The second inaugural XFL season is off to a hot start with ratings stabilizing and attendance numbers rising. Fans have responded, and we’re betting on the XFL to be a league that can stick around for a while.
Here are some performers that have stood out in the early going. Some are MVP candidates, while others are role players that have been consistent and are positioned for an uptick in production.
PJ Walker, Houston Roughnecks [MVP Candidate]
2020 stats: 67 of 105 for 748 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT, 87 yards rushing, 1 TD
The Houston Roughnecks are the only unbeaten team in the XFL after three weeks of play, and that is primarily due to the impressive performance that PJ Walker has given so far. USA Today has compared his level of play to that of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. After being a backup for the Indianapolis Colts for three years, Walker was signed to the Roughnecks after a suggestion from former Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Houston is now reaping the benefits of that suggestion and is looking to ride into the XFL championship game and win it all, as all the best offshore sportsbooks have them picked to win the title. PJ has yet to throw less than three touchdowns in a game. Barring a monumental collapse in production, we expect PJ to win the MVP of the XFL.
Josh Johnson, Los Angeles Wildcats
2020 stats: 36 of 59 for 474 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT
After missing the first game due to injury and losing a heartbreaker to the Dallas Renegades in Week 2, Josh Johnson got the Los Angeles Wildcats back on track in Week 3, delivering a crushing defeat to the DC Defenders. No other quarterback in the XFL has the NFL experience that Josh does, and after two games, the stats are starting to reflect that. Don’t look now, but Johnson and the Wildcats are clawing their way out of the XFL cellar. You can bet on the Los Angeles Wildcats to be a contender for the remainder of the season.
Cardale Jones, DC Defenders
2020 stats: 52 of 89 for 602 yards, 4 TDs, 5 INT, 61 yards rushing
Cardale Jones was almost left off of this list. He looked confident and poised over the first two weeks of the season, but a Week 3 meltdown where he threw four interceptions has many asking if his early success was just a smokescreen. DC has played arguably the worst three teams in the XFL and has come out of it 2-1, but not without some issues that they’ll need to fix on offense. Jones can turn it around, but he’ll have to do it against tougher competition for the remainder of the season.
Cam Philips – Houston Roughnecks [MVP Candidate]
2020 stats: 20 rec., 324 yards, 7 TDs
After back-to-back three-touchdown games, Cam Philips is now at the top of the heap when it comes to XFL wide receivers. He will command a high salary for DFS, but so far, he has been worth it. Philips has established a special connection with quarterback PJ Walker, and the two of them are the main cogs of the most explosive offense in the XFL. Get your popcorn ready when Cam and PJ are on the field.
Nelson Spruce – Los Angeles Wildcats
2020 Stats: 20 rec., 256 yards, 2 TDs
The Los Angeles Wildcats have struggled early on in the 2020 season, but that’s not because of Nelson Spruce. Number 11 has been lighting up the field no matter who is playing quarterback and has been the most consistent high-performing wide receiver so far this season, topping the 75-yard mark in all three contests. He’s got a competitive fire and a will to win that makes him refuse to lose. He’s fun to watch, and a great addition to any DFS lineup.
Austin Proehl – Seattle Dragons
2020 stats: 12 rec., 168 yards, 3 TDs
Austin was leaned on heavily in Week 1, getting 10 targets and receiving five of them. He only caught one reception in Week 2, so perhaps head coach Jim Zorn thought the Seattle Dragons used him too much and decided to scale back a little. In Week 3, Proehl went back to work, catching 6 out of 7 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. Look for the Dragons to continue to target Proehl in excess of 5 times a game.
Donald Parham – Dallas Renegades
2020 stats: 14 rec., 217 yards, 3 TDs
Standing at 6’8” and 240 lbs, Donald Parham is an imposing presence at the tight end position and a very tough assignment for any linebacker to cover. He posted 40 and 76 receiving yards in the first two games, but it was the third game against the Dragons where he exploded for 101 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions that established him among the league’s elite. He has had 24 targets over three games, and you can bet Dallas Renegades quarterback Landry Jones will continue to look Parham’s way going forth.
We’ll be back with a deep dive on the top running backs in the XFL next week. Running back has not been a position of focus so far in the XFL, so we’ll give them another week to marinate. But once XFL awards futures are up, don’t expect any RBs to run away with MVP.