On the surface, this seems crazy. After all, training camps haven’t started yet and XFL depth charts are a long way from being decided. There’s been so much roster turnover in the XFL since October, that there are no guarantees as to who will be starting or even on a particular XFL roster come February.
Setting that aside, Fantasy football figures to be on the agenda for the XFL in 2020. How it is laid out and presented remains to be seen. ESPN is one of the XFL’s partners and could figure into the rollout and layout. It’s well documented and has been speculated upon that Draft Kings could also figure into the XFL’s Fantasy Football setup.
One of the things that ail secondary football leagues are the lack of notoriety associated with the players that are involved. Fantasy football has helped educate millions of fans on all team rosters. From a league standpoint. Not only can Fantasy Football be a fun interactive tool for fans but it can also be a way of getting fans to know your players and teams.
One of the drawbacks of an 8-team football league is that it differs from the traditional NFL Fantasy League set up. For example, there are only 8 starting Quarterbacks, so having a season-long fantasy league with more than 8 owners makes no sense. This also extends to other positions. There are only eight starting running backs etc A season-long fantasy league is still doable but it needs some tweaks from the standard NFL fantasy league because of the lack of player depth.
So here goes. As crazy as this may seem. This is my preliminary list of fantasy rankings by position of all XFL players.
1- CARDALE JONES- DC DEFENDERS
– Pound for pound, the most talented Quarterback in the league. Pep Hamilton wants to throw the ball down the field a lot. Expect a lot of big plays. Cardale’s underrated mobility will be a plus. Handcuffing Cardale with Tyree Jackson could be a season-saving strategy.
2-JOSH JOHNSON- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– Provided that Johnson wins this battle with Luis Perez in training camp. The veteran Johnson is in an ideal spot to excel in Norm Chow’s offense. LA has one of the best trios of receivers in the entire league. Josh Johnson brings added fantasy value as a runner.
3-LANDRY JONES- DALLAS RENEGADES
– No argument whatsoever if Landry is ranked #1 in this group. He is back with Bob Stoops, playing in Hal Mumme’s Air Raid offense, and has a loaded receiving corps. The only knock here is Landry’s lack of mobility to produce yards on the ground. It’s why I have him ranked third.
4-MATT MCGLOIN- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– New York figures to be a very balanced offensive attack and McGloin is a quality veteran at the controls of Kevin Gilbride’s offense. The northeast weather can play a factor in the early weeks of the league but there’s no denying the deep group of receivers that McGloin has to throw to. More on that later.
5-PHILLIP WALKER/CONNOR COOK- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– The person who wins this job in training camp is set up to succeed. June Jones pass-happy Run & Shoot is tailor-made for fantasy football. Walker provides added value as a very good runner.
6-JORDAN TA’AMU/TAYLOR HEINICKE- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– The St. Louis starter at QB is going to be one of the league’s best sleepers. Both Ta’amu and Heinicke are mobile quarterbacks. Jordan Ta’amu might be more physically gifted but Taylor has the experience edge. Playing indoors at home on a fast track in February, March, and April is a plus for whoever takes the reigns at Quarterback.
7-BRANDON SILVERS/BJ DANIELS- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– In Mike Riley’s offense. We could see a combination of these two playing on a weekly basis. A similar strategy that Riley used with the Commanders in 2019. The XFL’s conversion attempt rules and the double forward pass almost guarantees that Daniels will have a weekly role whether he wins the starting job or not.
8-AARON MURRAY- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Someone has to be ranked 8th in an 8 team league. Murray may exceed expectations under Marc Trestman’s offense. If Murray is the starter come opening day. He could be a consistent Alex Smith game manager type. A low ceiling type player but with a decent floor. The old wait for a Quarterback fantasy strategy may land you Murray later on in your draft.
1- CAMERON ARTIS-PAYNE- DALLAS RENEGADES
– Artis-Payne can run inside and outside the tackles and can be a three-down back for Dallas. He has star potential and he’ll finally get a chance to show it.
2- CHRISTINE MICHAEL- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– Michael has always had an elite combo of size and speed. He might get selected first in many XFL Fantasy drafts. Like Artis-Payne, the XFL could provide a breakout moment for him.
3- JHURELL PRESSLEY- DC DEFENDERS
– An extremely elusive tackle-breaking runner. Pressley has double-digit touchdown potential in DC’s ground attack.
4- KENNETH FARROW- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– A strong candidate to lead the league in rushing. Reuniting with his former coach Mike Riley. The only thing that limits Farrow’s upside is how deep Seattle’s backfield is.
5- ELIJAH HOOD- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– Hood was LA’s first RB selected in the skill draft. Norm Chow has a history of utilizing power style runners like LenDale White and others in the past.
6- TIM COOK- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– Another bruiser who could be a factor in short-yardage and near the goal line. The Guardians loaded backfield limits his upside but Cook is in the ideal offense.
7- DE’VEON SMITH- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Similar to Cook and Hood. It remains to be seen how much value a thumper like Smith brings to the passing game but De’Veon is in line to potentially get a lot of scoring opportunities in Tampa.
8- ANDRE WILLIAMS- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
When one thinks of the run and shoot and 4 WR sets. Most people don’t associate power backs like Williams as a fit but June Jones has a history of working with power backs like Lorenzo White, Jamal Anderson, Natrone Means and Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward. It’s a sound strategy too, as defenses are forced to spread out with smaller and quicker players on the field. A thumper like Williams has an easier time of running them over.
9- TREY WILLIAMS- SEATTLE DRAGONS
The elusive Williams can be a big factor in PPR leagues. He may not be a 20 carry a game type back but he should be a very consistent weekly performer.
10-DONNELL PUMPHREY- DC DEFENDERS
– A prolific runner/receiver who broke NCAA records at San Diego State. He is the 1A to Pressley in DC. In a PPR league, you have to rank Pumphrey higher. The only question mark with him is durability. Can he stay on the field?
11- JUSTIN STOCKTON- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– A big-play weapon in Kliff Kingsbury’s Texas Tech offense. Think Kenyan Drake. Stockton has 4.3 speed and very good hands. He’s under the radar right now but could emerge to be one of the league’s most explosive backs.
12- MATT JONES- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– The classic handcuff back to Christine Michael, who may provide weekly starter value on his own.
13- LANCE DUNBAR- DALLAS RENEGADES
– Dunbar has always been a good change of pace back. In Hal Mumme’s offense and with his veteran status, Dunbar could see his fair share of targets coming out of the backfield. The only question is how much gas does he left in the tank.
14- QUINTON FLOWERS- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Flowers figures to be a popular pick amongst fantasy owners. The XFL’s league rules are tailor-made for him. Quinton figures to be a factor catching the ball, running and even throwing it. He’s going to be a steal no matter where you draft him.
15- LARRY ROSE III- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– A deep sleeper as an all-purpose back. Rose was a big-time player as an offensive player of the year in the Sun Belt at New Mexico State. The 194 pound back is talented enough to line up at receiver if need be. The ghost of Reggie Bush follows Norm Chow around everywhere he goes. So it’s only natural to look on the LA roster for a player that fits that type of skill set for this offense.
16- JA’QUAN GARDNER- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– It would not shock me if Humboldt State’s Ja’Quan Gardner emerges out of what is a very talented backfield in Seattle. Gardner was one of the AAF’s most dynamic runners for San Diego before a season-ending injury cut his season short. Gardner has power and breakaway speed. If he’s healthy, he could be one of the more entertaining runners to watch in the league. Think MJD in his heyday.
17- DARIUS VICTOR- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– Similar skillset to Tim Cook in New York. Kevin Gilbride and Jerald Ingram have a history of using two and three-headed backfields in the past. See Ron Dayne & Tiki Barber, (Thunder and Lightning) and Brandon Jacobs & Ahmad Bradshaw. Victor is an elusive power runner who could emerge if he has a great training camp. He may be worth a flyer late in drafts.
18- JACQUES PATRICK- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Another deep sleeper in a crowded backfield. The 6’3 235 pound Patrick was the former backup to Dalvin Cook at FSU. He averaged nearly 6 yards a carry in college but declared early for the NFL draft and went undrafted. There’s untapped potential here for Patrick to potentially be the Vipers go to back in the red zone.
19- AUSTIN WALTER- DALLAS RENEGADES
– The rookie Walter played college football at Rice, where he rushed for 1,744 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carrying; he also had 79 receptions for 803 yards, and in his senior season, averaged 27.3 yards on 18 kickoff returns. Walter was on the 49ers roster and made it to final cuts at what is a very deep backfield. Walter then landed with the Giants this year on the practice squad and actually was on their active roster when SaQuan Barkley went down to injury. Walter is someone worthy of flyer consideration.
20-DUJUAN HARRIS- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– A late addition to the Wildcats offense. Harris has plenty of NFL experience as a runner and receiver coming out of the backfield.
1- RASHAD ROSS- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– Rocket Ross is a great deep threat who is in a very good offensive scheme with good quarterbacks and teammates at the receiver position surrounding him. So defenses won’t be able to just focus all their attention on him.
2- SAMMIE COATES- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– Another big-play threat. Coates has a chance to become a better all-around receiver in June Jones receiver friendly offense. It would not shock me if Coates leads the league in yards per catch.
3- ELI ROGERS- DC DEFENDERS
– While DC’s offense will be big play and ground game driven. Rogers will be Cardale Jones’s most reliable target in the passing game. Expect Rogers to see a lot of targets.
4- JEFF BADET- DALLAS RENEGADES
– In early 2019, Jeff Badet was given a 75 thousand dollar bonus by the Vikings to keep him from signing a futures deal with the Jets back in January. Badet’s 4.27 speed is why he’s always been coveted and a diamond in the rough. In Hal Mumme’s offense with Landry Jones throwing the football. This could be Badet’s time to break out.
5- MEKALE MCKAY- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– ‘Big Play McKay’ might be the best red-zone receiver in the XFL. He showed his great leaping ability and basketball background in winning when the ball was thrown in his direction in the AAF. Expect more of the same from him in New York.
6- DEANGELO YANCEY- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– Yancey was selected first by the Guardians in the XFL’s skill position draft. A polished route runner with excellent hands. Yancey could end up leading the Guardians and challenging the league leaders in receptions.
7- NELSON SPRUCE- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– Perfect compliment to Rashad Ross and he should see plenty of targets. A potential PPR machine in the XFL.
8- TERRANCE WILLIAMS- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– The BattleHawks most experienced receiver. St. Louis will be playing a variation of the Air Raid offense under Doug Meacham and Williams stands to benefit the most. At Baylor, Williams was a prolific receiver in a similar spread attack.
9- KASEN WILLIAMS- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– Williams is back home. The former 5-star recruit has the size and skill set to be a consistent factor in the red zone.
10- FRED ROSS- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– A 6’2 big-play threat who was a prolific receiver at Mississippi State. Ross has had durability issues since turning pro. He just needs to stay healthy. The talent is there for him to be a real factor.
11- SEANTAVIOUS JONES- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Taken 12th overall in the XFL’s skill draft. Jones was the first receiver selected by Tampa. The 6’4 216 pound Jones figures to be the Vipers top target in the end zone at receiver.
12- STACY COLEY- DALLAS RENEGADES
– Dallas has a roster filled with 4.3 speedsters at this position. So any number of players could emerge from this receiving corps. Coley was a 4th round pick by Dallas. With the retirement of Ryan Broyles, Coley is in a prime spot to be one of Landry Jones’s favorite targets.
13- TRE MCBRIDE- DC DEFENDERS
– One of the key cogs in DC’s downfield passing attack. McBride has the 4.3 speed to go deep and the elusiveness to be a factor on bubble screens and underneath routes.
14- DEANDRE THOMPKINS- DC DEFENDERS
– When Pep Hamilton was asked on DC Radio, about which DC players to be on the lookout for in the coming season. Thompkins was on a shortlist of names he brought up. Thompkins flashed his 4.31 speed and big-play ability during Defenders minicamp in Maryland. Thompkins skill set as a dynamic kick returner also translates well into the DC offense. He could be the biggest sleeper pick at receiver in fantasy.
15- KAHLIL LEWIS- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– Another sleeper at the position. Lewis was an excellent receiver for the Bearcats in college but his lack of ideal height and straight-line speed hindered his chances on an NFL roster. June Jones has a history dating back to the USFL of finding hidden gems at the receiver position. He takes great pride in it. It’s worth noting that Lewis was the very first receiver that Jones selected in the skill-position draft.
16- L’DAMIAN WASHINGTON- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– The well-traveled 28-year old veteran was the second receiver selected by St. Louis. His 6’4 frame should prove to be a valuable asset for the BattleHawks. Jordan Ta’amu has a history of working with big targets in DK Metcalf and AJ Brown.
17- TANNER GENTRY- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– A late bloomer in college who dominated in his senior season at Wyoming as Josh Allen’s favorite target. Gentry has value as a receiver catching passes down the field and in the red zone. He has similar traits to players from the past like Eric Decker and Ed McCaffrey.
18- DEMARCUS AYERS- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– With the Guardians sporting three tall physical receivers. Ayers could get lost in the mix but he figures to be the teams’ primary slot receiver. He can also be used as a gadget player because of his open-field ability.
19- KD CANNON- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– There was a time when KD Cannon looked like a sure-fire top NFL draft pick and star. Cannon was a force at Baylor and declared early for the NFL draft after exploding for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 receptions in the Cactus Bowl. Despite decent size (6’0) and speed (4.41). Cannon got tagged with the label of being a system enhanced receiver at Baylor. He went undrafted. It would not shock me if Cannon finally emerges as the threat he was in college. He should see plenty of single coverage with LA.
20- JALEN SAUNDERS- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– Saunders reunites with June Jones in Houston after spending time together in the CFL. Jalen knows June’s offense like the back of his hand. He could end up being the Roughnecks best slot receiver. All potential starting receivers on Houston’s roster deserve draft consideration because of the June Jones system.
21- REECE HORN- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Horn emerged as one of the best slot receivers in the AAF with Memphis at the tail end of their shortened season. The small school star out of the University of Indianapolis has great hands and is a terrific route runner. He’s someone to target late in drafts as a potential PPR sleeper.
22- CAM PHILLIPS- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– A player that has been overlooked his entire career even at Virginia Tech, where he was a dominant All-ACC player and was rated as one of the best pass-catchers by Pro Football Focus. Phillips’s lack of ideal size and speed (4.7), saw him go undrafted. Phillips is an excellent route runner and has terrific hands. His skillset and back story is the type of player that June Jones relishes in finding and honing.
23- JALEN TOLLIVER- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Selected in the 4th round of the skill position draft by Tampa. Tolliver was a dominant player at Arkansas-Monticello. He has great size at 6’3 plus and can win when the ball is in the air. A raw but dynamic talent.
24- JAZZ FERGUSON- DALLAS RENEGADES
– The Renegades are loaded with speed receivers but Ferguson could stand out from their receiving corps literally at 6’5 and 240 pounds. Jazz is also no slouch when it comes to his athletic measurables. Running a 4.45 with a 36-inch vertical leap at the NFL draft combine. A true diamond in the rough who transferred from LSU to Northwestern State. Ferguson racked up 13 touchdowns and had over 17 yards per catch in his final season in college.
25- KEITH MUMPHERY- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
Traded from the Renegades to the BattleHawks at the end of the training camp. St. Louis had a need after cutting Quinton Patton in camp and losing De’Mornay Pierson-El to the NFL. Humphery is a physical receiver, a former NFL draft pick of the Texans. Humphrey may not possess big play ability but his toughness and hands will guarantee him targets in the BattleHawks passing attack.
1- NICK TRUESDELL- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Selected fifth overall by Tampa in the skill position draft. That should tell you right there how much value, the Vipers and Marc Trestman see in him. Truesdell has the speed to attack the seams of a defense and the talent to win contested passes. He could end up leading the team in targets and receiving.
2- DONALD PARHAM- DALLAS RENEGADES
– The 6’8 hidden gem from Stetson University. During his senior season, Parham had 85 receptions for 1,319 yards and 13 touchdowns. Parham has the potential to be a force to be reckoned with. He sports a 36- inch vertical leap and a wingspan that measures 84 inches. Just throw it to him will be a popular play call in the Renegades offense.
3- KHARI LEE- DC DEFENDERS
– Lee is a receiver in a tight end’s body. With so many deep threats on the DC roster. Khari Lee could benefit from one on one coverage underneath.
4- EJ BIBBS- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– Like Lee, Bibbs can benefit from playing in an offense that has so many viable targets for defenses to focus on.
5- BRANDON BARNES- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– Barnes has the size at 6’5 and the athleticism to be a useful weapon in Norm Chow’s offense. He has terrific hands and showed that trait at Alabama State.
6- EVAN RODRIGUEZ- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– Rodriguez has the downfield speed to stretch the field as a move tight end in Jim Zorn and Mike Riley’s offense.
7- COLE HUNT- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– Tight ends on a team coached by longtime NFL tight end Jonathan Hayes deserves notice. At nearly 6’7 and 260 pounds. Hunt might not be a big-play threat on this roster but he may end up being a reliable target in scoring situations.
8- CONNOR DAVIS- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– The departure of Wes Saxton to the NFL has opened up this spot. Davis is a big-time sleeper out of Stony Brook. He has such great raw ability at nearly 6’8 and 260 plus pounds.
9- SEAN PRICE- DALLAS RENEGADES
– It’s worth noting that Price was drafted ahead of Parham by Dallas. Sean Price is a tweener h-back type out of USF. He has a basketball background and good athleticism.
10- ADRIEN ROBINSON- DC DEFENDERS
– An experienced veteran who could factor into DC’s two tight end sets.
Yes. I am going to rank them. Thank you Younghoe Koo for helping me during the fantasy playoffs. Coincidentally, Koo is a former AAF kicker who tried out for the XFL. There will be no extra points in the XFL. So that factors into the overall scoring at the position.
1- COLE TRACY- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– The LSU standout is a late addition to Seattle. Tracy has the leg strength and accuracy to be a significant weekly scorer for the Dragons.
2- AUSTIN MACGINNIS- DALLAS RENEGADES
– In arguably the league’s best offense. An All-SEC kicker who broke records at Kentucky. MacGinnis was a standout performer in the AAF for Memphis.
3- NICK NOVAK- LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– An experienced pro kicking in an ideal weather environment on a good offense. A career 82 percent kicker.
4- MATTHEW MCCRANE- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– Experienced former NFL and All-Big 12 kicker. Kicking in the northeast during the winter is no simple task but the Guardians offense figures to be a good one.
5- ANDREW FRANKS/MATTHEW WRIGHT- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– Franks has a big leg and has experience kicking in the state of Florida in the NFL and AAF. Wright was a standout big legged kicker from USF. Frankly, both these players should be kicking in the league somewhere when the season starts.
6- SERGIO CASTILLO/AUSTIN REKHOW- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– Both these specialists can kick and punt. Castillo, a former CFL All-Star kicker has experience kicking in the elements. Rekhow has a big leg. Whoever ends up kicking field goals on this team will benefit from the Roughnecks explosive offense.
7- TAYLOR RUSSOLINO- ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– Russolino will get to put his kicking performance coaching to the test in the XFL. The former standout Millsaps kicker latched on to STL after Elliott Fry signed with the Carolina Panthers. Kicking indoors for half of your games is a plus for any kicker.
8- HUNTER NISWANDER- DC DEFENDERS
– At the moment. DC has Niswander as both their punter and kicker. That could change in the future but for now. Niswander is expected to handle both duties. He’s fully capable of handling those duties and DC is going to have a well-rounded offense that provides plenty of scoring opportunities.
For the sake of ranking. I have to list 1 through 8th but this list can be very easily be flipped around from the top to the bottom. With all the rules favoring scoring. You wouldn’t expect many shutouts but the wide-open style of play could lead to more turnovers and big plays. More passing means more potential sacks. The return game will provide more big plays than normal, so if your fantasy league factors in special teams scoring. The XFL might be right up your alley.
1- DALLAS RENEGADES
– Arguably the league’s best pass rush tandem of Kikaha and Markus Jones. A talented secondary led by PFF’s top overall rated AAF player in ball-hawking safety Derron Smith. There’s a lot of speed in the Renegades return game. Watch for Austin Walter.
2- DC DEFENDERS
– Excellent front seven with a very good defensive signal caller in Scooby Wright. The Defenders are deep and super fast at the corner position and have an excellent safety tandem in Matt Elam and Rahim Moore. Elam has received rave reviews recently from Pep Hamilton and his coaching staff. Thompkins and McBride are dynamic return specialists.
3- NEW YORK GUARDIANS
– New York sports the best corner in the league in Jamar Summers. The Guardians have a very talented young secondary. On special teams, Damon Sheehy and DeMarcus Ayers should be a lethal return duo.
4- TAMPA BAY VIPERS
– A solid pass-rushing trio with Devin Taylor, Deiontrez Mount and Obum Gwacham. The recent addition of Jalen Collins at corner should help the secondary. There are several candidates on the roster for returning kicks. Auburn’s Ryan Davis can be a factor in this department.
5-ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
– Arguably the league’s best overall linebacker in Terence Garvin. Particularly strong at safety with Will Hill, Dexter McCoil and All Big-12 Safety Kenny Robinson. Sherman Badie is an electrifying big play returner out of Tulane.
6- HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
– Good talent upfront with Kony Ealy, at linebacker with AAF standout Beniquez Brown and experience on the back end of the defense with Marqueston Huff. Jalen Saunders has experience returning kicks but a ijack of all trades RB/WR/QB/KR Nick Holley is a player to watch.
7-LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
– A good mix of young and veteran players coached by Pepper Johnson and Winston Moss. Wille Mays from Tiffin could be a diamond in the rough as a pass rusher on the outside. Speedy WR Kermit Whitfield was a good kick returner at FSU..
8- SEATTLE DRAGONS
– One of the league’s better defensive players in Safety Tyson Graham. The Dragons also have a good collection of corners in Channing Stribling and Steve Williams. Trey Williams is a dynamic runner and receiver but he’s also very good at returning kicks and punts.
I am prepared to be wrong on more than half of my rankings but do me a favor, don’t draft Quinton Flowers and Donald Parham if we are in the same league together. Just like any fantasy league. There will be players not listed that will emerge at the start and during the XFL season.
A lot will depend on a particular fantasy league’s scoring rules but I might consider going Quarterback very early in the draft. Wide Receiver looks like a very deep position. The XFL’s league rules will favor the passing game. So having a stud quarterback on a weekly basis might be the best bet towards winning consistently.
With the league reimagining different elements of pro football. The fantasy football aspect of the XFL may end up being reimagined as well.
So there you have it. Happy New Year! Happy New League! Happy New Fantasy League!
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