Naysayers depart! After looking like we had four solid teams and four piles of hot garbage, the XFL has rebounded after Week 4. There were surprises galore such as the Tampa Bay Vipers taking down the once-mighty DC Defenders. As we head into Week 5, many players we thought were unassailable fantasy juggernauts *cough* Cam Phillips *cough* proved to be mortal after all. It may be a new week, but it is still PJ Walker sitting atop the fantasy rankings this week.
This doesn’t mean that it is all the same though. We have several risers, Tre McBride and Dan Williams look poised to make a run at Camp Phillips as the WR1 on the season. As always, pay attention to social media and the XFL Injury Reports as they come out for the most up-to-date information.
Week 5 Fantasy Rankings
PJ Walker has been dominant this season, but Jordan Ta’amu is starting to make a claim to the title of “Best Young XFL QB.” Ta’amu is making the most of Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long’s balanced offense. St. Louis continually puts their young quarterback in positions to excel with his arm and his legs. In addition, St. Louis may have the second most potent rushing offense which leaves Ta’amu and his bevy of receivers plenty of room to work. Heading into a Week 5 matchup against a reeling DC Defenders defense, look for Ta’amu to make a case to be the QB1 this week.
Injuries and quarterback controversies continue to dominate the headlines for Dallas, Seattle, and New York. In Dallas, the mobile Phillip Nelson comes in for an injured Landry Jones again. While Nelson struggled to generate much offense in Week 1 when he started for Jones, he provides a small upside with his mobility, but still, fade your Renegades stock this week… Meanwhile, in Seattle, BJ Daniels looked far more productive than Brandon Silvers in Week 4, but Coach Jim Zorn has not named a starter yet, hurting fantasy value for both. Daniels has the higher upside thanks to his explosive athleticism, but Zorn may not unleash him this week… Lastly, the Guardians have a brewing quarterback controversy with Matt McGloin and Luis Perez this week. Both players took first-team reps early in the week at practice. Perez falls higher in the fantasy rankings, but Coach Gilbride might go with McGloin’s “pedigree” moving forward.
Keith Ford looks like a back primed for a breakout as we head into the second half of the XFL season. Although he has only touched the ball eight times through the first four weeks, he has two touchdowns and is averaging nearly 7.0 yards per touch. Pairing his physical style of running with Matt Jones may be a boon for the BattleHawks offense. Considering the soft matchup against the Defenders this week, look for Ford to have a breakout and be a strong Flex play this week.
Most XFL teams seem to be firmly committed to their backfield duos with a few exceptions. In Los Angeles, it is difficult to tell what combination of Elijah Hood, DaJuan Harris, Larry Rose, and Martez Carter will be used in a given week. No Wildcats back has truly set themselves up as an RB1, but Carter may be the most explosive and physical runner with RB1 potential… The DC Defenders appear to be done with the Jhurrell Pressley era already. Donnell Pumphrey has definitely taken over the lead-back role, but it remains to be seen whether Nick Brosette or Khalid Abdullah will take the backup role. Brosette got good run in Week 4 but was thoroughly ineffective. Abdullah has looked like the better option and has more upside for this week’s fantasy rankings.
The biggest question this week is what will the Houston Roughnecks passing offense look like this week with both Khalil Lewis and Sammie Coates showing up on the injury report as DNPs Wednesday at practice. Lewis leads Houston in targets and Coates is fourth, their absence from this weekend’s game would leave Ryheem Malone, Sam Mobley and Blake Jackson vying for their routes. Cam Phillips may see an uptick in targets, but defenses will be able to roll coverages towards him and Nick Holley with Coates and Lewis out. It will be a roll of the dice with which of those three you should start so plan accordingly as a touchdown-dependent Flex play.
Tre McBride is picking up where Nelson Spruce left off and going beyond Spruce’s production with Josh Johnson back. If McBride continues on his blistering pace, he may surpass Cam Phillips as WR1 by the end of the season… Tampa has three reliable, high-volume, receivers in Tolliver, Horn and Dan Williams.
— Tampa Bay Vipers (@XFLVipers) March 4, 2020
All three are startable each week and have low-end WR1 potential with a WR2 floor… Start making contingency plans for your DC receivers if the Cardale Jones free-fall continues. Rashad Ross, DeAndre Thompkins, and Eli Rogers have had anemic output for the last two weeks. Fade them to WR2/Flex range in fantasy rankings.
*Insert generic praise of Donald Parham and his status as the second-most targeted player and second-highest yardage-gainer in the entire XFL*
Okay, now that we got that out of the way. Nick Truesdell is back. Look for him to slide back in and try to develop a rapport with Taylor Cornelius… Brandon Barnes is comfortably holding onto his role as the #4 target for the Wildcats and remains a safe start… Jake Powell, Khari Lee, DeAndre Goolsby, and Marcus Lucas are the only other tight ends who have scored at least 15 points on the season. Plan accordingly at tight end as they are an endangered species in fantasy rankings.