A question out there is “who are the “Safest” Players to draft for the upcoming XFL Fantasy Season?” That’s a complex question to be sure, especially in a league that will see a ton of volatility and changes at positional depth and involvement, in a brand-new league there will be many players who rise and fall dramatically week to week.
As you head into your draft, consider balancing “Safe” and “Risky” plays round-by-round, and as always, stay up-to-date on what’s happening using social media (follow @xflnewshub and @XFLkonner for the best scoops).
Thinking about this the following criteria were used to give you some players from each tier of our Draft Guide. As always, rankings are based upon a 0.5 PPR League. The following factors were used to consider and influenced the selection of “Safest” Players:
- Pro Experience
- Depth Chart Competition
- Draft Capital used by Team
- Potential Role within the Offense
- Competition for touches/targets on own team
Josh Johnson – Quarterback – LA Wildcats
Josh Johnson is a seasoned and capable veteran quarterback. He has played for multiple NFL teams and has provided a capable showing at each stop. With mobility and a talented arm, he is definitely the safest pick available to you in Round 1. In spring football, do not be fearful of taking a QB early. Odds are, you’re in a small league and points will be at a premium. The top 3 QBs will score in bunches and everyone else will be struggling to hold their jobs. Johnson is mobile enough to provide a solid floor when adding in rushing yards and the arm talent to make big plays all over the field. He’s the complete package.
Nelson Spruce – Wide Receiver – LA Wildcats
If you take Johnson in Round 1, do yourself a favor and stack him with his presumed #1 target in Round 2. Nelson Spruce is talented and was a joy to watch in the AAF where, over 8 games, he had hauled in 38 receptions for 426 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s a shifty receiver who knows how to get open, he will be among the league leaders in receptions and be a reliable option for Johnson in LA.
Rashad Ross – Wide Receiver – DC Defenders
Go get him. Go get him. Go get him. Over eight AAF games, Ross hauled in 36 catches for 583 yards and 7 touchdowns. He’s a star for the XFL, and it continues to remain a shame he is not on an NFL roster. Ross is a big play machine, he will love playing with Cardale Jones and Cardale Jones will love chucking it up to Ross. “Rocket,” as he is sometimes called, can make plays long and short and is a threat for a big play every time he is on the field.
Lance Dunbar – Running Back – Dallas Renegades
Dunbar spent six years in the NFL as a depth/receiving option for the Cowboys and Rams, look for him to shine in the XFL. Although many are high on his backfield-mate Cameron Artis-Payne, Dunbar looks to be a solid flex option, especially in 0.5 or 1.0 PPR leagues. He is a more capable pass-catcher than CAP and should have plenty of opportunities in a Hal Mumme Air Raid offense to showcase that ability. If Dunbar gets 8-10 touches per game, he will be a steal coming through in Round 3.
Jordan Ta’amu – Quarterback – St. Louis BattleHawks
Ta’amu won the quarterback battle against NFL veteran Taylor Heinicke and has earned himself the controls of this potentially potent St. Louis offense. With a loaded slate of receivers in De’mornay Pierson-El, L’Damian Washington, and Keith Mumphrey, plus a strong tandem of running backs in Matt Jones and Christine Michael, Ta’amu is primed to outperform his draft slot. Playing at Ole Miss, he threw for nearly 4000 yards as a senior and should build upon that talent in the XFL. Tie in two nice safety blankets at tight end with Cole Hunt and AAF standout Wes Saxton and solid running ability, Ta’amu has a high floor and an even higher ceiling.
Reece Horn – Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Vipers
Horn is another AAF alumnus, he was hamstrung by mediocre QB play all season, but still managed to finish fourth overall in receiving yards with 429 yards and 1 touchdown on 28 catches. Viper’s coach Marc Trestman loves throwing the ball, and he will most likely trust QB Aaron Murray to sling it. Even though Murray may have limited upside, his receivers, and in particular Horn, should benefit from that willingness to throw. All that comes together to give you a solid choice at receiver in the later rounds.
DuJuan Harris – Running Back – LA Wildcats
Honestly, Harris might be underrated, but he is in a somewhat murky backfield situation which leads to some hesitancy to go in on him early. However, in the later rounds, he will be a solid and safe value. Being in a backfield by committee will be fairly standard in the XFL, especially with a shortened play clock. As a back with NFL experience, including playoff starts, Harris will command respect from defenses and should be able to make the most of his opportunity. Teams will likely leave players on the field for longer stretches of time so look for Harris to approach that 8-10 touch range with LA.
ROUND 7 AND BEYOND
Nick Truesdell – Tight End – Tampa Bay Vipers
Truesdell was the closest thing the AAF had to Rob Gronkowski. If you want to have the best shot at a dominant tight end who will tip the scales in your direction, go get him. If you’re really feeling bold, go get him even earlier, but that becomes a risky choice. Anytime after Round 7 and you’ve got a solid, safe pick.
Donnell Pumphrey – Running Back – DC Defenders
Pumphrey looks to be a solid backup option in DC. If Cardale Jones can be the threat to run and pass he’s capable of being, then Pumphrey will have immense late-round value. Despite being the backup to Jhurrell Pressley, Pumphrey is a capable back who will be unlocked as a rusher and a pass catcher in a potentially explosive Defenders offense.
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