With the XFL set to kick off this weekend, the CBS Fantasy team got together for a draft that we'll play out to see who will be crowned XFL Fantasy champion. With only eight teams in the — and you can read all about those eight teams in our XFL team previews — we had to use some creativity in designing our league.
The league is set up on the site altfantasysports.com, which is a pretty solid option that has everything you need if you want to play XFL. There are some limitations, and since it appears to be a site that sprouted up for the AAF last year, that makes sense.
With only eight teams in the XFL, our league is only eight members large, because if you have more participants than the league does, not everyone can roster a starting option at single-starter positions like, most prominently, quarterback. Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, Heath Cummings, Chris Towers, Adam Aizer, Ben Schragger, Eric Kay and I were the participants.
We did a basic set of rules, with a full-PPR scoring format and my favorite option of five points per passing touchdown because of how it splits the two more popular choices of four and six. But with only eight teams of players to pick from, we also couldn't do as deep of rosters as what would be traditional in an NFL Fantasy league.
To account for that, we're starting:
1 Team QB
1 Flex (RB/WR/TE)
With an additional rule that no one is allowed to draft two quarterbacks, the Team QB spot makes sure everyone will always have a starter. We considered a designated TE spot, but it doesn't look like there are eight Fantasy-relevant tight ends on the eight rosters. On the site we're using, there's no option for a WR/TE slot, so we chose two Flex spots but added a rule that you can't use an RB in both (so, you can't start four running backs).
We opted not to do kickers as it is yet another single-starter position, and in an upstart league that doesn't do extra points, it seems likely to be a low-scoring position where struggling players may have a quick leash, so it wasn't really worth the headache. Defense is an easy-enough option to include, though I muted the negative effects of higher Points Against totals from the defaults on the site in anticipation of a higher-scoring league. We used the same rule about no one being allowed to draft two D/STs.
In addition to these starting lineups, we drafted just three bench spots, so we wouldn't completely deplete the available options on waivers. That may seem thin, but the only viable positions to back up are running back and wide receiver, and after drafting I wondered if we could have gotten away with just two more than wishing we had a fourth. Nearly every running back on an active roster in the XFL (and some who aren't active) was drafted, plus a large percentage of the wide receivers, though the XFL's Team 9 concept will help us track potential injury replacements.
With those parameters, we had an eight-team, 11-round draft, so only 88 picks overall. The draft was relatively quick, and the general theme was none of us had any idea what we were doing. I'll add some of my thoughts below, but we're just starting to get the first depth charts so it's hard to know just yet who may have gotten some steals.
Tomorrow, I'll do a deeper dive into the depth charts we have, which should give us a lot more information. It's important to be flexible early and not have strong stances. On Friday, I'll write up the first DFS slate, so keep an eye out for those pieces.
- Jamey Eisenberg: LA Team QB (Josh Johnson)
- Heath Cummings: Christine Michael, RB, STL
- Chris Towers: Jazz Ferguson, WR, DAL
- Adam Aizer: De'Veon Smith, RB, TB
- Eric Kay: DC Team QB (Cardale Jones)
- Dave Richard: Rashad Ross, WR, DC
- Ben Gretch: Jhurrel Pressley, RB, DC
- Ben Schragger: Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, DAL
Two quarterbacks went off the board in the first round, and given how little we know about skill position players, targeting the quarterbacks on better offenses makes some sense. Unfortunately for Jamey, it came out after the draft that Johnson is dealing with an injury and might miss Week 1, which puts a damper on his first pick. Eric's selection of Cardale Jones pairs with two other DC players going in the first round; that was the offense we collectively hit hardest early.
9. Schragger: Mekale McKay, WR, NY
10. Gretch: Sammie Coates, WR, HOU
11. Richard: TB Team QB (Aaron Murray)
12. Kay: Kenneth Farrow, RB, SEA
13. Aizer: Keith Mumphery, WR, STL
14. Towers: Nelson Spruce, WR, LA
15. Cummings: Jeff Badet, WR, DAL
16. Eisenberg: Andre Williams, RB, HOU
I think Tampa Bay might have one of the better offenses under Marc Trestman, so I liked Dave's pick of their quarterback here.
17. Eisenberg: De'Mornay Pierson-El, WR, STL
18. Cummings: Tim Cook, RB, NY
19. Towers: STL Team QB (Jordan Ta'amu)
20. Aizer: Elijah Hood, RB, LA
21. Kay: Seantavius Jones, WR, TB
22. Richard: Nick Holley, RB, HOU
23. Gretch: DAL Team QB (Landry Jones)
24. Schragger: HOU Team QB (Phillip Walker)
Adam grabbed Elijah Hood here as the eighth RB off the board, and it was my favorite pick of Round 3. Landry Jones is another probable starter who isn't a lock to play Week 1 as he recuperates from a preseason injury, while Phillip Walker beat out Connor Cook to start for Houston.
25. Schragger: Eli Rogers, WR, DC
26. Gretch: De'Angelo Henderson, RB, HOU
27. Richard: DeAndre Thompkins, WR, DC
28. Kay: Tre McBride, WR, LA
29. Aizer: Simmie Cobbs, WR, DC
30. Towers: Lance Dunbar, RB, DAL
31. Cummings: Kasen Williams, WR, SEA
32. Eisenberg: Dontez Byrd, WR, SEA
You can start to see where our uncertainty about playing time has led to some likely reaches. My pick of Henderson was the third Houston running back in the first four rounds, and it's unlikely all three will be viable options. I was debating Henderson and McBride, and while I sided with Henderson due to a concern about RB depth in the league overall, I'd like that one back.
We also got three more DC wide receivers after Rashad Ross went in Round 1. It's unlikely all four will be good picks at these draft slots, but that's the nature of drafting somewhat blind.
33. Eisenberg: Matt Jones, RB, STL
34. Cummings: Kermit Whitfield, WR, LA
35. Towers: Donnel Pumphrey, RB, DC
36. Aizer: Ja'Quan Gardner, RB, SEA
37. Kay: Darius Victor, RB, NY
38. Richard: Nick Truesdell, TE, TB
39. Gretch: Reece Horn, WR, TB
40. Schragger: Sam Mobley, WR, HOU
I mentioned my affinity for Tampa earlier, and I was happy to grab Horn here, who finished fourth in the AAF in receiving yardage while with a Memphis team that went through four quarterbacks. Gardner was another AAF standout who appears to be in a crowded Seattle backfield but could prove to be a steal.
41. Schragger: Floyd Allen, WR, FA
42. Gretch: Justin Stockton, RB, NY
43. Richard: DuJuan Harris, RB, LA
44. Kay: Joe Horn, WR, NY
45. Aizer: Marquis Young, RB, DAL
46. Towers: Malachi Dupre, WR, DC
47. Cummings: Jacques Patrick, RB, TB
48. Eisenberg: Trey Williams, RB, SEA
Jacques Patrick and particularly Mack Brown in the next round were two of my favorite later-round running backs because they both play in Marc Trestman's system, which has been known to throw to the position at a high rate. If either winds up grabbing the passing downs role, they'll be solid PPR options.
33. Eisenberg: Alonzo Moore, WR, SEA
34. Cummings: Teo Redding, WR, NY
35. Towers: Mack Brown, RB, TB
36. Aizer: Stacy Coley, WR, TB
37. Kay: Larry Rose, RB, LA
38. Richard: Keenan Reynolds, WR, SEA
39. Gretch: L'Damian Washington, WR, STL
40. Schragger: Austin Walter, RB, DAL
Dave nabbed Keenan Reynolds right in front of me here, and it sounds like he has a shot to be a top option for Seattle.
25. Schragger: Matthew Colburn, RB, NY
26. Gretch: Adonis Jennings, WR, LA
27. Richard: Jordan Westerkamp, WR, FA
28. Kay: Austin Proehl, WR, SEA
29. Aizer: DAL DST
30. Towers: Brandon Barnes, TE, LA
31. Cummings: Marcus Lucas, WR, STL
32. Eisenberg: Kahlil Lewis, WR, HOU
Kahlil Lewis is expected to start for Houston, something I wasn't aware of when we drafted. He looks like a steal here for Jamey.
33. Eisenberg: Martez Carter, RB, LA
34. Cummings: NY Team QB (Matt McGloin)
35. Towers: Lavon Coleman, RB, FA
36. Aizer: Freddie Martino, WR, DAL
37. Kay: LA DST
38. Richard: Keith Ford, RB, STL
39. Gretch: DC DST
40. Schragger: Jalen Tolliver, WR, TB
We started to run out of active running backs in our draft, and it's possible even our limited rosters were a bit too heavy. Some players who were waived on final cuts were selected, and while they might get cut in our league, they might be reasonable stashes, as rosters could turn over relatively quickly if the AAF is any indication.
25. Schragger: Tanner Gentry, WR, NY (IR)
26. Gretch: Tanner McEvoy, WR, TB
27. Richard: Ray Lawry, RB, FA
28. Kay: Khalid Abdullah, RB, DC
29. Aizer: SEA Team QB (Brandon Silvers)
30. Towers: Ryan Davis, WR, TB
31. Cummings: Evan Rodriguez, TE, SEA
32. Eisenberg: Nick Brossette, RB, DC
With tight end not being a requirement in our league, Rodriguez was the third and final selection. It's possible we'll be looking to add players from the position to fill roster spots as the season goes along.
33. Eisenberg: HOU DST
34. Cummings: SEA DST
35. Towers: STL DST
36. Aizer: Tarean Folston, RB, TB (IR)
37. Kay: Sherman Badie, RB, STL (PUP)
38. Richard: DeAngelo Yancey, WR, NY (IR)
39. Gretch: James Butler, RB, HOU
40. Schragger: NY DST