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Best lineup strategy for Sunday’s XFL Classic game

We break down some ideal DFS picks for the XFL’s first classic contests on DrafKings this Sunday.

St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta’amu throws the ball during practice. Thomas Campbell/XFL

The second half of the Week 1 XFL schedule offers up a variety of daily fantasy football contests, and that will include a two-game Classic format. The Tampa Bay Vipers face the New York Guardians and the St. Louis BattleHawks face the Dallas Renegades to close out the first week of the new league. We broke down some of the best DFS lineup choices you can make ahead of Sunday’s action here.

Quarterback

Jordan Ta’amu, BattleHawks, $8,700

This 22-year-old played college ball at Ole Miss, where he totaled 3,918 passing yards and threw 19 touchdowns in his senior season. He also ran for 342 yards and six scores that year and is probably the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the XFL. He has a ton of upside, as his mobility is hard to come by. The lackluster showings we’ve seen from defensive backs we’ve seen so far offer big upside for Ta’amu.

Wide Receivers

Mekale McKay, Guardians, $9,900

McKay is the most expensive player on the docket for a reason, as he’s expected to be the top target for the top quarterback available (Matt McGloin, $9,700). XFL secondaries haven’t looked good so far, and McKay’s 6’5” frame should make him a threat all over the field — especially in the red zone. Injuries to other members of New York’s receiving corp should make him even more of a priority on a team that doesn’t have a clear RB1.

Nick Truesdell, Vipers, $6,900

Tight ends are listed as wide receivers in XFL contests, and Truesdell is expected to be one of the best around. He was Tampa Bay’s first pick in the XFL’s inaugural draft, so he’s clearly a priority on the offensive end. Vipers head coach Marc Trestman was the Chicago Bears’ head coach in 2013 and 2014. His tight end during span — Martellus Bennett — had his two best seasons in those years and totaled 1,675 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Trestman values tight ends, so you should be high on Truesdell.

Running back

Christine Michael, BattleHawks, $8,400

St. Louis has a weak receiving corps on paper, but does have one of the best running backs available. Michael has 38 regular season NFL games under his belt and was with the the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. His best season came in 2016 when he split time with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. He played in 15 games that season and tallied 583 rushing yards and seven scores. No XFL team has focused on the run so far, but St. Louis has the tools to be the first squad to do so.

Flex

Tim Cook, Guardians, $6,100

Cook might not get as many carries as a traditional RB1, but he does sit atop New York’s depth chart. He’ll likely split first team reps with Darius Victor like he did in practice earlier this week. He’s the cheapest starter you’ll find, and his value might save you money elsewhere.

DeMornay Pierson-El, BattleHawks, $6,200

Pierson-El is a starting receiver but also brings value as the BattleHawks’ top punt returner. We’ve yet to see a kickoff or punt be returned for a score, but the more opportunities a player has to touch the ball, the better. He spent some time with the Oakland Raiders during the NFL’s 2018 preseason as an undrafted rookie, and his elusiveness just might make a difference in the slot.

Defense/Special Teams

Dallas Renegades

The Renegades are early favorites to win the title on DraftKings SportsBook and will face a BattleHawks team with an inexperienced quarterback. No team seems poised to have an elite defense, but Dallas has a decent shot at giving up the least points. It’s hard to bet against the Renegades, even if you haven’t seen them in an official game yet.