Episode 27 – XFL Fantasy Football – Adam Pelletier

Are you ready for some XFL Fantasy? This episode is a special episode where we talk about XFL fantasy football with Adam Pelletier (@adampelletier). Adam is an XFL and Fantasy Football Writer, and we have him here today to talk to us about XFL Fantasy Football. Sit back and relax while Adam explains the XFL fantasy options, and then goes into his thoughts on the best picks for XFL week 4.

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Music: Are You Ready – Free music archive.

XFL Week 3 Power Rankings

Well, that’s 2 weeks now officially in the history books. We saw all different kinds of games this weekend. We saw defensive battles, slow building dramas, back and forth thrillers, and total domination, in what was another exciting week of XFL Football. This week’s Power Rankings are the most confident I have felt thus far, but of course, with the nature of football, that can all change week to week. So let’s see where we stand heading into week 3.

8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2) Last Week (8)

XFL fans, allow me to introduce to you your “Homecoming” team of the XFL 2020, the Tampa Bay Vipers. They are such a mess. Marc Trestman can’t decide on a quarterback. Whoever he decides will be playing quarterback that day, absolutely stinks. The defense gives up too many big plays. I have lost all confidence in this team, and it’s a shame, because they are talented in their skill positions. But in the sport of football, the quarterback position is the most important. And when you don’t have good quarterback play, you will struggle mightily. The Vipers will be playing their first home game this Saturday, but unfortunately for them, it will be against the Houston Roughnecks, and it will probably be a long day in Tampa for the Vipers. They are still at no. 8, and I expect them to remain there. Houston, congratulations, it’s “Homecoming Week”.

7. New York Guardians (1-1) Last Week (4)

Matt McGloin is leading this team. And after Saturday afternoon, that’s all you need to know to know why they are ranked no. 7. If Tampa had a decent quarterback, they would be ranked 8th. Once again, it’s a real shame. Because just like with Tampa Bay, they are talented. They got some good receivers. They got some decent running backs. They have an elite defense. They have a great Head Coach. But their “leader” is Matt McGloin. And if Saturday is any indication, he is not the right guy to be leading a locker room. If you can’t take ownership for your own mistakes, and you just throw your teammates and coaches under the bus, you don’t DESERVE to lead a team. Yes, he has some talent, but working together, as a team, goes far more than talent ever will. Until McGloin can buy into the concept of “TEAM”, they will sit at no. 7, and possibly fall to no. 8.

6. Seattle Dragons (1-1) Last Week (7)

Seattle, you have impressed me. By no means am I picking you to win the Championship, but you guys will be competitive in every game, and that is “For the Love of Football”. Brandon Silvers is not an elite XFL quarterback, but he has had his moments, and his play makers have made plays when they needed to. But the strength of this team is the defense, which is no unfamiliar territory for Seattle. Their defense has impressed me the past few weeks against DC and Tampa Bay, and if they can keep that up, I think they have the potential to pull off some real upsets. Especially when they play at home, with that raucous crowd. The key for their offense is to get the running game going, and take that pressure off of Brandon Silvers. If he can just limit the turnovers and make the key throws, this team should be fine, and at least be in most of their games til the end. They are my no. 6 team.

5. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2) Last Week (6)

Some people are probably going to be surprised that I have LA ranked 5, especially since they haven’t gotten a win yet. But honestly, in their 25-18 loss to Dallas, they looked pretty good. Especially in the 4th quarter once Josh Johnson started getting that chemistry with Nelson Spruce. You have to remember, Johnson hasn’t even been able to really practice with his team much, due to him signing late, then getting injured. I believe that this team has enough talent to start racking up some wins. And don’t be surprised if that starts this Sunday against DC at home. I believe people are looking at that 0-2 record and really underestimating what this Wildcats team is capable of. If Johnson and Spruce can build that connection, this can become a scary team in the West. I have not counted the Wildcats out yet, and I think they might surprise the league here the next few weeks. For now, they sit at no. 5.

4. Dallas Renegades (1-1) Last Week (5)

This team is good. Yes, it took them a while to get going, but once they did, I don’t think they’re looking back. This might be the most well balanced offense in the league. They can run it with Artis-Payne and Dunbar. They can sure throw it with Landry Jones. And I believe they have play makers at the wide receiver position that can make plays in the open field. All of this was on display Sunday afternoon, once Landry Jones settled in the offense. Much like Johnson, he has not had a lot of reps with his team, so that chemistry will only build and get better. Their defense is good, not great, but if they can keep their running game strong, long drives will keep their defense on the sideline. The Renegades are threat in the West, and Houston better be looking over its shoulder. Dallas sits at no. 4.

3. St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1) Last Week (3)

St. Louis showed Sunday night, they are for real. They can compete with the big dogs, and they have a legitimate shot at winning the East and taking home the XFL Championship. Jordan Ta’amu is the real deal, and man is he fun to watch. He can do it with his arm, he can do it with his legs, and he has a strong running game backing him up. Matt Jones is a beast, and Christine Michael finally came alive in this game. Keith Ford will be back, and their receivers are really underrated. Pierson-El is a stud, and Washington can ball as well. But man, the defense is LEGIT. I’m confident in saying, this is the best defense in the XFL. All around, they can stop the run, protect against the pass, and they can cause turnovers. I think this team has a fight that can carry them a long way, and their Head Coach brings an energy that can motivate this team to a title. It’s why they are my 3rd ranked team.

2. DC Defenders (2-0) Last Week (2)

Total domination is what this team did to the New York Guardians Saturday afternoon. Cardale Jones is just that good. Rashad Ross is just that good. Eli Rogers is just that good. And oh yeah, DeAndre Thompkins made his return, and yep, he is just that good. Add that with a running game that seemed to be finding life in the 4th quarter, and a defense that has a pick six in each game so far, and you have the best team in the East. The DC Defenders are great, and Pep Hamilton is the main reason why. His play calling has been outstanding, and his willingness to take risk has paid off tremendously. This team has an identity, and it sticks to that. Have Cardale Jones make plays on the move, give the ball to their play makers, and let their defense have its opportunities. Drop in their some trick plays, and you have a recipe for success. But, they are still no. 2.

1. Houston Roughnecks (2-0) Last Week (1)

Because the Houston Roughnecks are still the best team in the XFL. PJ Walker is hands down, right now, at this moment, not just the best quarterback in the league, he is the best player in the league. He has looked unstoppable through the first 2 weeks, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. But he ain’t by himself. Cam Phillips, who was named the Star of the Week this week, is an absolute beast. He can route run, he can turn on the gas, and he can catch with the best of them. Khalil Lewis, Nick Holley, Sammie Coates, James Butler, who do you try and stop? Good luck to any defense that has to play this Houston offense this season. But what’s scary for the league, is this defense is coming alive week by week. They get to the quarterback, and I mean they GET TO THE QUARTERBACK. Not to mention, they capitalize on every opportunity they get with takeaways, and they do not break easily. This is the clear favorite right now to win the West, and my current favorite to win it all. The Houston Roughnecks are the XFL’s best team until somebody proves otherwise.

XFL Week 2 Injury Report

Saturday, February 15:

New York Guardians (1-0) at DC Defenders (1-0), 2 pm ET (ABC).

New York Guardians: There is some reason for concern here for the Guardians, as two of their three starting interior offensive linemen C Ian Silberman and G Garrett Brumfield have already been ruled OUT for Saturday’s game. Fortunately, their replacements are center Damien Mama and guard Avery Young who both have NFL experience and are more than capable of stepping in for them. The only active player that was unable to play last week due to an illness was TE Keenan Brown, who will make his debut on Saturday. Brown is talented and will join former Monmouth University TE Jake Powell on the depth chart, who played very well as the starter last game, catching 4 passes on 6 targets for 28 yards. 

DC Defenders: WR DeAndre Thompkins and LB Scooby Wright were unable to play in last week’s opener but they will make their debut this week against the Guardians. Thompkins, a former Penn State receiver, is listed as a starter over Week 1 stars; Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross, so it will be interesting to see if his return affects their target share. The only player who is listed questionable is backup DT Kalani Vakameilalo.

Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1) at Seattle Dragons (0-1), 5 pm ET (FOX).

Tampa Bay Vipers: Vipers starting QB Aaron Murray has been officially ruled OUT for this week’s game due to a foot injury. The former Georgia Bulldog all-time passer struggled in last week’s loss against the Guardians, throwing 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, with a QB rating of 45.1. The replacement quarterback options are former Cincinnati Bengals RB and University of South Florida start QB Quinton Flowers, as well as Taylor Cornelius and Chase Litton, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that. Bobby Richardson and TE DeAndre Goolsby are listed as questionable.

Seattle Dragons: The injury bug has hit the Seattle Dragon real hard; as eight players have missed practice so far this week. The most notable name is starting QB Brandon Silvers, who suffered an ankle injury last week against DC. Former University of South Florida star B.J. Daniels would be called upon in relief of Silvers if he’s unable to go, but he is probable so Silvers should be good to start. Starting WR Kasen Williams, OT Isaiah Battle and TE Cam Clear each missed last week’s game and have once again been ruled OUT. Also, starting center Dillon Day is listed as doubtful, left guard Cyril Richardson, DT Anthony Moten, TE Ben Johnson, and CB Mohammed Seisay are questionable.

Sunday, February 16:

Dallas Renegades (0-1) at LA Wildcats (0-1), 3 pm ET (ABC).

Dallas Renegades: The Landry Jones-Bob Stoops era in Dallas will officially begin on Sunday afternoon, as Landry Jones has recovered from the knee injury he suffered last month and will start against the Wildcats. Phillip Nelson replaced Jones as the starter for the Renegades last week and will head back to the bench. Third string Eric Dungey is taking a brief leave of absence for personal reasons, so they’ve signed former HBO Hard Knocks fan favorite Brogan Roback for depth. Starting DE Winston Craig and LB Jon Calvin haven’t participated in practice so far this week and Hau’oli Kikaha is questionable with limited participation.

LA Wildcats: Last week, starting QB Chad Kanoff looked pretty impressive; despite the 20-point loss they suffered against Houston. Kanoff finished with a stat-line of 21-39, 214 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT, but unfortunately left the game after suffering a head/shoulder injury. Kanoff replaced Josh Johnson due to a thigh injury he suffered, but now Johnson has recovered and is expected to start. There are three contributing players that haven’t participated in practice so far this week to keep an eye on; WR Saeed Blacknall, RB/WR DuJuan Harris, CB Jaylen Dunlap. 

St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0) at Houston Roughnecks, 6 pm ET (FS1).

St. Louis BattleHawks: Much like the Seattle Dragons; the BattleHawks have been hit hard with injuries, as five players are questionable and have not practiced so far this week. DE Will Clarke, WR Brandon Reilly, CB David Rivers, RB Matt Jones and Keith Ford. For fantasy purposes, definitely look out for the status of Jones and Ford, because if they’re both unable to go; Christine Michael is for a ton of action. It’s definitely a bit concerning that Michael had 0 yards on 7 carries, but the majority of their run game when through Jones on 21 carries for 85 yards, so if he and Ford are out Michael will get another chance as the starter.

Houston Roughnecks: Former Denver Broncos RB De’Angelo Henderson suffered a shoulder injury early last game against the Wildcats forcing him to leave the game. Henderson’s status is in doubt for this week, as he’s yet to practice this week, which would potentially but James Butler in line for a quality workload. Their other notable injury to watch is DE Cashaud Lyons who hasn’t practiced this week.

XFL Launches Free Gaming App Amid Increase in Sports Betting Partnerships

Play XFL is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.
Play XFL is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.

A new fan focused feature was introduced today by the XFL – the PlayXFL app. In an effort to focus on fan engagement and entertainment this is certainly a differentiator for the league.

The PlayXFL app is a free app that lets fans predict final scores to select games. Week 1 highlights the two Sunday games. Pick the score correctly for both games and win $25,000. Simple, right? Well give it a go taking on the likely anticipated thousands of fans giving their best shot.

If you think $25,000 gets you excited, Week 2 has a prize of $500,000 to the person able to predict the exact score to the 3 designated games. I imagine fans will now plan to watch a little closer and a little longer this opening weekend to give themselves the best shot for cash week 2. Stick around for the playoffs and you could win a cool, $1,000,000 – that’s six zeros and a cool one million dollars, my friends.

Plan on going to the games? The app offers another feature to fans in-stadium to play a 4-question Pick’em game to win team swag, tickets, and more.

PlayXFL is available on iOS and Android devices in the US only.

A Play for Sport Betting

PlayXFL is a great addition by the league. Fringe fans will have a reason to tune in, casual fans have a reason to increase their commitment, and hardcore fans can flex their knowledge to try and win big. The XFL is also bridging the gap for fans to transfer their knowledge to the sports betting world. The XFL has a direct partnership with sportsbook Fox Bet along with daily fantasy platforms DraftKings and FanDuel.

The XFL isn’t missing a beat as they bring betting front and center to the game. Consistent with the shift and growth in the betting market, sports betting is big business and the XFL wants a piece of the pie. Expect to see TV graphics during game broadcasts with live updates on how the point spread and over/under are impacted. Crews in the broadcast booth will also incorporate discussions about the impact of plays on the money lines. Teams going for and missing a 3 point PAT and eventually the team goes on to lose by 7 in at +3.5 spread is big news to bettors and broadcasters can dissect these plays as they happen.

Whether free or paid, sports betting is geared up and ready for the 2020 season.

LA Wildcats Offensive Preview

The LA Wildcats previously met the Houston Roughnecks in XFL training camp.
The LA Wildcats previously met the Houston Roughnecks in XFL training camp. Photo: XFL.com

The Los Angeles Wildcats are set to kick off their inaugural season on the road Saturday night at 5 p.m. ET against the Houston Roughnecks.

Here is a positional breakdown of the LA Wildcats offense.

Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach: Norm Chow: A highly-respected offensive coordinator, Chow has had a ton of experience calling plays. He recently was the former head coach at the University of Hawaii (2012-15), but in the past he helped coach former NFL QB’s Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Phillip Rivers, Carson Palmer, and Matt Leinart during their collegiate careers.

Quarterbacks: Josh sonJohn, Chad Kanoff, Jalan McClendon

33 year-old quarterback Josh Johnson has been considered a “journeyman QB” throughout his 12-year career in the NFL. Johnson has basically been a member of half of the teams in the NFL (14 teams), but despite that he did not earn his first game victory as a starting quarterback until his 11th season as a member of the Washington Redskins in 2018, and the last time he attempted a pass before that was in 2011. This is finally the perfect opportunity for Johnson to become a franchise’s starting quarterback for the first time in his career and show everybody that he’s not just a “journeyman QB”. Unfortunately, as Johnson just suffered a minor setback earlier this week and his status is uncertain for week one, as Sal Rico reported.

If Johnson is unable to start week one, his replacement would then be former Princeton QB Chad Kanoff. Kanoff, 25, demonstrated in college that he has plenty of arm talent and the necessary tools to work with. He was very accurate in his senior year at Princeton in 2017, he had a 73.2 completion & and he won 1st Team All-Ivy League after throwing 29 TD-9 INT. After going undrafted in 2018, Kanoff spent time with the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now receives such a nice opportunity to develop his skills and hopefully catch the eyes of some NFL scouts. Jalan McClendon, is the other QB on the roster, he played at Baylor and North Carolina State and is considered a dual-threat QB.

Running Backs: Elijah Hood, DuJuan Harris, Larry Rose, Martez Carter

The projected starting running back for the Wildcats is Elijah Hood. Hood is a former Oakland Raiders 2017 7th-round pick from University of North Carolina. Hood has been a part of three NFL teams, but has not received an NFL carry. His backup is former NFL RB DuJuan Harris. Harris is a smaller, change-of-pace type of back at 5’7”, you may remember him from his stint with the Packers in 2012-14 (especially fantasy football players). Harris, 31, is definitely the most experienced of the group. This is his first time playing professional football since 2017, so it will be intriguing to see if he possesses the same type of quickness he demonstrated when he was in the NFL. 

The other two running back on the depth chart were both undrafted in 2018, Larry Rose and Martez Carter. Larry Rose, the former New Mexico State back is somebody to definitely keep an eye on. He ran a 4.42 at his pro day, he rushed for 4,558 career rushing yards, averaging 5.9 yards a carry, for 37 rushing touchdowns. Martez Carter played collegiately at Grambling State, where he recorded 29 rushing touchdown in his final 3 seasons.

Wide Receivers: Tre McBride, Nelson Spruce, Adonis Jennings, Jordan Smallwood, Saeed Blacknall, Jalen Greene, Kermit Whitfield

The Wildcats traded their top receiver and 2nd-round pick Rashad Ross during training  camp to the DC Defenders, in exchange for another 2nd-round WR Tre McBride. McBride, a former 7th-round pick in 2015 has bounced around the league on five different teams. He definitely has the most experience amongst their receiver group. Another wide receiver who has bounced around on several NFL teams practice squads is Nelson Spruce. Spruce is an extremely reliable and productive slot receiver, who previously set or tied 43 school or conference records during his time at Colorado. Spruce signed with the Los Angeles Rams after going undrafted in 2016, but later was released the following year. Spruce, is one of the most talented slot receivers in the league and he could definitely end up being one of the league leaders in receptions. 

The rest of the Wildcats wide receivers have limited NFL experience, but they each offer potential and still have a lot of room to develop. Three receivers to keep an eye on: Saeed Blacknall, Adonis Jennings, and Jordan Smallwood. Saaed Blacknall is a very talented receiver from Penn State, who was surrounded by a ton of NFL offensive playmakers such as; Saquon Barkley, Da’Sean Hamilton, Mike Gesicki. Blacknall has a nice combination of size and speed. He ran a 4.37 at his pro day and spent time in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, watch out for him to be one of the sleeper receivers of the XFL. 

Former Temple WR Adonis Jennings and Oklahoma WR Jordan Smallwood are both listed as the week one starter, so expect him to get a ton of action immediately. Smallwood is extremely explosive; at his 2018 pro day he recorded a vertical jump of 39” and 10’10” broad jump. He barely saw any action in college, only catching 18 passes in his career, but similarly with Blacknall he was surrounded by a ton of skill players, such as Ravens Pro Bowl TE Mark Andrews, 2019 1st round pick WR Marquise “Hollywood Brown”, 2020 projected 1st round pick WR CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Renegades WR Jeff Badet, playing with 2018 1st overall pick QB Baker Mayfield. Rounding out their depth chart is former Florida State receiver Kermit Whitfield, and rookie Jalen Greene who spent time with the Los Angeles Rams last preseason.

Tight Ends:

The starting tight end for the Wildcats is 25 year old Brandon Barnes. Barnes is 6’5” and played collegiately at Alabama State and went undrafted in 2017. He spent some time the past three years on NFL practice squads and will look to prove he has the talent to play for an NFL team next season. De’Quan Hampton is a former wide receiver transitioning to tight end, he played collegiately at USC.

Offensive Line:

Starters: Storm Norton, Fred Lauina, Patrick Vahe, Nico Siragusa, Jaelin Robinson

Reserves: (Tackles): Tyler Roemer, Lene Maiava, (Guards: Kahlil McKenzie, Dwayne Wallace

The Wildcats have arguably one of the most talented offensive lines in the league. They have a ton of quality linemen that have either had NFL experience, or they are young and very talented but just need the consistent game reps to increase their development.

Their most notable linemen are Storm Norton, who was the first overall pick in the ‘Phase 2 Draft’ which was just offensive linemen and Nico Siragusa, a former 4th round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Former Oregon State guard Fred Lauina will start at left gaurd and former University of Texas interior linemen Patrick Vahe will start at center, his backup will be Kahlil McKenzie; the son of former NFL GM Reggie McKenzie. Former Temple University offensive tackle Jaelin Robinson will start at right tackle, he spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and he has nice tools to work with. The backup offensive tackle is Tyler Roemer, a promising young player from San Diego State, who spent time with the Oakland Raiders last preseason.

XFL Week 1 Power Rankings

XFL Power Rankings

Well, here it is. Week 1 of the inaugural XFL season is here. Starting on February 8, at Audi Field, the brand new league kicks off to a lot of anticipation and fanfare. Brand new players, brand new coaches, brand new teams, and brand new fans are ready to take off and experience an exciting time in American Professional Football! Let’s be honest, we haven’t seen a single snap from any of these teams, so we don’t really know what we are in for when it comes to any eight of these teams. So I’m going into these power rankings with as much knowledge about these teams as you. After week 1 is officially in the books, we will have a little better feel about where we are, but until then, let’s just have fun with these week 1 power rankings.

WEEK 1 POWER RANKINGS

(NON-CONTENDERS)

8. Seattle Dragons

Okay Seattle fans. Before you get your pitch forks and start yelling from the rooftops, let me just say this. I am totally ready to accept and admit the fact that I’m wrong about the Seattle Dragons. I hope I am. I like Jim Zorn as a coach. Brandon Silvers is a good quarterback. Kenneth Farrow is a good running back. They have some decent pieces. But quite honestly, there is just not enough for me at this time. I think Brandon Silvers will have some decent stats, but I believe that’s because they will be playing from behind… A LOT. Their receiving core leaves a lot to be desired with Kasen Williams and Austin Proehl. Evan Rodriguez, their starting TE, is decent, but their offense is going to struggle, and their defense is nothing to write home about. It doesn’t help that they play in the Western Conference, which I believe is the best conference, and they will have to deal with Dallas, Houston, and LA all season long. Look, it’s a new league, there are only eight teams, so somebody had to be no. eight, and I think the Seattle Dragons are that eighth team at this time.

7. St. Louis Battlehawks

Pro football is back in St. Louis baybay! I’m so excited to see that first home game in the Dome. The crowd will be electric. The stadium will be rocking. And the players will be motivated. Mainly because they are going to be playing a must win game in that 3rd week against the New York Guardians after going 0-2 against Dallas and Houston. Talk about a brutal start to the season. Well, I guess when there’s only eight teams, you kind of have no choice. But man, this St. Louis Battlehawks team is a team that I can honestly see in the Eastern Conference Championship, or I can see being right here, exactly where I have them, as the 7th best team in the league. Jordan Ta’amu is going to be fascinating to watch. Mainly because how good is he going to be? He has the athleticism, but I’m not quite sold on the rest of him yet. He did win the starting job, so there is that, but I think that was more due to the lack of depth in the St. Louis QB room. Now I do respect Christine Michael, and Matt Jones is no slouch, but I believe they will have to be relied on so much that the D-lines will hone in on them, forcing Ta’amu to beat them with his arm. Their defense is big. Big bodies, good size, strong, athletic. And I do think that their defense might actually be able to carry them to a few surprise wins. But all in all, I think they will go as far as Jordan Ta’amu takes them. Just like with Seattle, I am totally prepared to be proven wrong, and I hope that I am., because St. Louis deserves a good football team. But for right now, I have them as no. 7.

(DARK HORSES)

6. New York Guardians

This team. I can’t quite get my finger on them. Are they pretenders? Are they contenders? I guess time will tell. But for right now, I have them as a dark horse to win the East. Matt McGloin, we all know what he brings, but it’s the other pieces that intrigue me the most. First off, Mekale McKay. If you’re a fantasy player, snatch him up, because he is going to be raking in the numbers. Matt McGloin is going to find life a lot easier being able to pass to McKay, who can really do it all at receiver. Then you got Tim Cook, who will be looking out for him, especially on those after TD conversions. Strong back, who will keep the chains moving and especially at home in that cold weather. But let’s be real. What really makes New York dark horse contenders? The secondary. Jamar Summers, Wes Sutton, Demetrious Cox, and company are going to lead the league in takeaways, I’m calling it now. These guys are going to be a “no fly zone”, and if the offense can run out the clock and put points on the board, this is a scary team. It’s why the New York Guardians are my no. 6 team.

5. Tampa Bay Vipers

Out of all the teams on this list, this is the team that terrifies me the most. Look, whenever I play Dallas, or Houston, or DC, or LA, I know what I’m getting. I’m playing one of the XFL’s elite teams, so I’m going into that game expecting a hard fought match. But when I play the Tampa Bay Vipers, I may be getting a mediocre team, or I may be playing the favorite to win it all. I’m serious. This team scares me…A LOT. Marc Trestman is a winner. Just look at what he has done in the CFL. He brings a lot to this team, but that’s just the Head Coach. Nick Truesdell might be the best TE in the league. Quinton Flowers might be the most lethal weapon on any team this season. But where it becomes a question mark for me is the QB Aaron Murray. If he can be the precise passer that he is capable of being, there might be no stopping this team. He is talented, and he brings a lot to the table. But he is inconsistent. That’s where it’s troublesome for me. But here’s the thing. If they can just get into the Eastern Conference Championship, and Aaron Murray can be “good” Aaron Murray for 2 straight games, I would not be surprised in the slightest if they go on and win the XFL Championship. It’s disappointing that Antonio Callaway had an injury, because I might have them higher on this list. But look out for the Tampa Bay Vipers, because they might be your worst nightmare. I have them no. 5.

(CONTENDERS)

4. Los Angeles Wildcats

Now we get into who I believe are the real contenders for the XFL Championship this year. First, we start off with the Los Angeles Wildcats. I think a lot of people would start with starting QB Josh Johnson, but I want to start with who might be my favorite Head Coach of the entire league, Winston Moss. This guy brings the energy, and in my opinion, that fits this team perfectly. Coach Moss has a winning attitude, and he is all over the Xs and Os and player personnel. I think the LA Wildcats set a record with how many moves they made this off-season. Trade after trade after trade, and some left you scratching your head. Rashad Ross??? But man, Moss’s attitude makes you truly believe that they have got this exactly how they want it. Now, who knows, maybe after a couple of games, some of those trades are going to look foolish. But as of right now, they have made a believer out of me. There defense has size and agility. Norm Chow, their OC, is a proven commodity. Elijah Hood is nothing to sneeze at. But their fire power lies in two areas. The passing game and the line backing core. Will Smith, Shawn Oakman, Taiwan Jones, Tre Williams, the list goes on. These guys are massive, and they aren’t going to be pushed around. Good luck running on these guys. And of course, Josh Johnson. What more can I say? The most proven quarterback in the league, and the fact that he is going to be throwing to guys like Tre McBride and Nelson Spruce, good luck. The Wildcats are legit, and that is why they are my no. 4 team.

3. Houston Roughnecks

Do you like offense? Do you like big plays? Do you like scoring? If you answered yes to all of these questions, let me introduce you to the Houston Roughnecks. The team, who I believe, will be the highest scoring offense in the league. Be prepared to AT LEAST score 30 points in order to be competitive in a game with the Roughnecks. June Jones, master of the “Run and Shoot” offense has weapons galore at his disposal. Let’s start with their quarterback, PJ Walker. Walker can sling it west coast, he can sling it downfield, he can run all over the field, and even if the pocket collapses, he can extend plays like it’s nobody’s business. His accuracy can sometimes be a problem, but so far in Training Camp and in the Scrimmages, he has looked as precise as ever. That should scare people, because if he can protect the football, his playmakers will do the rest. Sammy Coates, Kahlil Lewis, Sam Mobley and company will be running all over the place, and it is going to be difficult to cover them. Coach Jones’ offense is hard to prepare for, because it is predicated on makeshift plays and routes. And if you think the receivers are all you have to worry about, think again. De’Angelo Henderson and Andre Williams will be coming out of the backfield to balance out this offense, but not just to run the ball, to run and catch as well. These guys are scary. SCARY! If you aren’t catching up quick, you might be down 3 TDs before you know it. But the defense is where I’m still not so sure. Now, what I am sure about, is they will be getting to the quarterback. I know that. Kony Ealy is the truth. He will lead the league in sacks this year, mark it down. Especially, since I think a lot of teams will be having to play from behind against Houston, he is just going to be able to pin his ears back and get after it. But I’m just not sure yet on the rest of the defense. Time will tell, because if they have a good defense, just cancel the season, the Houston Roughnecks are XFL Champions. But until I see that defense, I will have them at no. 3.

2. Dallas Renegades

Bob Stoops. Hal Mumme. The best coaching staff in the league in my opinion. Coaching goes a long way, and that is why I have the Dallas Renegades winning the West this season. It sucks, because as a Roughnecks fan, I hope, I pray that I’m proven wrong. But I gotta be unbiased on these Power Rankings, and they have the goods. Landry Jones is a accurate quarterback with a strong arm, and he’s a proven winner at the highest level. Put along with that Jazz Ferguson and Jeff Badet, and you have one of the league’s most potent passing games. But it ain’t just passing. Their running back core is solid. Cameron Artis-Payne is the real deal, and every Cowboys fan remembers Lance Dunbar, he is legit. Dunbar can also be lethal in the passing game, which just gives Landry Jones another weapon to use. But what separates them from the Roughnecks for me right now, is I have a little more faith in their defense. So much so, I think they might be the most balanced team in the league. They don’t have names that are going to pop out at you, but they are solid and sound football players who will make the plays that are needed to be made in that moment. The moment isn’t too big for this team. That’s what Bob Stoops and Landry Jones brings to you. You will be seeing them in the XFL Championship later this spring. But against who?…

1. DC Defenders

Now we get to my favorite to not only win the East, but win the whole thing. The DC Defenders. Cardale Jones! Cardale Jones! A lot of people’s pick to win MVP this season. And rightfully so. He’s got a CANNON! He’s got the size to bulldoze you over. And he’s got the athleticism to extend plays. But if you think that’s it, think again. He’s got freakin’ Rashad Ross! Rashad Ross! LA gifted Cardale Jones and Pep Hamilton Rashad Ross! Why!? Who knows? Eli Rogers! Simmie Cobbs! I was talking about the Roughnecks scoring. Holy cow! How do you stop this offense!? And it doesn’t stop there. They might have the best running back group in the entire league. Jhurell Pressley, Donnel Pumphrey, Khalid Abdullah, are you kidding me? Now, just like with Houston, their defense does worry me a little bit. But that’s how much I trust Head Coach Pep Hamilton. I know he is going to make the proper adjustments necessary to win football games. He has proven time and time again, that he can succeed at a high level, and I think this time is no different. My pick to win the XFL Championship this season, my no. 1 team, the DC Defenders. Audi Field is going to be buzzing come late April.

PJ Walker OFFICIALLY named the starting QB for the Houston Roughnecks

Houston Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker (11) takes a snap during XFL Minicamp.
Houston Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker (11) takes a snap during XFL Minicamp. (Source: XFL.com)

As XFL Insider Rachael Van Oranje and I reported last week, PJ (Phillip) Walker, out of Temple, is going to be your week 1 starter for the Houston Roughnecks. As I stated in that earlier article from last week, this does not come as a surprise. PJ Walker and Connor Cook share similar arm strength, and while Cook’s accuracy may be a little better, it was Walker’s not only athleticism, but his willingness to run that got him the starting job in Houston.

Now, how do I feel about this fit? To be honest… I’m elated! Thank you June Jones for making this decision. Look, Connor Cook is a very accurate quarterback, and fully capable of leading an offense to great success. But, I got to be real with you. He would have been the more “boring” option out of the two. Now look, if PJ stinks it up, which I don’t expect him to, but if that were to happen, I feel very confident in Connor Cook leading this team. But man, I’m excited! PJ Walker is such a fun player to watch. He can sling it downfield, he can create plays with his legs, and he is not afraid to take chances. Now, that last part can sometimes be to his detriment, but he succeeds more often than he fails, and I am willing to live with that.

During his time at Temple, he broke multiple school records, including TD passes (74), passing yards (10,668), passing completions (830), total TDs (83), and total yards (11,478), under Matt Rhule, who is currently the Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers. He also lead them to their first conference title in 49 years, and their first ever back to back bowl appearances in school history. He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, and while it didn’t work out, his talent is still a hidden gem in my opinion.

Now Walker does have his detractors, and many among the XFL community believed that Connor Cook was going to be named the starter. But I am a believer in PJ Walker, and I think he has the potential to not only be the best quarterback in the league, but perhaps be the league MVP. Yes, I’m all in on PJ Walker. Sammy Coates, Jalen Saunders, D’Angelo Henderson, Andre Williams, ect., you add PJ Walker to that, along with June Jones “Run and Shoot” offense, and good luck stopping the Roughnecks potent offense this season. The Houston Roughnecks are LEGIT contenders this year, and don’t be surprised if they are playing in the inaugural XFL Championship.

P.S. Yes, I know, the LA Xtreme won the 2001 Championship.

XFL Wildcats QB Josh Johnson status “UNCERTAIN” for Week 1

Los Angeles Wildcats starting quarterback Josh Johnson is reportedly battling an injury according to Ryan Dyrud of LAFB Network. His availability for this weekend’s game against the Houston ROughnecks is said to be a “game time” decision, but as of this moment it is uncertain if he is leaning one way or another.

If Johnson is unable to go, Coach Winston Moss will have a decision to make as to who will get the start for their Week 1 opener. It would either have to be Chad Kanoff or Jalan McClendon. Either one would be a significant downgrade, from who many think can be a top 3 quarterback in the league in Josh Johnson. Luckily, for the Wildcats, if he is a “game time” decision for Week 1, he will most certainly be back for Week 2 and onward. But that also depends on what exactly the injury is, which is still unknown at this time.

But unfortunately, this is really going to highlight the trade that LA made with New York, when they traded former Tier 1 allocated quarterback Luis Perez for quarterback Chad Kanoff, in a surprise move that no one saw coming. When Josh Johnson signed with the LA Wildcats, many expected him to be announced the starter, but many also thought that Luis Perez would learn from under Johnson and eventually take that starting spot, if not this season, then perhaps next year or in a couple of years. But Coach Moss decided to trade away Perez for Kanoff, and perhaps that trade may now come back to haunt them.

For all we know, this may be nothing come Saturday evening if Josh Johnson is able to go, but we shall see as the Wildcats are going to have to keep up with a high powered Houston offense that isn’t going to let up.

We will keep you posted as we get more information on this situation.

Draft Kings Launches XFL DFS Contests

The XFL 2020 regular season kicks off next Saturday, February 8th and DraftKings has officially launched daily fantasy contests for the XFL. Football fans who reside in states that have legalized daily fantasy sports gambling, now are able to compete against one another and draft XFL lineups.

This partnership between the XFL and DraftKings is a great way to increase fan engagement. DraftKings provides fans with an interactive experience of getting to know the players in the league, allowing them to ultimately become more involved and interested in the league. With the popularity of DFS rapidly increasing, this serves as a great opportunity for the XFL to attract DFS fans of the NFL, filling a void after the conclusion of the Super Bowl.

For each lineup you draft a “classic scoring” roster format of: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 2 FLEX, 1 DST. (Tight ends are listed as wide receivers).

Here’s a look at DraftKings top salaries for each position.

Top QB Salaries:

  • Josh Johnson: $10,700
  • Cardale Jones: $10,200
  • Matt McGloin: $9,700
  • Connor Cook: $9,400
  • Landry Jones: $9,200
  • Aaron Murray: $9,000
  • Jordan Ta’amu: $8,700
  • Phillip Nelson: $8,300
  • Brandon Silvers: $8,000
  • Phillip Walker: $7,800

Top RB Salaries:

  • Christine Michael: $8,400
  • Jhurell Pressley: $7,900
  • Elijah Hood: $7,500
  • Kenneth Farrow: $7,200
  • Cameron Artis-Payne: $6,800
  • De’Veon Smith: $6,300
  • Tim Cook: $6,100
  • Nick Holley: $5,800
  • Donell Pumphrey: $5,100
  • Matt Jones: $4,800
  • De’Angelo Henderson: $4,500
  • Lance Dunbar: $4,400

Top WR Salaries:

  • Rashad Ross: $10,400
  • Mekale McKay: $9,900
  • Sammie Coates: $9,300
  • Eli Rogers: $9,100
  • Jeff Badet: $8,800
  • Nelson Spruce: $8,500
  • Keenan Reynolds: $8,100
  • Kasen Williams: $7,700
  • Seantavius Jones: $7,400
  • Nick Truesdell: $6,900
  • Keith Mumphery: $6,600
  • Brandon Barnes: $6,400
  • De’Mornay Pierson-El: $6,200
  • Saeed Blacknall: $5,900
  • Austin Proehl: $5,700
  • Tre McBride: $5,500

Top DST Salaries:

  • Dallas Renegades: $4,700
  • D.C. Defenders; $4,200
  • NY Guardians: $3,900
  • Tampa Bay Vipers: $3,700
  • LA Wildcats: $3,500
  • Houston Roughnecks: $3,200
  • St. Louis BattleHawks: $3,100
  • Seattle Dragons: $3,000

PJ Walker “EXPECTED” to be the Man in Houston

There is no official word yet, but XFL ESPN Insider Rachael Van Oranje is reporting, “A source tells me that PJ Walker is currently the starting Quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks… but that “Connor Cook is right there.” No official word yet, however.”

Well, it certainly is starting to feel like June Jones has his guy. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. PJ Walker was the assigned Tier 1 Quarterback to Houston, and from what I have heard, unless Connor Cook far exceeded him during practices and training camp, Walker was always going to be the guy. In my opinion, what really set Walker apart from Cook was his mobility and willingness to run. Don’t get me wrong, PJ can sling it with the best of them, but in a brand new league, with guys that have never played together before, the Offensive Line is going to be a question mark. Because of this, I believe that Coach Jones wants to go with Walker, because he has a better chance at extending plays, especially if he is chased outside of the pocket.

Now, is this the right decision? Well, from a talent standpoint, both Walker and Cook have the capability of captaining this offense to a lot of points on the field. But I do believe that going with PJ Walker is the right decision, because I feel he gives you more of a dynamic from the quarterback position than Cook would. My only concern, is sometimes Walker can be a little careless with the football. His best year at Temple, where he finished with 3295 yards and 22 touchdowns, he also threw 13 interceptions. He finished with a 140.1 rating that year, which is excellent, but those 13 interceptions do stick out.

However, I still believe that PJ Walker can be a dynamic playmaker from the QB spot, especially in this offense, with these weapons. And if he can limit the turnovers, the sky is the limit for what should be one of the top 3, at least, offenses in the XFL.