USFL Week 10
In Week 9 we started to see the level of play adjust due to the playoffs being set. There was only 1 game that mattered and it was the Breakers taking down the Bandits. We saw Case Cookus get yanked at halftime for his backup, Vad Lee started for the Maulers with no previous inclination, and Paxton Lynch was a healthy scratch to get Josh Love and Eric Barriere more snaps. Looking forward to Week 10, when they’re no games that are of importance in relation to the USFL playoffs. We will see the Stars and Generals face each other this week and then again next week. Along with that game, we’ll see the Breakers take on the Stallions next week. With all of the playoff seeding set, we will see those 4 teams trot out their “B” effort. At the end of the day, these guys are going out there and putting out all of their effort in the hopes of being noticed by an NFL team. I do expect that to continue, even with teams that only have 1 or 2 wins. However, you will have teams like the Tampa Bay Bandits, who just missed out on a playoff berth, so their emotions will be running low, along with a Head Coach who likely packs it in. With all of this, I’ll be playing lighter than usual since there will be some unexpected things happen and we’ll likely see less scoring with vanilla offenses and a downtick in talent, along with guys getting more playing time than they have been getting.
Power Rankings after Week 9:
- New Jersey Generals
- Birmingham Stallions
- Philadelphia Stars
- New Orleans Breakers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- Michigan Panthers
- Houston Gamblers
Saturday 6/18/22 @ 12:00 pm ET
Philadelphia Stars vs. New Jersey Generals (New Jersey -2.5 Total 44)
These two teams will play each other back-to-back weeks. I expect both coaches to play their starters about half of the game and have a very vanilla play selection. Last weekend, Case Cookus played the first half against the Maulers, but got pressured the entire game. The Offensive Line couldn’t stop anyone and the stunts kept getting home. The Stars’ head coach said the plan the entire time was to pull Cookus at half time and put in Costello. Whether this is truly the case or not, we’ll never know. Costella went 4/10 passing for only 69 yards and the Stars barely pulled out the win. Combined, the Stars only had 131 yards in the air without a score. I do expect the receiving core to get a decent run here since roster spots are limited. With the game being locked up, it will be generic routes and the bottom of the depth chart likely gets more targets than the usual suspects of Suell, Gray, and Alexander.
Colburn balled out again on the ground getting 97 yards and a score on 12 carries. Terry sniped him in the 3rd quarter for a TD as he got multiple goal line carries, finishing with only 5 yards on 4 attempts. I think Terry gets more run in this one and Colburn splits more than he typically would.
The Generals barely beat out the Panthers with a 25-23 win. Perez took more snaps than Johnson here, but Johnson did get extended looks with a return to the field. I expect Johnson to get more looks and probably a 50/50 split here with secure plays being called for Johnson to get him acclimated and some time back after the injury. He only ran the ball 5 times in this game for 4 yards, so I expect a similar usage and output next week against the Stars. Turpin was fully healthy, but only saw 3 targets in this one, giving way to Shephard, who saw 11 targets, pulling in 8 of them for 99 yards and a score. It wouldn’t surprise me if Turpin only plays a quarter or two here, leaving the door open for another opportunity like this for Shephard against a very beatable secondary.
Trey Williams out ran Victor in this contest. Williams ended with 11 for 62 yards while Victor only saw 7 attempts for 19 yards. Victor did pull in both of his targets, but for only 5 yards. I expect both to get a little go here, mainly Victor, as they’ll want to keep it generic. I do think they’ll use a third back here – Kingston Davis has been on the roster in that role, but it may be someone else.
The under is a good bet here, but I do think that New Jersey takes the win.
Saturday 6/18/22 @ 4:00 pm ET
Birmingham Stallions vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (Birmingham -4.5 Total 41.5)
In one of my worst beats ever the Birmingham Stallions fell to the lowly Houston Gamblers last week for their first loss of the season. J’Mar Smith led 3 drives inside the 5, all of which ended in a FG each time. Smith actually played a good game, going 28/41 for 260 yards with a score, but had a costly pick late in the 4th quarter when they were attempting a comeback. He completed 68.3% of his passes when he usually floats around 50% and has a 55.4% rate on the season. He likely gets almost all of the work here, but will all be air work and not much on the ground. Both Williams and Bolden saw double digit targets and I do expect that to continue.
Scarbrough again got the start, but only mustered up 31 yards on 11 carries. Marable got a longer look here than usual because Scarbrough left in the 2nd quarter with an injury. He did return, but it was a split backfield from that point forward. Marable ended with 26 yards on 9 carries. Marable also saw 3 targets to Scarbrough’s 1.
Tampa Bay’s postseason hopes came to an end this last weekend at the hands of the New Orleans Breakers. Ta’amu didn’t play particularly well as he had 2 costly picks. He finished going 22/39 for 288 yards, but the Bandits were down 17 at half time, which resulted in a full-blown, abandon the run mindset, which also helped him accumulate 86 yards rushing on 9 carries. Davis finished with 112 yards and a score on 6 catches as the leading receiver in this one. With the Bandits likely packing it in for this contest and with them always spreading the ball around, none of these guys stand out for DFS.
BJ Emmons ran the ball 13 times for an embarrassing -1 yards. Washington only got 2 carries for 9 yards. Nothing of use in this backfield.
I think that Head Coach Skip Holtz will want a win after this awful loss to enter the postseason on a high note. Tampa Bay likely gives up in this one as they just lost a hard-fought battle last week to end their season. With a relentless pass rush and a “fuck it” mentality, I am likely going back to the well with Birmingham -4.5. I also like under 41.5 here.
Sunday 6/19/22 @ 12:00 pm ET
Michigan Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (Michigan -2.5 Total 42)
Josh Love and Eric Barriere split the snaps at QB here for the Michigan Panthers as Love suffered a knee injury halfway through the game. The route tree was babied a little bit for Barrier as he has less experience on the team, but he still performed halfway decent, going 14/24 for 118 yards and a TD with a pick. Love finished 12/21 for 168 with 2 TDs and 2 picks. For most of this game, the game was close, so deciding to pass the ball 45 times against 17 runs was a decision made by the coaching staff. It won’t really matter who gets the start here for the Panthers or even if they split again, their production and talent levels are close enough, the result will be the same. With 45 pass attempts, the Panthers had 3 players with 8+ targets. Lenoir saw 10 go his way, finishing 7/40, Walker saw 9 and finished 7/129/2 while Pettway saw 8 and finished only 2/19. Walker clearly finished the best, but that very well could be Lenoir in the season finale. If Love is unable to go in Week 10, I wouldn’t be shocked if Lynch is given the go here.
Scott took the lead here on the ground, running the ball 13 times for only 36 yards. No one of interest here.
To even the shock of the announcers, Vad Lee trotted out to be the starter and played most of the game this last weekend over Ronald Rivers. Lee sucked as he consistently overthrew and under threw his WRs. He finished 17/28 for 146 yards with 2 TDs and a pick. Rivers was 0/3 in his limited playing time. I have no idea who is going to start here and there is no way to find out until the game starts. I have no interest in anyone on this roster.
I like under 42 the most, but I do think the Panthers take this one.
Sunday 6/19/22 @ 8:30 pm ET
New Orleans Breakers vs. Houston Gamblers (New Orleans -4.5 Total 41.5)
The Breakers dominated the Bandits’ offense in Week 9 to secure a playoff spot. They constantly got to Ta’amu and caused multiple turnovers and only gave up the first score in the 4th quarter. On the flip side, Kyle Sloter also played badly. He went 7/14 for 48 yards and a pick and likely cost himself the starting job as the Breakers QB. His former back up, Zach Smith, went 5/6 for 51 yards and a score. He led the Breakers on both of their TD scores in the 2nd quarter before being removed with an injury. Early reports during the game were that it wasn’t that bad and he could have returned, but there was no reason. I expect him to play very little, if not completely sit, in this one. Sloter and Patterson likely get the majority of the snaps. No Breakers WR had over 3 receptions.
Jones led the way on the ground with 59 yards on 11 carries, but it was Ellis who poked in the TD. Ellis gained 45 yards on his 14 touches. They both split time almost evenly and this makes neither worth a DFS look.
The Gamblers pulled off a massive upset in Week 9 over the previously undefeated Birmingham Stallions. Bahar played a near flawless game, going 16/24 for 164 yards and the game winning score with 12:35 left in the game. He also added 36 yards on the ground. He is likely going to be viable here as he is one of the few QBs on this slate we can predict to play all 4 quarters. Tyler Palka led the way with 6/83 in the air on 9 targets. He’ll likely be the leading receiver again in this one.
Whaley led the way on the ground for the Gamblers over Mark Thompson. This was a mixture of letting Whaley get his chance and Thompson hurt. Whaley finished with 15 yards on 11 carries while Thompson somehow lost 9 yards on his 5 carries. I’m not interested in either Whaley or Thompson in this contest.
Going back to the unders here in every game this weekend. I think there is a decent chance the Gamblers pull off the upset here, so I like Houston +4.5.
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