The USFL regular season is nearing its finish with just two games remaining. Four of the USFL’s teams will make the playoffs, with two coming from each division. Things are fairly settled in the North, with two 1-5 teams that are all but eliminated. Both the Panthers and Maulers would have to win out, with the Stars losing both of their games for either the Panthers or Maulers to have a chance at qualifying.
In the South, the 6-0 Stallions have clinched a playoff spot, but the second bid is up for grabs. The 4-2 Breakers and 3-3 Bandits are battling for the last spot. All of this is relevant from a DFS standpoint because some teams may have thrown in the towel already. The Panthers are a perfect example; they released Shea Patterson, who was the USFL’s first overall selection this season.
Regardless, most teams still have something to play for, and scoring continues to rise in the USFL. We saw every game go over 40 points in Week 5 and 6, with three 50-point contests last week. Keep that in mind as you build rosters. A lean towards more pass-catchers in the flex spot should be your priority.
Lineup construction is different with the USFL than for NFL DFS. Only six offensive players make the roster, with one quarterback and running back, two WR/TE spots, and two flexes. That means we don’t have to roster a tight end and can load up on high-upside wide receivers. It also means tight ends will be much lower owned, which could be an edge.
The scoring system is carried over from the NFL, with the lone exception being three-point conversions counting for…three fantasy points. Yes, the USFL has three-point PATs, which are attempted from the 10-yard line.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at who our models like at each position.
USFL DFS Quarterbacks
Jordan Ta’Amu ($11,000): Tampa Bay Bandits (+4) vs. New Jersey Generals
The Bandits have a tough task ahead of them if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive, taking on the 5-1 Generals as a slight underdog. They were in a similar situation last week, and Ta’Amu rose to the occasion. He threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to the Stars.
Ta’Amu continues to look like the league’s best passer, trailing only Kyle Sloter ($11,200) in passing yards while throwing for two more touchdowns and two fewer interceptions. Four of his nine touchdowns came last week against the Stars’ league-worst defense.
This week, the matchup is far less favorable, with New Jersey featuring the second-best scoring defense in the league. Expecting another four-score game is a bit optimistic, but Ta’Amu should still have a solid performance. He leads our Player Models in median and ceiling projections for Week 7.
Case Cookus ($8,500): Philadelphia Stars (-4) vs. Houston Gamblers
Cookus is likely to be under center for the Stars again, with Bryan Scott ($10,200) inactive for the past three games. Cookus hasn’t been anything special in his time as a starter, averaging just over 12 DraftKings points. However, the game environment this weekend is outstanding.
The Stars-Gamblers game features the two worst scoring defenses in the league, as well as the highest total on the slate. With Houston ranking worst in the league against opposing quarterbacks, the matchup is as perfect as it could be for Cookus.
He’s also one of the cheaper starting quarterback options on the slate at $8,500. USFL salaries on top players have been creeping up lately, making salary a larger consideration than it was earlier in the season.
Cookus is a solid option this week, and he leads our models in Pts/Sal Projection.
Luis Perez ($7,300): New Jersey Generals (-4) vs. Tampa Bay Bandits
With co-starter De’Andre Johnson seeming likely to miss Week 7, Perez could get all — or at least the vast majority — of the reps under center for New Jersey. He and Johnson are collectively averaging over 20 points per game this season, which would be the highest among USFL quarterbacks.
Of course, much of that is due to Johnson’s production on the ground. Perez seems unlikely to replicate that, with three rushes for -1 yards on the season. He’s been solid as a passer, completing 70% of his passes and posting a solid (by USFL standards) 6.4 YPA on the season.
If he’s able to approach 30 attempts — he and Johnson combine for 27 per game on the season — that could be enough for a reasonably big day — especially if he’s able to mix in some passing touchdowns.
At just $7,300, he’s a bargain if Johnson misses Week 7.