XFL Fantasy: Early Season Report

XFL Fantasy: Early Season Report

​Here we are, two weeks into the XFL season, and there is an awful lot to take in not only from a fan’s perspective but from a fantasy perspective as well. First off, we need to remember what the XFL is trying to be, not necessarily what it is. For starters, what the XFL has tried to preach is that they were going to be this new league that promoted a faster game that thrived off of the aerial attack and a much more looser return game which was supposed to open up the field for more explosive returns. Which that being said, here are some stats to evaluate how their mission is going so far.• There has been just one 300+ passing yard game (Landry Jones, Dallas, Week 2)• The leading passer, Cardale Jones, is averaging 255.5 yards per game. In comparison, 14 QBs averaged that number or higher this past season• Nelson Spruce from LA has had 192 receiving yards so far, no other receiver is over 150 (or 75 yards per game). In the NFL, there were 13 receivers averaging over 75 yards a game. • There are few dominant running backs as only 4 RBs (and one QB) have even topped 100 yards rushing thus far.• Only 4 TEs have caught more than 5 passes thus far, only 2 have even caught a touchdown• The return game has been a factor as there are 7 returners who have already topped over 100 yards in the return game.

While these stats appear to show that the XFL’s goal of an aerial based game haven’t entirely worked in their favour, the league is not entirely to blame. Unfortunately for them, the league has been incredibly lopsided so far. There are four good teams (Houston, DC, Dallas, St Louis) and the rest are mediocre or worse, of course it just so happens that these 3 also have the absolute no-doubt 3 best QBs in the league in PJ Walker, Cardale Jones, Landry Jones and Jordan Ta’amu. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a middle ground as the other 4 teams have been bad to worse with each team struggling at the QB position as they either don’t have a starter or their starters are game managers at best.

​With all that being said, is an XFL fantasy league feasible? My answer to that is yes, however it can’t be ran like your typical NFL fantasy league and would, obviously, need to be much smaller. For starters, the absolute maximum you could is an 8-team league due to the fact there is only 8 teams in the league. However, due to the lack of depth and parity, I would personally suggest capping teams at 6 that way you still have a decent size league and would make you think as to what positions are more valuable.

​As far as a roster makeup, here is my suggestion.• 1 QB• 1 RB• 2 WR• 1 TE• 1 K• 1 D/ST• 3 bench (QB/RB/WR/TE only)

The reason I made the bench offense only is that since there are only 8 kickers and defenses available, it seemed as though that would be best in order to maintain whatever a waiver wire could look like in this league somewhat useful. Now, the complications to an XFL fantasy league is the scoring system. With such a focus on aerial attack and the return game, I’ve decided to incorporate this into my system as well. It is a typical half PPR scoring system however passing TDs are worth 6 points and here’s the major caveat, in order to make more receivers valuable/startable, kick and punt return yards are also counted as 10 yards per point!

For this week, I will only do a preliminary position ranking with a few notes, I will delve into them more in next week’s article.

QB Rankings1. P.J. Walker, Houston2. Jordan Ta’amu, St Louis3. Cardale Jones, DC4. Landry Jones, Dallas5. Brandon Silvers, Seattle6. Josh Johnson, LA

I only put 6 in the ranking because honestly, after this it’s not even clear who the starters are. Tampa has went through 3 different quarterbacks through just two weeks and Matt McGloin, who is a game manager anyways, may have just lost his job after his dismal 44 yard, 2 interception performance… however his backup Marquise Williams really didn’t fare much better. Player to watch here would be Jordan Ta’amu who is 3rdin the league in RUSHING with 109 yards on the ground along with being 2nd in passing yards (493) and tied for 2nd in passing TDs (4). 

RB Rankings1. Cameron Artis-Payne, Dallas2. Matt Jones, St Louis3. James Butler, Houston4. Lance Dunbar, Dallas5. De’Veon Smith, Tampa6. Donnel Pumphrey, DC7. Trey Williams, Seattle8. Jacques Patrick, Tampa9. Christine Michael, St Louis10. Mack Brown, Tampa

Things to note here are that Tampa’s run-heavy offense is beneficial as they, as well and Dallas and St Louis has multiple fantasy relevant options to throw into your lineup. Another thing is my #10 Mack Brown has yet to take a carry this season, so why is he 10th on my list? Well he has already amassed 123 return yards, putting him 4th in the league in that category, and has him averaging 6.2 fantasy points per game which is good enough for the RB9 spot so far this year.

WR Rankings1. Cam Phillips, Houston2. Nelson Spruce, LA3. Keenan Reynolds, Seattle4. De’Morenay Pierson-El, St Louis5. Rashad Ross, DC6. Keith Mumphrey, St Louis7. DeAndre Thompkins, DC8. Kermit Whitfield, LA9. Eli Rogers, DC10. L’Damian Washington, St Louis

Here you see where good QB play really influences how good your WRs can be. Out of my top 10 receivers, 7 out of 10 catch passes from either Cardale Jones, PJ Walker or Jordan Ta’amu, the 3 early MVP favourites. Some of these guys (notably Whitfield, Mumphrey and Reynolds) are significantly boosted by return yardage as well.

TE Rankings1. Donald Parham, Dallas2. Nick Truesdell, Tampa3. Sean Price, Dallas4. Marcus Lucas, St Louis5. Brandon Barnes, LA6. Jake Powell, New York

There’s something you need to know about these rankings. Donald Parham is the XFL comparable to 2011 Rob Gronkowski. He is nearly doubling what any other TE has put up so far (he has 11.2 points per game, next up is Khari Lee who is at 5.5 points per game and that’s only because he caught one 39 yard touchdown pass in week 1). Any other tight end is all but irrelevant, carry on.

K Rankings1. Austin MacGinnis, Dallas2. Ty Rausa, DC3. Sergio Castillo, Houston4. Nick Novak, LA5. Andrew Franks, Tampa6. Taylor Russolino, St Louis7. Matthew McCrane, New York8. Ernesto Lacayo, Seattle

MacGinnis is the only kicker so far who is perfect and taken more than 2 attempts (5/5), Rausa has gone 5/6 but missed a gimme 35 yarder in week 1. Everyone else has too small of a sample size to truly evaluate.

D/ST Rankings1. DC2. New York3. Houston4. Dallas5. St Louis6. Seattle7. Tampa8. LA

The Defenders are on a tear so far, averaging 24 points a game and putting up 2019 Patriots level numbers early on. They are the clear-cut number 1 and it’s not close. For a bad team though, the Guardians have done a solid job on defense averaging 10.5 per game.

There is your early season XFL fantasy report, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to send an email @ tylergour19@gmail.com, I would love to hear from you 😊

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