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Editor’s Note: We may not write up every player we consider to be a top play. Be sure to consult the chart at the bottom of the page. This page will be updated, if necessary.


You don’t have to play cash games to understand why it’s important to grasp them. Players we consider for cash are the ones we believe are the most underpriced, have the best floor/ceiling combo, and feature a relatively tight range of outcomes.

In other words, these are the best plays on the board once price, slate context, and positional depth are accounted for. Those sound like pretty good options for GPPs as well.

The optimal GPP lineup will mix some of these cash-type plays with higher-variance options in correlated lineups. In cash games (where roughly 50% of the field gets paid out), we don’t worry about ownership, game stacks, or correlation. In large-field tournaments, our ACO (average cumulative ownership) should stay reasonably low. Please read this article and listen to Episode 237 of the podcast for more on large-field tournament strategy.


With all that said, these are our Top Plays considering the following factors: median projection, matchup, upside, and value. Ownership is NOT considered here. Generally speaking, these players are what we consider to be “head-to-head and 50/50 considerations”.



Understanding how our opponents will construct lineups offers opportunities for leverage in large-field tournaments. These projections use a combination of historical results and slate-specific pricing, ownership, and fantasy-point projections to calculate how often each lineup build will be used. Please note: The number of favorites is listed first; the number of underdogs is listed second. For example, 1-5 refers to one favorite – five underdogs.


Roster Construction Utilization
1 DC – 5 ARL 2.4%
2 DC – 4 ARL 19.6%
3 DC – 3 ARL 41.7%
4 DC – 2 ARL 28.1%
5 DC – 1 ARL 8.2%




Jordan Ta’amu (D.C. – $10.8K flex, $16.2K captain) – It seems unlikely that one of our two QBs won’t be optimal this week, as the XFL Championship Game sports a 48-point over/under. Ta’amu, perhaps the face of spring football at this point, has had an excellent second half of the season for the league-best Defenders, averaging nearly 28 DK points per game over his last five games of the regular season, and he had another 250+ yard, two-touchdown performance in the Division Championship Game two weeks ago. Ta’amu adds an element with his legs, too, and he projects as the best overall play on this slate.

Luis Perez (ARL – $10K flex, $15K captain) – Since coming over to the Renegades, Arlington has become more pass-heavy under Perez, and his efficient performances peaked in the Division Championship Game two weeks ago when Perez put up a great 19-of-27 for 289 passing yards and three touchdowns. While he doesn’t add much with his legs, Perez seems like a logical candidate in either the flex or captain spot, with multiple options for double stacks. Arlington is a 6-point underdog in a game that projects as a potential air raid, so Perez may be slinging it. 



Abram Smith (D.C. – $10.6K flex, $15.9K captain) – Smith was the best RB in the XFL all season long, leading the league in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns. He’s had some massive ceiling games, highlighted by his Week 5 performance, which was a 218-yard, three-touchdown gem. These overall stats and spike weeks have resulted in Smith being priced up to the same level as QBs. Despite those lofty tags, he can’t be counted out given his floor/ceiling combo.

De’Veon Smith (ARL – $8.4K flex, $12.6K captain) – De’Veon Smith finished second in rushing attempts to the above Abram Smith and tied him for the league lead in rushing touchdowns with seven. Smith had started splitting some time with Leddie Brown over the last few weeks of the regular season, but he took the bellcow job back in the Division Championship while Brown was on the shelf. Smith put up 94 yards on the ground on 24 carries, and is clearly the back the coaching staff trusts, while having a nose for the end zone. Even with Brown expected to return for the Championship, Smith is a strong option across all contests. 



Lucky Jackson (D.C. – $9.6K flex, $14.4K captain)  – Jackson projects as the highest-scoring overall pass catcher this week, and for good reason. Since the D.C. pass game has come on around the midpoint of the season, Jackson has been the clear WR1 for Jordan Ta’amu, averaging 17.06 DK points over his last five regular-season outings, with a peak of 27.6 points in Week 6. Jackson leads the clear three-headed monster of himself, Chris Blair, and Josh Hammond as the top three route runners for the Defenders.

Chris Blair (D.C. – $8.2K flex, $12.3K captain) –  While Jackson finished with more receptions and touchdowns, it was actually Blair who led the Defenders in receiving yards, and he also had higher ceiling games down the stretch, highlighted by his monster performances in Weeks 7 and 8 where he put up 6/151/1 and 5/148/1 respectively. You can get Blair at $1,400 less than Jackson, while also coming through with about 25% less ownership.

Caleb Vander Esch (ARL – $3K flex, $4.5K captain) – Caleb Vander Esch seems like the clear top value on Saturday’s showdown slate. At only $3,000, Vander Esch is understandable chalk, as he has seen his role grow with Luis Perez under center. Only Javonta Payton played more snaps than Vander Esch last week, and we don’t expect Rannell Hall to play this week. (Hall played on 56% of snaps in Week 10 before getting hurt in the Division Championship.) Vander Esch’s role has grown in each of the Renegades’ last three outings.

Javonta Payton (ARL – $6K flex, $9K captain) – Vander Esch, Sal Canella, and Javonta Payton are all coming through with similar projections this week. Canella is a fine tournament play, but it looks like Payton is the better cash option with a $1,400 discount on Canella. Payton played a massive 85.4% of snaps in their Week 11 playoff game and looks to be under-owned, particularly in the captain spot.



* CPT Chris Blair, Jordan Ta’amu, JaVonta Payton – This game features a 48-point total, but based on the perceived run-heavy tendencies of each offense, roster constructions that are built for an expected shootout could be relatively unique. With both QBs expected to soak up a meaningful amount of projected CPT ownership, I like soaking up the Defenders’ aerial attack through a CPT WR with Ta’amu a necessary FLEX option. Blair has run a route on 67.6% of dropbacks this season, earning a 19.7% target share while leading D.C. with 2.6 YPRR.

* CPT Abram Smith + Defenders D/ST (5 Defenders – 1 Renegade) – In outcomes where D.C. covers the 6.5-point spread, they could pour it on late behind their league-leading rushing attack and blitz-happy defense, wreaking havoc in Arlington’s backfield. Pairing CPT Smith with his defense is one way to capture the upside of a Championship Game blowout.

* CPT Luis Perez, At Least (2) Renegades Pass Catchers – Arlington’s offense has become much more pass-centric since Perez has taken over, dropping back on at least 65.6% of offensive snaps in 3-of-6 games with him under center. Regardless of the game script, if Arlington is able to put points on the board, it will likely come from the right arm of their QB1.


LAST UPDATED7/25/2024 2:55:46ET


UFL Top Plays

QB1Adrian Martinez
QB2A.J. McCarron
RB1Jacob Saylors
RB2John Lovett
RB3Matthew Colburn II
WR/TE1Jontre Kirklin
WR/TE2Deon Cain
WR/TE3Saiosi Mariner
WR/TE4Steven Mitchell
WR/TE5Justin Smith
WR/TE6Hakeem Butler
WR/TE7Marcus Simms
WR/TE8Marquez Stevenson