The weirdness of the XFL season continues! There were the usual reliable performances from PJ Walker, De’Veon Smith, and even Cam Phillips bounced back. While there were the usual reliability plays, there were some new kids who burst onto the scene. Saeed Blacknall flashed Phillips-esque deep-threat potential and Jhurrell Pressley reasserted himself as the lead back in DC and climbed back up the XFL rankings.
The biggest development for this week’s XFL rankings has to be the emergence of some depth at quarterback. Heading into Week 6 there are some more breakout candidates, but also some injuries to monitor as well.
PJ Walker remains as QB1 for another week, but this week instead of Jordan Ta’amu being the biggest threat to unseat him it is Josh Johnson. Los Angeles threw the ball 62% of the time last weekend en route to a 41 point explosion for their offense and a 32 point fantasy-week for Johnson. Time and time again Johnson looked deep to Tre McBride and Saeed Blacknall and both delivered big plays. There were also times when 33-year-old Johnson looked like his explosive young self, taking off for solid gains on the ground when the aerial route was shut down. If Johnson continues his ascent to the top of the XFL quarterback pyramid, turn to him as a top-tier option each week.
Luis Perez looked competent enough for a second-consecutive week and slides into the QB4 slot against a softer Houston pass defense… The DC Defenders have us all confused with the emerging quarterback-controversy between Cardale Jones and Tyree Jackson. Neither has looked spectacular the last few games, but Tyree appears to offer some upside with his running game. Neither is a reliable option you should be excited about this week… BJ Daniels should be in for a bounce-back week against a Wildcat’s defense that has been allowing points and yardage by the bunch.
It looks like De’Veon Smith will own an even larger share of the Tampa Bay Viper’s running back workload this weekend. Jacques Patrick left their Week 5 game with a back injury and has not practiced yet this week. Moving into Week 6, it looks like Smith will own the backfield for the #1 offense in terms of yardage. Although Tarean Folston has been re-activated and may steal a few carries, it is unlikely that the coaching staff will trust him more than Smith. Look for Smith to be the RB01 this week.
Matt Jones, of St. Louis, finds himself on the injury report again this week, but he has been there each week so keep him in as an RB1 this week… The LA running back situation continues to be confusing and ineffective. Although Martez Carter has had spurts of efficiency, no back has established themselves for the Wildcat, but Carter should be at least an RB2… Darius Victor has been a punishing runner for the Guardians and figures to be at least an RB2 again this week.
The Los Angeles Wildcat receiving corps appears to be emerging as a contender to Tampa’s throne of “Most Consistent.” With Tre McBride having another big week and big-play machine Saeed Blacknall announcing his presence with authority LA looks potent. Do not forget about Nelson Spruce either. Spruce is still WR07 on the season despite missing the last two weeks with an injury. When he returns look for him and McBride to dominate the passing attack as WR1 plays. Blacknall will keep his deep threat role though and should maintain Flex status for the rest of the season.
Although De’Mornay Pierson-El had a down week, look for him to rebound in the XFL rankings as St. Louis will be challenged to put up points this week against Houston. Pierson-El and L’Damian Washington are both in the top 10 for wide receiver plays this week… You cannot trust your DC Defender receivers for the time being. Until either Cardale or Tyree shows the ability to make plays through the air, fade Eli Rogers, Rashad Ross, and DeAndre Thompkins to Flex plays. They might peak as a WR2, but they simply do not have a floor until that offense fixes its protection issues.
The biggest news in tight end land this week is Brandon Barnes landing on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Barnes had been a reliable tight end option for LA and fantasy players. De’Quan Hampton may be poised to step in and almost seamlessly take over for Barnes in a pass-happy Wildcat’s offense. Turn to him as a top-tier tight end this week… Nick Truesdell did not wow in his return, but look for him to bounce back as St. Louis will have to key in on the receivers this week. Leaving Truesdell free to roam the middle of the field and push to be TE02 in the XFL rankings behind Parham.