You might be thinking about waiting out Week 1 of the XFL DraftKings daily fantasy football (DFS) slate to see what players do what, or maybe even who these players actually are. But that would be a mistake. Now is the time to jump in early and make some greenbacks!
Yes, some of the "stars" on this slate might make you want to stab your eyes with a fork. But as the expression goes, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Now, I'm not going to proclaim myself king. And I'll admit that going into Week 1, I'm still trying to get a better view. But I probably do have a better eye on the XFL than most of the DFS players out there.
For one, I will tell you that I expect either the Dallas Renegades, New York Guardians, or Los Angeles WIldcats to be one of the better teams in the league. If I had to choose one, I'd probably choose the Renegades as they are coached by Bob Stoops, who was a pretty gosh darn good football coach while at the University of Oklahoma for nearly 20 years.
But for now, I'm loading up on those three teams, as you will see from my picks below.
Week 1 XFL DraftKings Picks
QB: Matt McGloin, QB, New York Guardians vs. Tampa Bay Vipers (Sun.), $9700
Nobody is going to confuse McGloin with Patrick Mahomes. But McGloin was pretty good at Penn State, where he threw for 3,271 yards and 24 touchdowns his senior year. As a rookie for the Raiders, he helped generate at least 24 points in two-thirds of his rookie starts. McGloin has a cannon, and a testament to that is his 16.6 percent deep-ball percentage that year, which was second in the league. Think of McGloin as a poor man's Brett Favre. Chances are you're going to see more offense and more points scored in the XFL, and McGloin has the gunslinger mentality that just might work. I'm willing to take that gamble.
WR: Mekale McKay, Guardians vs. Vipers $9900
Going with the Guardian stack here. Of course, Colby Pearson intrigues me for those looking to save a little salary, but for now, let's go with the stud. McKay was an absolute weapon for the Alliance of American Football's (AAF) San Antonio Commanders:
The 6-foot-4 home-run threat is a playmaker, and I am banking on him scoring a couple of times this weekend.
RB: Cameron Artis-Payne, Dallas Renegades vs. St. Louis BattleHawks (Sun.) $6800
As I stated earlier, I like Coach Stoops to have some success. Yet many of you are probably familiar with the name Cameron Artis-Payne. He didn't last long in the NFL, but when you're Christian McCaffrey's backup, it's going to be tough to see the field very much. Of course, CAP will probably share carries with former Cowboy Lance Dunbar here too. But Artis-Payne averaged a respectable 4.2 yards as a Carolina Panther and has a decent floor to complement some of my other high ceiling picks.
DST: Renegades vs. BattleHawks (Sun.) $4700
Again, I just have a feeling about Stoops having immediate success here and going with the RB/DST stack. But one of the many players on Stoops squad is former Oklahoma standout Frank Alexander, who did play in the NFL for a few years but was suspended due to multiple instances of marijuana use. Alexander will be joined by defensive back Micah Abernathy, who found himself as the odd man out in the Minnesota Vikings talented secondary behind Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes.
Like many around the industry, we don't have the BattleHawks ranked very high. Expect the Renegades to help affirm that expectation.
FLEX: Nelson Spruce, Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks (Sat.) $8500
Spruce was a fan favorite and absolutely tore up the AAF last year, finishing second in receptions for the short-lived league. He will now take his talents from San Diego a little farther up the coast and play for Los Angeles. Spruce did wear a couple of different NFL uniforms but is still fairly young. He set 31 school records during his junior year at Colorado and finished his senior year in 2015 by breaking the all-time Pac-12 receptions record in a game versus UCLA.
Spruce will now play for pass-happy OC Norm Chow. Expect Spruce and QB Josh Johnson to connect early and often this weekend.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo courtesy of XFL.com)