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XFL Fantasy Football Rankings (Preseason)


As of this writing, there is exactly one month until XFL regular-season action begins. On February 8, the latest upstart professional league will kickoff (again) with spring football. It goes without saying that we hope it goes better than the first time, back in 2001, and lasts longer than the AAF.

Before you settle in to watch the DC Defenders take on the Seattle Dragons, remember to set your fantasy lineups. You can't just watch football without doing fantasy, right? That's why you're here after all.

While the number of platforms hosting XFL fantasy leagues as of right now is unknown, meaning I'm not sure if there actually is one yet, we can only assume one will exist. If not, we may have to go back to the old school way and calculate things by hand. Either way, we'll be damned if the RotoBaller crew isn't going to get in on some XFL Fantasy action! That's why we are here to present you with our initial preseason fantasy rankings by position, with some analysis on each.

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Quarterback

First off, unlike the NFL, we have not a single franchise quarterback among these teams. There will be position battles galore over the preseason and QB is no exception. These rankings will change quite a bit as the picture becomes clearer but given the nature of the league, we will also see a lot of change during the season itself and even some two-QB rotations. The San Antonio Commanders of the AAF effectively employed such a system and it's possible that New York, St. Louis, and Seattle will do so by alternating a pocket passer with a dual-threat QB. How do you tackle this position when it comes to fantasy or DFS then?

Rank Player Name Team
1 Josh Johnson LA Wildcats
2 Cardale Jones DC Defenders
3 Landry Jones Dallas Renegades
4 Matt McGloin NY Guardians
5 Taylor Heinicke St. Louis Battlehawks
6 Connor Cook Houston Roughnecks
7 Aaron Murray Tampa Bay Vipers
8 BJ Daniels Seattle Dragons
9 Phillip Walker Houston Roughnecks
10 Luis Perez LA Wildcats
11 Jordan Ta'amu St. Louis Battlehawks
12 Brandon Silvers Seattle Dragons
13 Marquise Williams NY Guardians
14 Tyree Jackson DC Defenders
15 Taylor Cornelius Tampa Bay Vipers
16 Philip Nelson DC Defenders
17 Keenan Reynolds Seattle Dragons
  • Josh Johnson isn't a lock to beat out Luis Perez but he's certainly the most talented of this group. It's been over 10 years, but his athleticism made him a perennial backup on many NFL teams after he ran a 4.53 at the Combine - fastest of all quarterbacks. Recently, he was the #1 overall protected pick of in the AAF but that stint never happened because he signed on with the Redskins late in the 2018 season. That won't happen here, as the XFL prevented Detroit from stealing him. He should lead the Wildcats early on and has the highest ceiling of any QB.
  • Remember Byron Leftwich? No, he's not coming back to play in the XFL. He's actually got a nice gig as the OC in Tampa Bay for the Bucs, not Vipers. Cardale Jones is the reincarnation of Leftwich though, at 6'5", 250 lbs. He lasted all of one year as a backup in Buffalo before being traded then subsequently cut. At 27 years of age, he should have enough ammo in his cannon arm to find newest receiver Rashad Ross amid a group of talented pass-catchers. He is a firm top-three QB in this league.
  •  The battle in St. Louis will be an interesting one to watch. Taylor Heinicke has the most recent NFL experience, serving as the third-string QB for the Carolina Panthers and starting a game in Week 15 of the 2018 season. He threw for 274 yards with one TD and three INT against the Falcons. Jordan Ta'amu is ready to take over if the turnovers continue to haunt Heinicke. He is just 22 years old and brings more athleticism to the field. The early nod might go to Heinicke but don't be surprised if this winds up being a timeshare.
  • After a prolific college career in which he threw for 13,166 yards and 121 TD for the Georgia Bulldogs, Aaron Murray couldn't hack it in the pros. He was thought to be one of the top choices for AAF action but finished the abbreviated season seventh in passing yards, splitting time with Matt Simms, who finished eighth. Coach Marc Trestman is well-regarded for his offensive mind but this doesn't figure to be a pass-heavy offense. Consider him near the bottom of the totem pole among starting QBs.
  • If there is one situation to avoid, it might be Seattle. Brandon Silvers doesn't have name recognition coming out of Troy University. He also won't have a full set of snaps to count on as BJ Daniels should mix in as the running threat. He's almost guaranteed to be in on some double-forward pass attempts as well. Ultimately, this team's strength is at running back (see below) so don't expect much production out of either QB.

 

Running Back

If you love a good running back committee like all fantasy football players (heavy sarcasm implied) then you'll love the XFL! There are bound to be three-man backfields aplenty and a hot hand approach might determine weekly value. That said, we need to look at upside and project usage based on offensive schemes. Teams like Seattle and Tampa figure to keep the ball on the ground more, although it's certainly too early to forecast.

Rank Player Name Team
1 Cameron Artis-Payne Dallas Renegades
2 De'Veon Smith Tampa Bay Vipers
3 Jhurell Pressley DC Defenders
4 Christine Michael St. Louis Battlehawks
5 Kenneth Farrow Seattle Dragons
6 Elijah Hood LA Wildcats
7 Andre Williams Houston Roughnecks
8 Justin Stockton NY Guardians
9 Donnel Pumphrey DC Defenders
10 Ja'Quan Gardner Seattle Dragons
11 Matt Jones St. Louis Battlehawks
12 Lance Dunbar Dallas Renegades
13 Darius Victor NY Guardians
14 Larry Rose LA Wildcats
15 Trey Williams Seattle Dragons
16 Quinton Flowers Tampa Bay Vipers
17 Nick Brossette DC Defenders
18 Marquez Williams Houston Roughnecks
19 Tarean Folston Tampa Bay Vipers
20 Tim Cook NY Guardians
21 Dujuan Harris LA Wildcats
22 Dimitri Flowers Dallas Renegades
23 Jacques Patrick Tampa Bay Vipers
24 Nick Holley Houston Roughnecks
25 DJ May Tampa Bay Vipers
26 Khalid Abdullah DC Defenders
27 Terrell Alex LA Wildcats
28 Lavon Coleman Seattle Dragons
29 Sherman Badie St. Louis Battlehawks
30 Austin Walter Dallas Renegades
  • Jhurell Pressley and Donnell Pumphrey will make a nice 1-2 punch in DC. Pressley led the AAF in rushing with 431 yards and a 4.5 yards per carry average. Pumphrey led the NCAA in rushing back in 2016 and is still the all-time leader in several categories for the Mountain West Conference. Injuries kept him from being the next Darren Sproles in Philly but his speed should play well in this offensive-driven league. The X-factor could be Nick Brossette, who isn't exactly a battering ram at six feet and 218 pounds but could get short-yardage work as he outsizes the other two Defenders running backs.
  • Which NFL bust do you prefer in St. Louis, Christine Michael or Matt Jones? Michael has long teased with his talent but Jones was ultimately more productive between the two (when he wasn't fumbling). Despite the nightmarish flashbacks they might give long-time fantasy football players, there is little depth behind them that threatens to take away touches. Michael should be seen as a borderline first-round pick in most XFL fantasy drafts while Jones is worth a handcuff.
  • Andre Williams could end up being the Trent Richardson of this league. While that hardly seems like a compliment, it... well it sort of is. T-Rich was one of the most prominent names in the AAF and he wound up doing much of the same we were used to. Richardson only averaged 2.9 yards per carry and wound up fourth in overall rushing yards even though he led the league in carries with 125, 19 more than the next closest RB. He did score 11 touchdowns though, which made him by far the most valuable fantasy RB. Williams is a similar plodder who won't catch the ball much or leave defenders in the dust but he'll get goal-line touches if nothing else.
  • Ja'Quan Gardner might have led the AAF in rushing if not for an injury that shortened the already-short season. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry, which was fourth among players with at least 40 rush attempts. Seattle might be a run-based team that features Gardner except that they also have Kenneth Farrow and Trey Williams. Farrow had some success as a Charger and was one of the better AAF RBs as well. His former Commanders teammate Williams will serve a third-down role. This team could lead the league in rushing but wind up with no single running back in the fantasy top-five because of a split backfield. Still, with just eight teams in the league, there is practically no way to avoid a RBBC at this point.
  • Keep an eye on Quinton Flowers, who will serve a Swiss Army Knife role as a runner and passer most likely. The converted quarterback threw for over 8,000 yards and ran for over 3,600 yards in three years as a starter at USF.
  • The best late-round fliers at running back who could rise to prominence include Larry Rose, Tim Cook, and Tarean Folston.

 

Wide Receiver

If Vince McMahon has his druthers, there will be a ton of points scored in these fast-paced contests. That means the receivers should outshine all others. There is no lack of options, as you can go five or six deep on certain teams finding potential targets. That means more uncertainty than at any position. We'll do our best to project target share but these rankings will obviously change over the coming weeks.

Rank Player Name Team
1 Mekale Mckay NY Guardians
2 Rashad Ross DC Defenders
3 Sammie Coates Houston Roughnecks
4 Eli Rogers DC Defenders
5 Reece Horn Tampa Bay Vipers
6 Tre McBride LA Wildcats
7 DeMornay Pierson-El St. Louis Battlehawks
8 Terrance Williams St. Louis Battlehawks
9 Kasen Williams Seattle Dragons
10 Quinton Patton St. Louis Battlehawks
11 Tommylee Lewis Dallas Renegades
12 Stacy Coley Dallas Renegades
13 Nelson Spruce LA Wildcats
14 Jazz Ferguson Dallas Renegades
15 Demarcus Ayers NY Guardians
16 Freddie Martino Tampa Bay Vipers
17 Keith Mumphrey St. Louis Battlehawks
18 KD Cannon LA Wildcats
19 Seantavius Jones Tampa Bay Vipers
20 Kahlil Lewis Houston Roughnecks
21 Jeff Badet Dallas Renegades
22 Kelvin McKnight Dallas Renegades
23 DeAngelo Yancey NY Guardians
24 L'Damian Washington St. Louis Battlehawks
25 Tanner Gentry NY Guardians
26 Tanner McEvoy Tampa Bay Vipers
27 Austin Proehl Seattle Dragons
28 Malachi Dupre DC Defenders
29 Donteea Dye Tampa Bay Vipers
30 Fred Ross Seattle Dragons
31 Jordan Lasley St. Louis Battlehawks
32 Keyarris Garrett LA Wildcats
33 Jordan Westerkamp DC Defenders
34 Alonzo Moore Tampa Bay Vipers
35 Simmie Cobbs Dallas Renegades
36 Cam Phillips Houston Roughnecks
37 Deandre Thompkins DC Defenders
38 Jalen Tolliver Tampa Bay Vipers
39 Kermit Whitfield LA Wildcats
40 Joe Horn Jr. Houston Roughnecks
41 Alonzo Russell St. Louis Battlehawks
42 Deontez Alexander Houston Roughnecks
43 Adonis Jennings Tampa Bay Vipers
44 Sam Mobley Houston Roughnecks
45 Keenan Reynolds Seattle Dragons
46 Marcus Lucas St. Louis Battlehawks
47 Max McCaffrey DC Defenders
48 Daniel Braverman St. Louis Battlehawks
49 Richard Mullaney DC Defenders
50 Jalen Saunders Houston Roughnecks
  • Curiously, a receiver swap occurred between DC and LA when Rashad Ross was traded for Tre McBride straight up. It's unclear why this would happen other than scheme fit or chemistry issues. Ross is expected to be a top-five receiver like he was in the AAF when he finished third in receptions and second in receiving yards. This unexpected trade doesn't deflate the value of either and might help McBride if anything.
  • Former Saints kick returner and receiver Tommylee Lewis will get attention because of his recency in the league but he is not going to be a high-volume target. He will use his speed to play the deep threat but isn't likely to be a WR1. The speedy Stacy Coley never broke through with the Vikings after coming out of The U but his 4.45 speed should play well.
  • Keep an eye on the situation in St. Louis, where three receivers all have the ability to be impactful. Former Cowboy Terrance Williams, former 49er Quinton Patton, and former Salt Lake Stallion DeMornay Pierson-El could form the best trio in the league. Realistically, this depth will help whoever the quarterback ends up being more so than any one of the wideouts.
  • Don't get sucked in by a name with rich bloodlines. Austin Proehl, Max McCaffrey, and Joe Horn Jr. will sound familiar to longtime NFL fans but that doesn't mean these players are more likely to shine.
  • A good slot receiver is always a good bet for targets. Watch for names like Jeff Badet, Jordan Westerkamp, and Kermit Whitfield to see if they earn a shot in the slot.
  • Bigger-bodied receivers that could turn into red-zone threats include Tanner McEvoy, Jazz Ferguson, and Simmie Cobbs.

 

Tight End

If you thought the tight end landscape was tough to figure out in NFL fantasy football... this will be "fun." Some teams have as many as five tight ends listed on their active rosters while the Houston Roughnecks, featuring June Jones' run-and-shoot offense, have not a single one.

Rank Player Name Team
1 Brandon Barnes LA Wildcats
2 Nick Truesdell Tampa Bay Vipers
3 Khari Lee DC Defenders
4 Evan Rodriguez Seattle Dragons
5 EJ Bibbs NY Guardians
6 Connor Davis St. Louis Battlehawks
7 Sean Price Dallas Renegades
8 Adrien Robinson DC Defenders
9 Donald Parham Dallas Renegades
10 Cole Hunt St. Louis Battlehawks
11 Cam Clear Seattle Dragons
12 Jake Sutherland NY Guardians
13 Colin Jeter Seattle Dragons
14 Cordon Moog LA Wildcats
15 DeAndre Goolsby Tampa Bay Vipers
16 Colin Thompson Tampa Bay Vipers
  • I have Brandon Barnes as my clear No. 1 tight end. Not so much because of his recent AAF experience but because of the opportunity he's sure to get. The Wildcats have only one other TE on their roster, they just traded away their top receiver Rashad Ross, and they could have one of the better quarterbacks in Josh Johnson.
  • I've seen Donald Parham ranked higher in other XFL rankings but I'm betting on Sean Price to be the primary pass-catcher. He's built more like a receiver at a slight 6'2" and 249. Dallas could also be one of the more effective passing teams in the league, at least if you believe in Landry Jones.
  • One name you don't see on here is Jace Amaro, who was intiially picked up by the Seattle Dragons but doesn't appear on their roster on the official league website. If he re-emerges during training camp with them or another squad, he'll jump into the top-eight immediately. For now, he must be ignored.



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