In a conversation with Oliver Luck, we at XFL News Hub have learned that the league plans to launch an XFL Fantasy Football service. Whether they will partner with existing apps like ESPN or Yahoo remains to be seen, but as they work out the details, we might as well get started looking at the players.
As teams head into camp, we’ll get a clearer sense of how depth charts will shape up, but it’s never to early to get ahead of the game. Here’s the top 5 at each position!
1. Landry Jones – Dallas Renegades
He’s the most experienced pro Quarterback, going into an ideal situation with a coach he’s had success with before. Bob Stoops knows how to use his tools, and has surrounded him with high-end talent. Jones is a pocket passer, so he won’t be getting you points on the ground, but I fully expect the 30-year-old vet to pick apart opposing defenses.
2. Cardale Jones – DC Defenders
The next Jones on our list has elite tools. He has a deadly deep ball and isn’t afraid to put it up outside the hashes. Coaches loved his live arm and ability to extend plays coming out of Ohio State, but he needed more experience. After 4 years with the Bills, Chargers, and Seahawks, the 27-year-old is ready to go. The Defenders have a stable of receivers with 4.3 speed and are set up to make chunk plays all year.
3. Matt McGloin – New York Guardians
Matt McGloin has the most starting pro experience behind Landry Jones, and the wily veteran is the face of the Guardians. After walking on at Penn State, he took the starting job. He signed as a UDFA with the Raider and started 6 games his rookie season.
4. Brandon Silvers – Seattle Dragons
Silvers had a good showing in the AAF last spring, putting up efficient quarterback play on a bad Memphis Express team. In two starts, he showed that he could move the ball downfield and avoid making mistakes. He’s athletic, smart and accurate, and should fit right into coach Jim Zorn’s West Coast attack.
5. Aaron Murray – Tampa Bay Vipers
Aaron Murray is a bit of a wild card. He led the Georgia Bulldogs for years in the SEC, bringing the team to 5th and 9th ranked seasons in 2012 and 2014. He had monstrous production there, passing for 13,166 yards and 121 touchdowns. Murray was drafted in the 5th by KC but never caught on in Andy Reid’s system. We most recently saw him with the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, where he struggled with turnovers, tossing 7 picks against just 3 touchdowns. If Marc Trestman can figure out how to use Murray skillset, he could be deadly, but this is a boom or bust pick in my mind.
XFL Running Backs
1. Jhurell Pressley – DC Defenders
The AAF’s leading rusher looks to make a big impact here. Pressley has been carving up defenses since his days at New Mexico, where he rushed for 1000 yards and 12 touchdowns at a whopping 9.5 ypc his Junior year. At 5’11, 205 with 4.4 speed, he has a good mix of quickness and size. Opposing defenses won’t dare stack the box against Cardale Jones and his deep threats, so Pressley could face a lot of softer looks upfront.
2. Christine Michael – St Louis Battlehawks
Christine Michael is the most accomplished rusher in this group. The 29-year-old Super Bowl Champ has run for over 1000 yards in the NFL, at a rock-solid 4.3 ypc. He’s big (5’11”, 220 pounds) and quick enough (4.54 speed), and would honestly be ranked first if he wasn’t sharing a backfield with veteran power back Matt Jones.
3. Cameron Artis-Payne – Dallas Renegades
The Renegades offense is looking dangerous, and Artis-Payne should be able to tote the rock and take some pressure off Landry Jones. He had a fantastic senior year at Auburn, rushing for 1,608 yards and 13 scores, and since then has served well in a rotation behind Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart in Carolina. In limited regular-season action he still managed to score 5 TD’s.
4. Quinton Flowers – Tampa Bay Vipers
The former USF QB Flowers has a very unique skillset, and Marc Trestman should have a ball scheming up plays to use his talents. Flowers excelled at both positions in college, passing for over 8,124 yards and 71 TD’s with 3,672 yards and 41 scores on the ground. At 5’10, 214 he’s built like a running back, but after the success of QB’s like Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Doug Flutie, the myth of passer height requirements is fading. I expect he’ll primarily be used as a rusher, but Trestman will have his fair share of plays where Flowers is schemed to roll out and send it deep.
5. Darius Victor – New York Guardians
Victor was a touchdown machine at Towson and scored 17 in his junior year with a career total of 41. At 5’8″, 208, he has a low center of gravity and a stout frame that reminds me of former Bronco CJ Anderson. Shorter backs can have a real advantage behind the line, as they’re harder for 2nd level defenders to spot. Victor will also be running behind what’s my favorite O-Line in the XFL. This is a group that features former NFL starters like brothers Cyrus and Arie Kouandjio and Zac Kerin, who have a combined 62 games of regular-season experience. With Victor’s skill set and the talent on his line, I think he’s set up for a big season in New York.
XFL Wide Receiver
1. Eli Rogers – DC Defenders
The 26-year-old had to fight tooth and nail for playing time with the Steelers and found 822 yards and 4 TD’s as the teams 4th and 5th receiver. He battled Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates and Markus Wheaton for playing time in an insanely deep WR corps. Whenever he saw the field, he made plays and used his 4.46 speed to stretch the field. With Pep Hamilton drawing up plays to maximize Cardale Jones’ deep ball, I think Rogers will quickly become a fantasy machine.
2. Sammie Coates – Houston Roughnecks
Another member of the aforementioned WR group, Coates also made the most of his hard-earned playing time in Pittsburgh. In 2 years as a reserve receiver, he brought in 500 yards and 2 scores in very limited playing time. Also 26 years old, and a former 3rd round pick to boot, it looks like Coates is in position to have a big year with the Roughnecks. He’s got length and speed to play vertically but also makes clean cuts. We’re still not sure who’s starting at QB for the Roughnecks, but whoever it is will love Coates.
3. Terrance Williams – St Louis Battlehawks
Williams is the most experienced pro WR on this list. The 30-year-old was the Cowboys’ WR2 for years across from Dez Bryant, and he has 232 receptions and 20 scores to prove it. He was one of Tony Romo’s favorite targets, and is a big target at 6’2″. STL quarterback Jordan Taamu is raw and is in his literal Rookie season, so he’ll likely lean heavily on Williams to make plays.
4. Tanner Gentry – New York Guardians
Gentry has the luxury of catching passes from #3 rated Matt McGloin and gives the Guardians a valuable weapon. The former Wyoming Cowboy was Josh Allen’s favorite target and the only legit downfield threat in that offense. Even with defenses targeting him, he posted 1,326 yards and 14 TD’s his senior year and earned some snaps with the Chicago Bears. While relatively untested in the pros, he’s got a 6’2″ frame, 4.4 speed and route running chops to boot. I think he’ll be McGloin’s go-to guy all season.
5. Jalen Rowell – Seattle Dragons
Jalen Rowell could be the XFL’s best deep threat. Standing at 6’4″, he’s got the length to go up for 50-50 balls and was dangerous at Air Force. His first career reception was a 37 yard TD, and he’s a threat to pull off chunk plays on every down. His junior and senior years, he had 74 and 75 yards TD’s and posted a career ypc of 26.2. Jim Zorn will be scheming up plays all year long to get one on one border matchups for Rowell, and he’s primed to do big things.
XFL Tight End
1. Nick Truesdell – Tampa Bay Vipers
This one is unquestionable. Truesdell will be an elite TE in the XFL. Standing at 6’6″, he turned heads at the NFL Veteran Combine after running a 4.47 40 and performing well in drills. He got shots with the Colts, Vikings, and Jets, but made his most significant impacts in the AFL and AAF. In arena ball, he dominated over a 3-year span with 38 total touchdowns and he led the AAF’s tight ends in all receiving categories. Look out for this dude early in your drafts.
2. Donald Parham – Dallas Renegades
Parham played at Stetson, so he wasn’t making headlines in the NCAA, but he had elite production in Division I nonetheless. From 2016-2018, he improved his totals every year, from 455 yards to 817, and finally 1,319 his senior year. He also scored 20 times in his college career. Towering over defenders at 6’8″, 240 he’ll be a matchup problem no matter who is covering him. All Landry Jones has to do is put it up high and let Parham’s insane 7-foot wingspan do the rest
3. Bucky Hodges – LA Wildcats
Hodges is a perfect example of a player who dominated in college but never truly got a shot in the pros. He caught 133 balls for 1,747 yards and 20 scores at Virginia Tech and was projected as a 1st rounder. He ended up falling to the 6th, and never saw regular-season playing time with the Vikings, Panthers, Jets, and Steelers. Young Tight Ends need time to develop, but no coaching staff in the NFL invested in him. He has elite size/speed (6’6″ 4.57) and produced for years in college, so if OC Norm Chow can unlock his potential, he’ll tear up the league.
4. Jace Amaro – Seattle Dragons
The 27-year-old former 2nd round pick has a lot offer. Standing at 6’5″ with soft hands, good route running and blocking ability, he’s a complete package. He may not have top-end speed to stretch the field, but in Jim Zorn’s West Coast, he can dominate the middle and even push some seams. Zorn heavily utilizes tight ends in his offense, and Amaro should be a big part of things in Seattle.
5. Orson Charles – DC Defenders
Charles is a versatile player who is comfortable at TE/FB and H – Back. The former 4th round pick has been used largely as a blocker in the NFL. He’s strong at the point of attack, but also has route-running chops and good hands. He’s athletic and could stretch seams, and Cardale Jones should be finding him early and often over the middle and in the flat.
1. Houston Roughnecks
I love this defensive group. Longtime Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell has the most stocked roster I’ve seen in the league. Starting with former Panther Kony Ealy (who holds several Super Bowl records) and CFL Grey Cup Champion Taylor Reed, they have an elite pair of pass rushers. Trenton Thompson and Corey Crawford are disruptive forces in the trenches, while Edmond Robinson and Davis Tull could be two of the finest, most complete young linebackers in the league.
Incredible front seven, and the secondary is rock solid. Deji Olatoye has the potential to be a lockdown corner, while Robert Nelson and Brandon Langely bring a good mix of experience and youth. Safeties Marqueston Huff and Trae Elston bring long frames, NFL experience and 4.4 speed to the safety spots.
Jalen Saunders is penciled in as the return specialist, and with 3 touchdowns from college, and experience returning in the NFL and CFL, he could be a scoring factor. The CFL experience is especially good, as the XFL will be adopting their punt return rules.
2. Seattle Dragons
The Dragons defensive core is special. They have the best pair of veteran corners in the league with Sterling Moore and Steve Williams. These two should lock down the edges, with fellow veteran safety Kentrell Brice holds down the middle of the field. On paper, they’re the best secondary in the league and should give rushers like Stansly Maponga and Jacquies Smith plenty of time to get to the QB. Maponga is a raw, uber-athletic prospect, while Smith is a proven DE who’s logged 13.5 sacks in the NFL.
They also have Will Sutton in the middle of their line, and the former 3rd round pick is set for a resurgence in the XFL. Linebacker Steven Johnson was a productive component of the Broncos defense in the past
3. New York Guardians
The Guardians’ front seven is a force to contend with. Victor Ochi and George Johnson should lock down the edges, and provide youth and experience respectively. Ochi had 50.5 sacks at Stony Brook and is one of the XFL’s most exciting young pass rushers. Johnson, 31 has been around pro football and has played in many different systems. He posted a career-high 6 sacks with the Lions in 2014.
Antonio Morrison posted 209 tackles as a linebacker with the Colts and Packers from 2016-2018 and has even sacked Tom Brady. NFL Vets Ben Heeney and Nick DeLuca fill out this strong LB corps. Their secondary is young and untested, but players like Demetrious Cox and Lorenzo Doss have the tools to emerge as leaders
The return game is what I’m really excited about here. Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi recently made a name for himself with an electric 86 yard TD return for the Cleveland Browns. Though he didn’t make the final roster, Sheehy could be the XFL’s best return man as he puts his 4.38 speed and grit to use.
4. DC Defenders
The Defenders have the best pair of starting safeties in the league, with Matt Elam and Rahim Moore. These two are proven commodities from the NFL, and should lock down the back end with little issue. They also have Jay Bromley and Tracey Sprinkle down in the trenches, and these two have the ability to dominate the run game and get to the passer
Jameer Thurman and Scooby Wright III headline the linebacking corps. Thurman, (24) is a CFL standout who was a key player for Calgary, helping them win the Grey Cup in 2018,, and Scooby Wright has flashed serious pass rush skills, with 14 sacks his sophomore year at U of Arizona. There’s a lot of proven talent all over this defense, and DC Jeff FitzGerald should put them to good use.
At returner, they have a few options, but Deion Holliman tore it up in special teams at Missouri State. He scored twice on kickoffs, and three more times as a punt returner. Coverage teams will really have to account for his 4.3 speed.
5. LA Wildcats
The Wildcats have a lot to work with here, and Winston Moss is a defensive-minded coach. Shawn Oakman is one of the main reasons I have them ranked so high, and he’s going to be a problem for offensive liens. Standing at 6’9″ 280 pounds, he’s got pass rush moves off the edge and up the middle, and was a force at Baylor, registering 11 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss his junior year.
Outside of Oakman, Cedric Reed is another good pass rusher, having notched 18 sacks at Texas. They also have Eric Pinkins, who should be an excellent dimebacker with speed and length, and Michigan State standout Taiwan Jones. Their defensive corps has a great mix of disruptive players and off-ball linebacker talent.
Rashard Ross, who just came off a great run in the AAF has excelled as a return man in the past, and I think he’s a big factor, having scored 3 TD’s in the NFL.
1. Elliot Fry – St Louis Battlehawks
14/14 in the AAF (100%)
2. Nick Novak – Los Angeles Wildcats
182/222 FG in the NFL (82.0%)
3. Sergio Castillo – Houston Roughnecks
41/45 FG in CFL (91%)
4. Andrew Franks – Tampa Bay Vipers
29/37 FG in the NFL (78.4%)
5. Austin MacGinnis – Dallas Renegades
9/11 FG in the AAF (81.8%)
XFL’s Houston Roughnecks Secondary Logo Opposed by NFL
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