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What Seattle Dragons Week 1 snap count tells us about the depth chart

We have our baseline of information for assessing the XFL. Week 1 is a wrap and we can consider snap counts and performances to prepare for Week 2.

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DC Defenders cornerback Desmond Lawrence breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Dragons wide receiver Alonzo Moore in the second quarter during a XFL football game at Audi Field. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Dragons lost their XFL season opener on Saturday, dropping a 31-19 loss to the DC Defenders. DC took a 12-point lead when they intercepted Seattle QB Brandon Silvers and ran it back for a score. The Dragons subsequently had a first and goal situation at the Defenders 3-yard line, only to fumble the ball away with 5:20 to go. They regained possession with 2:22 to go but were unable to do anything.

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 Seattle’s pregame depth chart with their snap count to figure out what to consider for Week 2.

Offense

Seattle listed Ja’Quan Gardner as their starting running back. He played 19 snaps on Saturday and led the team with nine carries, but Kenneth Farrow was the more used back. Farrow finished with 29 snaps and had seven carries and four targets in the passing game. For the time being they don’t have a workhorse back, but Farrow seems to offer more upside in DFS.

The injury report leaves one question at wide receiver. Kasen Williams was listed as a starter, but he was ruled out with a quad injury. Keenan Reynolds and Austin Proehl were the starting receivers, and Dontez Byrd was the first receiver off the bench, followed by Alonzo Moore. It would seem like Moore would return to the bench when Williams is healthy, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Defense

The defensive snap count finished similarly to what the depth chart offered. The big difference was not a surprising one. Seattle played much of their time in nickel and dime packages, with Will Sutton the only defensive tackle to finish in the top ten in snaps. I do wonder if offenses eventually adjust and start trying to run more up the middle against passing defenses. For now, this defensive approach is going to remain consistent with the rules meant to help passing offenses.