2022 USFL Week 4 Primer

by Mark Strausberg
2022 USFL Playoffs

We begin the 2022 USFL Week 4 Primer with some power rankings as things are beginning to shake out.

The only undefeated team in the league is the Birmingham Stallions. We can argue whether or not the Stallions are beneficiaries of the "home field advantage" due to all the games being played in Birmingham. But undefeated is undefeated. And the games will continue to be in Birmingham this season, so that possible edge is not disappearing anytime soon. They remain alone in the top tier of my power rankings.

In my second tier, and in descending order, are the New Orleans Breakers, New Jersey Generals, Tampa Bay Bandits, and Philadelphia Stars. But if Stars QB Bryan Scott continues to miss time which he looks like he might, the Stars could easily fall into my third tier.

My third tier is the Houston Gamblers and Michigan Panthers. Both teams are 1-2 and I don't see them finishing with a winning record. But it is clear what both teams do well and don't do well. The Panthers have a really good defense. They have allowed their opponents a league-best only 27 points combined. Unfortunately for the Panthers, however, their offense is downright putrid. The Gamblers are the exact opposite. They have allowed a league-high 72 points against, but have also scored a whopping 71 points, second only to the Stallions.

Alone in the bottom tier is the Pittsburgh Maulers. They have yet to win a game and have scored just 26 points while allowing 71. The Maulers' play has been so horrific, rumor has it Wes Craven is going to direct a film about the team.

There are your power rankings. Keep those in mind as I go through my bets and DFS picks for the 2022 USFL Week 4 primer.

2022 USFL Week 4 Primer

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Week 4 Betting Thoughts

While most were picking against the Stallions last week, I made an incredibly gutsy call of picking them outright. And I was right. However, in typical fashion, I nailed the hard one, but my parlay was blown when the Stars couldn't deliver. And naturally, the first piece of my parlay was the Bandits, who were a push. Let's see if I can do a little better this week.

I won't be betting on the Pittsburgh Maulers/New Jersey Generals game. I think the Generals easily win this game, but there is no value on the money line. And ten points is too much to give as I worry about the garbage time cover. And the over/under of 35.5 feels pretty close. But I'm going to once again go with a 3-leg parlay on the other three games:

Bet For USFL Week 4: 3-leg Parlay of Breakers -5 (-110); Stars ML (-105), and Stallions ML (-180) Pays +475

I might decide to Round Robin this with a two-leg parlay or even bet them separately. But here's the rationale for each leg:

-Love me the Breakers this week. If I could tease this up to six or seven points, I would. The Breakers' offense is that good and the Gamblers' defense is that bad that I expect New Orleans to easily win by at least a TD.

-I'm not sure what to make of the Stars and I would closely watch the injury reports this week. The Panthers' defense is the real deal and will keep Michigan in the game. But I just don't think they have the firepower to beat Philadelphia. I'm taking the Stars in a close one.

-The Stallions are currently favored by 3.5 points over the Bandits. I do believe that the undefeated Stallions will lose at some point this season. And the Bandits might just be the enigma to do so. But there is no way I'm currently betting against the Stallions. And that extra half-point is just enough to keep me away from grabbing the spread line. So adding the ML to my bet to pump up the payout when it hits.

2022 USFL Week 4 DFS Picks

Quarterback: Kyle Sloter, New Orleans Breakers ($10,100)

I was going to go with New Orleans' Kyle Sloter last week but opted for Philadelphia's Bryan Scott. I still think without the benefit of hindsight that Scott was the right pick. Unfortunately, Scott got injured, cutting his day short and he's probably done for the season.  It looks like Case Cookus is now the Stars' starting QB. So I am going with Kyle Sloter ($10,200) this week.

Sloter leads the league in passing yards. He leads the league in completions as well. Sloter and the Breakers will be facing the Houston Gamblers this weekend, who have given up the most passing yards in the league. Slot(er) Kyle in!

Wide Receiver/Tight End: Shawn Poindexter, New Orleans Breakers ($7,200) /Johnnie Dixon, New Orleans Breakers ($7,300)

Both WRs are obvious candidates for a heavy Breakers stack this week. Dixon is first in the league in receiving yards, as well as tied for the league lead in touchdown catches.

Poindexter meanwhile is admittedly a little overpriced. But I am hoping that drives down his ownership, making him a great GPP play. Plus, he saw nine targets last week. After missing Week 1, expect Poindexter to see high target totals weekly. This week is no different. I will say it again--the Gamblers defense is bad. Poindexter might be behind Dixon, but even after Dixon feasts, there will be plenty of scraps for Poindexter.

But we're not done stacking Breakers yet.

Running Back: Jordan Ellis, New Orleans Breakers ($6400)

I've been riding BJ Emmons all year due to the volume he has received. But you know who has more carries than Emmons? Jordan Ellis ($6,400). And he's turned that into the second-most rushing yards in the league.

The Gamblers are worse against the pass than they are against the run. But they are still giving up 164 rushing yards per game to their opponents. Make room on your squad for Ellis.

Defense/Special Teams (DST): New Jersey Generals DST ($5,000)

I am very tempted to go with the Breakers here, but like a hungover Mardi Gras attendee, we might be suffering from a little too much New Orleans. So instead I will go with the next highest team in my rankings, the Generals. Although some of that has to do with the fact that they are facing the Pittsburgh Maulers. The Maulers have been the league's worst offense. Not only have they had difficulty finding the end zone, but the Maulers have produced the fewest first downs as well.

Flex Options

I am going with Philadelphia's Bug Howard ($4,000) again. Four catches on six targets for 78 yards and he scored again. A ridiculously underpriced, literal Star at $4K, he is an easy selection.

And I'm going with Lance Lenoir ($8,500) of the Michigan Panthers as well, who is third in the league in receptions. But it's not just about the stats with Lenoir. He seems to regularly make circus catches and might be the best WR in the USFL. And like most WRs, he's not shy about promoting himself:

Looking for someone who might be a little sneakier? Consider New Jersey WR Darrius Shepherd. A WR with 93% routes run after 81% the previous week should not be priced at $4300. Or perhaps you are planning to stack the Stallions this week? You should definitely be including the Stallions TE, Cary Angeline ($6300). He ran a route on 93% of the snaps last week, up from a previous mark of 71%. That led to eight targets, one of which he hauled in for a TD. I don't think I'd play Angeline in cash games, but I love him for GPPs!

That will about do it for the 2022 USFL Week 4 primer. Good luck!

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