DraftKings Week 3 USFL DFS Tournament Plays


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DraftKings Week 3 USFL 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 USFL! And since DraftKings is offering DFS fantasy tournaments, it’s time to discuss the top plays and contrarian options so we can bink some USFL 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.

Team Totals

New Orleans Breakers (21.0) @ Birmingham Stallions (27.0)

Memphis Showboats (22.25) @ Houston Gamblers (21.25)

Pittsburgh Maulers (18.75) @ Philadelphia Stars (24.75)

New Jersey Generals (20.25) @ Michigan Panthers (24.25)


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: Alex McGough, Case Cookus, Kenji Bahar, Josh Love, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Brady White

RB: Alex Collins, Wes Hills, Matt Colburn, TJ Pledger, Kingston Davis, CJ Marable, Reddie Corbin, Darius Victor, Madre London, Dexter Williams

WR/TE: Isiah Hennie, Davion Davis, Sage Surratt, Jace Sternberger, Justin Hall, Joe Walker, Devin Gray, Corey Coleman, Myron Mitchell, Braedon Bowman, Cam Echols-Luper, Rashard Davis, Jonathan Adams, Anthony Ratliff-Williams


Case Cookus ($11,000): Cookus remains one of the safest QB plays in all of spring football, even if he isn’t the best raw value in Week 3. The Stars throw the ball 67% of the time in neutral situations (2nd-most) and an absurd 79% of the time in the red zone (most by 26%). With a high pass rate (especially in the red zone), Cookus has the safest passing floor of virtually any spring football QB.

Plus, he gets an excellent matchup this week, as Pittsburgh has allowed the 3rd-most passing YPG (219.0) and the 3rd-most passing YPA (7.1) this season. I prefer McGough overall, but Cookus is always a good option when debating USFL QBs.

Alex McGough ($9,700): McGough dropped 34.2 DraftKings points thanks to 301 passing yards and 4 TDs in his first start of the season in Week 2, and it’s fair to say he’s probably the most valuable fantasy QB in the USFL until further notice. He’s throwing well, but his real fantasy juice comes from his rushing, as McGough has averaged a compelling 55.3 rushing YPG per 4 quarters of play so far this season (2nd among QBs).

Given how good he’s looked so far (especially for fantasy purposes), it’s tough not to love McGough with the Stallions listed with an eye-popping 27.0 implied team total against a New Orleans defense that’s allowed the league’s 2nd-highest pass rate (64%) this season. Fire up McGough as the top QB play of the slate.

Kenji Bahar ($8,300): Bahar finally got into a decent rhythm in Week 2, throwing for 266 yards, 3 TDs, and finishing the day with 20.5 DraftKings points. I’m still unsure if he’s any good in real life, but he is certainly a viable fantasy QB – especially when his price is sub-$9k on DraftKings.

Bahar looks extra appealing this week, given his matchup against the USFL’s worst passing defense – Memphis is allowing a league-leading 256.5 passing YPG and 9.0 passing YPA. And with Houston listed as a 1.0-point underdog, a negative gamescript could force the ball into Bahar’s hands quite a bit in Week 3 if they fall behind. He’s my favorite way to save salary at QB this week, and I don’t think he will be nearly as popular as a QB like McGough.


Matt Colburn ($9,500): I don’t think Colburn will pull comparable ownership to Collins, which makes him an interesting leverage choice for those searching for reduced ownership at RB.

Colburn has scored 12.4 and 13.3 DraftKings points in his two games this season, but we can’t forget that he averaged 23.0 DraftKings FPG in his final five games of 2022 – suggesting he has awesome upside that just hasn’t been fully realized this season. More conservative fantasy players will be scared off by Colburn’s meager 44% of team rush attempts, but backup RB Dexter Williams has averaged just 1.5 YPC this season, while Colburn continues to pop as one of the more talented RBs in the USFL (per my eye test). A bigger share of the backfield pie should come in short order.

That makes Colburn my favorite way to gain leverage on the field – who are likely loading up on Alex Collins.

Alex Collins ($9,400): Collins has 70% of the Showboats’ designed rushes this season (2nd-most among all players), and an outstanding 22% target share (9th-most among all players). It shouldn’t take a lengthy explanation to demonstrate that earning 12.5 carries per game alongside a top-10 receiving workload makes for a fantasy football all-star at the RB position. And Alex Collins is that all-star as we head into Week 3.

Gamescript should be moderately in Collins’ favor, with Memphis listed as a 1.0-point favorite, and the matchup is a largely neutral one in the rushing metrics that matter to me. He’s the clear top RB play of the week for those with the salary to pay up.

Wes Hills ($6,500): Hills saw zero usage in Week 1, but was a bell cow in Week 2 after earning 75% of New Orleans’ designed runs (18 total), and a 15% target share – finishing the day with an absurd 36.7 DraftKings points.

It’s difficult to have a firm grasp on a backfield that just did a full 180 on RB usage, but all signs point to Hills being one of the top RB plays of Week 3 – even if there is outsized risk he plays 2nd-fiddle to Anthony Jones (like he did in Week 1). Thankfully, Hills’ price is reasonable enough that even a 50/50 split in backfield usage would not kill your chances of winning a tournament. And the upside (a bell cow workload) won’t be fully baked into his (likely high) ownership, given the unpredictable usage to date. So, Hills could be the best RB play of the slate, and while his floor is incredibly low, his upside is as good as the RBs who are $3k more expensive.

Kingston Davis ($3,800): We don’t have many clear “pay-down” options this week at RB, but Davis certainly leads the pack. Davis has averaged 8.0 carries per game, 1.5 targets per game, and 4.3 DraftKings FPG in his two games without Trey Williams. Not eye-popping by any means, but Davis is a near-lock for ~10 touches at a borderline-minimum price tag. The only thing he’s missing is red-zone work (just 11% of team red zone rushes), and with Darius Victor on the roster, we can’t reasonably project much TD equity here. Still, Davis has solid fantasy value, given the usage he’s seeing relative to his price, and while his matchup is poor (Michigan is allowing just 3.3 YPC), I’m still fine with him as a salary relief option.


Joe Walker ($8,200): Walker earned 7 targets in Week 1 for 24.5 DraftKings points, and a further 8 targets in Week 2 – granted, that led to only 3.4 DraftKings points. But Walker has the crucial advantage of consistent volume and a WR1 role, with nearly double the targets of the next-closest Michigan player.

The New Jersey defense has been stout thus far, allowing the 3rd-fewest passing YPG (176.0). But Michigan touts the 3rd-highest implied team total of the week (24.25) alongside a productive passing attack (211.5 passing YPG, 4th-most). I imagine Walker will go under-owned in this spot as similarly-priced players like Devin Gray, Corey Coleman, or Bailey Gaither could be regarded as stronger overall plays due to talent or team pass rate. And assuming Walker’s ownership is held in check, he’s one of my favorite plays of the week.

Sage Surratt ($7,100): Surratt leads all players with 20 targets, 206 receiving yards, and 4 red zone targets. He’s the even-higher-usage version of Sal Cannella, who earned the 5th-most targets (57), 10th-most receiving yards (368), and the 7th-most deep targets (14) of any pass catcher in the 2022 USFL. And the results have been outstanding, as Surratt is averaging 22.8 DraftKings FPG this season – a mark that leads all flex-eligible players.

The matchup does suck on paper, as Birmingham has allowed the fewest passing YPG (158.0) and the fewest passing YPA (5.4) – suggesting it may be tough sledding for this New Orleans passing attack. While efficiency may suffer, I do think New Orleans could make up for it with raw volume, as being 6.0-point underdogs should necessitate increased passing. Regardless, Surratt might be the most valuable pass catcher (for fantasy) in the entire USFL. If that’s the case, he’s just far too cheap in a contest where New Orleans is expected to throw at their highest rate of the season.

Isiah Hennie ($5,200): Tre Walker was demoted to the practice squad, leaving Isiah Hennie (and Bailey Gaither) as the Maulers’ top pass-catching option(s). The results were encouraging, as Hennie ranked 2nd among all players in Week 2 targets (11) and 2nd in target share (38%). Sure, the Pittsburgh offense is probably the worst in the USFL (exemplified by their league-low 18.75 implied team total), but the team always playing from behind has led to the 3rd-highest pass rate (64%) in the USFL. So, Hennie’s volume in Week 3 should be among the best in the league, making him a strong play, given his mid-range price tag.

Justin Hall ($4,700): Houston’s pass rate (57%, 3rd-lowest) hasn’t led to much fantasy goodness from their pass catchers, but Justin Hall has been the top receiver thus far – posting a 28% target share (2nd-best among all players), and leading the team with 2 deep targets and 2 red zone targets. I wouldn’t say his numbers are impressive in isolation, or relative to some of the other more prominent USFL pass catchers. But they are certainly impressive relative to his price tag.

And his plus matchup further bolsters his value, as Memphis allows the most passing YPG (256.5) and the most YPA (9.0) in the USFL. Hall should lead the team in targets and could be one of the week’s most efficient WRs in an awesome matchup.

Davion Davis ($4,100): It seems to be a wide-open race to become Birmingham’s leading pass catcher after Marlon Williams tore his Achilles in Week 1. Jace Sternberger seems to be the lead horse right now with 11 targets (leads team), but Davis is a close 2nd with 9 targets.

In his first full game without Williams in Week 2, Davis caught 4 of 5 targets for 47 yards, a score, and 14.7 DraftKings points. Birmingham is a middling offense in terms of pass rate (59%), but they’ve been the league’s most efficient passing offense thus far (9.8 YPA). So, while team tendencies and gamescript aren’t on Davis’ side, given Birmingham is a 6.0-point favorite, Davis still has the advantage of playing in an extremely effective passing attack (if the last two weeks are any indication). He’s my favorite way to save salary this week, but teammate Myron Mitchell ($3,800) isn’t too far behind.

Jake Tribbey is the 2022 FSWA Football Writer of the Year and the leading Spring Football expert in the fantasy industry. He is a lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.