At FantasyLabs, Bargain Rating is a metric we use to compare the relative costs of players on DraftKings and FanDuel using percentile rankings. It features prominently in our large suite of analytical DFS Tools, most specifically our industry-leading FantasyLabs Models.
This week, I will be applying Bargain Rating concepts to the Week 5 XFL slate in order to identify the top values.
Be sure to check out our Week 5 XFL fantasy projections, which will be updated based on injury reports and depth chart news as we head into the weekend.
DraftKings: Taylor Cornelius, Tampa Bay Vipers ($8,500, 89% Bargain Rating)
Both sites have raised Cornelius’ salary following his 21-point fantasy performance in Week 4, but FanDuel has been much more aggressive than DraftKings in this regard, pricing Cornelius atop the second tier of quarterbacks, behind weekly staples P.J. Walker, Josh Johnson, and Jordan Ta’amu.
While Cornelius feels like a player on the rise, he remains difficult to project, mainly because of the other quarterbacks present on Tampa Bay’s roster. The buzz surrounding Quinton Flowers has suggested that the dual-threat, QB/RB hybrid is likely to be traded, but returned to the Vipers this week following a one-week absence. Vipers head coach Marc Trestman confirmed that Flowers will have a role in the offense in Week 5. Furthermore, Week 1 starter Aaron Murray was active in Week 4 after missing Weeks 2-3 with a foot injury, though he did not ultimately get into the game. Still, Trestman has shown not to be hesitant to make an in-game change at the quarterback position, sometimes even doing so during a drive. In fact, Week 4 was the first time all season that Tampa Bay’s quarterback played 100% of the snaps. With Flowers back in the mix and Murray available in relief, that scenario seems unlikely to repeat this weekend. With all of that said, Cornelius’ downside matters less in large-field guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tournaments, and he enters Week 5 having demonstrated his upside with 20-plus fantasy points in back-to-back weeks.
FanDuel: Cardale Jones, D.C. Defenders ($17, 100% Bargain Rating)
Look, I know you don’t want to play Cardale. I don’t want to play Cardale, either. But at this price point, I think you have to at least consider it. While Jones is priced $500 above the aforementioned Cornelius on DraftKings, the slumping passer is cheaper than Cornelius on FanDuel, where he finds himself priced alongside the likes of B.J. Daniels and Brandon Silvers.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Jones posted a 0-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the Defenders’ past two games. He ceded fourth-quarter snaps to Tyree Jackson in both contests. If Jones uncorks a couple of bad throws early in Week 5, he could be benched. And the matchup isn’t the best, either, as the BattleHawks enter Week 5 ranked No. 2 in coverage and overall defense by Pro Football Focus. Last week, Daniels may have exposed St. Louis’ weakness against mobile quarterbacks, but Jones’ rushing attempts tailed off after he lost fumbles on the ground in each of his first two games.
With all of that said, it’s still squarely within the range of outcomes that the Defenders finally rebound this week. The Defenders are back home after struggling on the road in Weeks 3 and 4, and the quality of Jones’ performances have coincided with venue so far this season. Despite his aforementioned atrocious numbers on the road, he still sports an average of 284 passing yards at home, to go along with a 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. And the offense still has a surplus of talented players, such as wide receivers Eli Rogers, Rashad Ross, DeAndre Thompkins, and running back Donnel Pumphrey. Cardale’s range of outcomes this week is massive, but isn’t that what you want in large-field GPPs from a quarterback whose salary and ownership have seemingly bottomed out?
XFL Running Backs
DraftKings: James Butler, Houston Roughnecks ($6,700, 63% Bargain Rating)
Priced behind only Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar at the position on FanDuel, Butler checks in at RB6 on DraftKings this week. Butler’s $6,700 salary is now $1,800 below his season-high of $8,500 in Week 3, and this comes despite him maintaining a steady role in the Roughnecks offense during that time.
Butler set a season-low in fantasy points in Week 4, so it went largely unnoticed that he also set season-highs in rushing attempts and combined touches. Meanwhile, Andre Williams — Butler’s primary competition for touches — is still yet to exceed five touches or a 30% share of offensive snaps in a game this season. While the Roughnecks have been one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league, they have consistently given Butler around 50% of the rushing load each week, which is not something that can be said of many other backs in the XFL.
Butler’s Week 5 matchup is deceivingly tough, however, as the Dragons have excelled in run defense, earning the top grade in that category from PFF through four weeks. Seattle’s stinginess on the ground was on full display last week, with the Dragons limiting St. Louis’ vaunted rushing attack to 133 yards on 46 carries (2.89 yards per carry) in the Battle Dome. Still, the Roughnecks are the best offense in the league and are back at home. Vegas’ odds imply Houston to score roughly 30 points, the most of any team on the board in Week 5.
Additionally, Butler ranks second in PFF’s Breakaway Percentage (a metric that measures big-play frequency) among running backs who have played in every game this year, which suggests he has the type of ceiling we’re looking for in GPPs. Butler’s touchdown equity and explosiveness keep him firmly in play this week at a reduced price tag on DraftKings.
FanDuel: Donnel Pumphrey, D.C. Defenders ($13, 99% Bargain Rating)
Pumphrey has generated nearly half of his fantasy production in the receiving game this season, so it makes sense that he’s cheaper on FanDuel, which awards a half-point per reception, than DraftKings, which uses full PPR. Still, FanDuel might be taking things too far, as Pumphrey’s $13 price tag puts him below the likes of Keith Ford (eight total touches this season) and Martez Carter (missed last game with an ankle injury, has an unclear role in the offense).
Although Nick Brossette was the primary beneficiary of Jhurell Pressley’s curious Week 4 disappearance from the Defenders’ backfield rotation, Pumphrey set a season-high in rushing market share (54%). And in the passing game, Pumphrey’s utilization has remained rock-solid all season, with the former Philadelphia Eagle exceeding a 10% target share in all four games thus far. A good bet for double-digit touches every week that he suits up, Pumphrey projects as a high-floor, high-ceiling option for the RB spot on FanDuel.
XFL Wide Receivers
DraftKings: Jalen Tolliver, Tampa Bay Vipers ($5,700, 77% Bargain Rating)
Priced at WR19 on DraftKings, Tolliver’s consistent involvement in the Vipers offense makes him a very solid buy-low candidate this week. Tolliver leads the Vipers in both snaps played (278) and routes run (144), and he also ranks second on the team in share of targets (22.6%) and air yards (24.3%), behind only Daniel Williams (28.2%, 34.6%). That’s why it was mildly surprising to see Tolliver limited to only four targets in Week 4 after a 13-target outburst the week prior. Game script appears to have played a role here, as six of Tolliver’s 13 targets in Week 3 came in the fourth quarter with the Vipers facing a one-score deficit. And then in Week 4, Tampa Bay attempted only four passes in the fourth quarter while nursing a comfortable lead over the Defenders. FanDuel Sportsbook lists the Vipers as 2-point dogs to the Wildcats, so we should expect Tampa to lean more heavily on the pass in what projects as a competitive game in LA.
There are reasons to exercise caution with regard to Tolliver this week. For one, fellow wideout S.J. Green is a longtime favorite of coach Trestman from back in their CFL days. Green missed practice time this week with a knee injury, and his status remains uncertain, but if healthy, he could potentially soak up snaps that would have otherwise gone to Tolliver.
Unlike Green, tight end Nick Truesdell (knee) did return to practice Wednesday after missing Weeks 3 and 4. Truesdell was the Vipers’ first selection in the skill player draft, and though his probable return figures to impact the usage of backup tight end DeAndre Goolsby more so than any of the team’s wide receivers, Truesdell still figures to command a significant chunk of the targets. Nonetheless, Tolliver’s floor/ceiling combination stands out at $5,700 when compared to other similarly priced options on DraftKings.
FanDuel: Jeff Badet, Dallas Renegades ($13, 93% Bargain Rating)
Despite posting only 94 scoreless yards on the season so far, Badet continues to be priced aggressively on DraftKings, where he is priced as 11th-most expensive WR at $7,700 this week. FanDuel, on the other hand, has clearly taken Badet’s statistical performance more heavily into account, pricing him 21st among WRs.
Coupled with the Renegades swapping out injured quarterback Landry Jones (knee) for Philip Nelson, Badet’s lack of production will likely result in minimal ownership this week. There is reason for optimism, however: Despite being known as a speed guy — Badet posted a 4.39 40-yard dash as a prospect — he has seldom been targeted downfield in the Renegades’ passing game this season. Of Badet’s 24 targets, 15 have come within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, which may work to his advantage with Nelson back under center in Week 5. While Jones exceeded 300 air yards passing in each of the two full games he started, Nelson registered just 169 air yards and 220 passing yards in his lone start.
Upon relieving Jones last week, Nelson targeted Badet on 3-of-5 pass attempts, demonstrating a high level of trust with the game on the line. And it’s important to remember that leading up to Week 1, Badet was limited in practice with a thigh injury, which may have affected his production. Badet’s 61% snap rate in that game still stands as his season-low.
Priced alongside unappealing options like Khari Lee and Blake Jackson on FanDuel, Badet is well worth a flier in GPPs this week.
Credit: Jordon Kelly/Getty Images.
Pictured: Jeff Badet