Photo courtesy of William Renken
We march into week four of the XFL season armed with enough knowledge now to make informed decisions on who to start and who to sit. This week, unexpected injuries, as well as unrealized potential, put familiar names on the bench, and new faces in your lineups. Here are some suggested starts and sits broken down by matchup for this week.
L.A. vs N.Y.
Start: Justin Stockton RB, NY
Stockton comes into the matchup this weekend with two factors on his side. One of them being Darius Victor’s presence on the injury report. The other, and maybe most important factor, is the absence of Matt McGloin as the starting quarterback for the Guardians. Last week, he made his New York debut and made a sizable impact in the receiving game out of the backfield. He was targeted five times catching 3 of them for 41 yards.
While he didn’t register any carries, should Victor sit this game out, or does play and is ineffective, there is a real possibility that Stockton can get a significant uptick in usage making him well worth a roster spot. Plus, whether it’s Marquise Williams or Luis Perez who starts at quarterback, it will be an upgrade at the position meaning everyone around him gets an increase in value. Start Stockton if you are a Martez Carter owner who just found out about his injury.
Sit: Adonis Jennings, WR, LA
If you are a Jennings owner that has kept rolling the dice with him week after week waiting for him to produce, this is your permission to stop. The most productive week for him came in week two where he snared two of his five targets for only 16 yards.
He did catch a 3 point conversion to inflate his final fantasy point total. He hasn’t managed more than a single catch in his other two outings for a total of 16 yards. There are many that are speculating that Jennings will see more targets with the news of Tre McBride’s injury and Nelson Spruce already ruled out for the week. While that might be true, it is more likely that guys like Jordan Smallwood and Brandon Barnes will receive more of Josh Johnson’s attention than will Jennings. Start someone like Sam Mobley over Jennings if faced with a similar situation.
SEA vs STL
Start: Kenneth Farrow, RB, SEA
There is a three headed beast growing in that Seattle backfield between Ja’Quan Gardner, Trey Williams, and Farrow. If you are someone who owns both Gardner and Williams, it’s ok to start the latter this week and not look back. It’s true that there is an almost even split in carries between the three, Farrow has started to break away from the pack along with Williams by the way of the eye test. Seattle has struggled in the passing game so far this season, relying on their running backs to move the ball through the air.
This will be the case as will against a Battlehawk defense that has allowed 25 receptions to the running back position through the first three weeks of the season. The check-downs and the swing outs have been Brandon Silvers’ best friend to date. Look for that to continue this week and for Farrow to benefit from it. Start Farrow over Donnell Pumphrey, Juhrell Pressley, or De’Veon Smith.
Sit: Christine Michael, RB, STL
Yes, he had a decent game last week. Yes, he is the lead back in St. Louis, yes he is probably due for a break out game. But, Michael has yet to look like the lead dog as we’ve begun to see Matt Jones emerge in that role instead. Even with Jones on this week’s injury report, you probably have better options than Michael to start at running back and certainly in a flex position.
The Dragons have allowed Cameron Artis-Payne and Jaquis Patrick to have decent days on the ground, but both needed more work than Michael has gotten in any game this far to make it happen. There are no signs that point to this being a strong outing for him and can be left on your bench to wait for a better matchup down the road.
HOU vs DAL
Start: Flynn Nagel, WR, DAL
An unsung hero in this Dallas offense, Nagel has quietly put together a solid start to his XFL career. He has 13 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown through three games and has a reliable floor if ever there was one this early in the season. His ceiling becomes even higher as this game is predicted to be a shootout with plenty of fantasy points to be had.
You’ve probably already been starting Nagel, but if you are a Spruce owner that has had Nagel tucked on your bench for a rainy day, here is your umbrella. Don’t over think it, start Nagel with confidence.
Sit: Sammie Coates, WR, HOU
Let’s face it, there are players in the XFL who have yet to live up to their pre-season hype. Coates could make a case for the prime example. In the most explosive offense in the league, he has managed only four catches for 45 yards and has yet to find the endzone.
Sitting Sammie might seem like a cold take, but there are Coates truthers out there that have set him and forgot him and it is high time you let it go. Almost anyone on your bench now has more value even in a contest between two powerful offenses.
TB vs. NY
Start: Reece Horn, WR, TB
You might have gotten frustrated last week by the lack of production from Horn in relation to his draft capital and Horn might be planted on your bench. This is a week where it might be safe to at least flex him in the hopes that a week of practice with newly anointed starting quarterback, Taylor Cornelius will resurrect Horn’s fantasy value.
Jalen Toliver got a lot of love last week in the split between Cornelius and Quinton Flowers, but since Flowers has departed, that leaves one arm in Tampa and more stability for the receivers. On top of all this, the Vipers are set to take on a team that is coming off their first loss of the season and looks vulnerable defensively. This puts Horn in a favorable position to deliver solid production.
Sit: Jhurell Pressley, RB, DC
Another player that has fallen victim to a lack of expected production versus actual play on the field. Pressley started the season as the number one even with Donnell Pumphrey in the same backfield nipping at his heels. But, through the first three weeks of the season, neither back has yet to top 100 yards on the year, leaving the Defenders searching for a reliable option.
Last week, in garbage time, Nick Brossette entered the game and posted 75 yards on only 4 carries almost matching the entire season output of either starting back. Not to say that Brossette will supplant Pressley or Pumphrey as the lead back in DC, but he can cut severely into their productivity if he gets the chance again. The upside to Pressley is not enough to roll him out on your roster this week.
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