The Renegades couldn’t get much going offensively in Week 1 against the St. Louis BattleHawks, as they fell 15-9 despite being home favorites. Missing their starting quarterback, Landry Jones, didn’t help them, as his backup, Phillip Nelson, completed 33 passes, but for only 209 yards and one interception. Jones should be able to attck further down field with more consistency.
Earlier in the week, the eight XFL teams released their Week 1 depth charts. In the NFL, the PR departments emphasize the depth charts are unofficial and don’t necessarily reflect what Sunday will show us. It’s not a big deal most of the time because we have a lot of history on these players and teams.
In the XFL, we have no such history. These teams were thrown together over the past two months, and so the depth chart is all we have to work with in assessing who is worthwhile in daily fantasy football and who will impact the point spread.
Now that Week 1 is a wrap, we can start to assess where the depth charts were accurate. Pro Football Focus has tracked the snap counts for the XFL, so we have a good starting point. We can compare Dallas’ pregame depth chart with their snap count to figure out what to consider for Week 2.
The Renegades depth chart was not helpful. Lance Dunbar wasn’t even on the depth chart while the wide receiver snaps were all over the place. Here’s the rundown of snaps/targets to give you a feel for just how widely distributed they were:
Jeff Badet - 38/4
Donald Parnham - 37/6
Flynn Nagel - 35/6
Sean Price - 29/4
Jerrod Heard - 26/4
Jazz Ferguson - 25/3
Freddie Martino - 23/1
Josh Crockett - 9/0
Eric Dungey - 4/0
They used nine receivers! That is crazy in comparison to the rest of the league and not very helpful for fantasy if we want to find consistency. I expect some receivers will break out and start to find some consistency, but at this point things are in flux and we probably get Landry Jones back this week. Hopefully we get a more concentrated pool going forward, but this week is going to be tough.
The running back distribution was also wide, as four backs saw snaps and touches. Cameron Artis-Payne was listed as the starter and did get the most snaps with 32, but his two rushing attempts and four receptions for 19 yards was outdone by Lance Dunbar who had just 23 snaps, but five carries for 27 yards and six receptions for 29 yards. All told, the four backs totaled 12 rushing attempts to 15 receptions. Phillip Nelson’s extreme dink and dunk ways may have been the reason for that, but we could be in store for plenty of passing to the backs.
Dallas’ depth chart on the defensive side mostly lined up with their pregame depth chart except for the absence of their slot corner Dashaun Phillips. That makes Dunbar and Phillips as two players not even listed on the depth chart, which, for a dork like me, is akin to someone digging up your grandmother’s grave and forcing her corpse to do the macarena. Anyhoo, the defense overall allowed 7.1 yards per pass attempt and 375 total yards, which was the second-most in the league. That’s not a good start against an offense that was supposed to be near the bottom of the XFL.