 YPG, and 14.8 DraftKings FPG in his seven full games this season. Those marks rank 6th-best, best, 5th-best, 3rd-best, and 2nd-best among WRs.

Sure, we haven’t seen any big games come with McClendon under center, but that’s largely a result of Badet’s injury. And it’s not like McClendon has neutered the passing offense, as Vegas is averaging just 8.0 fewer passing YPG with McClendon under center (224.0 passing YPG) than without him (232.0 passing YPG). That said, it’s fairly easy to argue Seattle isn’t an ideal matchup, given they are allowing a league-low 6.2 yards per pass attempt and profile as more of a run funnel.

But I think Badet and the Vegas offense can overcome the below-average matchup; they’ve scored at least 17 points in every game with McClendon under center, and the game environment is among the best of the season (48.0 total). I think Badet goes grossly overlooked this week, which sets him up as one of the stronger GPP plays among expensive WRs.

Blake Jackson ($8,700): Jackson is the only every-down WR in this league-leading Seattle passing attack (99% route share since Week 7), but he hasn’t seen the target volume to match these last three weeks (13% target share). That said, Jackson has a great matchup; Vegas is allowing the 3rd-most passing YPG (218.9) and the 2nd-most YPA (7.6) while grading out as PFF’s 2nd-worst coverage unit (65.6 team coverage grade). The last time these teams played, Jackson had his 2nd-best game of the season (15.4 DraftKings points) – so there is ample reason to believe he can be successful in this matchup.

But the main reason I like Jackson this week is that I think he ends up near the back of fantasy players' minds, given Jahcour Pearson had an awesome Week 9 outing, and Juwan Green is a solid projected value. Jackson is one of my favorite GPP plays from the final game of the slate if we assume moderate ownership (which seems like a safe assumption).

Marcell Ateman ($4,800): Ateman is one of the most underpriced WRs of the season after he led all WRs in targets (11) last weekend while bumping his route share to a full-time 87%. And if Ateman is a full-time starter in a matchup against a league-worst Orlando defense on an offense with a league-leading 27.75 implied team total, then it shouldn’t take much mental strain to figure out why he’s the top WR play of the slate at a $4,800 price tag. I’ll likely end up with Ateman on over half my teams, given Orlando is allowing a league-high 8.1 yards per pass attempt, and the 2nd-most passing YPG (233.1) while grading out as the league’s worst pass rush and pass coverage unit, per PFF.

Brandon Smith ($3,500): Smith has recorded two receptions in each of his last three games, averaging 7.0 DraftKings FPG over that stretch. Not impressive; I get it.

But with nothing on the line for DC in Week 10, I’m anticipating a much larger role for WR4 Brandon Smith. The Defenders’ top beat writer (Christian Paolantonio) noted, “With nothing on the line for DC in terms of playoffs, expect to see other starters play minimal snaps.”

In the event DC rests their starters, even if just for a half, Smith becomes one of the top plays of the slate. And even if the starters play, Smith still has standalone value as a rotational WR – so he may not totally kill you. I imagine most DFS grinders will want to stay away from Smith, given the uncertainty with rotations, so his ownership may not crack 10%. He’s one of my favorite plays of the week.

Tavonn Salter ($3,000): Salter doesn’t project particularly well, and he’s run just 5 routes all season. So why write him up?

Salter only runs routes on the outside, and (according to me) Deontay Burnett is clearly the team’s most valuable WR. If we assume Wade Phillips is telling the truth, then Burnett almost certainly records a sub-50% route share in this contest. That opens the door for a solid role for Salter, who would only need a few catches to pay off his rock-bottom price tag. He might post a zero, but I’m fine with that risk at the minimum price.

Quick Hits

Quinten Dormady ($10,700) can’t be trusted after last week, when he threw a brutal pick-six and was benched for Deondre Francois. I don’t think Francois is very good – so if Dormady doesn’t start or is benched again, these Orlando pass-catchers should be regarded as notably worse plays than they were in past weeks.

Abram Smith ($10,600) is likely unplayable this week, given the benching risk for these DC starters. But Ryquell Armstead ($6,700) was just cut, so I’m really not sure what kind of workload to expect for this DC backfield. Pooka Williams ($3,900) could see strong usage relative to his price, but it’s tough to have faith given he has just 3 backfield snaps and 1 carry all year…

I kind of like Williams for large-field GPPs, but his floor is zero DraftKings points.

Hakeem Butler ($10,700) has lost a lot of fantasy juice since Marcell Ateman came back…

That said, Butler is still an every-down player (98% route share these last three weeks), so he’s still a reasonable tournament play. I think he comes in under-owned this week as most will be scared off by his mediocre volume since Ateman’s return. With that in mind, we could argue he’s the top leverage play for Ateman faders.

Sal Cannella ($6,400) is back to his old self after leading Arlington in target share (23%) and route share (72%) last week. I’m not anxious to play him this week, but he’s certainly main slate-viable in a must-win game for Arlington.

Martavis Bryant ($5,800) looks very questionable, given he hasn’t practiced this week. If he sits, Geronimo Allison ($6,800) and Cinque Sweeting ($4,600) are the favorites for more work, and I don’t think either guy would catch much ownership. Allison has decent standalone value regardless of Bryant’s status, as he has led the team in route share (96%) and target share (15%) since Week 7.

Damion Willis ($3,400) could miss Week 10 as he hasn’t practiced this week due to a hip issue. Assuming he sits, I really like Jordan Veasy ($5,000) and kind of like Josh Gordon ($9,200) as GPP plays, given they should both push for an ~80% route share.

Nick Holley ($3,900) could be viewed as a sneaky GPP play after he led the Brahmas WRs in targets (4) and recorded a 38% route share in just his 2nd game with the team. There is a chance he pushes for a full-time role while eating into Landen Akers’ workload. And the matchup is legitimately perfect, as DC is allowing 274.7 passing YPG – a mark that’s 15% worst than the 2nd-worst pass defense. He’s much more compelling for the showdown slate, but playing ~5% on your main slate teams is viable – just remember, all these San Antonio WRs have a rock-bottom floor.

Everyone will hate this, but I still (kinda) like TJ Vasher ($3,100). He has the 10th-most air yards (273.2) and a 93% route share since Week 5 in a matchup against the league’s worst pass defense. He probably sucks (0.45 YPRR), but the team still views him (for some reason) as their best outside WR. I’m not giving up on him in GPPs, but I wouldn’t blame anyone who does.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.