We’re down to the last two weeks of the regular season, and there are plenty of postseason-relevant matchups during the coming weekend that should net some strong individual performances.
As customary, we’ll try to hone in on what could be considered some of the tougher Start/Sit decisions for the coming slate, although with the XFL’s abbreviated player pool, we’ll inevitably focus on what might be considered an obvious play from time to time, particularly at quarterback.
Ahead of what should be an exciting four games, here are XFL News Hub’s Start/Sit recommendations for your Week 9 season-long fantasy contests!
Luis Perez, ARL at DC
Perez was adequate but not spectacular against the Guardians in his Week 8 Renegades debut, throwing for 190 yards in his first opportunity to acclimate to the team’s pass catchers. Perez was hamstrung by not having the talented Victor Bolden at his disposal, with the spring league vet sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Bolden could be back this week, and Perez should certainly be even more comfortable in the offense after another week of practice. The game is a must-win affair for the Renegades, and despite the Defenders’ well-earned reputation as an aggressive defense, they continue to allow the most passing yards per game (254.9).
Jordan Ta’amu, DC vs. ARL
This is admittedly one of those rather obvious calls, but it’s worth laying out the basic case for Ta’amu anyhow since the matchup isn’t exactly appealing on paper. However, after largely playing a game manager role for much of the first five weeks of the season, Ta’amu has turned it on as a passer in a significant way regardless of opponent.
The versatile signal-caller has a 9:0 TD:INT alongside 777 passing yards and 31 rush yards in the last three contests. Ta’amu has developed excellent chemistry with his two explosive top receivers along the way, Lucky Jackson and Chris Blair. Even with the Renegades surrendering just 190.5 passing yards per game, Ta’amu is a must-Start this week.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ben DiNucci, SEA at STL
Quentin Dormady, ORL at SAN
It’s hard to believe the pendulum is swinging this drastically on Dormady, but the Guardians signal-caller has earned the downgrade for a couple reasons. Just a game removed from a six-touchdown performance in the Week 7 upset of the Defenders, Dormady fumbled thrice in the narrow Week 8 loss to the Renegades and is now in danger of being benched or at least splitting time with Quinton Flowers. Considering this is also a road matchup against a Brahmas team surrendering the second-fewest passing yards per contest (182.8) and that’s already collected 20 sacks and seven interceptions, Dormady’s outlook isn’t especially bright.
Jacques Patrick, SAN vs. ORL
The Brahmas passing game is nothing to write home about, but Patrick has proven capable of carrying a lot of offensive responsibility on his shoulders. The FSU product demonstrated that in Week 8, rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and adding four receptions for 38 yards in a narrow loss to the Roughnecks.
Patrick has at least four receptions in three of the past four games, and in addition to his season-best rushing yardage in Week 8, he also posted a 15-82 line in Week 6 against the Renegades. With a voluminous lead-back role firmly in hand and the Guardians surrendering the third-most rushing yards per contest (99.1), Patrick is an excellent starting option and at his most valuable in full PPR formats.
Max Borghi, HOU vs. VGS
Borghi was a clear-cut Start option over the first three games of the season, but a couple of subsequent sub-15-yard rushing performances since that point have made a bit more of a wild card. Nevertheless, Borghi continues to have a steady role that also includes passing game work and now draws a favorable Week 9 matchup in a key game for Houston.
The Vipers have been vulnerable through both the ground and air, giving up the second-most rushing yards (117.0) and passing yards (220.1) per game. Borghi just recorded a 3-49 line through the air in Week 8 and has been a constant red-zone presence, leading to five rushing TDs overall.
ALSO CONSIDER: Phillip Lindsay, SEA at STL
Dejoun Lee, HOU vs. VGS
Speaking of the Roughnecks’ ground attack, there isn’t much room for anyone but Borghi to truly thrive, and Brycen Alleyne has seemingly usurped Lee as the No. 2 back. The speedy Lee still has a steady role on kickoff returns, but he has just six touches from scrimmage in the last four games and is therefore a clear Sit candidate at the moment.
Hakeem Butler, STL vs. SEA
Butler has been a bit more muted on the reception/receiving yardage front in the last three games, generating a 12-99 line in that span. However, he’s also crossed the goal line on two occasions in the sample and has at least five targets in seven consecutive contests.
The Sea Dragons-Battlehawks clash is essentially like an early playoff game in terms of the stakes involved, and Seattle’s defense showed some vulnerability in Week 8 against the Defenders. Ta’amu threw for four touchdown passes as noted earlier, and Butler should be heavily involved in this critical game, even if A.J. McCarron (shoulder) sits out another week.
Fred Brown, SAN vs. ORL
Brown’s position mate Landen Akers (listed below) is also an appealing Start candidate, but the speedier Brown deserves mention given his upside and the matchup. The Mississippi State product has multiple receptions in five straight games and has logged at least six targets in four of those contests.
The Guardians are one of the XFL’s most vulnerable pass defenses, especially to speed receivers. Orlando is yielding 214.9 passing yards per contest – the league’s third-highest figure – and are tied with the Sea Dragons for fewest interceptions with three. Even with Jack Coan’s overall struggles under center, Brown could still deliver nicely for fantasy managers with a couple of big plays if he continues to see the same degree of opportunity.
ALSO CONSIDER: Juwan Green, SEA at STL; Landen Akers, SAN vs. ORL
Josh Hammond, DC vs. ARL
Hammond’s position mates Lucky Jackson and Chris Blair aren’t even mentioned as Start recommendations this week because they are such clear-cut calls, a testament to how the two have largely seized control of the Defenders’ air attack.
That’s largely left Hammond, who was once running as a de facto No. 2 wideout, largely out in the cold in terms of downfield opportunities. The Florida product has a 6-42 tally on 10 targets over the last two games, and given the Renegades do present a tough defensive challenge overall, he’s likely best left on the bench this week.
Sal Cannella, ARL at DC
Cannella isn’t as obvious a call this week for fantasy managers thanks to his extremely rare blanking against the Guardians in Week 8. The talented Auburn alum mysteriously failed to log a target for the first time all season in his first game with Luis Perez under center.
However, that shouldn’t deter fantasy managers from rolling with Cannella, as he still profiles as one of the steadiest options at what has been extremely tricky position fantasy-wise. Additionally, Arlington is likely to prioritize getting Cannella involved early and often after last week, and the Defenders, as detailed in Perez’s entry, are vulnerable in the back end of their defense.
Garrett Owens, HOU vs. VGS
Owens continues to mostly be missing in action in A.J. Smith’s air attack, and despite reacquiring active status in Week 8 after three straight healthy scratches, the Duquesne alum still went without a target. He has one touch all season – a rush attempt – making him a complete fantasy non-factor.
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