Late Thursday, the XFL announced it was canceling the rest of its regular season.
While the XFL didn't specifically cite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the decision, the NBA, MLB, NHL, the NCAA, and many other leagues have suspended operations and canceled games and championship tournaments in response to this global public health threat.
The Week 6 XFL daily fantasy football (DFS) picks come with good news and bad news. The good news is that I have been on roll lately and most of my picks have performed to expectation. The bad news is that I'm not "feeling" it this week. Or to put it another way, my spider senses are tingling.
Something just doesn't feel right about this week. I suspect it is because the two best teams so far, Houston and St. Louis, are on the road against two teams that have been playing better in recent weeks and have strong defenses. I'm not expecting an upset, but I'm not expecting those offenses to steamroll this week either. Or maybe its because I can't decide what to make of the DC Defenders. First, they completely exceeded my expectations and were amazing. Then they disappointed for a couple of weeks and stunk. Now they suddenly look like one of the best teams again. And since these teams aren't playing each other, they account for most of this week's slate. This might explain why I'm going heavy on the Los Angeles Wildcats-Seattle Dragons, which will be played under some unusual circumstances.
Maybe my spider senses will tingle less as we get closer to kickoff. At least that's what I'm hoping. Enough warnings. Let's get to the picks!
Week 6 XFL DraftKings Picks
QB: Josh Johnson, Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons (Sun.), $10,800
I was willing to pay the premium on P.J. Walker last week. Not this week. After passing for more than 350 yards and three touchdowns last week, Walker deserves all the attention he's getting. But I think you know what I mean when I say he's getting a little too much attention, right? Lost in all the press he is receiving is that he had his first multiple-interception game last week. Therefore, I'm pivoting to Johnson.
What I liked about Johnson last week is that he got off to an absolutely miserable start but didn't dwell on it and led the Wildcats to a come-from-behind victory on the strength of his four touchdown passes. St. Louis' Jordan Ta'amu meanwhile did not look particularly sharp last week, so I think Johnson is now the league's second-best quarterback.
Meanwhile, Seattle is allowing the second-most points and the most yards of any team. With Johnson playing as well as he is, I am locking him in at quarterback.
WR: Saaed Blacknall, Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons (Sun.), $4,500
If you've been consulting this article during both the NFL and XFL seasons, you know I like to stack my QBs with their WRs. So yes, if Nelson Spruce is out again I'm definitely starting Tre McBride. But that's the chalk play. Blacknall on the other hand is quite the intriguing play. While Spruce was healthy, Blacknall was absolutely non-existent. However, Blacknall has shown big-play ability with touchdowns in back-to-back games. As you'll see below, I'm rostering some expensive WRs this week. Blacknall provides a perfect balance.
But Blacknall is not the only affordable Wildcat I am going with this week.
RB: Martez Carter, Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons (Sun.), $4,600
I mentioned last week that I'd prefer not to spend up on running backs in most XFL slates. There were some strong RB performances last week but I'm not changing the course. Plus, Carter looks like a steal to me this week. He was out with an injury in Week 4 and then saw just a few carries last Sunday with the Wildcats in catch-up mode. Of course he looked pretty good in that limited sample:
And allow me to remind you that he had a monster game in Week 3, scoring three times. I do expect Los Angeles to run more this week. That should translate into a decent game from Carter.
FLEX: Cam Phillips, Houston Roughnecks at New York Guardians (Sat.), $11,700
I know, it makes little sense that I'm fading P.J. Walker and playing Phillips. But Walker-to-Phillips feels like the XFL's version of Montana to Rice. In both connections, all players were good but the QB made the WR great and the WR made the QB great. But there is a reason why Rice holds as many statistical records as he does and Montana's stats are not as large as his legend. In that same vein, I am leaning toward Phillips.
Phillips had a very quiet first half last week but finished the game with 10 catches on 13 targets for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He is absolutely the XFL's best WR with nine touchdowns and 455 receiving yards so far. I'd love to play Walker and Phillips, but the price is just too prohibitive. Since we are forced to choose, I will save the $600 and plug in Phillips.
DST: Tampa Bay Vipers vs. St. Louis BattleHawks (Sat.), $3,600
Between Cam Phillips, Josh Johnson, and Tre McBride, I need to save some salary. I have already mentioned my ambivalence about Houston, St. Louis, and DC, so at the present time, those three are residents of fade city. The Wildcats and Renegades are tempting options, but home-field advantage is even more prevalent in the XFL than the NFL. And two of those three teams (Roughnecks and BattleHawks) are on the road this weekend. I saw this tweet recently and as we already established,the answer is "no."
But I'm actually going to dip down a little further and take the aforementioned Vipers who return home. Part of the Vipers' issues has been the offense giving the opponents short fields with which to work. But Tampa Bay's offense is getting better, putting more of a focus on running the ball, and I see the D holding its own this week, at least enough to hit value at only $3,600.
Good luck with your Week 6 XFL DFS picks!
— 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.