Don’t sleep on the USFL. Not only was the action on the field exciting in Week 1, but there was quite a lot of action at DraftKings. The main slate filled quickly last Saturday, so do not hesitate to get your lineups in before Friday night’s lock (remember there is always late swap for adjusting lineups). However, If you snooze, you do not lose. Look for other Classic and Showdown Contests in the DraftKings lobby for the Saturday and Sunday games.
Learn the minor rules changes for DFS Contests — USFL Fantasy Football: How To Play DFS USFL on DraftKings.
USFL Week 2 Schedule
Friday Apr. 22
Michigan Panthers vs. New Jersey Generals, 8 p.m. ET (USA)
Saturday Apr. 23
Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Philadelphia Stars, 12 p.m. ET (Fox)
Birmingham Stallions vs. Houston Gamblers, 7 p.m. ET (FS1)
Sunday Apr. 24
New Orleans Breakers vs. Tampa Bay Bandits, 3 p.m. ET (NBC)
Jordan Ta’amu, Tampa Bay Bandits vs. New Orleans Breakers, $10,700 — His numbers suffered from a blowout last week. This week’s contest vs. the New Orleans Breakers — possibly the No. 2 USFL team behind the Bandits — will be much more competitive. Ta’amu had 100 yards passing in the first quarter last week but finished with just 185 yards as the Bandits played conservatively down the stretch. Ta’amu still took several shots down the field throughout the game, but despite good passes, his receivers failed to make the catches (a ubiquitous problem in the USFL in Week 1). The most obvious absence of aggression was in the run game. Ta’amu was mainly a pocket passer in Todd Haley’s offense. Is this the system or was this a product of a noncompetitive contest? It’s just one game, so it’s anyone’s guess, but the best guess would be to assume that the Bandits use their star quarterback to his maximum potential and allow him to use his legs in the future.
J’Mar Smith, Birmingham Stallions vs. Houston Gamblers, $8,000 — After Smith led last week’s comeback win, it would seem that he is now the starting QB ahead of Alex McGough (out). Even before the season began, there was speculation that Smith was Skip Holtz’s actual starter. The USFL draft was sort of a PR stunt. The first-round quarterbacks were all present at the draft, and some believe teams were forced to pick from that pool for a first-round photo op. With many of these “first-round” quarterbacks splitting time in Week 1, it seems that this is the case. Smith was the starting QB for Skip Holtz at Louisiana Tech. He knows this system and it showed. In one half of play, Smith completed 11-of-21 for 156 passing yards and a touchdown. He added another touchdown on the ground.
T.J. Logan Jr., New Orleans Breakers vs. Tampa Bay Bandits, $6,400 — Spending up for a stud is a viable option when there are studs with guaranteed workloads. Those do not quite exist in the USFL. The closest option is BJ Emmons ($8,500), but he could see his workload decrease in a more competitive matchup in Week 2. Logan is just as active and significantly cheaper. Logan was the preferred RB target at DraftKings in Week 1 for several reasons. He was active in the passing game at North Carolina and his former UNC coach is his current USFL coach. Also, RB Larry Rose III ($6,200) was demoted to the practice squad (teams are limited to 38 players for games). Everything went as planned last week, Logan rushed 15 times for 56 yards, and he caught all four of his targets for 38 yards.
Trey Williams, New Jersey Generals vs. Michigan Panthers, $5,300 — Former Ohio State star Mike Weber did not make the game time roster, so Darius Victor ($4,000) and Williams became the Generals 1-2 punch. Victor looked good (15 carries for 67 yards), but he was not involved in the passing game. With so few points being scored, PPR points are enormous. Williams was featured on the ground (13 attempts for 54 yards), but more importantly, he caught all five of his targets for 38 yards.
Lance Lenoir Jr., Michigan Panthers vs. New Jersey Generals, $7,600 — During the broadcast, Lenoir’s pro experience was mentioned 100 times by his former preseason coach doing the color commentary. In the inaugural game, Lenoir looked like an early favorite to return to the NFL in 2022. The Michigan Panthers were expected to feature a run-heavy offense, and Jeff Fisher and OC Eric Marty did not surprise anyone rushing 46 times. However, they did pass the ball 30 times (fourth-most). Lenoir caught all six of his targets (20% target share) for 71 yards and a touchdown. It’s a little early to completely trust the defensive matchup data, but the New Jersey Generals surrendered the most passing yards (205 yards) and passing touchdowns (2) in Week 1.
Editor’s Note: Stars WR Chris Rowland has been ruled out vs. the Maulers.
Chris Rowland, Philadelphia Stars vs. Pittsburgh Maulers, $3,400 — Go through every USFL article and video from Week 1. Find a tout that mentioned Chris Rowland. You can’t. If everyone missed him, then no big deal. However, there was a bigger industry-wide failure. Content creators were enamored with each player’s specs. This was mainly because of the lack of stats and info available. The result was the overhyping of tall and fast receivers. Stop for a second and take a step back. If a receiver is tall and fast, then why isn't that receiver in the NFL? The obvious answer is that they aren’t very good. They can’t catch or run routes. Now reverse that. Why is a small receiver not in the NFL, presumably it’s his size and not his skills. In Week 1, the small receivers lived underneath. They got open and caught the safe, easy throws by shaky quarterbacks. Not much is going to change in Week 2. Rowland caught seven of nine targets for 74 yards. He has the trust of QB Byran Scott ($9,600) and plays in the most pass-happy offense in the league (36 pass attempts).
Maulers DST, Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Philadelphia Stars, $4,100 — The Maulers’ defense performed admirably in Week 1. They held their own against the Bandits (likely the best team in the USFL), but they struggled with an even more formidable foe — their own offense. The Maulers’ 19th-century offense kept the Maulers’ defense on the field the entire game. The defense was up to the task, picking off Jordan Ta’amu twice and holding the Bandits scoreless in the second half. In Week 2, they face another championship contender, but one that proved to be mistake prone in Week 1. Stars QB Bryan Scott threw a pick six and was sacked a league-high six times by the New Orleans Breakers ($4,300).
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