USFL DFS Picks: Week 2 USFL DraftKings Strategy

The USFL kicked off its first season in almost 40 years with four games last week. DraftKings launched its USFL DFS and contests were running for Week 1. With a one-week sample to now analyze, this piece will examine what to expect this week and where we should be looking to go with our USFL DFS picks today. For in-depth individual team and player breakdowns, check out the DraftKings USFL DFS Primer. Here’s a look at some of the best Week 2 DraftKings USFL DFS picks for each position.

Week 2 DraftKings USFL DFS Picks

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Top QB Picks

Jordan Ta’amu ($10,700) — After projecting as the top quarterback last week, the Tampa Bay Bandits barely needed to use Jordan Ta’amu as they rolled the Pittsburgh Maulers. Ta’amu came in extremely chalky after the Bandits drafted him second overall. The former Ole Miss quarterback played with the St. Louis BattleHawks in the XFL, where he stood out enough to bounce around NFL practice squads in the following years. In the XFL, Ta’amu finished seventh overall in yards rushing, while completing 72% of his passes in a five-game sample. However, his USFL debut did not go according to plan. Ta’amu only rushed one time, while completing 20 of his 32 pass attempts for 185 yards, a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Still, the Bandits ranked in the top half of the league in play volume and passed 51.6% of the time in a resounding win. Even at this expensive price, buying low on Ta’amu makes sense here.

Kyle Sloter ($10,200) — Beating the Philadelphia Stars in a defensive game, Kyle Sloter disappointed in his USFL debut. He came off the board as the last quarterback in the first round and looked the part. Sloter completed 17 of 27 passes for 150 yards and an interception. Fortunately, he added 30 yards on four rushing attempts, displaying his mobility. Sloter is 6-foot-5, 218 pounds and went undrafted in 2018 NFL Draft. He initially started his career at Southern Miss but transferred to Northern Colorado when they tried to move him to tight end. Sloter has played in multiple preseasons in the NFL, completing 74% of his passes for 1,222 yards, 11 touchdowns, one interception and 8.1 yards per attempt. He has never been a prolific rusher, but Sloter allegedly ran in the 4.5s. The Breakers still project to be pass heavy under Larry Fedora, but they only passed 41% of the time in Week 1. However, their 66 plays did rank third in Week 1. If Sloter continues to use his mobility, he will continue to have fantasy viability as a GPP options. The Breakers – Bandits game looks like the best game environment to target for DFS.

Bryan Scott ($9,600) — After an egregious amount of hype for a former Division III quarterback, Bryan Scott predictably struggled in his debut with the Philadelphia Stars. The thesis of the Scott play was his continuity with head coach Bart Andrus from the Spring League. Ultimately, Andrus ran his pass-heavy, four wide scheme. However, Scott only completely 25 of 36 pass attempts for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His 5.6 yards per attempt tied for seventh on opening weekend, but he did lead the league in pass attempts. While Scott’s lack of individual talent stood out, his offense will still propel him to decent fantasy numbers based on the elevated pass rate and play volume. The Stars only got off 57 plays in Week 1, but they led the league with a 63% pass rate. Facing the run-heaviest team in the league, it will be interesting to see if the Maulers control clock or if the Stars’ talent wins out.

J’Mar Smith ($8,000) — With Alex McGough getting hurt after an underwhelming start, former Tulsa quarterback J’Mar Smith went on to win Offensive Player of the Week. In relief, Smith completed 11 of 21 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed three times for 13 yards and an additional score. In college, Smith rushed for 856 yards across four years on 856 attempts, giving him above average mobility. He topped out at 371 yards rushing as a sophomore. As a passer, He completed 64.3% of his passes for 8.1 yards per attempt as a senior with Tulsa. At 6-foot-1, 218 pounds, Smith very much looks the part of a starting quarterback. With the Birmingham Stallions passing 58.5% of the time, Smith looks like one of the top price-adjusted quarterbacks on this slate.

According to the USFL lineup optimizer, Scott was one of the top quarterbacks popping in the projections. When running optimal lineups, Scott was the quarterback showing up the most. Check out all of our free USFL DFS picks for a little more help building lineups by viewing the DraftKings USFL Cheat Sheet.

Top RB Picks

B.J. Emmons ($8,500) — The highest overall projected running back for the second straight week, B.J. Emmons played a strong role in Tampa Bay’s offense in Week 1. Emmons started his career with Alabama in 2016, before transferring to JUCO. After JUCO, Emmons played two injury riddled seasons with Florida Atlantic. In total, he never carried more than 51 times in any season. However, he is 6-feet, 220 pounds and ran a 4.58 40-yard dash. In Week 1, Emmons rushed 19 times for 40 yards and a touchdown, while catching all three of his targets for another 23 yards. While Emmons wasn’t efficient, he still out-performed backfield mate Juwan Washington. Emmons had a 58% snap share and 51% route rate, compared to a 42% snap share and 34% route share for Washington. While these aren’t the feature back numbers of Le’Veon Bell, Tampa Bay also routed their Week 1 opponent. Emmons still has the chance to play that role moving forward in what looks like the USFL’s top offense.

T.J. Logan ($6,400) — With Larry Rose out of the picture, it looks like Larry Fedora and the Breakers will use T.J. Logan and Jordan Ellis ($5,400) in a true backfield committee. Logan is the smaller back, but he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash and played for Fedora at North Carolina in college. Ellis is a much larger back and turned in more efficient numbers on the ground in Week 1. Ellis rushed 18 times for 89 yards, while Logan checked in at 15 rushing attempts for 56 yards. Still, Logan had a 55% snap share and 63% route rate, while Ellis checked in with a 47% snap share and 63% route rate. Both backs are serviceable here, but Logan’s pass catching ability gives him a slight edge.

C.J. Marable ($5,900) C.J. Marable formed a timeshare with NFL preseason star Tony Brooks-James ($6,300) in Week 1 for the Birmingham Stallions. Marable only carried seven times for 22 yards, but he also caught both of his targets for 17 yards. Brooks-James was also involved and box score hunters may flock to the former Oregon Duck. However, Marable had a 65% snap share and 61% route rate, while Brooks-James had a 35% snap share and 28% route rate.

Trey Williams ($5,300) — With Mike Weber waiver, it appears the New Jersey Generals will move forward with Trey Williams and Darius Victor in a timeshare. Both backs bring solid size. Victor is 5-foot-8, 209 pounds, while Williams is 5-foot-11, 230 pounds with 4.49 speed. Many pegged Victor as the favorite to lead the backfield, including myself. However, Williams had a 63% snap share and 66% route rate. Victor only had 37% of the snaps and a 22% route rate. While Victor held a slight edge in carries, Williams looks like the preferred option in what projects to be a run-heavy team moving forward.

Matt Colburn ($4,500) — For those looking at cheaper backs, Philadelphia Stars back Matt Colburn fits the bill. While Darnell Holland had the superior performance on the back of a long touchdown, Colburn was just as involved. Each back carried nine times and Colburn has a target edge. The former Wake Forest back saw seven targets to Holland’s four. Colburn had a 56% snap share and 52% route rate. In comparison, Holland had a 44% snap share and 32% route rate. Unfortunately, Philadelphia activated a third back in Paul Terry ahead of this game, rending both Colburn and Holland GPP only plays.

Cameron Scarlett ($3,700) — Predicted to be one of the run-heaviest teams in the league, the Michigan Panthers fell behind early and ended up passing 39.5% of the time. While still not high, the Panthers may run the ball even more in positive game script. A true timeshare, Stevie Scott split the backfield with Cameron Scarlett. Scott saw 18 carries and one target on a 51% snaps share and 47% route share. Conversely, Scarlett saw 15 carries and one target on a 49% snap share and 39% route share. Scarlett is significantly cheaper and would be an easy play if Michigan didn’t activate a third back in Reggie Corbin. Either way, his cheap price keeps him in play for tournaments.

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Top WR Picks

Victor Bolden ($9,600) – The top receiver of the Birmingham Stallions, Victor Bolden led the team with a 25.8% target share, and he caught eight of four targets for 45 scoreless yards. The team played an incredibly tight rotation, with Bolden seeing 100% snap share and route share.

Isaiah Zuber ($9,500) – Projected to be the top receiver for the Houston Gamblers in Week 1, Isaiah Zuber interestingly only saw two targets. He caught both for 34 yards and a touchdown, salvaging his fantasy day. Even though JoJo Ward led the team with nine targets, Zuber still had a 100% route rate. Additionally, the Gamblers already ruled out Ward this week, vacating 50% of the team’s Week 1 targets.

Lance Lenoir ($7,600) – One of the most targeted receivers in Week 1, Lance Lenoir again looks like an alpha receiver in Week 2. In his debut Lenoir racked up six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown on nine targets and a 30% target share. Lenoir led the team with 83% route participation as well. This week, that number could climb even higher with Joe Walker and Jeff Badet placed on the team’s inactive list.

Osirus Mitchell ($6,900) – A pleasant surprise for Birmingham, Osirus Mitchell racked up five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown on seven targets and a 22.6% target share. Like Bolden, Mitchell also had a 100% snap share and 100% of the team’s routes. For those looking at even cheaper options, Marlon Williams ($3,000) also had a 100% route rate despite failing to catch any of his five targets.

Johnnie Dixon ($6,600) – While tight end Sal Cannella led the New Orleans Breakers in targets, Johnnie Dixon also performed well in his debut. Dixon caught four passes for 37 scoreless yards on six targets and a 22.2% target share. Dixon led the team with a 90% route share, potentially positioning himself as the team’s top receiver moving forward.

Randy Satterfield ($4,800) – Completely off the board, Randy Satterfield emerged as an early candidate to lead the New Jersey Generals in receiving after logging a 20% target share in Week 1. Satterfield reached caught all five of his targets for 100 yards and a touchdown. He also led the receivers with a 92% snap share and 94% route participation. Improving matters further, the team sent J’Mon Moore to the inactive list, potentially opening even more snaps.

Diondre Overton ($3,800) – Already the most injured receiving corps in the USFL, the Philadelphia Stars played Devin Gray and Chris Rowland on the inactive roster. The pair accounted for 13 targets in Week 1 and over 36% of the team’s targets. Still should mean an increased role for Diondre Overton. Already involved, Overton caught two of three targets for 34 scoreless yards in Week 1. Andrus likes to run four-wide sets and the limited bodies could force the receivers into every-down roles. Even prior to the injuries, Overton had a 92% snap share and 91% of the team’s routes. Gray and Rowland vacated 80% and 73% route shares.

Delvon Hardaway ($3,600) – The Pittsburgh Maulers predictably botched their USFL debut with egregious formations and an elevated run rate. However, after getting down by double digits, the team had no choice but to throw. Fortunately, the team has a pair of cheap receivers in Bailey Gaither ($4,900) and Delvon Hardaway. Gaither caught three passes for 42 yards on seven targets and a 26.9% target share in Week 1. Hardaway wasn’t as involved, but he also caught one ball for 22 yards on four targets in Week 1. He also had 84% of the snaps and a 97% route rate. This participation even bested Gaither, who played 90% of the routes.

Vinny Papale ($3,200) – With most projecting Derrick Willies to lead the Tampa Bay, the Bandits surprisingly used a receiver rotation in Week 1. Even though this polluted the target distribution, it allowed a value piece like Vinny Papale to play a meaningful role. Papale caught all three of his targets for 23 receiving yards. He also played 53% of the snaps and 57% of the routes. This only fell behind Willies, Jordan Lasley and tight end Cheyenne O’Grady. For reference, Lasley led the receivers with a 66% route participation.

Chad Williams ($3,100) – Another surprise revelation in Week 1, Chad Williams played over Shawn Poindexter in base sets for the New Orleans Breakers. Williams caught one of four targets for five receiving yards. He also had a 77% snap share and 87% of the team’s routes. Behind him, Jonathan Adams had a 74% snap share and 77% route rate. Coming in a distant fourth, Poindexter only saw 52% of the snaps and 43% of the routes without logging any stats.

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Top TE Picks

Cary Angeline ($6,400) — Historically, Skip Holtz hasn’t used the tight end position, but when he has, he prioritizes athleticism. That also proved true in Week 1 with the Birmingham Stallions. Cary Angeline had an 89% snap share and 92% route rate. More importantly, he caught two of six targets for 35 yards and a touchdown, giving him a 19.5% target share. In college with North Carolina State, he played more in the slot, but his snaps were split almost 50/50 between the slot and inline. Productive as well, Angeline has 52 catches for 791 yards over his last two seasons with North Carolina State. With Sage Surratt still parked on the practice squad, Angeline should continue to produce as one of the league’s top tight ends.

Sal Cannella ($5,200) — A major Week 1 surprise, former Auburn H-back Cannella led the New Orleans Breakers in targets. Cannella caught six of seven targets for 58 yards on a 25.9% target share. Cannella never produced like this at the college level, but his new usage bodes well moving forward. Cannella had a 94% snap share and 87% route rate. He makes for an excellent contrarian piece in Bandits/Breakers game stacks.

Cheyenne O’Grady ($5,000) — Shockingly, Ta’amu’s most target pass catcher wasn’t even a receiver in Week 1. Former Arkansas tight end, O’Grady caught eight of 11 targets for 86 scoreless yards in his USFL debut. O’Grady is 6-foot-4, 256 pounds and ran a 4.81 40-yard dash coming out of college. However, off-field issues hurt his draft stock and limited his college career. He caught 85 passes over three years at Arkansas and showed the ability to play in and out of the slot. Leading the team with a 34.3% target share, O’Grady should be treated like a wide receiver in this offense.

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Matt Gajewski
Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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