We're now four weeks into the inaugural XFL 2.0 season, and as expected, both offenses and defenses are starting to show signs of gelling. Week 4 saw three close games, as teams continued to develop chemistry on offense thanks to the increased familiarity with their teammates and schemes. The one blowout also featured the first win for the Tampa Bay Vipers, meaning there are no more winless teams in the league.
DraftKings is offering a full array of cash games and GPP contests based on the league's games during each week of the regular season and postseason. In this weekly article, we'll highlight multiple options at each position.
As a reminder, check out our XFL DFS 101 series for a full breakdown of the basics of playing XFL contests on DraftKings, as well as a look at how some of the ways the XFL differs from the NFL can affect DFS strategy.
Jordan Ta'amu, STL at DC ($9,700)
Ta'amu serves as an appealing pivot off more expensive options P.J. Walker ($12,000) and Josh Johnson ($10,500), especially considering the latter faces a particularly stingy Vipers secondary and will once again be without the services of receiver Nelson Spruce (knee). In contrast, Ta'amu has a fully stocked group of pass catchers and offers the same dual-threat upside as the pricier options, as he's coming off a season-high 16 rushes in Week 4 against the Dragons and has already eclipsed 60 rushing yards in two of his first four games.
Ta'amu has been excellent as a passer as well, completing at least 74.1 percent of his throws in three of his first four contests while running an offense that's been highly efficient under the playcalling of Chuck Long. Ta'amu has between 20 and 31 DK points in three games already, while the Defenders have now surrendered 211 yards or more through the air in three of their first four contests and allowed the Vipers' Taylor Cornelius to complete 77.4 percent of his throws in Week 4. The fact Ta'amu will be outside the comfortable confines of his home stadium does need to be noted, but the Ole Miss product averaged a solid 246.5 passing yards and threw four touchdown passes over his first two road games.
Taylor Cornelius, TB at LA ($8,500)
Cornelius has settled in nicely under center and is officially the starting quarterback again in Week 5, making him a very appealing option versus a Wildcats defense that's struggled to guard against the pass at times this season. Cornelius has scored 22 and 21 DK points in his last two starts, respectively, supplementing solid work through the air with 69 yards and two touchdowns on 10 rushes. The Oklahoma State product also forged a spectacular 77.4 percent completion rate at the expense of the Defenders in Week 4, a sign he's ramping up his chemistry with Tampa's pass-catching corps.
The Wildcats have impressive numbers versus the pass over the last two games, but there was more to that than meets the eye in Week 4 against the Guardians. New York's Luis Perez was very effective when called upon, completing 69.0 percent of his passes against Los Angeles secondary while running a mostly conservative game plan. Additionally, the Wildcats were a sieve on the back end in Weeks 1 and 2, yielding 265 and 290 net yards through the air to Roughnecks and Renegades, respectively. Cornelius has enough upside through both the ground and air to potentially deliver a strong return in game that should be played in ideal weather for the passing game.
ALSO CONSIDER: B.J. Daniels, SEA at HOU ($7,200)
Cameron Artis-Payne, DAL vs. NY ($8,200)
Despite a tough day on the ground in Week 4 against the Roughnecks, Artis-Payne is still averaging an impressive 16.2 DK points per contest. A big part of his production is coming through his work as a receiver out of the backfield, as the veteran back has impressively logged between four and eight targets in each of his first four games. The high end of that range came last week against Houston, helping Artis-Payne extend his streak of double-digit fantasy-point tallies to three games despite him managing just 31 yards on the ground.
In Week 5, Artis-Payne faces a Guardians squad that allowed over 100 yards rushing in each of its first three games before tightening up against the Wildcats in the Week 4 win. However, New York is back on the road again this week and figures to be on its heels while dealing with Dallas' Air Raid attack, and Artis-Payne could well be leaned on heavily with quarterback Landry Jones (knee) out of action. Artis-Payne already comes into Week 5 with three straight double-digit carry games, the type of volume that could lead to big returns against the suspect Guardians' run defense.
Jacques Patrick, TB at LA ($7,000)
Patrick has no shortage of talent, but the one concern attached to rostering him on any given week is the workload split between him and talented backfield mate De'Veon Smith. However, Smith will head into game day dealing with an undisclosed injury that could limit him. Meanwhile, Patrick has logged double-digit carries in three straight games despite a healthy Smith, topping out in Week 4 against the Defenders when he turned 21 totes into 108 yards and a touchdown.
Patrick has also logged seven targets in the passing game thus far and will be facing a Wildcats defense that's surrendered between 122 and 200 rushing yards in the last three games. Vipers coach Marc Trestman hasn't been hesitant to lean heavily on his ground attack when warranted, and with a potentially soft target in Los Angeles' front seven, Patrick could pay off nicely at his reasonable mid-tier salary.
ALSO CONSIDER: Lance Dunbar, DAL vs. NY ($7,600)
De'Mornay Pierson-El, STL at DC ($9,200)
Pierson-El is a shifty route runner that has quickly earned the trust of quarterback Jordan Ta'amu, with his latest success coming in the form of the 5-71-1 line he produced against the Dragons in Week 4. Pierson-El also has an 11-target game on his resume this season, and he's accumulated double-digit DK points in three of his first four contests overall. Pierson-El is a trusted option in the red zone, and he'll work against a Defenders defense that has exhibited vulnerability to the pass in multiple games, as highlighted in Ta'amu's entry.
Daniel Williams, TB at LA ($8,500)
Williams has proven to be a steady presence in the Vipers' passing attack over the first four games despite some upheaval at the quarterback position, as he's logged between seven and 11 targets in three of his first four games, and a solid four in the other contest in that sample. The last three games have come with Taylor Cornelius under center, and last week's 7-72 line featured a season high in catches for Williams. The Jackson State product brings a formidable 6-foot-3 frame that allows him to be a force in the close quarters of the red zone as well, and with a matchup versus a Wildcats defense that's been exposed through the air on a couple of occasions already this season, Williams could thrive once again in Week 5.
Jordan Smallwood, LA vs. TB ($6,200)
Wildcats' quarterback Josh Johnson has quickly taken command of the offense since his Week 2 debut, and Smallwood has been one of the beneficiaries. The Oklahoma product has six and seven targets in two of Johnson's first three starts, and he also logged seven looks back in the Week 1 opener with rookie Chad Kanoff under center. Smallwood is coming off a season-best 5-75 line in Week 4 that produced 15 DK points, and although he only has one touchdown on the season, his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame certainly makes him a red-zone option. As mentioned earlier, the Vipers have been tough against the pass; however, the Wildcats have leaned heavily on Johnson's arm since he took over, and Smallwood offers you cost-effective exposure to an air attack that will once again be missing Nelson Spruce (knee).
Donald Parham, DAL vs. NY ($9,500)
Parham should be a weekly fixture in DFS lineups until otherwise warranted, as he's been one of the league's most consistent fantasy performers through four weeks. The towering tight end's latest success came in Week 4 against the Roughnecks, when he turned 10 targets into a 6-56-1 line. Parham has between 19 and 30 DK points in his last three games, and although the fact he won't have quarterback Landry Jones (knee) to work with in Week 5 does pose some concern, Parham did see six targets from new starter Philip Nelson back in the first game of the season and presents a size mismatch that gives him excellent upside any time he takes the field.
Nick Holley, HOU vs. SEA ($7,100)
The likes of Cam Phillips and Kahlil Lewis rightfully get the bulk of attention in the Roughnecks' high-powered passing attack, but Holley is coming on and benefits from the attention that's heaped upon his talented pair of teammates. The former college running back has been productive in his own right over the first four games, and he's coming off his best performance of the season against the Renegades.
Holley generated an 8-97-1 line on a season-high 10 targets, numbers that led to 24 DK points. Holley did see a $2.6K price bump in response, but with the amount of passes quarterback P.J. Walker typically puts up and a matchup versus a Dragons defense that's allowed at least 227 passing yards in three of its first four games, Holley could certainly get loose in single coverage on multiple occasions.
Houston Roughnecks vs. SEA ($4,900)
The Roughnecks have made a habit of terrorizing opposing quarterbacks through the first four weeks of the season, notching 11 sacks and 29 quarterback hits overall. The consistent pressure they've applied has unsurprisingly led to plenty of bad decisions, which has in turn helped generate eight interceptions for Houston's opportunistic secondary. All the impact plays have resulted in Houston's defense posting two games with double-digit fantasy points over the first four weeks and an average of 10.3 DK points overall for the season.
The Dragons could make for viable targets for the Roughnecks as well, especially if coach Jim Zorn stubbornly chooses to rotate in Brandon Silvers at quarterback alongside the dynamic B.J. Daniels, who provided quite the spark in the second half last week. Even if the dangerous Daniels does draw the start or the majority of playing time, Houston should be more prepared for the dual threat than a shell-shocked BattleHawks defense was last week. Although Seattle certainly has the players to hit on some plays throughout the course of the game, the Roughnecks' attacking defense has the talent to produce enough turnovers to make them worthy of the highest salary of any unit this week.