Last week was a big week for running backs, as two topped 100 yards rushing, which hadn’t happened in the XFL yet. Both of those backs play for the Tampa Bay Vipers of all teams. Their 0-3 record coming into Week 4 hasn’t allowed one of De’Veon Smith or Jacques Patrick to see big usage due to their team always trailing and their near even divide in touches. But that changed against the now offensively inept DC Defenders scoring no points, helping Smith to 24 carries for 122 yards, while also catching 2-of-3 targets for 11 yards. Patrick saw 21 carries for 108 yards and found the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown, but had zero targets for the first time this season.
Smith now leads the league in rushing yards and total yards for a running back. Smith saw 52 snaps to Patrick’s 37, as the team had a whopping 85 plays run. They have been splitting touches fairly closely since Week 2, but Smith remains the lead in snaps and targets while Patrick is getting a few more looks near the goal line, which showed up in his touchdown last week. Both have value, as no other running back has touched the ball for the Vipers, keeping the two in steady usage, but we also can’t ever expect both will see 20+ touches in the same game or any game for that matter.
Along with the Vipers duo, the Renegades duo of Cameron-Artis Payne and Lance Dunbar has been the best in the league. Against the Roughnecks last week, Dunbar scored a rushing touchdown and Artis-Payne caught five passes to boost an otherwise poor day. That pushed CAP close to Dunbar in the lead for running back receptions with 20 to Dunbar’s 22 now. They rank second and third in total yards, and with Landry Jones out, we should continue to see them get a big helping of work.
Overall, it was a good week for running backs compared to their usual secondary status, but there is still a wide gap between receivers and running backs in terms of usage and production. Quarterbacks have thrown for 42 touchdowns while running backs have rushed for 16 through 32 games.
XFL Running Back Stats through Week 4
|Larry Rose III||Wildcats||16||30||1.9||1||1||0||5||3||60||15||0||0||45|