We've only just started covering XFL, but the interest in this upstart league has been clear ahead of kickoff. Unfortunately, there isn't great information as we head into Week 1. Let's recap what we do know and what we're waiting to find out before opening weekend.
The big information made available Wednesday was an injury report for each team. We're also starting to see depth charts released to the local media for several teams that will help inform us of what to expect in Week 1, but those have come out team by team and we don't have all eight yet. We'll discuss some early takeaways but will also do a deeper look at the depth charts Thursday afternoon to get you ready for the start of the season.
We also have spreads for the games, but no over/unders, so while there are a couple heavy favorites, we can't yet use the betting market to estimate which teams are expected to score the most points.
Let's look at the matchups for Week 1.
Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders
Line: Defenders -7.5
TV: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
Key injury notes
Seattle WR Kasen Williams: DNP Wednesday (quad)
Seattle TE Cam Clear: DNP Wednesday (unknown)
DC WR DeAndre Thompkins: DNP Wednesday (foot)
Thompkins and Williams both went in the fourth round of our seasonal draft Tuesday, and each are potentially key parts of their passing games if healthy. DC's receiving corps is deep with AAF star Rashad Ross carrying a hefty DFS price tag alongside former Steeler Eli Rogers, Malachi Dupre and Simmie Cobbs. If Thompkins misses Week 1, it won't necessarily clear up playing time.
Seattle has a busy tight end room, so Clear's injury still leaves behind multiple options, but if Williams were to miss it would make Keenan Reynolds look like a solid bet to be among the leaders of receiving group that also includes Dontez Byrd and Alonzo Moore, among others. Reynolds, a former quarterback at Navy, has created some preseason buzz and has been projected as a starter for Seattle.
Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks
Line: Roughnecks -5.5
TV: Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (Fox)
Key injury notes
LA QB Josh Johnson: DNP Wednesday (thigh)
LA WR Tre McBride: Limited Participant Wednesday (thigh)
Houston: RB Nick Holley (knee) and RB James Butler (ankle) both listed on report, but were full participants Wednesday
The big thing to watch in advance of the Saturday night game is Josh Johnson's status. The former NFLer relies on his mobility, so a thigh injury could limit his Fantasy productiveness even if he is able to suit up. He appears legitimately questionable, though, and if he misses it could equate to a slow start for the Wildcats' offense on the road.
Houston appears to be at full strength. The team released a depth chart that included four starting wide receivers, which makes some sense given it is coached by spread/air raid aficionado June Jones and has no tight ends on the roster. Holley is listed as a running back but was among the four starting wide receivers on the initial depth chart, alongside Sammie Coates, Kahlil Lewis and Cam Phillips. Andre Williams was listed as the starting running back with De'Angelo Henderson as the No. 2.
Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians
Line: Vipers -2.5
TV: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (Fox)
Key injury notes
TB TE DeAndre Goolsby: DNP Wednesday (neck)
NY WR Joe Horn: Limited Participant Wednesday (ankle)
NY WR Mekale McKay: Full Participant Wednesday (ankle)
Goolsby's DNP should only help solidify Nick Truesdell's place as the No. 1 tight end for Tampa. Truesdell was the top tight end selected in our seasonal draft this week, and while tight end isn't a required lineup spot in most XFL formats, he's the best bet among the league's options at the position to be Fantasy-relevant enough to justify using him.
McKay is expected by most to be the Guardians' lead receiver, and he saw legitimate No. 1 volume in the AAF. Being listed on the Week 1 injury report isn't a great sign, but he was a full participant so it shouldn't be something to worry about, and the practice report suggested he took the field with the first team alongside Colby Pearson.
St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades
Line: Renegades -8.5
TV: Sunday, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Key injury notes
STL TE Cole Hunt: Limited Participant Wednesday (hamstring)
DAL QB Landry Jones: Limited Participant Wednesday (knee)
DAL WR Jazz Ferguson: DNP Wednesday (hand)
DAL TE Julian Allen: Limited Participant Wednesday (hand)
Dallas is the biggest Week 1 favorite among the lines we have available, and the Renegades also have some of the most relevant injury news. Landry Jones is working his way back from a knee injury suffered in early January. That Jones was able to practice in a limited fashion is a good sign, but because he plays on the last game of the slate, it's possible we won't get confirmation on his status until other games are in the books. That would make him a risk/reward DFS option for Week 1.
Ferguson was among the top picks in our Fantasy draft this week, and because he carries a notably low salary in DFS, he's been a name to watch. He seems likely to be a piece of the Dallas passing game if healthy, but his DNP Wednesday isn't a great sign for his Week 1 status. Speedster Jeff Badet looks more likely to be Dallas' top passing game option in Week 1, and he was listed as a starter alongside Freddie Martino and Flynn Nagel. Tight end Julian Allen looks like a depth piece and was listed third on the initial Dallas depth chart.
St. Louis looks mostly healthy, with Cole Hunt its only skill position player on the injury report. He's one of just two tight ends on the roster alongside Wes Saxton, so if Hunt were to miss Week 1, Saxton might get additional reps. That said, the BattleHawks are presumed to want to be a running team.