We dive into what should be an exciting Week 3 in the XFL with a Saturday night Sea Dragons-Vipers clash featuring two teams on the hunt for their first win before a big Sunday triple-header capped off by a Brahmas-Roughnecks showdown. With a two-week sample size to work off of, XFL News Hub has Start/Sit recommendations for your Week 3 season-long fantasy contests!
Brandon Silvers, HOU vs. SAN
Silvers didn’t put up the same caliber of numbers in Week 2 as he did in the opener, but the Roughnecks signal-caller still threw for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Just as encouraging was the fact Silvers stayed away from any interceptions after tossing a pair in Week 1.
Given Roughnecks offensive coordinator A.J. Smith’s aggressive playcalling, Silvers should be in for another busy night in what could be a wire-to-wire affair against a Brahmas defense that gave up some big plays through the air late against a quarterback of similar caliber in A.J. McCarron in Week 1.
Kyle Sloter, ARL vs. ORL
While it’s true there isn’t an XFL body of work to rely on yet with Sloter – who was just named the starter for Week 3 over the demoted Drew Plitt – we can certainly use his time in the USFL last spring as a solid guide. Sloter did throw 11 picks against only nine touchdowns for the New Orleans Breakers, but that was also his first regular-season pro football experience.
Sloter presumably gets a soft landing of sorts for his first XFL start in the Guardians, the worst team in the league through two games. Sloter also has a significant security blanket at his disposal in talented tight end Sal Cannella, who he enjoyed plenty of USFL success with.
A.J. McCarron, STL at D.C.
McCarron has been at his best late in the game over the first two weeks, but he’s otherwise been fairly pedestrian and now faces a unit that is less likely to allow him another fourth-quarter breakout. The Gregg Williams-led Defenders defense has unsurprisingly come after the quarterback aggressively through the first two games, compiling six sacks, two interceptions (including a pick-six) and two fumble recoveries. McCarron could therefore find himself under much more duress than in the first pair of contests, leading to a lackluster showing.
Jah-Maine Martin, ORL at ARL
While the Guardians’ successes on offense have been few and far between, Martin has been a consistent producer. The North Carolina A & T product once put together a 1,446-yard, 23-touchdown season in college, and he’s shown he belongs at the pro level through two games.
Martin has been limited by game script since Orlando has eventually faced sizable second-half deficit in both contests, but he’s generated 87 yards on 18 carries thus far. Martin has been a load against would-be tacklers as well with his 5-foot-10, 220-pound frame, and he could see his fantasy production bump up nicely in Week 3 if he logs his usual workload at minimum and manages to find the end zone for the first time.
Morgan Ellison, SEA at VGS
Ellison was sporting a Sit designation last week, but he took over lead-back duties after Brenden Knox suffered a foot injury and responded with 74 total yards on 14 touches. Knox is already confirmed out for Saturday night’s clash against the Vipers, presumably handing control of the backfield to the versatile Ellison.
The Vipers make for a good matchup as well, as the Defenders ran the ball at will with both their running backs and quarterbacks against them in Week 2. D.C. finished with 5.5 yards per carry on 42 rush attempts overall. And, even though the Sea Dragons profile as a pass-centric offense under coordinator June Jones, Ellison is a capable receiver that could remain consistently involved in that regard.
Keith Ford, ARL vs. ORL
Ford has been absolutely stonewalled over the first two weeks while playing a complementary role behind De’Veon Smith, gaining just 35 yards on 15 carries. The Guardians actually didn’t do a poor job against the Brahmas’ Kalen Ballage in Week 2, and with Ford likely to once again work behind Smith and Arlington possibly passing more under new starter Kyle Sloter, Ford can be given a seat on your bench. (Update: Ford was released late Friday by the Renegades).
Jahcour Pearson, SEA at VGS
On the subject of Seattle’s air attack, Pearson has proven to be its most consistent target through two games. The speedy wideout has 16 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown on 22 looks through the first pair of contests, quickly displaying rapport with quarterback Ben DiNucci and likely benefitting from some of the defensive attention bestowed on fellow receiver Josh Gordon.
Pearson’s ability effectively work across all areas of the field keeps him firmly in play versus a Vipers defense that didn’t face a caliber of offense like Seattle’s through the first two weeks while going up against the Renegades and Defenders.
Lucky Jackson, D.C. vs. STL
The one downside for Jackson is that he relies on the play of inconsistent quarterback Jordan Ta’amu at the moment, but the former Western Kentucky wideout has both the college track record and solid start at the XFL level to make him a Start suggestion for Week 3.
Jackson finished college career with a standout 94-1,133-4 line across 13 games back in 2019, and he’s brought in six of nine targets for 41 yards through the Defenders’ first two games. Considering Ta’amu has a modest 19 completions through two games, it’s clear Jackson is his top target for the time being.
Josh Malone, D.C. vs. STL
Malone did flash with an 18-yard catch on his one target in Week 1, but he came up empty on three targets in Week 2. Ta’amu and Malone simply haven’t shown much chemistry, and with the aforementioned Jackson garnering so much of the quarterback’s attention through two weeks and Malone seemingly sitting third on the depth chart, a Week 3 benching could very well be in order.
Alize Mack, SAN at HOU
Mack has seven receptions and a touchdown through two games, and the Notre Dame product appears to have vaulted over former Chiefs tight end Deon Yelder on the positional depth chart for the moment. Mack’s quick chemistry with fellow Fighting Irish alum Jack Coan is evident, and the young pass catcher could play an important role again in Week 3.
The Brahmas could well be forced into a pass-heavy gameplan as the contest unfolds versus a Roughnecks offense that will keep its foot on the gas. Houston also likes to blitz liberally under Wade Phillips, which naturally can wreak havoc on the air attack but also has the potential to leave plenty of open space in the middle of the field when the pass rush doesn’t quite get home in time.
Sal Cannella, ARL vs. ORL
Cannella earns the Start designation yet again this week thanks to both his play and developments at the Renegades’ quarterback position. Cannella’s former USFL battery mate Kyle Sloter takes over for Arlington at quarterback in Week 3, and the pass-catching tight end should be set to benefit.
Cannella already proved to be a productive target in the first two games while playing with the inconsistent Drew Plitt, posting an 11-108 line on 11 targets. His involvement could easily move up another notch as Sloter looks to a familiar face in his first start, and Cannella also draws an attractive matchup versus a Guardians defense that surrendered six receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown to San Antonio’s Mack and Yelder in Week 2.
Charlie Taumoepau, SEA at VGS
Taumoepau has been quiet over the first two games despite Seattle’s pass-heavy ways, recording a pair of receptions for 25 yards on two targets. The Portland State product displayed plenty of pass-catching ability by recording 108 receptions and 10 touchdowns over his last three college seasons, but given the position is sparingly used in June Jones’ offenses, he doesn’t profile as an especially strong play in Week 3.
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