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Top D/ST surprises, disappointments for Week 1

What D/STs lead in DraftKings points through one week of XFL action? We break down the daily fantasy football debut of the new league.

Jalan McClendon #2 of the LA Wildcats takes a hit from LaTroy Lewis #54 of the Houston Roughnecks and Kony Ealy #94 as he releases the ball at TDECU Stadium on February 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/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, but little concept of how defenses would play. You could find good players and say, well, he might anchor that defensive backfield or he may pressure the quarterback, but there were so many variables that we had to rely on point-spreads and opponent quarterback skill level, which, isn’t that bad of an option really.

Here are your Top-5 daily fantasy defense/special teams units for the opening weekend of the XFL at DraftKings.

  1. NY Guardians — 24
  2. DC Defenders — 22
  3. Houston Roughnecks — 12
  4. St. Louis BattleHawks — 10
  5. Dallas Renegades — 5

The Guardians had five sacks, two interceptions and returned a fumble for a touchdown while holding the Vipers to just three points. Those five sacks tied the league lead and their eight quarterback hurries ranked second. Defensive end Olubunmi Rotimi was a beast, with 1 sack, two quarterback hurries and two tackles for losses. They got off to a great start and appear to have a solid defensive unit.

The Houston Roughnecks put the Wildcats into must pass situations after getting down big and they had no chance with Kony Ealy going off. Ealy only had a half-sack but he got five quarterback hits in the game. Overall, the Roughnecks had five sacks and a whopping 16 quarterback hits. Linebacker LaTroy Lewis was also getting to the quarterback regularly with two sacks and two QB hits. If they can put that much pressure on the quarterback, they are going to be a tough team to beat.

The DC Defenders did their damage mostly due to the poor play of Seattle’s quarterback Brandon Silvers, as they had just one sack and four quarterback hits, but intercepted Silvers twice and returned one for a touchdown. There will be some bad quarterback play in this league and finding the best at being the worst is going to help us pick our D/STs.

There really weren’t any big surprises for D/STs. I did think we might get a kickoff return touchdown with the new kickoff rules, but no luck. Teams didn’t put up huge points, especially in the Sunday games, so I don’t think we’re going to be inundated with awful defense and non-stop scoring across the board. The Defenders and Guardians were surprising in how often they got to the quarterback, and it will be interesting to see if that becomes their norm.