USFL DraftKings DFS – Core Plays and Cheat Sheet – Week 2 (4/22/22)
The USFL is back and with it comes some slight rule changes that you may not be used to with the NFL. You can check out our Introduction to the USFL article which will serve as a quick learning piece for the league in general.
In week one, we saw three of the four matchups go under the Vegas total, which was around 40-42 for each game. Our leadoff game on Saturday saw the most action in a 28-24 Stallions win over the Generals. The rest of the games on Sunday (and one postponed into Monday) saw a 17-12 Gamblers win, a 23-17 Breakers win, and a 17-3 Bandits win. We are still feeling out the league in general to see the brand of football we are going to get, but at first glance, the running game was higher usage than the arms. It is going to be important to check the status of players weekly as injuries and practice squad moves will give us the best eye as to who to target weekly. If a team is only running two-deep at running back, week one showed it is a spot to take advantage of. That being said, lets look at some potential options for week two.
Jordan Ta’amu ($10,700) – Ta’amu remains the highest-priced option even after just a 10.1 fantasy point performance. Ultimately, salary doesn’t mean a ton here as you can really build any team you want as there are enough salary-saving plays on the board still. The price adjustments have not been too strong on the side of DraftKings yet, but we also are looking at high variance football. Ta’amu’s fantasy output wasn’t up to par, but he didn’t play badly by any means. His 32 passing attempts were only behind Bryan Scott’s 36, though we didn’t see Ta’amu use his legs at all with only one attempt for seven yards. I did think we would see more rushing upside here, but there is still time for that to develop. Between BJ Emmons and Juwan Washington, the Bandits had 29 rushing attempts so if they are confident with the run game then maybe Ta’amu won’t use his legs as much. From an overall skill perspective, Ta’amu is still the most exciting leader on the field at any given time and his total upside and experience is going to keep him in play for me weekly.
Bryan Scott ($9,700) – Looking at pure volume, Scott led the way in week one with 36 passing attempts, completing 25 of them for 202 yards and a touchdown as well as one interception. It is too early to peg which defenses are going to be the ones to target here, but Pittsburgh’s offense looked very dull which could lead to a few more possessions for Philly. The Stars/Maulers game carries the lowest total on the slate, but the Stars carry the largest spread at -6.5
Something to watch for: We are going to need to keep an eye on the status of Alex McGough for Birmingham. McGough was injured in the second quarter on Saturday and did not return. J’Mar Smith took over for the Stallions and completed 11-of-21 for 156 yards and a touchdown, as well as running in a touchdown on the ground. If McGough is ruled out, Smith at just $8,000 presents not only good value but also the rushing upside we are always looking for.
Darnell Holland ($8,200) – Holland only rushed nine times on Sunday but averaged 5.8 yards per carry and found the end zone as well. Holland was also targeted four times in the passing game, hauling in all four for 12 yards. The Stars relied on the passing game a lot here as mentioned with Scott but I don’t think that will be always going forward – Philly played from behind in this game. The Stars are a -6.5 favorite here so the ground game looks favorable. Matt Colburn, the Stars backup did not practice on Tuesday and is questionable. While Colburn only averaged 1.6 yards per carry on nine carries anyway, his absence should increase Holland’s role. The game script sets up nicely here if you are looking to spend up.
T.J. Logan Jr. ($6,400) – Larry Rose figured to lead the backfield but was sent to the practice squad ahead of the Breakers’ first game. That left the work to be split between Logan and Jordan Ellis. Logan rushed 15 times for 56 yards and a touchdown, while also catching four balls for 38 yards. Ellis also performed greatly, rushing 18 times for 89 yards and a touchdown but was not targeted in the passing game. We need to keep an eye on Larry Rose’s status, but after a big week one I doubt we see Logan or Ellis punished. Both are cheap here and figure to be pretty highly owned.
Trey Williams ($5,300) – Trey Williams led the Generals backfield on Saturday with 13 rushes for 54 yards but more importantly added five catches on five targets for 38 yards. With a full point per reception, one catch is going to equal out to ten yards rushing so netting down the receptions in a league which is featuring a ton of two-back split workloads is going to be our bread and butter. Williams opened camp behind Mike Weber on the depth chart. Weber suffered a knee injury in practice and has now been released. Williams should lead the backfield here going forward with Darius Victor also seeing work. Victor saw 15 carries himself, but no targets in the passing game.
Wide Receiver / Tight End
Victor Bolden ($9,300) / Osiris Mitchell ($6,900) – The combination of Bolden and Mitchell totaled 15 targets and nine receptions between the pair. Bolden caught 4-of-8 for 45 yards while Mitchell had the bigger game catching 5-of-7 for 96 yards and a touchdown. Not mentioned is Cary Angeline, who caught 2-of-6 for 35 yards and a touchdown of his own. The drawback here is not knowing who is going to start between McGough and Smith for the Stallions, though each looked strong in their own sense on the field. Birmingham has the highest team total on the slate at 22.5. It goes without saying that the number isn’t very high anyway, but early markets may see the Stallions as the best offense right now (or something to say about the Houston defense). I don’t want to put weight into that discussion yet as it is just too early to draw lines between who is good and who is not.
JoJo Ward ($6,000) – Houston did not throw a ton in their win over Michigan, with Clayton Thorson only attempting 17 total passes. Of those 17 though, nine went to JoJo Ward. Ward caught seven of them for 48 yards and made up 70% of the team’s total completions. Isaiah Zuber is still a threat in this passing game, but is also $3,500 more than Ward and only saw two targets, both being caught and one for a touchdown. I prefer to target volume here. Houston is a 3.5-point underdog here so the passing game should be a tad more active.
UPDATE: JoJo Ward is OUT for this week. Isaiah Zuber remains the lead receiver here and Tyler Simmons should see extended snaps.
Cheyenne O’Grady ($5,000) – O’Grady led the way in terms of targets in week one with 11 on the week – the only player in the USFL to have double-digit targets. Becoming Jordan Ta’amu’s favorite target is something that rings to a lot of upside as I still regard Ta’amu as the best arm in this league. O’Grady hauled in eight of the 11 targets for 86 yards. We are going to have to chase week one performances here a little bit as our data set is still minimal, but double-digit targets are one I like to see.
Cheat Sheet – Week 2
|High||Jordan Ta'amu (10.7k / 16.48)||BJ Emmons (8.5k / 14.71)||Victor Bolden Jr. (9.3k / 11.29)||Cary Angeline (6.4k / 8.73)||Generals (4.8k / 5.99)|
|Darnell Holland (8.2k / 12.06)||Lance Lenoir Jr. (7.6k / 13.52)|
|Stevie Scott III (7.9k / 15.62)|
|Medium||Bryan Scott (9.6k / 11.48)||Garrett Groshek (7k / 9.11)||Osirus Mitchell (6.9k / 13.60)||Cheyenne O'Grady (5k / 12.51)||Stallions (4.4k / 6.32)|
|T.J. Logan Jr. (6.4k / 14.23)||Johnnie Dixon (6.6k / 7.70)|
|JoJo Ward (6.1k / 0.00)|
|Low||J'Mar Smith (8k / 13.90)||Jordan Ellis (5.4k / 9.93)||Randy Satterfield (4.8k / 9.22)||Bug Howard (3.7k / 9.44)||Stars (3.5k / 7.49)|
|Clayton Thorson (7.6k / 11.87)||Trey Williams (5.3k / 12.37)||Chris Rowland (3.4k / 0.00)|