XFL Week 5 is shaping up to be a fun one. Let’s dive right in.
Here are the four games this weekend.
- Seattle Dragons @ Houston Roughnecks: Sat., March 7 – 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
- New York Guardians @ Dallas Renegades: Sat., March 7 – 5 p.m. ET (FOX)
- St. Louis Battlehawks @ DC Defenders: Sun., March 8 – 3 p.m. ET (FS1)
- Tampa Bay Vipers @ Los Angeles Wildcats: Sun., March 8 – 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
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.
P.J. Walker – Roughnecks ($12,000 DK; $23 FD): Even in what was his worst fantasy performance to date, Walker managed 21 DraftKings points last week on 239 yards and two touchdowns passing. In Week 5, he faces a Seattle defense with the league’s second-to-worst coverage grade (52.9 per Pro Football Focus). He has the benefit of playing at home, where he has a 7:1 TD:INT ratio over two games. He’s priced up, but he’s easily the No. 1 quarterback in our fantasy rankings.
Josh Johnson – Wildcats ($10,500 DK; $21 FD): Johnson has back-to-back strong fantasy outings under his belt, as he passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns against the Guardians this past weekend. The Wildcats are at home in Week 5, and No. 1 wide receiver Tre McBride has a great matchup against Vipers cornerback Anthoula Kelly, who has allowed 207 yards receiving, the second-highest mark in the league. Johnson is priced reasonably on both sites.
B.J. Daniels – Dragons ($7,200 DK; $17 FD): Daniels replaced starter Brandon Silvers in the second half last week, and although he completed only half of his 10 attempts and threw an interception, he also passed for 100 yards and a touchdown and added 84 yards rushing. Despite having a defense ranked No. 1 with eight interceptions and 11 sacks, the Roughnecks have allowed a league-high 22 points per game. Priced as a bottom-two quarterback, Daniels offers affordable upside.
XFL Running Backs
De’Veon Smith – Vipers ($7,900 DK; $16 FD): Smith was key to the Vipers’ shutout victory last week, leading the slate with a 24-122-1 rushing performance to help control the game. His workload has been encouraging: He has had at least 15 carries in three games and at least one reception each week. In Week 5, he takes on a Wildcats team with a league-worst 52.6 PFF run defense grade. He’s priced up, but he’s more affordable on FanDuel, and he has the slate’s best on-paper matchup.
Matt Jones – BattleHawks ($7,300 DK; $16 FD): Jones was a letdown last week in a great spot, but he’s a prime bounceback candidate against a Defenders team with the league’s second-worst PFF run defense rating (60.3). Just last week, Smith and Jacques Patrick averaged 5.1 yards per carry against the Defenders and rushed for 230 yards. Jones is expensive, but he has a league-high 67 carries and an exploitable matchup.
Martez Carter – Wildcats ($4,600 DK; $15 FD): Carter (hip) missed last week with an injury, but he made a splash in Week 3 with 75 total scrimmage yards and three touchdowns, and he has returned to practice on a limited basis. If he returns in Week 5, he seems likely to play as the lead back ahead of former starter Elijah Hood, who had just one carry last week. Monitor Carter’s health status entering the weekend.
XFL Wide Receivers
Cam Phillips – Roughnecks ($11,500 DK; $21 FD): Phillips disappointed fantasy investors in a big way last week, mustering just nine yards on three targets. He was double-teamed all day, which forced Walker to feed the ball to wide receivers Nick Holley and Khalil Lewis. Seattle could use the same game plan this week, but the matchup is strong: The Dragons have the league’s second-to-worst PFF coverage grade (52.9). Even if Seattle tries to replicate the strategy from last week, Phillips has the talent to succeed against this defense. He’s expensive, but his upside is unmatched at the position.
Tre McBride – Wildcats ($9,700 DK; $20 FD): McBride has come on in a big way over the past two weeks, turning in a 13-234-3 receiving line on 18 targets. In Week 4, he had a slate-high 169 air yards. In Week 3, he was No. 2 with 180 air yards. With slot receiver Nelson Spruce (knee) out for the second straight week, McBride should continue to see heavy usage, and he has an exploitable matchup against cornerback Anthoula Kelly, who has allowed the second-most yards per snap (1.95) among starting corners. While expensive, McBride still enjoys a sizable discount to Phillips on DraftKings.
Flynn Nagel – Renegades ($7,400 DK; $16 FD): Nagel has been one of the more consistent receivers in the XFL, seeing six targets in every game but one. In Week 5, he takes on a Guardians defense with the worst PFF coverage rating (49.9). Quarterback Landry Jones (knee) is out, but Nagel still had six targets with backup Philip Nelson in Week 1.
Nick Holley – Roughnecks ($7,100 DK; $17 FD): Holley was the main beneficiary of the Phillips double team last week, as he racked up 8-97-1 receiving on 10 targets. If the Dragons choose to double Phillips this week, Holley could once again have a big game in the slot. Just last week, BattleHawks slot receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El had 5-71-1 receiving on five targets.
Jordan Smallwood – Wildcats ($6,200 DK; $16 FD): Smallwood has PFF’s No. 10 receiving grade (70.7) and six targets in three games. With Spruce (knee) out last week, he had 5-75-0 receiving on seven targets, and he could have similar production and usage this week against a mediocre Vipers secondary.
XFL Tight Ends
Nick Truesdell – Vipers ($4,700 DK; $13 FD): Truesdell (knee) missed Weeks 3-4, but he returned to full practice this week and should play on Sunday. In Weeks 1-2, he averaged 5.5 targets, 3.5 receptions and 39 yards receiving per game. Now $2,000 cheaper than he on DraftKings in Week 2, Truesdell offers great value.
St. Louis BattleHawks ($4,700 DK): St. Louis has been one of the more consistent defenses in the XFL this season, holding opponents to a league-low 15.5 points per game. Against teams other than the Roughnecks, the BattleHawks have allowed just 11.3 points per game. In Week 5, they take on a DC team that has struggled mightily over the past two weeks, managing only nine total points while gifting opponents six turnovers. Even on the road, the BattleHawks are a strong play.
Cash Game Strategy
P.J. Walker ($12,000 DK; $23 FD) is once again the top cash-game option at quarterback. He enjoys a strong matchup and plays in the game with the slate’s highest total. Josh Johnson ($10,500 DK; $21 FD) is also an option: He offers a safe floor at a lower price.
At running back, De’Veon Smith ($7,900 DK; $16 FD) faces off against the league-worst Wildcats run defense and should be a top consideration. Matt Jones ($7,300 DK; $16 FD) should bounce back against a Defenders team that got burned on the ground last week for over 200 yards.
At wide receiver, Tre McBride ($9,700 DK; $20 FD) is the high-priced option to target with Nelson Spruce (knee) out. He’s shown over the past two weeks that he can be a top receiver if given the opportunity. Flynn Nagel ($7,400 DK; $16 FD) is also in play and offers a safe floor and usage in a great spot.
At tight end, Nick Truesdell ($4,700 DK; $13 FD) should resume his previous role in the Vipers offense as a main option for quarterback Taylor Cornelius. His price tag also allows you to fit in some of the higher priced-options on the slate.
Despite their prices and projected ownership rates, Walker and wide receiver Cam Phillips ($11,500 DK; $21 FD) were still popular choices last week in tournaments. I expect that to be the case again in Week 5. Despite his popularity, Walker still deserves consideration in a potential ceiling game against a poor Seattle secondary.
Phillips, though, warrants fade consideration. Last week the Renegades doubled him, and the Dragons could do the same. He has the ability to go off in any game, but he carries a lot of risk at his price and projected ownership.
B.J. Daniels ($7,200 DK; $17 FD) is a strong punt option with upside at quarterback, assuming he starts this week. He needs to improve as a passer, but his rushing upside alone makes him worth a look in a game with the slate’s highest total.
After a disappointing Week 4, running back Matt Jones ($7,300 DK; $16 FD) should have reduced ownership in an excellent spot.
Vipers wide receiver Daniel Williams ($8,500 DK; $17 FD) continues to be under-rostered (7.5% in the DraftKings Saturday Special last week). He’s shown that he can produce regardless of matchup or game script.
As a pure punt play, wide receiver Saeed Blacknall ($3,600 DK; $13 FD) provides elite upside at his price. He played only 19 snaps last week, but he made his presence known on a long 42-yard touchdown reception. Without Spruce (knee), he could easily outperform his near-minimum salary.
Los Angeles Wildcats: Josh Johnson (QB), Tre McBride (WR), Jordan Smallwood (WR) – Cash or GPP. Lock up this Wildcats passing game at home in a very beatable matchup. Also consider WR Saeed Blacknall as a cheap option with upside in GPPs.
Houston Roughnecks: P.J. Walker (QB), Cam Phillips (WR) – Cash. We get the best QB-WR duo in the league against a poor secondary. WRs Khalil Lewis and Nick Holley are also in play if you’re looking for exposure without paying up for Phillips.
Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/XFL via Getty Images
Pictured: B.J. Daniels