The second edition of the XFL got off to a rousing start last weekend. While it remains to be seen if the new league has more staying power than the 2001 version, it’s nice to have an option for spring football. The first week of action showed that the Houston Roughnecks are pretty entertaining, and that NFL DFS players have some lessons to learn when crafting XFL lineups.

Houston roughnecks qb phillip walker
Phillip Walker tossed four touchdown passes on 272 yards passing in Week 1 of the XFL as he guided the Houston Roughnecks’ offense. (Image: DraftKings)

Don’t Use a Running Back in the Flex

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing some workhorse backs in the NFL, especially late in the season and in the playoffs. That proved not to be the case in the opening week of the XFL, however, as carries were split among a carousel of running backs on most teams. To show how poorly RBs scored, the Houston Roughnecks’ James Butler was the top scoring rusher in the league in DFS with 19 points on DraftKings. No other running back topped 15 points on the site.

It would seem that catching ability is the most important factor for running backs in the XFL, as the top three scoring backs, including Trey Williams of the Seattle Dragons and Lance Dunbar of the Dallas Renegades, all had multiple receptions or receiving touchdowns.

On DraftKings, you must roster just one RB among your seven available spots and two flex options. FanDuel is similar, with the only difference being there are six roster spots and no defense/special teams requirement. The greatest takeaway is to use wide receivers or tight ends instead of running backs in the flex position.

Hold the Course on Top Wide Receivers 

The most-drafted players didn’t fare well in Week 1, with Austin Proehl of the Seattle Dragons and Nelson Spruce of the Los Angeles Wildcats surprisingly leading the way.

But don’t give up on the studs yet. Sammie Coates of the Houston Roughnecks caught just two passes Saturday, but he was targeted nine times. Jeff Badet of the Dallas Renegades should get a boost from the return of QB Landry Jones in Week 2.

Stack the Roughnecks and their Opponents

June Jones, the architect of run-n-shoot, coached the Roughnecks to a 37-17 victory over LA on Saturday, with quarterback Phillip Walker completing 23 of 39 passes for 272 yards, four touchdowns, and one pick. There were plenty of receptions to go around for Walker’s receivers, and Houston’s seemingly juggernaut offense means that opposing teams will have to pass to catch up in most weeks, so rostering the opposing QB and receivers could be good plays too.

Fitting Name for the Guardians?

With a nickname like Guardians, your defense ought to be good, and New York’s lived up to the task with five sacks, two interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown as the team held the Tampa Bay Vipers to three points. That was good for 24 points on DK.

The DC Defenders defensive/special teams squad put up 22 points, but that was built on two defensive touchdowns — obviously a more volatile stat.

Time will tell if the Guardians’ D is that good or if the Vipers’ offensive line is that bad.

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