XFL DFS 101: Tips For Playing XFL Contests on DraftKings and FanDuel
XFL DFS 101: Tips For Playing XFL Contests on DraftKings and FanDuel

DFS industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel are rolling out a full array of contests for the XFL's second incarnation, which kicks off in February 2020. As was the case with the original iteration of the league back in 2001, XFL 2.0 modifies the NFL rulebook in several ways in an attempt to speed up the pace of the game and lend more weight/excitement to each play from scrimmage.

Some of those modifications will have an effect on DFS strategy. We'll delve into those further, along with covering all the basics of playing XFL cash games and tournaments on each of the two sites: 

The Fundamentals of Playing DraftKings XFL DFS Contests 

Those playing XFL contests on DraftKings will encounter many familiar elements. The roster construction is identical to the site's CFL contests, while the $50K salary cap is the standard one used by DK across its contests for multiple major sports.

Roster construction:

·         1 Quarterback

·         1 Running Back

·         2 Wide Receivers

·         2 Flex Spots

·         1 Team Defense

The flex spot may be filled by either a running back or wide receiver. Notably, there is no designated tight end spot, but that doesn't mean those XFL players that man the position aren't in the player pool; they have been included, but they're all listed as wide receivers.

A valid XFL contest lineup must consist of players from at least two different teams. 

Salary cap:

$50,000 

Scoring

Those familiar with DraftKings' NFL and CFL contests will find the scoring system for XFL contests familiar. However, the XFL's one- and three-point conversion options constitute additional scoring categories on both the offensive and defensive side.

Offensive scoring categories

Offense Player Categories
StatisticFantasy Points
Passing TD+4 Pts
25 Passing Yards+1 Pt (+0.04 Pts/Yard)
300+ Yard Passing Game+3 Pts
Interception-1 Pt
Rushing TD+6 Pts
10 Rushing Yards+1 Pt (+0.1 Pts/Yard)
100+ Yard Rushing Game+3 Pts
Receiving TD+6 Pts
10 Receiving Yards+1 Pt (+0.1 Pts/Yard)
100+ Yard Receiving Game+3 Pts
Reception+1 Pt
Punt/Kickoff/FG Return for TD+6 Pts
Fumble Lost-1 Pt
1 Pt Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch)+1 Pt
2 Pt Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch)+2 Pts
3 Pt Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch)+3 Pts
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD+6 Pts

Defensive scoring categories

Defense Categories
StatisticFantasy Points
Sack+1 Pt
Interception+2 Pts
Fumble Recovery+2 Pts
Punt/Kickoff/FG Return for TD+6 Pts
Interception Return TD+6 Pts
Fumble Recovery TD+6 Pts
Blocked Punt or FG Return TD+6 Pts
Safety+2 Pts
Blocked Kick+2 Pts
1 pt Conversion Return+1 Pt
2 pt Conversion Return+2 Pts
3 pt Conversion Return+3 Pts
0 Points Allowed+10 pts
1-6 Points Allowed+7 Pts
7-13 Points+4 Pts
14-20 Points Allowed+1 Pts
21-27 Points Allowed+0 Pts
28-34 Points Allowed-1 Pt
35+ Points Allowed-4 Pts

The Fundamentals of Playing FanDuel XFL DFS Contests 

In contrast to DraftKings, FanDuel XFL contests will feature some marked differences in lineup construction, salary cap and pricing structure.

Roster construction:

·         1 Quarterback

·         1 Running Back

·         2 WR/TE

·         2 Flex (RB/WR/TE)

A valid XFL contest lineup must consist of players from at least two different teams.

Salary cap:

$100

Scoring

Those who've played with FanDuel's NFL contests will find the scoring system for XFL contests familiar to an extent. However, the XFL's one- and three-point conversion rule constitute additional scoring categories.

One-Point Conversion Passes (1PC/P)- 1 

One-Point Conversions Scored (1PC/S)- 1 

Two-Point Conversion Passes (2PC/P)- 2 

Two-Point Conversions Scored (2PC/S)- 2 

Three-Point Conversion Passes (3PC/P)- 3 

Three-Point Conversions Scored (3PC/S)- 3 

Fumbles Lost (FU/L)- (-2) 

Own Fumbles Recovered TDs (FU/TD)- 6 

Interceptions (INT) – (-1) 

Kickoff Return TDs (KR/TD)- 6 

Overtime Conversion Passes (OT/P)- 2 

Overtime Conversions Scored (OT/S)- 2 

Punt Return TDs (PR/TD)- 6 

Passing TDs (PaTD)- 4 

Passing Yards (PaY)- 0.04 

Receptions (Re)- 0.5 

Receiving TDs (ReTD)- 6 

Receiving Yards (ReY)- 0.1 

Rushing TDs (RuTD)- 6 

Rushing Yards (RuY)- 0.1

Specific XFL rules that can impact lineup-building strategy:

  • Only one foot inbounds is required for a valid reception. Therefore, receivers will have a chance for a better overall catch rate, and by extension, more DFS production.
  • The XFL allows two forward passes to originate from behind the line of scrimmage on the same play. That opens opportunities for passing touchdowns from running backs and receivers; in turn, the rule will also inevitably vulture some touchdown passing opportunities from quarterbacks over the course of the season.
  • The XFL will feature a running clock that will not stop for incomplete passes or out-of-bounds plays outside of the time it takes to get the ball re-spotted. The league will also utilize a 25-second play clock, as opposed to the NFL's 40-second clock. Therefore, offensive skill-position players should have a chance at plenty of extra plays within a game and could often have an advantage over a defense that will have less time to adjust between plays.
  • The XFL does not allow extra-point attempts via kick. Instead, teams can either try for one point from the two-yard line, for two points from the five-yard line or for three points from the 10-yard line. All skill position players therefore have a chance to garner extra fantasy production, with running backs the likeliest position to benefit from one-point tries, and pass catchers the most likely to be involved on two- and three-point tries.
  • The XFL's overtime rules will allow for multiple scoring opportunities for quarterbacks, running backs and pass catchers. The overtime period will consist of five rounds per team, with one offensive play from the five-yard line constituting a round. If the teams are tied after five rounds, the overtime period continues until there is a winner at the conclusion of a round ion (each overtime score is worth two points on the scoreboard). Therefore, there will be plenty of high-percentage scoring opportunitfor multiple players ies whenever there is an overtime.
  • Running backs and receivers that pull double duty as returners carry some potential extra value, as the XFL has instituted new rules on both kickoffs and punts that should lead to more return opportunities overall:

Kickoffs

  • On kickoffs, kickers will kick off from the 30-yard line, as opposed to the 35-yard line in the NFL. The coverage team will already be lined up on the return team's 35-yard line to start the play, with the return unit lined up five yards away on the 30. However, no member of either unit will be allowed to begin moving until the ball has been caught by the returner or it's been on the ground for three seconds.
  • Then, any ball kicked out of bounds or short of the 20-yard line will result in an illegal procedure penalty that will place the ball at the return team's 45-yard line. Any ball kicked into the end zone and downed will result in placement of the ball at the return team's 35-yard line.
  • Given these rules, kicking teams will be more incentivized to get the ball into a returner's hands and attempt a stop, as opposed to purposely kicking deep into the end zone to secure a likely touchback. The fact kickoff will originate from five yards deeper than the NFL should also increase return opportunities.

Punts

  • Any punt that goes into the end zone, bounces out of the end zone or goes out of bounds inside the receiving team's 35-yard line will result in a "Major" touchback that places the ball at the receiving team's 35-yard line.
  • The punt-coverage team, including the gunners cannot release past the line of scrimmage until the ball is punted. According to the XFL's website, this will create an average distance of 11 yards between the punt returner and nearest defender, as opposed to six yards with other professional leagues.
  • Given these rules, punting teams will be kicking to returners more often and eliminate "coffin corner" and similar kicks that eliminate the chances of a return altogether. Additionally, there should be uptick in teams going for it on 4th down in opponents' territory due to these changes. In turn, that will up the number of plays from scrimmage a team runs over time, which increases DFS production opportunities for quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and tight ends.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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