1. QB Brandon Silvers, Roughnecks (last week: #2)
Last week: 24-30, 239 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Season stats: 88-135, 65.2%, 962 yards, 10 TD, 3 INT
Silvers had an efficient day carving up Orlando’s overmatched defense, completing 80% of his passes in one of the best single-game QB performances of the XFL season so far. He currently leads the league in touchdown passes and is appearing more and more comfortable in coordinator AJ Smith’s offense. He’s come a long way from the quarterback who, under Jim Zorn in Seattle in 2020, was losing his grip on the starting job in favor of BJ Daniels at the time the league shut down. The one place Silvers falls behind his contemporaries on this list is that he simply doesn’t use his legs as an offensive weapon, though it’s also not a necessity for this offense to hum.
2. QB Ben DiNucci, Sea Dragons (last week: #1)
Last week: 28-41, 264 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Season stats: 111-161, 68.9%, 1,119 yards, 8 TD, 4 INT; 19 rushes, 75 yards, 3.9 avg.
Against a better offense, DiNucci’s brain fart as Seattle was trying to run out the clock, throwing an interception right to Brahmas CB Luq Barcoo, would’ve cost the Sea Dragons. As it stands, they survived to sit at 2-2 near the halfway mark of the season. DiNucci and the rest of the team will have to do better than the 15 points they hung on San Antonio this Thursday night as they face the league’s hottest team, and one of its best defenses, in the Houston Roughnecks. It’ll also be a showdown between the top two league MVP candidates through the first four weeks.
3. QB AJ McCarron, Battlehawks (last week: #3)
Last week: 20-27, 214 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Season stats: 86-131, 65.6%, 850 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT; 13 rushes, 55 yards, 4.2 avg., 1 TD
There’s a clear separation now between the top three quarterbacks and the league, and everyone else. McCarron is right there with Silvers and DiNucci, but the offense he operates in doesn’t require him to be the centerpiece to the extent the others do. Having the home St. Louis crowd behind McCarron and his offensive mates likely didn’t hurt their output last weekend against Arlington. In week five, the Battlehawks will try to avenge their week three loss to the undefeated DC Defenders, this time at the Dome.
4. WR Jahcour Pearson, Sea Dragons (last week: #5)
Last week: 8 receptions, 76 yards, 9.5 avg., 18 long
Season stats: 31 receptions, 348 yards, 11.2 avg., 54 long, 1 TD
Given his size deficiencies and lack of NFL pedigree, there’s almost an expectation that Pearson will run into a wall at some point and his stats will begin to fall off a cliff as defenses adjust and have more thorough scouting reports on opponents. That hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not sure it will. Against a San Antonio team hellbent on taking Josh Gordon away, Pearson tallied eight receptions on nine targets (both leading the team) for 76 yards. Pearson’s 40 targets on the season is 10 more than the next-highest player. If he wants to get serious about being an MVP candidate, though, he needs to find the end zone a little more often.
5. LB Trent Harris, Roughnecks (last week: unranked)
Last week: 4 tackles, 2 solo, 2 assist, 1.5 sacks, 2.0 tackles for loss
Season stats: 15 tackles, 10 solo, 5 assist, 6.0 sacks, 8.0 tackles for loss
This isn’t Harris’s first appearance on the MVP big board, but he storms back into the conversation with another strong outing against Orlando. Harris is the league leader in sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage for Wade Phillips’s formidable defense. However, 5.5 of those sacks and 6.0 of those tackles for loss have come in the two games against the Guardians. He’ll have to do more than feast on the bottom-dwellers of the league and be more consistent in other games to warrant a higher ranking on this list.
CB Michael Joseph (#4)