We've got XFL depth charts! Four teams' Week 1 depth charts trickled out over the past day or so, but Thursday afternoon the XFL released full Week 1 depth charts on their official site for all eight teams.
I've linked to each below, but an important thing to keep in mind is we have no idea which teams will treat their starters like full-timers, and which will rotate in their second team more. Heck, there may be teams below that aren't treating these depth charts with much significance at all, and plan to go with the hot hand at multiple positions. Anything is on the table in the first week ever for the league.
Still, it's a good idea to lean heavily on guys listed among the starters here in Week 1 DFS contests. Now let's cut the small talk and get right down to what this means for Week 1, including notes on important players who aren't listed among the first-teamers and what to do with them. Keep an eye out for my DFS picks tomorrow.
Week 1 matchup: -8.5 vs. STL (8.5-point favorites)
I discussed this morning that Jazz Ferguson missed practice Wednesday due to a hand injury, and that might be why he is listed among the second-teamers. Or, he's just not considered a first-stringer at this stage. Either way, he's not in play for Week 1 DFS given he plays in the latest game and we likely won't know whether he'll be active until late in the week.
Cameron Artis-Payne figures to be a popular running back in DFS given his status atop the depth chart of a big home favorite. Artis-Payne may be a bit older than most realize — he'll turn 30 in June — but he never racked up big workloads at the NFL level so it's possible he has plenty left in the tank.
We may not know the starting quarterback until Sunday, but Jones got in a limited practice Wednesday and I'm tentatively expecting him to play given this depth chart designation seems to indicate he'll be the starter if healthy.
Week 1 matchup: -7.5 vs. SEA
The big news here is Rashad Ross, the AAF's leader in receiving touchdowns last season, being listed among the second team. Ross was acquired in a trade in early January, and Thompkins — who he is listed behind — was a nonparticipant in Wednesday's practice due to a foot injury. It's not a great sign that Ross is not listed among the starters, but it doesn't necessarily mean he won't have a Week 1 role.
Former Steeler Eli Rogers is another notable name for DC, and he is listed among the third team behind Ross. But depth charts can be deceiving — DC only listed two starting wide receivers, while many teams listed three and Houston listed four — so it's entirely possible we see both Ross and Rogers in three-wide sets. They do carry a bit more risk, though, after this new information.
Cardale Jones is listed as the starting quarterback and Jhurrel Pressley the starting running back, both as expected. We won't know the extent of Pressley's workload — and DC lists three running backs behind him, more than most teams — but Pressley was an efficient back in the AAF who led the league in rushing on the fifth-most rush attempts and added another 86 receiving yards.
Week 1 matchup: -5.5 vs. LA
P.J. Walker draws the Week 1 start over former Raider Connor Cook, after beating out Cook in practices. Andre Williams is listed as the first-team running back ahead of De'Angelo Henderson, with Nick Holley — also listed as a running back in most places — drawing the start in one of four wide receiver slots.
Houston's offenseunder coach June Jones, and Holley might be something of a slot receiver or short-area target in four-wide sets. His inclusion among the starters gives me more confidence in Coates as a lead downfield option, with Lewis and Phillips both being additional names to consider in Week 1.
Week 1 matchup: +5.5 @ HOU
It's good news to see Johnson still listed as the starter, as he missed practice Wednesday and appears questionable for the Saturday night game. Johnson will be a risky proposition in DFS, especially because he relies on his mobility and his injury is listed as a thigh, but there will be Sunday options to swap off of him if he isn't active.
Tre McBride came over to LA in the January trade that sent Rashad Ross to DC, and he's listed among the second team after also popping up on the injury report as a limited participant with a thigh injury. Spruce and Jennings were both AAF role-players who could be in line to lead the Wildcats in receiving, while Barnes looks like one of the better bets in the league at the tight end position, but I'm not expecting this to be a particularly high-octane passing offense.
Week 1 matchup: -2.5 vs. TB
Tim Cook draws the first-team designation for the Guardians' backfield, but Kevin Gilbride's history with the Giants has me believing this will be something of a split. Cook comes in at 247 pounds and would figure to be the early-down grinder in the Brandon Jacobs mold, while second-teamer Darius Victor and third-stringer Justin Stockton could both factor in on passing downs.
Mekale McKay is designated on the Guardians depth chart as the X receiver, which confirms the 6-5 McKay will be used in Gilbride's offense much like Plaxico Burress was when Gilbride was with the Giants. That should mean a No. 1 target share and, importantly, red zone looks.
Week 1 matchup: +8.5 @ DAL
Jordan Ta'amu and Christine Michael drawing the starts at quarterback and running back doesn't come as any surprise for a team expected to be among the league's worst based on full-season win totals and championship odds. If they do surprise — and we need to remember we know very little about this league — Michael figures to be a valuable player as a potential workhorse. Another ex-NFLer, Matt Jones, backs him up.
Pierson-El is a high-volume slot wide receiver who was very productive in the AAF last year, and would be my pick to lead the BattleHawks in targets. Washington and Russell will play on the outside, while Keith Mumphery and Carlton Agudosi are among the wide receivers who fell to the second team in St. Louis's initial depth chart.
Week 1 matchup: +7.5 @ DC
The Dragons figure to be a run-heavy team if their decision to load up on three of the top 14 rushers from the AAF while keeping five tight ends on their active roster is to be believed. Gardner is listed as the No. 1 back, and he posted a strong 4.9 YPC in a timeshare in the AAF last year that was buoyed by an 83-yard touchdown run that was the league's longest for the season. Kenneth Farrow was a lead back in the AAF, and Trey Williams backed him up for San Antonio, and both are here on Seattle's roster, with Farrow listed as the No. 2 and Williams the No. 3.
Williams missed Wednesday's practice with a quad issue, so it's possible he's not ready to suit up this weekend, but it's a good sign to see him still listed among the starters. Dontez Byrd is slotted behind him and would figure to draw the start if Williams misses. Alonzo Moore is listed behind Reynolds, presumably at the other outside receiver spot, while Proehl figures to be the slot man.
Jeter leads the tight end depth chart, but it's difficult to know what the playing time splits will look like at the position. The rest of the positional depth chart there goes Ben Johnson, Evan Rodriguez, Connor Hamlett and then Cam Clear — who is on the injury report — fifth.
Week 1 matchup: +2.5 @ NY
An interesting note on the quarterback depth chart is Quinton Flowers is listed third. Coach Marc Trestman has said Flowers will play in Week 1 and in every game this season, and the dual threat is listed as a RB on DraftKings, but he's not on the RB list here and doesn't even hold the backup QB spot. That, to me, means he'll likely get some packages in a Taysom Hill role, but not play extensively. We do have the interesting quirk of the legal double forward pass in the XFL (as long as the first pass is behind the line of scrimmage), so Trestman has flexibility to be creative here, and I expect we'll see that with Flowers' role.
De'Veon Smith is the lead back, and he's an interesting name for me given he caught just five passes in the XFL against 75 rush attempts. I'd expect that to rise in a Trestman offense — Trestman's history is littered with high-reception seasons for his backs — but it's possible No. 2 Jacques Patrick or No. 3 Mack Brown handle passing downs work. Or, for that matter, Flowers (though Trestman has insisted Flowers is a quarterback).
The Vipers are deep at receiver, but waived Stacy Coley Thursday so that's one familiar name gone. Seantavius Jones was a No. 1 receiver in the AAF but is backing up Dan Williams on the initial depth chart here, while former NFL preseason standout Tanner McEvoy is listed behind Tolliver. Reece Horn looks like the best bet for targets in this offense, along with Truesdell, who should be considered the top Fantasy tight end in the league entering the season.