XFL Week 3 Sunday Game Previews


Graphic Courtesy of Pat Pryor @patpryorgraphic

All betting outlooks and insights are provided by our Director of Betting, Jeremy Dennis. You can find him on Twitter @menace524. Also, all of the DFS Fantasy Player insights are provided by Nikunj Patel. You can find him on Twitter @NickOfTimeDFS.


NY Guardians (1-1) at STL BattleHawks (1-1)


Where to Watch: Sunday, Feb. 23rd, 3:00 PM ET on ESPN


Preview


The BattleHawks play their first game at home, which also marks the first time professional football has been played at The Dome in St. Louis, Missouri since 2015. St. Louis comes into this game having just lost a tough one on the road versus arguably the best team in the league. On the flip side the New York Guardians just played the DC Defenders who absolutely dominate them for full four quarters of play. On top of that, the Guardians have a question mark now at quarterback. Both teams will look to bounce back from their previous losses last weekend.


Players to watch


New York Guardians


Matt McGloin, Quarterback


Last week was one to forget from McGloin, the New York starting quarterback was benched in favor of Marquise Williams and was shown throwing his team under the bus at halftime. Everyone has a bad game, a bad week or even a bad couple of games. However, this is the XFL and the season isn’t as long as the NFL to get things going. McGloin is likely going to go right back into that starting quarterback role but to be completely honest this could be his last chance at holding onto it. He had a solid first week against one of the league’s worse teams and followed it up the next week with a passer rating of 10.1. This game is huge for McGloin’s future.


Mekale McKay, Wide receiver


It’s safe to say that the New York Guardians have not used Mekale McKay enough. McKay is the former AAF standout from the San Antonio Commanders that uses his size extremely well to box out his assignment and come down the catch. He’s got a decent amount of speed for his 6-foot-6 frame. The confusing thing is that McKay has only been targeted 10 times in the first two games of the year. That may sound like a lot but it sure isn’t when you account for the fact he’s the team’s best weapon and it might not really even be close. Look out for number one in this game, there’s no way New York will neglect the talent of McKay in a must-win game on the road.


Jamar Summers, Cornerback


Summers is one of the best players on the Guardians, he was a standout in the AAF for the Birmingham Iron and he was just in the NFL playing for the Detroit Lions in the preseason. You saw last week how Jordan Ta’amu was picked off twice whether one was his fault or not. This week, keep your eye on number 21 who is likely going to be looking to break open the game with an interception. He’s arguably the best cornerback in the league and Ta’amu will have to be wary of him the whole game.


St. Louis BattleHawks


Jordan Ta’amu, Quarterback


Ta’amu is looking like one of the top quarterbacks in this league early on. He’s third in the in rushing believe it or not and has proven that he can win in all areas of his game. The one problem with Ta’amu was last week. In a game that was tough but could have been had, Ta’amu threw two costly interceptions. One was while he was throwing and the second was a missed free play by the officiating. Either way, those counted as turnovers on the box score and ruined the BattleHawks comeback bid. It’s going to hurt any time you lose a game but not as much as losing a game where you have 152 more total offensive yards than the team that beat you. Ta’amu will have to play his style of football but make sure to limit the number of turnovers he gives up.


Keith Mumphrey, Wide receiver


Do not let number 17 sneak up on you. The St. Louis BattleHawks made a trade for Keith Mumphrey for a reason. Mumphrey is one of the top receivers in the XFL and has been brought on slowly due to being acquired later in the off-season. Mumphrey went up by three more targets this past week and hauled in three of four targets for 39 yards which included a 27-yard play. Mumphrey should start really settling into his own in the coming weeks. What better time to unleash arguably your best receiver than the home opener? Make no mistake, De’Mornay Pierson-El, Alonzo Russell, L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas all have promise. However, the Battlehawks gave up a legit pass rusher in Markus Jones to acquire Mumphrey from the Dallas Renegades. His time is coming.


Dexter McCoil, Linebacker


McCoil flew all over the field last week versus the Roughnecks and he’s likely going to be doing the same thing this weekend. McCoil had six total tackles last week including a tackle for a loss. The athletic linebacker/safety hybrid is a perfect match next to former AAF defensive star Terence Garvin. Look out for number 26 to be plenty busy when the time comes. Defensive coordinator Jay Hayes likes to use McCoil as an aggressive chess piece and that could certainly be a key to disrupting McGloin enough to get him rattled, out of his rhythm and take control of the game early on.


Keys to the game


NY Guardians

  • Contain Jordan Ta’amu

  • Establish the run early on

  • Give Mekale McKay the opportunity to take over


STL BattleHawks

  • Continue playing BattleHawks football

  • Pressure Matt McGloin and force him into turnovers early

  • Limit the turnovers on offense


NickOfTime Top 5 DFS Plays

  • Jordan Ta’amu, QB, STL

  • L’Damian Washington, WR, STL

  • Mekale McKay, WR, NY

  • Christine Michael, RB, STL

  • De’ Mornay Pierson-El, WR, STL


Degenerate Menace Betting Outlook


New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks Line St. Louis (-10) Over/Under 40.5


So, which New York quarterback will show up this week? Tolerable Matt McGloin that beat the worst team in the league by 20 or abysmal Matt McGloin that was 8 for 19 with 44 yards and two interceptions against Washington? As of this writing, there is no indication as to who is going to start for the Guardians, but they better have more than 100 yards passing if they want to get close to winning. In some circles, Jordan Ta’amu is the second-best player in the XFL and went blow for blow with PJ Walker in Week 2. The computer is thinking the Guardians will cover this number because of the defense. However, the scenario will be much like the last game where the New York defense got gassed thanks to their putrid offense.


Prediction: St. Louis 26 - New York 3


Beat Writer’s Prediction


This is the moment the St. Louis faithful has been waiting for, football is officially back in the Lou. This is going to be a very emotional game and the home-field advantage is going to be through the roof. I think Ta’amu and company keep their foot on the gas all the way through this game to score 41 points and win the game. On the New York side of things, I expect this to start out fairly competitive with the BattleHawks pushing away in the second half to clear the way to a 2-1 record.


Final Score: St. Louis 41, New York, 20


Written by: Jake Ellenbogen


DC Defenders (2-0) at LA Wildcats (0-2)


Where to Watch: Sunday, Feb. 23rd, 6:00 PM ET on FS1


Preview


Uh-oh. Week three will end with a true David vs Goliath match-up as the Wildcats who have yet to really click, face the Defenders who have ran through their first two games impressively. LA did better than most expected them to last week as Josh Johnson was a clear upgrade at QB. However, he wasn’t enough to get past a solid Renegades squad as they suck to 0-2. Not trying to avoid a 0-3 start they’ll have to really shock the XFL by beating a team that has been dominant thus far, cruising to an undefeated start by living up to their names as a defensive stalwart as they try to continue to their perfect run.


Players to watch


QB Cardale Jones has lived by his ‘undefeated since High School’ statistic. As the leading passer of the XFL so far the pressure will only continue to build to keep that reputation.

WR duo Rashad Ross and Eli Rogers are both top-5 in receiving yards to begin the year. Acting as a reliable pair of receivers for Jones has been a big reason teams can’t keep up with the Defenders. Their continued success needs to sustain to keep opposing teams in obvious passing situations where the Defenders defense eats.


QB Josh Johnson may be one of the most talented QBs in the league and with a game under his belt he may start to turn it on. The Defenders won’t be easy to move the ball against but they may struggle to defend WR Nelson Spruce who continues his impressive run as the top WR in the league. The lack of a spread-out attack may hurt the Wildcats but if this combo can get going they might be hard to stop.


DL Shawn Oakman didn’t follow up an impressive week one performance with another. It’s possible the Renegades focused in on stopping him which allowed a few other pass rushers to eat better, but ultimately they couldn’t disrupt the passer or the run game. Oakman or another DL breaking out will be required if they want to keep up with other offenses.


Keys to the game


DC Defenders

  • Keep doing what you're doing

  • Shut down Nelson Spruce and force the ball elsewhere

  • Keep Josh Johnson uncomfortable


LA Wildcats

  • Get pressure by any means necessary

  • Another WR has to step up

  • Get creative in the passing game


NickOfTime Top 5 DFS Plays

  • Cardale Jones, QB, DC

  • Donnell Pumphrey, RB, DC

  • Deandre Thompkins, WR, DC

  • Nelson Spruce, WR, LA

  • Rashad Ross, WR, DC


Degenerate Menace Betting Outlook


DC Defenders at Los Angeles Wildcats Line Los Angeles (+8.5) Over/Under 44


For Los Angeles, it is a simple premise: The computer has them last in offensive and defensive efficiency after two games. Washington is in the top three in both categories while boasting a number one efficiency in defense. Granted, a lot of that number was translated in the stinker put up by New York’s offense in the previous game. However, DC has scored three non-offensive touchdowns already in this young season. There is really no reason why this trend can’t continue. Also, look for Cardale Jones to continue to improve against a poor Wildcats’ defense.


Prediction: DC 30 - Los Angeles 11


Beat Writer’s Prediction


This game on paper doesn’t look like it’ll be close. While offensive firepower is similar, one team possesses the ability to disrupt the pocket and force turnovers while the other fails to do so entirely. Cardale Jones and co. will have an easier time scoring while Josh Johnson may be running for his life. Flipping the script with quick throws may throw off the pass rush and keep turnovers to a minimum, but eventually, you’re going to have to go downfield. The script is set up for both teams to keep a 0 in their record.


Final Score: Defenders 23, Wildcats 7


Written by: Mason LeBeau