The Super Bowl is over, and now we won’t have football for what will feel like an eternity. Well, in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend.” The XFL season will officially get underway this weekend with their brand new 8-team league. With the XFL returning, not only does it allow football to carry on in some light, but it also provides fantasy football players with another market. Both DraftKings and Fanduel will have XFL contests beginning this week, and also, many fantasy players are forming their home leagues. With that in mind, we thought it would be good to provide a two-round mock draft to give a perspective on where players might fall in drafts.
In addition to the XFL using a select set of rules when compared to the NFL, fantasy leagues can set up differently as well. In fact, with just eight teams in a brand new league, it’s possible to see various types of fantasy football formats going into the XFL season, so be sure to understand your league’s format thoroughly before drafting.
For this two-round mock draft, I decided to use the format of a six-team league, half-point PPR, with 1QB, 5 FLEX spots, and 1TE. There’s no need to add defenses or kickers here as neither will be selected within these two rounds (spoiler alert). With that said, here’s the very first XFL fantasy football mock draft for PFN.
1.01 Rashad Ross, WR – DC Defenders
It’s no surprise to see Ross as a preseason WR1 heading into the XFL season. He was one of the elite wide receivers last year in the AAF for the Arizona Hotshots. Despite the shortened season, Ross finished the year with 36 receptions for 583 yards and a league-leading seven touchdowns. With Cardale Jones or Tyree Jackson throwing him the ball in DC, Ross may remain among the leaders in receiving throughout the year.
1.02 Christine Michael, RB – St. Louis Battlehawks
In terms of fantasy, it’s looking as though wide receivers will carry more value than running backs. That’s because we’re not likely to see workhorse backs in the XFL as we do in the NFL, and teams may utilize their second and third options more than usual. With that said, Christine Michael has a ton of experience at the NFL level, spending most of that time with the Seattle Seahawks on two different stints. With five FLEX spots in this format, we’ve made the running back position just as important as wide receivers. Michael is an early-season favorite to lead the league in rushing, so picking him up with your first selection is not a bad strategy.
1.03 Sammie Coates, WR – Houston Roughnecks
Sammie Coates also has a great deal of NFL experience and is widely expected to be the WR1 for the Houston Roughnecks. The Houston offense is expected to be one of the more exciting ones in the XFL under head coach June Jones. The biggest question out of Houston right now is, “Who’s going to be the starting QB?” Connor Cook was selected by the Roughnecks #2 overall, but it looks as though P.J. Walker will walk out as the starter in Week 1. In either case, Coates should thrive in this offense with already having years of experience under his belt against tougher competition.
1.04 Mekale McKay, WR – New York Guardians
The New York Guardians could have the best WR group going into the season. Leading them is Mekale McKay at 6 foot 5 and 195 pounds. McKay went to school at Cincinnati but has never played in an NFL regular-season game despite working out for several teams since 2016. The XFL is a great shot for McKay to showcase his skills in front of a live audience. With his size, McKay should be able to grab a ton of 50-50 balls and reward fantasy owners as a consistent and solid option week in and week out.
1.05 Jhurell Pressley, RB – DC Defenders
Like his DC teammate, Jhurell Pressley played briefly in the AAF for the Arizona Hotshots and led the league in rushing yards before the league ceased operations. On paper, this Defenders’ offense looks to be one of the better overall groups. Pressley is sure to split time with the other backs, but he will get the nod as the starter going into Week 1.
1.06 Kenneth Farrow, RB – Seattle Dragons
Kenneth Farrow made a name for himself in the AAF with the San Antonio Commanders. With some hard-hitting runs, Farrow finished tied for second in rushing yards and quickly became one of the more popular players in the AAF. After the league folded, Farrow was signed by the Miami Dolphins but did not make the final roster cuts. Under head coach Jim Zorn, the Dragons are expected to be a run-heavy offense, which will greatly benefit Farrow and his fantasy owners.
2.01 Josh Johnson, QB – LA Wildcats
With only eight teams in the league, the quarterback position should be more valued than the traditional 1QB formats used for fantasy leagues in the NFL. Therefore, fantasy players would be wise to take their coveted QB early in the process. Johnson is my current QB1, and one could argue that he should even go in the first round in many leagues.
2.02 Landry Jones, QB – Dallas Renegades
Landry Jones is right there with Johnson for me in terms of QB rankings. However, Jones suffered a knee injury in early January that initially evaluated him to miss 4-6 weeks. It’s uncertain when he’ll be ready, but once he is, Jones is expected to lead a high-powered offense under his current and former collegiate head coach at Oklahoma, Bob Stoops.
2.03 Elijah Hood, RB – LA Wildcats
The former Tar Heel running back will lead the Wildcats’ backfield behind Josh Johnson. Hood should be a benefactor of having one of the better quarterbacks in the league in front of him. He has one of the biggest ceilings of any RB going into 2020 and is already the most expensive back on Fanduel heading into Saturday’s slate.
2.04 Seantavius Jones, WR – Tampa Bay Vipers
The Tampa Bay Vipers are an early-season favorite to win the XFL Championship, looking at their offense, it’s easy to see why. Similar to their NFL counterparts, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vipers’ offense looks stellar. Seantavius Jones looks to have the Mike Evans role as the team’s WR1. If he can merit similar fantasy production to Evans, owners of his should be more than pleased.
2.05 Cameron Artis-Payne, RB – Dallas Renegades
Artis-Payne is another player with a lot of NFL experience that should transition his game to the XFL very well. As previously mentioned, the Renegades should be a high-powered offense under Bob Stoops. I could see Artis-Payne as their leading goal-line back, and possibly lead the league in rushing touchdowns as a result. Pairing Artis-Payne with Christine Michael from the previous round would, arguably, give a fantasy owner the best RB combo in their respective league.
2.06 Cardale Jones, QB – DC Defenders
After taking Rashad Ross with the first overall pick, it makes sense to stack Cardale Jones along with him. Jones very well could be in discussion with Josh Johnson and Landry Jones as the XFL’s best at the QB position when it’s all said and done. As mentioned, quarterbacks will be valued higher than they are in the NFL, and this could be a scary pairing for opponents.
With so many questions going into the first XFL season in nearly twenty years, fantasy drafts can and will go in many different ways. Players will ultimately be rated higher and lower on several platforms. Be sure to check out our rankings, DFS, and other fantasy-related information as the XFL season goes on.
Eric Frosbutter is an editor/writer for Pro Football Network covering fantasy football. You can follow him @efrosbutter on Twitter.