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USFL DFS: Best DraftKings Predictions and Picks for Week 1

Jordan Ta'amu, QB, Tampa Bay Bandits

The USFL is finally ready to kick things off and Tampa Bay Bandits QB Jordan Ta'amu may be ready to flex his muscles for your DFS lineup

After months of waiting, the new USFL will finally kick off on Saturday night, and with that comes my USFL Week 1 daily fantasy football (DFS) picks for DraftKings!

Related: Predictions for Every USFL Week 1 Game

Full disclosure: I always loved the USFL. I was a kid when the first iteration arrived and I always felt like it could have been more. So perhaps it is with a bit of nostalgia that I asked for this assignment.

Unfortunately, I have just slightly more information than you do. So take my Week 1 picks with a grain of salt. I might get lucky. Or these picks might be some of the worst picks all year. We'll see.

It appears for now that only DraftKings will be having USFL contests. My guess is that if it is popular enough on DraftKings, FanDuel will quickly join the game. We know those are the two biggies, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the smaller sites start to feature USFL DFS contests as well. So for now, we will use DraftKings to help build our DFS lineups.

Enough jibber-jabber. Let's get to the picks. 

2022 USFL Week 1 DraftKings Picks

Be aware that DraftKings USFL lineups are a little different than their regular NFL lineup. A USFL lineup includes 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 2 FLEX, and a DST. Let’s go through each position and break it down.

Quarterback

Luis Perez interests me as a potential sleeper, but for now, he seems to be the backup to De'Andre Johnson. I’m not taking either this week. I’ll confine my lineups for now to those whose professional body of work I’ve witnessed. That leaves us with Paxton Lynch, Kyle Lauletta, and Jordan Ta'amu ($10,400). My guess (and hope?) is that the first two are the more popular choices given their NFL experience/big college program experience. But I’m going with Ta'amu. He has a strong arm and does enough with his legs to provide highlight-reel production:


I like what I saw with him with St. Louis in the XFL. With so much uncertainty in Week 1, I’ll take the guy with the high enough floor.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Just like the usual DFS, there is value to stacking in the USFL DFS. So therefore I will be taking Ta'amu's top receiver, Rashard Davis. Davis constantly seems to be just on the outside of the NFL roster bubbles, but I got a feeling he will be featured regularly with the Tampa Bay Bandits. He was one of the best kicker returners during his time at James Madison. He was a burner, who was able to use his speed to return four punts for TDs.

For my other spot, I will likely go with J’Mon Moore, who is on the New Jersey Generals. But don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) to see who I end up selecting.

Running Back

Far more uncertainty in the USFL backfields than in some of the other skill positions.

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But I think Pittsburgh Mauler head coach Kirby Wilson will try to slow down Ta'amu and the easiest way to do so will be with a strong running game. He might easily be on the wrong side of an RBBC with Garrett Groshek. But I’m going to roll the dice with Madre London ($5,700). All London did in 2021 was lead the European League of Football with 2,177 yards and 23 TDs.

Works for me!

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

I’m not a Jeff Fisher fan. 

But his teams always had strong defenses despite some of his poor coaching decisions, usually on the offensive side of the ball. Houston's slated starter is Clayton Thorson. I’ll admit, I have never heard of him. And he sounds like someone who should be hosting the Governor’s Annual Croquet Match and Bull Roast than lining up under center for a professional football team.

Fisher's new Michigan Panthers defense also features LB Taiwan Jones, who was a casualty of the talent-rich Buffalo Bills defense. Jones is a hard-nosed football player who always seems to be in the right spot at the right time.

Finally, DraftKings has the Panthers ($4,700) as the highest salaried DST. DraftKings is not always right, but given the lack of certainty around the USFL, I’m willing to ride with their top option.

Flex Options

Willing to spend a ton? I'll give you an option at both RB and WR.

For RB, Look no further than Tampa Bay's B.J. Emmons ($8,400). I've already told you how much I like Ta'Amu and his WRs. But the Bandits are coached by Todd Haley, former NFL offensive coordinator, so it might be worth grabbing every piece we can. Despite being 6-feet, 220 pounds, Emmons was once timed with a 4.58 40-yard dash. It is also worth mentioning that the Bandits are just one of two teams carrying only two running backs on the entire roster.

At WR, I am really liking Victor Bolden ($9,400) of the Birmingham Stallions. He was the first wide receiver taken in the position-specific draft. I don't think he will be the best WR in the league, but he might be the best slot wideout in the league. Bolden notched 461 yards or more in three separate seasons at Oregon State. He also offers versatility as a kick returner, which might come in handy should the Stallions need an explosive play or two. (Could we see him used in the USFL's unique three-point conversion?)

Related: What You Need to Know About the USFL's Rule Changes

We will stick with the Stallions however in case you are looking to save. Marlon Williams ($3,000) might be one of the best bargains on the slate. The Stallions might have one of the better passing games and enough so that we should consider their WR3. After Bolden, Williams has one of the strongest draft profiles. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash. He also snatched 71 passes for 1,039 yards as a senior at UCF. Given the Stallions might actually have home-field advantage with every game played in Birmingham, he could be an interesting sleeper.

Jordan Ellis will likely see most of the goal-line work for New Orleans, due to his size. And Larry Rose was drafted before him as well. But I remind you that the Breakers will be coached by Larry Fedora. Why is that important? Because third on the depth chart and what could be a great tournament play is T.J. Logan ($3,300). Logan played for Fedora while both were at North Carolina. Logan had 894 scrimmage yards and double-digit touchdowns his senior year. His floor is abysmally low. But at $3,300 he could be the best Week 1 DraftKings value play as well.

Good luck!

 — Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.