Week 1 XFL Takeaway: Running Backs Don't Matter in Fantasy XFL - Roto Street Journal
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Week 1 XFL Takeaway: Running Backs Don’t Matter in Fantasy XFL

In NFL Fantasy, three-down horses gallup us to the promised land.

In XFL Fantasy, you better wrassle yourself down the right target hogs and QBs to win.

If Week 1 was any indication, RBs are going to be an afterthought in the XFL

Granted, like Travis Kelce in NFL Fantasy, high-end talent at a position of scarcity provides an immediate edge. A dependable weekly RB option would be a huge edge.

But are we going to find that consistent backfield presence in a league that very purposely skews towards passing? Unlikely.

Just check out the top-five scoring XFL Fantasy RBs (based on DraftKings scoring):

  1. James Butler, Houston Roughnecks — 19
  2. Trey Williams, Seattle Dragons — 14.3
  3. Lance Dunbar, Dallas Renegades — 11.6
  4. DeVeon Smith, Tampa Bay Vipers — 9.7
  5. Kenneth Farrow, Seattle Dragons — 9.5

Just one of those five players was listed as the starting RB (Smith). Only only one RB, who was listed as a Kick Returner, topped 15 FPs, as compared to 5 WRs to accomplish the feat. The fifth best WR outscored the fifth best RB by a whopping 7.2 FPs.

Meanwhile, how’d the consensus Preseason Top Five, and Top Depth Chart options, perform?

  1. Christine Michael (STL) -0.1 FPs
  2. Cameron Artis-Payne (DAL): 6.3
  3. Elijah Hood (LA): 4.3
  4. De’Veon Smith (TB): 9.7
  5. Jhurrel Pressley (DC): 6.9

Tim Cook (4.0 FPs), Andre Williams (1.7), and Ja’Quan Gardner (3.6) round out the other Depth Chart Number Ones. Yep, not a single “starting” RB topped 10 FPs.

Why do RBs suck in XFL Fantasy?

For one, the XFL rule changes promote passing to the fullest. With the lack of clock stoppage after incompletions or out-of-bounds plays, teams have little incentive to run, regardless of the score or gameflow. To refresh: outside the final two minutes, the clock will run once the ball is spotted, regardless of the play before. This creates little incentive to run and bleed out the clock.

Moreover, the run-blocking was absolutely putrid as a whole across the league. Runners often ran into brick walls, especially around the GL. With no real benefit to rushing, outside maybe establishing a play-action game, RB volume should be low all season; only three backs hit 15+ carries, and not one of those players hit 10+ FPs.

Moving forward, prioritize overall offenses, as well as pass catching backs. This is why James Butler, the GL guy within the Roughnecks’ explosive attack, should be the highest Waiver Wire priority of the XFL season. Meanwhile, Lance Dunbar and Trey Williams paced the position in targets with 6 and 5 respectively. In such a pass-happy leagues, these late rounders will see a major bump in overall value.

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