Wolf's Week 1 XFL Fantasy Recap: Here to Stay, How to Play... and Win - Roto Street Journal
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Wolf’s Week 1 XFL Fantasy Recap: Here to Stay, How to Play… and Win

After Week 1 of the XFL, there’s only one certainty: the wives and girlfriends of any football / fantasy / gambling addicts are no longer in the clear. Vince McMahon has dropped a hellish top-rope elbow onto households across America, shattering any plans for a Saturday or Sunday stroll.

That’s because the XFL firmly checked off the most important box of all: an actually #good product.

From welcoming us inside the minds of coaches and referees, to savvy rule changes to promote points, to the simple act of displaying betting lines (Red Zone, take notes): the XFL’s tweaks were almost all welcomed. The level of play, though no NFL, was far above any of the other expansion leagues yet.

In short: I don’t think this will be a quickly shot load that fizzles. In fact, three of the four XFL games drew higher ratings than any other NBA or College Basketball game. With the right fantasy platform(s) and coverage, the XFL could be a permanent fantasy offseason fixture and tradition.

Which begs the following questions and musings:

Note – if you don’t have a clue what’s going on, check out the Overview at the bottom of this article.

Where & How to Play XFL Fantasy

1) Can we get some proper season-long Fantasy Hosting?

I’ve already complimented you plenty in here, XFL, and I’ll say it again: You exceeded my every expectation.

So let’s get the one glaring question out of the way:

How, in Holy Hillis, did you not have a season-long XFL Fantasy hosting platform ready… on a game you deliberately structured around scoring?

And, if not you, why has not a single one of the Big Fantasy Hosts (Sleeper, Yahoo, ESPN, CBS) already stepped up?

You’re providing us a garden of plump Fantasy Fruits with minimal tools to juice ’em.

Fortunately, a season-long option does exist. Alt Fantasy Sports provides XFL Fantasy host services, albeit not as smooth or responsive as the ones we’ve grown spoiled on (Sleeper, Yahoo, ESPN). I’ve only tried one Fantasy XFL league on their platform, and you should expect some bugs with drafting and roster management (for the record, hosting has felt smoother Monday).

Nonetheless, something is far, far better than nothing, and it’s certainly serviceable. Find 7 other Non-Diva, Similarly-Addicted league mates, particularly ones who are patient enough to work through the kinks with all of us.

If you’re not blessed to have that level of degeneration in your life, the DraftKings and Betting product is still reason alone to get involved:

2) Draftkings XFL Fantasy DFS is a Blast… with Major Financial Upside

DraftKings, you not only held us fantasy addicts afloat for a week, you spun us around the harbor and made the weekend infinitely more enjoyable.

Despite going in completely blind, you gifted us a very playable, high-prize slate. I’ll now love PJ Walker eternally for winning me a robust $65 bucks on $120 worth of contests. “You WON!”

Thank you, for moments like this:

 

DFS is, by law, a game of skill. This is most true in more established sports, with already-recognized trends and proven budget management strategies.

In XFL DFS, we have some truly open jungle. Sure, there’s general good  DFS practices, but XFL roster construction and DraftKings’ player-pricing remain a science in the works… nevermind we’re still learning who everyone is and how they’ll be used.

The quicker you recognize the edge-gaining trends and proper budget management, the sooner you’ll be at a huge financial advantage. That’s why we’ll be centering our XFL Fantasy Content around DraftKings.

It’s the smoothest user-experience with the highest financial upside of all XFL Platforms. No brainer.

Thus, as you should do in every fantasy league in any sport, ensure you know the settings and scoring before getting involved:

DraftKings XFL Fantasy Settings:

Rosters:

1 QB

1 RB 

2 WR

2 RB/WR

1 DST

Note: If Week 1 was any indication, reliable XFL RBs will be few and far between. Expect to roll out 4-WR lineups regularly.

Scoring:

Mostly Standard DraftKings PPR  + Bonus-heavy scoring, meaning:

  • +1 Point per Reception
  • +3 Points for 100+ Yards Rush or Receiving or 300+ Passing
  • +4 pts per passing TD, -1 per int (favorable to QBs)

Unique XFL Rules that Impact Fantasy Scoring 

The XFL has put many point-promoting rules into place, which obviously had a direct impact on fantasy scoring.

  • Point-After TDs: After a touchdown, the team must run an offensive play and no kicking plays are allowed. They select the 2, 5, or 10-yard line, worth 1, 2, or 3 points respectively. DraftKings awards the same points when earned. Takeaway: QBs in 30+ point offenses like the Roughnecks gained a huge shot at cheap points (more on Walker later).
  • General Pace of Play: In order to speed up the game, the XFL implemented a 25-second play clock. The heightened speed was visible to anyone tuned in Saturday (although Sunday was a different story). “More football during the game” is the XFL’s explanation, which means more fantasy scoring for all of us.
  • (Lack of) Clock StoppingUnlike the NFL, the XFL clock continues to run after incompletions or out-of-bounds plays once the ball is spotted, save the final two minutes. In short, there’s no incentive to run to bleed out the clock, as it ticks no matter what. As we explore shortly, this had an extremely adverse effect on RBs.

Not yet seen:

  • The XFL’s Shootout Overtime: Similar to an NHL Shootout, XFL OT consists of 5 “staged” rounds. A single possession starts at the opponent’s 5-yard line and the offensive team has one play to score. The team with more points after 5 rounds is the winner. Your player gets +2 for each conversion, an insane +10 potential of points
  • The Double Forward Pass: No team attempted a “double forward pass,” despite the variety of ways this can open up a playbook and defense. We hope Week 2 sees teams capitalize on this unique concept.

How to Win in Fantasy XFL

1) Use the Right XFL Fantasy Resources

We firmly believe RSJ should be at the top of your XFL Fantasy Coverage options.

Each week, we will be providing the following information:

Monday & Tuesday: Weekly Recap of Top Scorers, Usage Trends, and Key Takeaways  (Week 1 here) and Fantasy XFL Stock Watch Blurbs

Wednesday: Updated Team Breakdowns & Season-long Rankings

Thursday: Weekly Rankings & DFS Overview

Friday: Injury News and Notes

We highly recommend either bookmarking our homepage or, even better, downloading our NFL & XFL Fantasy App for the cleanest content.

Other Top XFL Coverage Options:

  • Ian Hartitz (@ihartitzfrom RotoWorld covers the XFL as in-depth as any I’ve seen. Must-read weekly coverage.
  • Perhaps no one has grinded harder than DKNation, especially Chet Gresham (@ChetGresham), who’s been breaking down teams snap-by-snap, giving positional previews, and even
  • Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) of CBS Sports has been on the pulse of the XFL, and his recaps and previews are must read.
  • XFLNewsHub.com (@XFLNewsHub) was among the first arrivers on the XFL scene, and continue to uncover edge-gaining news and notes every day.

 

2) Stay on Top of the Trends

Taking the time to pause, reflect, and learn from the week before is crucial for success in any fantasy sport.

It’s 10000x more important for a completely new arena like the XFL.

No one does it better than The Wolf, who’ll give you all the key usage stats, scoring leaders, and lessons you NEED to know before preparing for the future slate:

XFL Fantasy Week 1 Recap: Scoring Leaders, Usage Report, and Key Takeaways

As a sneak peak, you can’t move onto Week 2 without knowing at least this one trend:

Key Takeaway 1: RBs Don’t Matter… unless they catch passes

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. Matt Jones led the way with 21 carries, and seems to have outright stolen this job from the more-heralded Michael. He flies up 2020 Rankings.

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.

Other Notes: Guardians RB Darius Victor ranks fourth in total opportunities thus far. Despite the small stat day, he looks primed to be the team’s lead tailback. Move him up on boards moving forward.

For more crucial trends to know, like the Target Hogs to track, be sure to hit The Wolf’s Week 1 Recap.

XFL 2020 General Overview

Divisions & Teams

XFL East: New York Guardians, DC Defenders, Tampa Bay Vipers, St. Louis Battlehawks

XFL West: Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, LA Wildcats, Seattle Dragons

Complete TV Schedule here.

General Schedule and TV Overview: The XFL will feature a 10 Week Regular season, through April 12th, followed by 2 weeks of playoffs ball.

For the first eight weeks, the slate will feature two Saturday (2pm and 5pm EST) and two Sunday (3pm and 6pm EST) games. For Weeks 9 & 10, an 8pm Thursday Night game will be added, while the 5pm Saturday game is removed.

Keep the Fantasy Football rush alive with XFL Fantasy! Dominate by downloading the RSJ App for Premium XFL & NFL Fantasy Advice & News: https://apple.co/31BnbGd 

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