XFL fantasy football is here. We have four games this weekend with the action kicking off at 2 p.m. EST Saturday. With very little information to go on, we have to read the tea leaves a bit for both season-long and XFL DFS purposes. Fortunately, the teams did release official depth charts, so we do at least have a sense of who is going to see the field the most in Week 1. So let’s break down each game on this week’s slate with a look at the projected skill-position depth chart.
Seattle @ DC
Betting line: DC -7.5
|QB1||Cardale Jones||QB1||Brandon Silvers|
|RB1||Jhurell Pressley||RB1||Ja'Quan Gardner|
|RB2||Donnel Pumphrey||RB2||Kenneth Farrow|
|WR1||Rashad Ross||WR1||Keenan Reynolds|
|WR2||Malachi Dupre||WR2||Kasen Williams|
|WR3||DeAndre Thompkins||WR3||Austin Proehl|
|TE1||Khari Lee||TE1||Colin Jeter|
The Defenders kick off the season with Cardale Jones under center. While the former Ohio State signal-caller doesn’t have the most extensive resume, he does offer plenty of fantasy pop. He’s one of the top fantasy plays of the week. Part of the appeal of Jones has do with who he’s throwing the ball to. Rashad Ross led the AAF in receiving touchdowns last year and is this week’s top fantasy wideout. The Defenders also have a very appealing one-two punch in the backfield with Jhurell Pressley and Donnel Pumphrey. While Pumphrey’s big-play ability is tempting, Pressley is the only back we can really trust out of the gate.
Seattle isn’t getting much love from the bookmakers, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get fantasy production out of this roster. Brandon Silvers isn’t anywhere near as good of a fantasy option as Jones, but he’s worth consideration as a contrarian DFS play given the fact that he could be playing from behind. Silvers also has a solid trio of wideouts with both Keenan Reynolds and Kasen Williams both seeing action in NFL regular-season games during their careers. Austin Proehl never cracked a 53-man roster, but the former Tar Heel has a solid pedigree as the son of former NFL wide receiver Ricky Proehl.
Los Angeles @ Houston
Betting line: HOU -6
Los Angeles Wildcats
|QB1||Josh Johnson||QB1||Phillip Walker|
|RB1||Elijah Hood||RB1||Andre Williams|
|RB2||DuJuan Harris||RB2||De'Angelo Henderson Sr.|
|WR1||Nelson Spruce||WR1||Sammie Coates|
|WR2||Jordan Smallwood||WR2||Kahlil Lewis|
|WR3||Adonis Jennings||WR3||Cam Phillips|
|TE1||Brandon Barnes||WR4||Nick Holley|
Josh Johnson enters Week 1 with a thigh injury and has been labeled a game-time decision. However, the betting line movement suggests he won’t play. Los Angeles has moved from +3.5 at open all the way to +6, so it appears the bettors are fully anticipating Charles Kanoff to get the start for LA. Kanoff played his college ball at Princeton and spent 2018 on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad. While he did show some upside in his final college season with 29 passing scores, it’s tough to like the Wildcats’ for fantasy purposes with him under center. That means we’re downgrading Nelson Spruce and Jordan Smallwood this week. That said, we could certainly see a lot of check-downs to scatback DuJuan Harris in this contest.
The Roughnecks are the lone team in the league to not list any tight ends on their depth chart, so expect to see a ton of 4-wide sets from this squad. Phillip Walker certainly isn’t the best pure passer in the league, but he did top 10,000 passing yards as a four-year starter at Temple University. He’s also more than capable of running the football with 341 rushing attempts at the college level. Former Pittsburgh Steeler Sammie Coates figures to lead the team in targets with Kahlil Lewis, Cam Phillips, and Nick Holley also listed as starters on the team depth chart. Look for a one-two punch in the backfield with Andre Williams seeing a majority of the early-down work and De’Angelo Henderson getting involved on passing downs.
Tampa Bay @ New York
Betting line: TB -3
Tampa Bay Vipers
New York Guardians
|QB1||Aaron Murray||QB1||Matt McGloin|
|RB1||De'Veon Smith||RB1||Tim Cook|
|RB2||Jacques Patrick||RB2||Darius Victor|
|WR1||Jalen Tolliver||WR1||Mekale McKay|
|WR2||Reece Horn||WR2||Colby Pearson|
|WR3||Daniel Williams||WR3||Austin Duke|
|TE1||Nick Truesdell||TE1||Jake Powell|
The Marc Trestman-coached Vipers figure to be one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league, but we aren’t going to get too carried away with Aaron Murray. That said, it’s worth building some DFS lineups with him stacked up with either Jalen Tolliver or Reece Horn, who was one of the better receivers in the AAF last season. De’Veon Smith will serve as the primary early-down back, but Trestman likes to throw to his running backs. That means Jacques Patrick should be busy this weekend.
NFL veteran and former Penn State Nittany Lion Matt McGloin is certainly one of the most experienced players in the XFL, which bodes well for high-floor fantasy production. Look for McGloin to pepper Mekale McKay with targets. McKay was one of the most heavily targeted wideouts in the AAF last year. New York listed Tim Cook atop their running back depth chart with Darius Victor positioned ahead of Justin Stockton. Be careful if you planned to use Stockton this weekend.
St. Louis @ Dallas
Betting line: DAL -9.5
St. Louis BattleHawks
|QB1||Jordan Ta'amu||QB1||Philip Nelson|
|RB1||Christine Michael||RB1||Cameron Artis-Payne|
|RB2||Matt Jones||RB2||Lance Dunbar|
|WR1||De'Mornay Pierson-El||WR1||Jeff Badet|
|WR2||L'Damian Washington||WR2||Freddie Martino|
|WR3||Alonzo Russell||WR3||Flynn Nagel|
|TE1||Marcus Lucas||TE1||Sean Price|
Jordan Ta’amu isn’t throwing to A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf any longer, but he does have a very appealing duo in De’Mornay Pierson-El and L’Damian Washington. Both wideouts showed well in the AAF last year and are among the top 20 wideout plays for this weekend. Long-time fantasy players will certainly recognize both names in the backfield. Christine Michael never lived up to the hype in the NFL, but he has a chance to be the top fantasy back in the XFL. We aren’t using Matt Jones this weekend, but he’s worth a roster spot in season-long XFL leagues.
With Landry Jones banged up, the Renegades with roll with Philip Nelson in Week 1. Nelson is a step down from Jones, but the Air Renegade offense keeps him in the conversation as one of the top quarterback plays of the week. Jazz Ferguson was widely assumed to be a starter heading into the season, but he was not listed as one on the Renegade’s official depth chart. Instead, it looks like speedster Jeff Badet is the player to go after for fantasy purposes. We’ll also see plenty of NFL vet Freddie Martino and slot receiver Flynn Nagel. At running back, former Carolina Panther Cameron Artis-Payne will handle the early-down work, but expect Lance Dunbar to be busy in the passing game.