After Week 1 of the XFL, we may feel that we have a sense of how players are likely to perform for the rest of the season, but we are operating with an extremely small sample. Our valuations of the league’s teams and players will likely change drastically in Week 2.
In this article, I attempt to get ahead of the curve by identifying some potential bounceback candidates for Week 2 based on their usage last week.
Also, check out our Week 2 XFL fantasy projections, which are free and will be updated based on injury reports and depth chart news as we head into the weekend.
You can bet on the XFL at FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Seattle Dragons WR Dontez Byrd
After posting 32 receiving yards on two receptions in Week 1, Byrd doesn’t immediately stand out, but his utilization against the Defenders was telling. Byrd converted a 28-yard reception in the first quarter, and he was also targeted on throws of 20-plus yards on three other occasions. Byrd was unable to haul in these targets, but his usage suggests that he is the preferred deep option of the Dragons.
Matters are complicated by the injury to quarterback Brandon Silvers (ankle), who missed the final play of the game and also Tuesday’s practice. It’s hard to predict whether backup quarterback BJ Daniels would be willing to target Byrd downfield if he were to start in Week 2, but as long as Silvers is active, Byrd is an option for guaranteed prize pools, especially on DraftKings, where he’s only $3,800.
Houston Roughnecks WR Sammie Coates
Steelers fans will not be shocked by Coates’ inefficient 2-26-0 receiving line on nine targets, highlighted by several drops. But Coates deserves another daily fantasy chance. Quarterback P.J. Walker had 11 throws of 20-plus yards in Week 1, and Coates was the target on five of them (per Pro Football Focus).
As long as Walker stays aggressive in Week 2, Coates should have every opportunity to rebound against a BattleHawks defense that was not tested by checkdown artist Renegades quarterback Philip Nelson in Week 1. Coates has a hefty salary in Week 2, but his ownership rate this weekend should be significantly lower than it was last week, when over half the field (51.2%) rostered Coates in DraftKings’ largest tournament.
By the way, check out my review of the DraftKings’ Week 1 Kickoff Special, a $10 buy-in tournament with a $350,000 prize pool.
Dallas Renegades WR Jerrod Heard
Quarterback Philip Nelson threw only two balls over 20 yards on 42 attempts in Week 1 (per PFF). That’s a low number, and both passes fell incomplete, but Heard was the intended receiver on both targets. If starter Landry Jones returns in Week 2, the Roughnecks’ deep passing volume should increase and Heard might have more opportunities to convert big plays.
Even if Jones is out, it will still be worth taking a shot on Heard, who is priced at the stone-minimum $3,000 salary on DraftKings. Heard also served as the Roughnecks’ punt returner in Week 1, so he could score a long touchdown in a couple of ways, especially given the XFL’s punting rules.
New York Guardians WR Joe Horn Jr.
In Week 1, the Guardians had a 64% pass play rate even though they led for a majority of the game. That split is good news for Horn, who racked up well over 100 air yards on eight targets, although he converted only two into catches for 27 yards. The final box score suggests that quarterback Matt McGloin spread the ball around, but the opportunity was there for Horn to have a big fantasy day.
Like Byrd and Heard, Horn is also priced cheaply on DraftKings — at $3,400 — and that makes him all the more appealing as a bounceback candidate.
Pictured: Sammie Coates
Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images