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Breaking down the best running backs in the XFL through Week 3

XFL running backs remain lower in the productivity tiers than other positions as Week 4 approaches. We break down the stats.

LA Running back Carter Martez #28 of the LA Wildcats flips over safety Matt Elam #22 of the DC Defenders and lands in the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of the XFL game at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 23, 2020 in Carson, California. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The XFL heads into Week 3, and the running back position remains a clear step back from the pass catchers. This is a passing league, and the best running back is several steps back of the best wide receivers. Now, with three games of statistics, there’s little doubt that running backs will continue to see their work split between multiple backs and their total workload to be depressed in comparison to the NFL.

Of course, there will be some exceptions to the rules, but even on the run-heavy BattleHawks in an easy win, Matt Jones and Christine Michael split the workload and neither topped 15 touches. Both were viable fantasy plays though, as both found the end zone.

Marquez Carter of the LA Wildcats was the big surprise this week, as he rushed for two touchdowns and caught another, totaling 75 yards on 14 touches to go with his three touchdowns. With Elijah Hood out, Carter took over the lead back role and with the help of an efficient and healthy Josh Johnson, took advantage of scoring opportunities. Only James Butler of the Roughnecks has as many touchdowns, and he’s played in all three games while Carter has just seen action in this one matchup. Hood could be back next week, so it will be interesting to see how they handle the backfield moving forward.

Cameron Artis-Payne has been the best back in the league overall. After a down Week 1, CAP has put up great numbers, averaging 6.4 yards per carry on 29 attempts, which are the fifth-most in the league. He’s also scored two touchdowns and caught 15 of 15 targets. His 44 overall touches ranks third in the league while he’s first in fantasy points. He’s the cream of the crop so far.

The least efficient back has been Christine Michael, who has rushed 35 times for 82 yards while Lance Dunbar has been the highest targeted back, catching 20-of-23 passes. Amazingly, Dunbar plays behind Artis-Payne who has 15 targets. The Renegades have no qualms throwing to their backs, which is a great thing for DraftKings scoring.

XFL RB Stats through Week 3

NAME TEAM ATT YDS AVG TD REC TAR RecYds TD
NAME TEAM ATT YDS AVG TD REC TAR RecYds TD
Cameron Artis-Payne DAL 29 185 6.4 2 15 15 75 0
James Butler HOU 23 130 5.7 2 7 7 22 1
Matt Jones STL 52 224 4.3 1 1 2 25 1
Lance Dunbar DAL 19 92 4.8 0 20 23 119 0
Martez Carter LA 11 34 3.1 2 3 3 41 1
De'Veon Smith TB 42 174 4.1 0 4 8 56 0
Trey Williams SEA 22 94 4.3 0 8 10 44 1
Kenneth Farrow SEA 23 100 4.3 0 7 7 39 1
Christine Michael STL 35 82 2.3 1 3 3 21 0
Donnel Pumphrey DC 23 97 4.2 0 6 11 36 0
Jacques Patrick TB 32 123 3.8 0 4 6 28 0
Darius Victor NY 22 98 4.5 0 5 5 46 0
Jhurrell Pressley DC 27 83 3.1 0 6 7 28 0
Tim Cook NY 23 99 4.3 0 3 4 2 0
Nick Brossette DC 8 75 9.4 1 0 1 0 0
Larry Rose LA 11 26 2.4 1 3 5 15 0
Ja'Quan Gardner SEA 27 100 3.7 0 0 3 0 0
Keith Ford STL 4 26 6.5 1 0 0 0 0
Khalid Abdullah DC 11 52 4.7 0 2 2 11 0
Justin Stockton NY 0 0 0 0 3 5 41 0
Elijah Hood LA 22 74 3.4 0 0 1 0 0
Marquis Young DAL 3 12 4 0 4 4 20 0
Andre Williams HOU 11 20 1.8 0 1 1 7 0
Leonard Tillery STL 7 4 0.6 0 1 1 21 0
Austin Walter DAL 2 13 6.5 0 1 1 8 0
Matt Colburn NY 0 0 0 0 1 4 10 0
DuJuan Harris LA 7 12 1.7 0 0 1 0 0
Deangelo Henderson HOU 1 -6 -6 0 0 0 0 0