Well, for the second year in a row, we were robbed of spring football before the season had actually finished. Mourn not though! The XFL will rise again and come back in 2021. There were some high points, some low points, and some head-scratching moments, but Year One of the XFL was entertaining as hell and proved that the XFL should be a player in the years to come. We here at SGP are pleased to bring you the 2020 XFL Awards: First Annual He Hate Mes. Of course, named after former running back Rod Smart, who put He Hate Me on the back of his jersey as a member of the Las Vegas Outlaws in the XFL’s first iteration in 2001.
As we wrap up the XFL regular season, keeping fingers crossed that we get some sort of playoffs/championship game in a few weeks, let’s look back on some of those players who are deserving of our applause and accolades. Without further adieu, it’s The Hateys!
Most Valuable PJ: PJ Walker
We cannot even pretend anyone else is in the competition. This was PJ Walker’s award from Week One where he burst onto the scene with a four-touchdown performance. From there, it was all gas and no brakes for the former Temple quarterback. Walker finished the year completing 64.3% of his passes for 1338 yards and 15 touchdowns and led all XFL players in fantasy scoring as well.
Hopefully, all XFL fans enjoyed watching Walker, because he will most likely find his way onto a Carolina Panthers’… I mean NFL roster. Really, Walker should win most of the XFL Awards, but we have to share the love a little.
Big Name Star Who Killed your Fantasy Team: Sammie Coates
— Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) February 8, 2020
Terrance Williams comes to mind for anyone who drafted him before final roster cutdowns, but I feel like in order to qualify for a He Hate Me you have to have played an XFL snap. Under that criteria, the Houston Roughnecks continue their early dominance as receiver Sammie Coates takes the Hatey here.
Coates was a disappointment from Week One onward. He only caught six passes all season despite being targeted 19 times. He definitely decimated many lineups and fantasy rosters. I took the “L” there as I had Coates highly ranked in the preseason. My apologies if y’all listened to me on that one as this is the only XFL Award Coates won this year.
Undrafted Guy who Saved your Fantasy Team: Dan Williams
Dan Williams turns a simple bubble screen into a touchdown thanks to some fancy footwork and a missed tackle. @XFLVipers cut the lead to 2 after a failed 2 point attempt. #FangGang #XFL #TFLHIGHLIGHTS pic.twitter.com/Gm411WUZSn
— The Football Tribune (@TribuneGridIron) February 22, 2020
Considering that any XFL Fantasy Draft was somewhat of a crap-shoot, this award has a great many candidates. Sure, you can tell me no one in your league drafted Donald Parham, that you scooped up De’Veon Smith off waivers, or that L’Damian Washington came out of nowhere. All those guys were talked about by several folks in the preseason and should have been drafted.
Dan Williams of the Tampa Bay Vipers was barely drafted but ended up being a fantasy star. Williams hauled in 23 passes for 338 yards over the course of the season. Many thought that the Tampa offense run by Aaron Murray would struggle and they were right. However, Taylor “Corndog” Cornelius was also the spark that catapulted the Vipers offense into relevance. The Jackson State product may have earned himself some NFL buzz by making big plays despite limited quarterback play at times.
Spurrier Coach of the Year: June Jones
This was a two-horse race from the get-go. Jonathan Hayes ran a surprisingly strong campaign in turning the BattleHawks into a dangerous ball-control team, but June Jones and the Roughnecks are running away with the inaugural Hateys. Jones and the Roughnecks put up an XFL best 31.6 points per game, averaged 343.4 yards per game, and were clearly the best XFL team at 5-0.
Throughout the whole season, Jones coached up the Roughnecks offense and revealed PJ Walker to be an NFL caliber player. Cam Phillips had a renaissance after languishing with the Bills during the preseason and Nick Holley was everyone’s favorite scrappy underdog story. The XFL and XFL Awards in 2020 were Jones and the Roughnecks world, we were all just living in it.
Running Back who will steal you an NFL Fantasy Matchup in Week 13: Darius Victor
It is highly unlikely that any XFL running backs will end up as the lead back in the NFL in 2020. However, a few of these XFL stars should find their way onto NFL rosters this summer and with injuries may see a start later in the NFL season. Jacques Patrick finished third in the XFL in yardage, but Darius Victor is the dynamic never-say-die runner that NFL coaches love to turn to late in the season. Victor only carried the ball 55 times but was not the trusted back in New York until about Week 3.
Victor is a shorter back but runs violently and physically. If you watched any Guardian’s games, some of the most entertaining moments were watching the former Towson product bury defenders. He averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry and demonstrated ability as a receiver too. Someone should buy on the Victor hype and give him a chance to run the ball on an NFL field.
XFL 2021 Most Dominant Player: Colby Pearson
Former BYU WR @colbyp04 (Colby Pearson) already making DB’s look silly in the XFL.
IMO one of the more underrated BYU WR’s in the our modern era. Much better athleticism than critics have him credit for. pic.twitter.com/s3xU81KjN3
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) February 10, 2020
There are many players who are deserving of this Hatey, Kahlil Lewis was second on Houston in targets, Matt Jones looked like a renaissance man, and BJ Daniels showed flashes of brilliance in limited action in Seattle. Looking ahead to 2021, one can only hope the Guardians make some offensive changes and Colby Pearson will be the beneficiary of that change.
Pearson increased his targets and catches as the season went on and developed a rapport with Luis Perez. While quarterback changes are likely in New York, Pearson flashed brilliance and should continue to grow as a dynamic playmaker. Looking ahead to 2021, Pearson should grow his 24% target share on the season and keep being efficient with those looks.