The XFL did not disappoint with a thrilling Week 1 that offered us a bit more insight into expected roles and offensive approaches for players and teams. Taking lessons learned from the first slate of games, XFL News Hub has Start/Sit recommendations for your Week 2 season-long fantasy contests!
A.J. McCarron, STL at SEA
It seems like the switch flipped for McCarron and his Battlehawks offensive teammates late in Week 1, and we’re banking on him carrying over the momentum on the short week.
The more a veteran who’s actually had some success in the NFL like McCarron plays at the spring-league level, the better he’s bound to get. If he has some talented pass catchers on the roster – which McCarron does in the form of Marcell Ateman, Hakeem Butler and Austin Proehl, among others – then that naturally only accelerates the curve.
Additionally, McCarron’s Week 2 matchup against a Sea Dragons team that will likely keep its foot on the gas offensively only increases the chances he could be in for a busy and productive week.
Jack Coan, SAN at ORL
Coan somewhat fell in the category of overlooked coming into the season, only getting a brief NFL shot as an undrafted free agent last summer with the Colts despite putting together 23-7 career record and 48:15 TD:INT over 35 games at Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Coan looked solid against what seems to be a tough Battlehawks defense in Week 1, completing 25 of 36 passes for 207 yards with a TD and interception.
The rookie has plenty of appealing targets that include Jalen Tolliver, Fred Brown and pass-catching backs Kalen Ballage and Jacques Patrick, and he’ll face a vulnerable Guardians team in Week 2 that had trouble slowing down the Roughnecks’ Brandon Silvers in the opener.
Paxton Lynch, ORL vs. SAN
What will happen throughout the course of the Guardians’ Week 2 game at quarterback is anyone’s guess. Lynch didn’t produce awful numbers through three quarters in the opener against the Roughnecks but still got benched, and backup Quinten Dormady threw a pair of picks in his own right. Head coach Terrell Buckley previously said he planned to give No. 3 QB Deondre Francois some time in Week 2 as well, making Lynch too risky to have in your lineup.
Max Borghi, HOU vs. ARL
The Roughnecks are likely to trend pass-heavy most weeks, but that doesn’t mean Borghi will be left out in the cold fantasy-wise.
The Washington State product is a dangerous dual threat out of the backfield and wasted no time displaying that in the season-opening win over the Guardians. Borghi finished with eight carries and four receptions, leading to 74 total yards.
The Renegades were solid overall against an experienced Vipers offense in Week 1, but Borghi and the layout of Houston’s aggressive offense as a whole should both present a unique challenge that allows the versatile back to thrive.
Kalen Ballage, SAN at ORL
Ballage was highlighted in the Week 1 version of this column and then went out and showed exactly why by recording 84 rushing yards along with three receptions versus the Battlehawks.
The fact the NFL vet logged 24 carries is perhaps as exciting a metric as any, as that led all XFL backs in Week 1. Ballage’s massive frame and above-average speed make him an excellent candidate to keep it rolling in Week 2 versus the Guardians.
Orlando showed vulnerability to the run in Week 1 against Borghi and backfield mate Dejoun Lee, and game script could certainly favor San Antonio’s ground attack as the Week 2 matchup unfolds.
Morgan Ellison, SEA vs. STL
The Sea Dragons don’t figure to run very heavily most weeks. If the opener is any indication, it will be Brenden Knox who likely gets the biggest chunk of whatever carries are available. That leaves Ellison with minimal chance at a significant role, a notion further supported by the fact he logged just four total touches in the opener. Ellison has some potential as a complementary option but likely won’t get many chances to show it against a Battlehawks defense that was excellent against the run in Week 1.
Josh Gordon, SEA vs. STL
As noted in last week’s edition, Gordon is highest-pedigreed player at any skill position in the XFL, considering what he’s accomplished in the NFL despite missing three seasons because of suspensions.
The talented wideout unsurprisingly began paying immediate dividends in Week 1 versus the Defenders with a 6-74-1 line on nine targets. The pass-happy nature of June Jones’ offense should ensure that continues in the Week 2 Thursday night clash.
Gordon’s downfield speed is also one that many XFL defensive backs will likely have a hard time matching, and Week 2 opponent St. Louis did allow four passes of 17 yards or more to Brahmas pass catchers in Week 1.
Jeff Badet, LV vs. DC
Badet came into the season with plenty of pro experience under his belt and it showed. The 28-year-old recorded the first touchdown in XFL 3.0 history on the Vipers’ opening drive and finished with a 6-81-2 line overall on a co-team-high nine targets.
Martavis Bryant, who Badet shared the Week 1 team lead in targets with, and Geronimo Allison have the top two spots on the Vipers’ wideout depth chart, but that could actually continue to equate to good news for Badet in Week 2.
Not only will he typically face a lesser caliber of coverage, but it should almost always be of the one-on-one variety considering the upside of his two teammates. Whether it’s Luis Perez, Brett Hundley, or a combination of both under center versus the Defenders, Badet should have his chance to thrive.
Jequez Ezzard, DC at LV
Ezzard’s stock is hurt by the highly questionable quarterback play Jordan Ta’amu put on tape in Week 1, and he’s also stuck behind Josh Malone, Josh Hammond and Lucky Jackson at the moment. The shifty Sam Houston product does have some utility in leagues that count return yards – he collected 87 on four runbacks in the opener – but stay away from Ezzard for now in formats that don’t factor in special-teams stats.
Jake Sutherland, STL at SEA
Sutherland isn’t necessarily a name that’s top of mind to XFL fantasy players after one week, but there could be some sneaky value in the Morehead State product.
Sutherland displayed strong pass-catching ability when given the opportunity in his college days, recording 52 receptions for 507 yards across 42 games (19 starts). A massive target at 6-foot-5, 260-plus pounds, he could certainly develop with a quarterback like McCarron.
Sutherland displayed some field-stretching chops in the opener with a 21-yard gain on his only reception, and he could certainly be even more productive in a matchup versus a Sea Dragons team that could force St. Louis into plenty of passing.
Sal Cannella, ARL at HOU
Cannella could prove a near-weekly fixture in this column over the course of the season. Simply put, the Auburn alum is likely head and shoulders over all but a handful of other players at his position across the league at the moment.
A confident Cannella built on his USFL success last spring to post a 7-70 line in the opener versus the Vipers. He clearly has built quick chemistry with young quarterback Drew Plitt, who’s actually starting over the signal-caller Cannella thrived with a few months ago, Kyle Sloter.
Cannella’s hands and sharp routes should continue to keep him busy in Week 2, and he makes for a very attractive option if Plitt has to get rid of the ball quickly against Houston’s aggressive pass rush.
Garrett Owens, HOU vs. ARL
Owens was saddled with this designation in Week 1, and nothing changes going into the Roughnecks’ second game. As suspected, Houston’s Brandon Silvers focused heavily on his receivers and Borghi in Week 1, leaving Owens with just one target that he couldn’t bring in. Not much is likely to change in Week 2 against a Renegades defense that did a good job against Vipers tight ends in the opener.
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