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What New York Guardians 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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Jarron Jones #74 of the NY Guardians celebrates during the first half of an XFL game against the Tampa Bay Vipers at MetLife Stadium on February 09, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The NY Guardians won, 23-3. Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The New York Guardians started their XFL franchise well, as they held the Tampa Vipers to just three points, winning 23-3. Their offense was competent, but their defense led the way, recording five sacks, eight QB hits, seven tackles for a loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.

Earlier in the week, the eight XFL team 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 NY’s pregame depth chart with their snap count to figure out what to consider for Week 2.

Offense

Your starters on the depth chart were QB Matt McGloin, RB Tim Cook, WRs MeKale McCay, Austin Duke, Colby Pearson and TE Jake Powell. The only change from the depth chart is that Austin Duke saw no snaps while Joe Horn saw the third-most receiver snaps and the most targets with nine. Unfortunately, Horn and McGloin could only connect on two of those targets for 27 yards and Horn had a drop. Austin Duke did return punts, including a 41-yarder, so was playing, but didn’t see any offensive snaps. That could change next week, but going from zero to a significant amount isn’t likely.

Tim Cook led the running backs in snaps with 27, but Darius Victor was right behind him with 26 and out-touched and outplayed Cook, rushing nine times for 32 yards and catching all three of his targets for 25 yards while Cook rushed four times for 10 yards and caught his one target for zero yards. Under Kevin Gilbride, that split in snaps should probably continue but Victor is the victor for Week 1.

Defense

The Guardians played great defensively. Their depth chart was accurate, and led by defensive end Bunmi Rotimi and linebacker Grant Dooley, who graded out by PFF as the two top defensive players. The secondary rotated players, as eight defensive backs saw playing time. Safety Wes Sutton saw just 21 snaps, but recorded two sacks.