We’re set for another intriguing XFL slate in Week 8 as the stretch run continues. The ledger kicks off with a pair of underdogs that have shown some fight in the Vipers and Guardians taking on the Battlehawks and Renegades, respectively, and concludes with an intriguing Defenders-Sea Dragons showdown out west Sunday night.
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 8 season-long fantasy contests!
Quinten Dormady, ORL vs. ARL
Dormady’s jaw-dropping six-touchdown tally against the previously undefeated Defenders in Week 7 is naturally going to be hard to top. However, the journeyman signal-caller had already been trending in the right direction prior to that game, as he’d put together encouraging 256- and 243-yard tallies in the previous two contests against the Vipers and Sea Dragons, respectively.
Dormady faces a solid defense in that of the Renegades on Saturday afternoon, but he’ll do so in front of the home crowd and with a significant confidence boost stemming from his stellar Week 7 effort. With a crew of talented receivers he’s developing additional chemistry with by the week and an ability to generate production with his legs as well, Dormady is a must-start this week.
Jalan McClendon, VGS at STL
McClendon’s play in his debut would have been the talk of the league last week had it not been for Dormady’s performance. The NC State/Baylor product threw for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also rushing for 25 yards against what had been a stingy Brahmas defense.
McClendon lacks for experience even dating back to his college days, but his significant comfort level in his debut and his mobility combined with the Vipers’ collection of impressive skill-position assets makes him a viable option again in Week 8, even versus a Battlehawks defense that’s allowed a league-low 164.7 passing yards per contest but that’s surrendered plenty of production on the ground.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ben DiNucci, SEA vs. DC
Jack Coan, SAN vs. HOU
Coan could make his return from an ankle injury this week, but his prospects are hardly bright. The Notre Dame product’s last three games before his absence weren’t encouraging, as he’d completed just 35 of 74 passes for 295 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in those contests. The Roughnecks are a troublesome matchup as well given the fact they’re desperate for a win after three straight losses, as well as the fact they lead the XFL in both interceptions and sacks.
Brian Hill, STL vs. VGS
Hill is admittedly kind of an obvious Start call, but he deserves mention anyhow after yet another impressive performance in Week 7, as well as his very appetizing Week 8 matchup. The one-time NFL back averaged 4.8 yards per carry versus the Roughnecks while adding three receptions for 28 yards.
Hill has averaged at least 4.8 yards per carry in four straight games, and he has multiple catches in four of the last five as well. Meanwhile, the Vipers are surrendering an XFL-high 121.4 rushing yards per contest and have also yielded the third-most passing yards per game (216.4), making this an all-around attractive matchup for Hill.
De’Veon Smith, ARL at ORL
Smith continuously ran into brick walls on the ground over the first five games of the season, but to Renegades head coach Bob Stoops’ credit, he didn’t allow that to deter him from giving his versatile lead back continued opportunity. That’s begun to pay off over the last two weeks, when Smith has gained 103 yards and touchdowns on 21 carries while adding seven receptions for 82 yards on eight targets.
With that type of workload and a vulnerable Guardians defense on tap, Smith is very strong Start consideration in Week 8. Orlando has had more success slowing down the run than it has the pass, but the Defenders’ Abram Smith helped expose them to an extent in Week 7 and the Guardians are now surrendering the third-most rushing yards per game (100.3). With Arlington desperate to stay in the postseason picture and Smith a workhorse that can handle the big volume, he’s a recommended play.
Darius Bradwell, SEA vs. DC
Bradwell was already being outplayed by backfield T.J. Hammonds, and the arrival of 2018 Pro Bowler and two-time NFL 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay only serves to dim Bradwell’s outlook further. The one-time Los Angeles Chargers back is only averaging 2.4 yards per carry through four games, and he could be relegated to a very small role Week 8.
Blake Jackson, SEA vs. DC
One could almost close one’s eyes and pick out a Sea Dragons receiver each week and be satisfied with the results, as Seattle boasts what is the most productive group at that position in the league. However, while the production of some of the members of the pass-catching corps has inevitably fluctuated, Jackson has been a steady and trusted weapon for Ben DiNucci.
Jackson has posted an impressive 34-328-2 line through seven games, recording at least four receptions in all but one contest thus far. He’s coming off what have arguably been his two most efficient games of the season as well, posting a 10-147-1 line on 12 targets in that span. The Defenders have been the league’s most vulnerable pass defense as well, allowing 248.3 passing yards per game, boosting Jackson’s stock in what could well be a wire-to-wire affair.
Chris Blair, DC at SEA
That said, Blair makes for a very interesting Start option on the other side of what should be the marquee matchup of the week. The speedy Alcorn State product is averaging a whopping 19.1 yards per catch on his 18 grabs this season, taking 13 of his receptions for first down and two of them for 40 or more yards.
Blair has tallies of 62, 84, and most recently, 139 yards thus far. The latter tally was accompanied by season highs in receptions (5) and targets (7) as well, an indication his chemistry with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu may be growing. Position mate Lucky Jackson makes for the more obvious Start call here, but don’t underestimate Blair’s upside in a matchup where the Sea Dragons’ top cornerbacks figure to be swarming Jackson and Josh Hammond.
ALSO CONSIDER: Darrius Shepherd, STL vs. VGS; Victor Bolden, ARL at ORL
Martavis Bryant, VGS at STL
It would have been difficult to envision placing a player with the NFL pedigree of Bryant into the Sit category before the season began, but that’s where the veteran resides ahead of Week 8. The one-time promising speedster has had a couple of moments at the XFL level, but his production has hardly been trustworthy, nor remarkable for that matter. Bryant has topped out at four receptions and 43 yards in terms of single-game highs, and he went without a catch on just one target in his first game playing with new quarterback Jalan McClendon in Week 7.
Cody Latimer, ORL vs. ARL
Latimer has essentially carved out a permanent spot in this space thanks to a combination of his impressively steady play and a dearth of viable fantasy options at the position leaguewide. The veteran got the job done again in the wild Week 7 win over the Defenders, posting a 7-93-1 line on eight targets.
Latimer’s role in Orlando’s surprisingly prolific air attack is priceless for fantasy purposes – he’s logged at least seven targets in every game since Week 2, and he has at least five catches in all but one contest as well. With such a significant opportunity share and indisputable chemistry with the surging Quinten Dormady, Latimer is a clear-cut Start call again.
Sal Cannella, ARL at ORL
Cannella hasn’t made an appearance in this space for several weeks, but it hasn’t been for lack of production. The talented Auburn alum has a 32-282 line through seven games, and he’s coming off having posted four catches for 64 yards on seven targets in Week 7.
Similar to Latimer in Orlando, Cannella plays an outsized role in the Renegades passing game, having seen at least five targets in all but one contest. He impressively has four catches of 20+ yards as well, and although he’s yet to find the end zone, that could change in Week 8 against a vulnerable Guardians offense and while likely working with spring league vet Luis Perez.
Deon Yelder, SAN vs. HOU
There are even more obvious Sit calls at tight end than Yelder, given how generally unproductive the position has been for fantasy purposes. However, the former KC Chief certainly qualifies, as he’s playing on a team set to make another quarterback change this week thanks to Kurt Benkert’s season-ending rib injury and he has all of one catch for eight yards over the last five games. With Alize Mack clearly the preferred pass-catching option at the position for San Antonio, Yelder doesn’t warrant starting consideration in your lineup.
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