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Top XFL running back surprises, disappointments for Week 1

What XFL running backs put up the most DraftKings points in Week 1? We break down the daily fantasy football debut of the new league.

Trey Williams #23 of the Seattle Dragons scores a touchdown against the DC Defenders during the first half of the XFL game at Audi Field on February 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Going into the XFL’s kickoff weekend, we had some idea of who was starting and what players and coaches have been good in the past. That method wasn’t going to be 100 percent effective of course, and for running backs, it was 100 percent ineffective.

Here are your Top-5 daily fantasy running backs for the opening weekend of the XFL at DraftKings.

  1. James Butler, Houston Roughnecks — 19
  2. Trey Williams, Seattle Dragons — 14.3
  3. Lance Dunbar, Dallas Renegades — 11.6
  4. DeVeon Smith, Tampa Bay Vipers — 9.7
  5. Kenneth Farrow, Seattle Dragons — 9.5

For starters, not one running back who was listed atop the depth chart landed in the Top-3. One player, Lance Dunbar wasn’t even on his team’s depth chart. But, we knew what we were getting into in Week 1 of the XFL and now we can learn.

Probably the biggest takeaway is that running backs, even if we are sure they are starting, won’t get many touches. One back, Matt Jones, saw 21 rushing attempts (over Christine Michael) and another, DeVeon Smith saw 16 for the top-2 of the weekend. And of the Top-3 backs, two had receiving touchdowns and the other had six receptions. For DraftKings, receiving ability is probably even more important in the XFL than NFL.

James Butler has to be the biggest surprise because he led the way and was the only running back to top 15 DraftKings points. Butler was listed last on the Roughnecks depth chart behind Andre Williams and De’Angelo Henderson, but ended up with 11 touches, 50 yards and two touchdowns while Williams and Henderson combined for four touches for one-yard. That must bode well for him moving forward.

The Dragons backfield looked like it would be a mess and it was, as the depth chart ended up being the exact opposite when looking at fantasy scoring. But, two of their three backs ended up in the Top-5, which is a good sign. We knew Seattle would want to run the ball with their trio of backs, but the good news is that when trailing, Farrow and Williams saw five and four targets and Williams managed a receiving touchdown to boost his numbers.

The biggest disappointment was Christine Michael, who was listed as the starter, but ran the ball seven times for zero yards and a fumble. That fumble helped Jones take over and see the most touches of any running back in the league. Michael could return next week to a bigger workload, but Jones has the faith of his team after an upset win in Dallas.

Michael was by far the biggest disappointment, as the other starters at least got positive yards, but on the whole, every starting running back was a disappointment in some way. DeVeon Smith, who had one of the best games of the weekend by rushing 16 times for 79 yards, didn’t see one target, which is weird from a Marc Trestman offense. Jacques Patrick was the only Vipers back to get a target, and he caught 1-of-3 for negative one yard.

The good news is that DraftKings only makes us pick one running back. So, hopefully we can find one from the rubble worth rostering next weekend.