Full Disclaimer: If you take my advice and still mess up your fantasy season, I release any and all responsibility for resulting league punishments, financial losses and emotional damages.
Now that we have that out of the way, let us take a look at some XFL guys who could breakout. It may seem like a long shot for someone to jump leagues and tear up the NFL, but let us not forget that Tommy Maddox won the XFL Championship in 2001 and the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2002.
I don’t know how deep your fantasy league is, and if you’re playing 8-man this probably doesn’t apply to you. However, in deeper leagues, getting those sleeper picks stashed on your roster can be the difference between taking home a trophy, and being saddled with the shame of failure that your very good friends won’t let you live down.
Onto the picks.
TE Donald Parham – Chargers
The former Dallas Renegade led all Tight Ends in receiving this spring, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s 6’8″. He has a 7-foot wingspan. He’s got hands. He’s got speed (was clocked at 21.1 MPH on a 65 yard TD).
Putting up monstrous numbers is what Donald Parham Jr. does best, and we like numbers here, right? His senior year at Stetson, he caught 85 balls for 1319 yards and 13 scores. He had stints with the Lions and Redskins, but really exploded in the pros with the Renegades.
In half a season, he had 24 Receptions, 307 Yards and 4 TD’s to lead all TE’s, and was the league’s 3rd leading receiver overall.
He now finds himself on the Chargers in an ideal situation. Now, Hunter Henry has finished top-10 at his position each of his 3 seasons but has yet to finish a 16-game season. The injury bug strikes him often, unfortunately, and even though it would be unconventional to handcuff a Tight End, Parham has big potential regardless.
LA also has Virgil Green and Stephen Anderson in the room, but I think Parham has the edge to get targets. Green is a beast in the run game but is used nearly exclusively as a blocker. Stephen Anderson has a year of good production in Houston behind him, but Parham brings a different combination of game-breaking size and speed to the table.
Even with Henry in the lineup, Parham could get targets. Parham almost exclusively lines up in the slot, while Henry leans slightly more to tight alignments. Given a relative lack of depth behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (and doubt that Williams will be healthy by the season opener), I would not be too surprised to see a lot of 2-TE sets with Parham lined up as a receiver.
With hands and size like his, he’s hard to stop over the middle and up the seam and could have a huge year if the offense utilizes his skillset. Tyrod Taylor also really likes his tight ends, and in his 3 years starting in Buffalo his #1 target was Charles Clay.
RB Jacques Patrick – Bengals
Vipers fans know how deadly their rushing attack was last season, as two of the leagues’ top 3 rushers played in Tampa Bay. De’Veon Smith saw more carries with 90 rushes for 365 yards and a 4.1 YPC, but Jacques Patrick was right there with him, with 60 rushes for 254 yards and 2 scores at 4.2 YPC. Patrick had more fantasy points.
Patrick brings some great things to the table. He’s 6’3″ and 235 pounds, built like a linebacker and mean enough to run them over. At that size, with ~4.5 speed, he can quickly become a problem for defenses to contend with.
He’s entering an interesting camp battle for the spot behind Joe Mixon (who’s just taken rest days with an unspecified injury), but there are several things giving him an edge over Giovanni Bernard and Samaje Perine.
First among those, is rushing ability. Pretty important for a running back. Giovanni Bernard is a good pass-catching back, but his rushing efficiency has fallen from 4.4 ypc in 2017 to 3.8, and all the way down to 3.2 last year. Samaje Perine also offers good value on 3rd down, but hasn’t had significant playing time since 2017, and averaged just 3.2 yards a carry that year.
2019 6th rounder Trayveon Williams had some great production at Texas A&M, but didn’t see the field at all his rookie year, and is of yet an unproven commodity in the pros.
I can see Patrick carving out a role for himself quite easily in this offense, and I’d dare to say he might be the only reliable rusher behind Mixon. With his size, burst, and power he’s poised to become a great relief/short-yardage back who could even start poaching goal-line carries.
If you have Mixon as your RB1, Patrick is a wise handcuff.
WR Cam Phillips – Panthers
Cam Phillips finally has an NFL home. The XFL’s premier receiver, we at XNH can’t rant enough about how talented he is. The 24-year-old wideout was the league leader in receptions (31), yards (455) and TD’s (9). He’s reuniting with Roughnecks QB PJ Walker in Carolina and was a great pickup for the team.
He’ll have to fight for targets behind Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel, but I think he could be the next big thing in the Panthers offense.
The Panthers haven’t had a true WR1 since Steve Smith, and while DJ Moore is on the rise, they’ll need more targets in complement outside. C-Mac lines up in the slot at times, and Robby Anderson is a great deep threat but at Baylor, Matt Rhule ran 3-4 receiver sets almost exclusively.
The opportunities will be there for Phillips to make his way as the 3rd or 4th receiver and has the potential to make a real name for himself this season. If for some reason PJ Walker goes in, its a done deal.
Phillips could be the most talented player to come out of the XFL and is definitely worth a spot stashed on your bench.
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