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Breaking down the best running backs in the XFL through Week 4

XFL running backs remain lower in the productivity tiers than other positions as Week 5 approaches. We break down the stats.

Jacques Patrick of the Vipers carries the ball during the XFL game between the DC Defenders and Tampa Bay Vipers on March 01, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

Name Team Run RuYds YPR TD MT Fum Tg Rec % ReYds ReTD Drp TotYds
Name Team Run RuYds YPR TD MT Fum Tg Rec % ReYds ReTD Drp TotYds
De'Veon Smith Vipers 66 296 4.5 0 26 1 11 6 54.5 67 0 1 363
Cameron Artis-Payne Renegades 42 222 5.3 2 12 0 23 20 87 98 0 1 320
Lance Dunbar Renegades 28 140 5 1 4 0 25 22 88 136 0 2 276
Matt Jones BattleHawks 67 244 3.6 1 7 0 2 1 50 25 1 1 269
Jacques Patrick Vipers 53 231 4.4 1 19 0 7 4 57.1 28 0 2 259
Darius Victor Guardians 41 187 4.6 0 7 1 6 5 83.3 36 0 1 223
Donnel Pumphrey Defenders 31 131 4.2 0 7 1 13 9 69.2 68 0 0 199
James Butler Roughnecks 34 169 5 2 15 0 8 8 100 25 1 0 194
Kenneth Farrow Dragons 28 125 4.5 1 5 0 10 9 90 53 1 0 178
Trey Williams Dragons 27 94 3.5 0 8 0 9 8 88.9 44 1 1 138
Tim Cook Guardians 30 124 4.1 0 4 0 6 5 83.3 13 0 1 137
Christine Michael BattleHawks 47 109 2.3 1 10 1 3 3 100 21 0 0 130
Ja'Quan Gardner Dragons 30 116 3.9 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 116
Jhurell Pressley Defenders 27 83 3.1 0 9 0 6 6 100 28 0 0 111
Nick Brossette Defenders 14 87 6.2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 87
Martez Carter Wildcats 12 41 3.4 2 4 0 3 3 100 41 1 0 82
Elijah Hood Wildcats 23 78 3.4 0 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 78
Khalid Abdullah Defenders 11 52 4.7 0 0 0 2 2 100 11 0 0 63
DuJuan Harris Wildcats 12 37 3.1 0 1 0 3 2 66.7 21 0 0 58
Andre Williams Roughnecks 13 38 2.9 0 1 0 3 3 100 19 0 0 57
Keith Ford BattleHawks 7 49 7 2 3 0 1 1 100 5 0 0 54
Larry Rose III Wildcats 16 30 1.9 1 1 0 5 3 60 15 0 0 45
Justin Stockton Guardians 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 3 60 41 0 1 41
Marquis Young Renegades 3 12 4 0 0 0 5 5 100 20 0 0 32
Lenard Tillery BattleHawks 7 4 0.6 0 0 0 1 1 100 21 0 0 25
Austin Walter Renegades 2 13 6.5 0 0 0 1 1 100 8 0 0 21
Matt Colburn Guardians 1 6 6 0 0 0 4 2 50 8 0 0 14
De'Angelo Henderson Roughnecks 1 -6 -6 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -6