With the XFL temporarily disbanding after the 2020 season, the USFL will look to fill the need for a spring football league. Recently completing their draft, the USFL is comprised of eight teams. The rosters are only 38 players deep, in addition to a seven-man practice squad. Much smaller than NFL rosters, the personnel of each team can also indicate what type of team they hope to be. This piece will dig into each team, analyzing coaching trends, player personnel and any other nuggets that could be relevant for USFL DFS and fantasy football here.
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2022 USFL DFS Advice & Fantasy Football Player Profiles
Head Coach – Bart Andrus
Offensive Coordinator – Marcel Bellefeuille
One of the more interesting coaching hires in the USFL, Bart Andrus comes from a lower level of competition. After playing quarterback at Montana from 1979-1980, Andrus has most recently coached in Canada and various spring leagues. Last year, Andrus coached quarterbacks for a college team in Canada called the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s. Their offense passed the ball 53% of the time and ran an uptempo, no-huddle style of offense. While Andrus has made some curious player personnel moves, this team could be decent for DFS behind a pass-heavy, uptempo scheme.
At the quarterback position, the Stars selected former Division III quarterback Bryan Scott. Scott is 6-foot-2, 222 pounds and played college ball at Occidental. Since then, he has bounced around the Canadian League and most recently competed with Andrus at the Spring League. He allegedly beat out Zach Mettenberger and played well enough to secure the starting job here. He looks like a pure pocket passer, coming from a questionable level of competition despite being picked third overall. While Andrus may believe he uncovered an edge with the former Division III quarterback, it remains more likely that the NFL correctly evaluated that he simply isn’t good. The Stars also added Northern Arizona’s all-time passing leader Case Cookus to back him up. Potentially the most volatile offense in the league based on Andrus’ personal quarterback evaluations, Scott’s pedigree and non-mobile playing style certainly raise questions.
At running back, the Stars drafted Darnell Holland with the second pick in the running back round. Holland is 5-foot-10, 195 pounds and played his college ball at Kennesaw State. Holland never carried more than 80 times in a single year, but he finished with 949 yards in his final season in 2018. He also caught a lackluster 35 passes in college with three seasons below 10 receptions. Holland allegedly ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro-day, but his backfield looks like a committee based on Holland’s profile. Behind him, the Stars took former Wake Forest back Matt Colburn. Colburn is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and occupies a similar role. He ran a 4.47 at his pro-day after rushing for 775 yards in his final season with Wake Forest. The Stars currently carry three backs with Paul Terry also on the roster. This looks like a committee.
At receiver, the Stars spent their first three picks on Devin Gray, Jordan Suell and Brennan Eagles. Drafted eighth overall, Gray played his college ball at Cincinnati. Gray is 6-feet, 192 pounds and ran a 4.41 40-yard dash. Gray caught 58 passes for 860 yards for Cincinnati in 2016 playing out wide. Suell played wide receiver at Southern Oregon and maxed out at 863 yards in 2017 as a sophomore. He is another deep threat, averaging 19.5 yards per reception in his career. He allegedly ran a 4.49 40-yard dash coming out of school, while standing 6-foot-6, 205 pounds. Rounding out the top three, Eagles played college at Texas. Eagles is 6-foot-4, 229 pounds and played on the outside at Texas. He averaged 16.8 yards per reception, but never caught more than 32 passes for 522 yards in any season. In the fourth and fifth rounds, the Stars selected former Clemson receiver Diondre Overton and former FIU wide out Maurice Alexander. Alexander is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver, who played in the slot. Overton played a larger slot role at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. Alexander also played some quarterback, making this a tough transition for him. Based on his stature, Gray looks like the ideal candidate to play in the slot for the Stars.
At tight end, the Stars selected XFL veteran Bug Howard fifth overall in the tight end draft. Howard reported late, but he should be the team’s top tight end. Howard is a converted wide receiver, who caught 124 balls for 1,770 yards in his three year career with North Carolina. He brings solid athleticism to the position with a 4.58 40-yard dash. Howard spent some time in the AAF and on various NFL practice squads, but he has yet to provide meaningful snaps for any professional organization. Behind Howard, the Stars will use Artayvious Lynn and Pro Wells. Both played their college ball at TCU. Lynn is 6-foot-6, 271 pounds and played primarily inline. He never caught more than 11 passes in a season. Wells is 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and played primarily in the slot. He only ran a 4.83 40-yard dash, so he still isn’t the most athletic prospect. However, he did catch 30 passes in his final two seasons at TCU. This is one of the weaker tight end rooms in the league and Wells basically plays the slot. It will be interesting to see what approach Andrus takes with his volatile player personnel.
Head Coach – Kevin Sumlin
Offensive Coordinator – J.D. Runnels
A far more accredited coach, Kevin Sumlin most recently coached Arizona between 2018-2020. Arizona went 9-20, but Sumlin does have an offensive background. Arizona ran a spread, pass-heavy offense under Sumlin that featured a pass rate above 50% in his final two seasons. The Wildcats were also top 26 in play volume in each of his three years with the team. Offensive coordinator J.D. Runnels coached running backs for East Central College (Division II) last year, but Sumlin projects to call the plays here. Again, this looks like a solid spot to target passing games at first glance.
One of the higher-drafted quarterbacks in this league, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Clayton Thorson in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Thorson played college ball at Northwestern and is 6-4, 226 pounds. In the preseason, Thorson put up some horrific stats despite his draft status. His best preseason come in 2019, where he completed 48.4% of his passes for 4.3 yards per attempt, one touchdown and three interceptions. Non-mobile as well, Thorson’s pedigree as a draftable NFL player keeps him somewhat relevant here. Behind Thorson, former Monmouth quarterback Kenji Bahar will serve as the backup. Bahar has average mobility and would likely be an upgrade for fantasy purposes.
At running back, the Gamblers spent the sixth overall pick on Dalyn Dawkins and the 11th overall pick on Mark Thompson. Dawkins played primarily at Colorado State and amassed at least 850 yards in three straight seasons to end his career. Standing 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, Dawkins also caught at least 20 passes in three straight years. Conversely, Thompson is 6-foot-2, 237 pounds. He only amassed 596 yards rushing on 126 carries in his short career with Florida, but he profiles as the team’s early-down back. Prior to Florida, Thompson played JUCO ball. This team also carries three backs with former Arkansas Razorback Devwah Whaley also on the roster. With Sumlin’s pass-heavy pedigree, Dawkins looks like the back to target here. Sumlin has also shown the willingness to utilize a smaller back in a semi-work-horse role. This occurred with J.J. Taylor at Arizona.
Drafted with the second overall pick in the receiver draft, Isaiah Zuber played college ball at Kansas State and Mississippi State. Zuber’s is 6-feet-0, 190 pounds and caught 51 passes in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018 for Kansas State. He mostly played out wide and ran a 4.5 40-yard dash. Zuber failed to contribute once he stepped up to Mississippi State in 2019 with 14 receptions for 211 yards in 10 games. Unable to handle the rigors of the SEC, how will he fare here? Behind him, JoJo Ward and Anthony Ratliff-Williams were the second and third receivers drafted by the Gamblers. Ward is 5-foot-9, 175 pounds and played out wide for Hawaii in college. Ward ran a 4.47 40-yard dash after catching 1,134 yards on 65 passes in his final season in 2019. Ratliff-Williams is 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and also played out wide in college. The former North Carolina Tar Heel ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and averaged 16.8 yards per reception in college. Among the three, Ward looks most likely to play in the slot due to his size limitations. Arizona had a history of rotating receivers under Sumlin, so deeper receivers on the roster like Tyler Simmons, Teo Redding and Tyler Palka could see extra playing time here. Simmons played a rotational role at Georgia, while Redding is a veteran of the XFL. Palka also played in the XFL, but only appeared in one game and never recorded any receiving stats. The Gamblers passed on drafting a fifth receiver in favor of drafting two tight ends.
One of the teams electing to draft two tight ends, the Gamblers selected Brandon Barnes first overall and Julian Allen ninth overall. Barnes is 6-foot-4, 255 pounds and played college at Alabama State. He ran a 4.69 40-yard dash but never made it in the NFL. Veteran of the XFL, he finished with the second-most yards receiving among tight ends behind Donald Parham with 12 catches for 133 yards. Barnes played almost entirely inline in his time with the XFL. Conversely, Allen is 6-foot-2, 244 pounds and played H-Back for Southern Miss. He caught 22 career passes and makes little sense on this roster. Arizona did a pathetic job featuring tight ends under Sumlin and this talent level doesn’t inspire confidence either.
Tampa Bay Bandits
Head Coach – Todd Haley
Offensive Coordinator – Bob Saunders
Longtime, Pittsburgh Steelers play-caller, Todd Haley coordinated the offense between 2012-2017. He then coordinated the Cleveland Browns offense in 2018 under Hue Jackson before getting fired. Since then, Haley has coached at the high school level. Haley has a reputation for pushing the ball down field with his quarterbacks. He also passes a lot overall, sitting inside the top 15 in pass rate and top 10 in tempo in his final two NFL seasons. Offensive coordinator, Bob Saunders is a former receiver coach of the DC Defenders and was an assistant receiver coach with Haley in Cleveland. This should be the Haley show and he looks to have the player personnel run his style of offense.
XFL standout and former Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu come off the board with the second overall pick in the USFL Draft. Ta’amu played with the Saint Louis Battlehawks in the XFL, where he stood out enough to bounce around NFL practice squads in the following years. Ta’amu brings more rushing upside than any other quarterback in this league. In the XFL, Ta’amu finished seventh overall in yards rushing, while completing 72% of his passes. The Bandits selected former Memphis pocket passer Brady White as their backup, but Ta’amu should hold this spot down with his level of experience. For DFS, expect Ta’amu’s rushing ability to keep him among the best quarterbacks in this league.
One of the rare teams with only two running backs on the roster, the Bandits spent the top running back pick on former Florida Atlantic player B.J. Emmons. Emmons started his career with Alabama in 2016, before transferring to JUCO. After JUCO, Emmons played two injury riddled seasons with Florida Atlantic. In total, he never carried more than 51 times in any season. However, he is 6-feet, 220 pounds and ran a 4.58 40-yard dash. The draft capital and pedigree as a former four-star recruit stand out here. Behind Emmons, the Bandits selected former San Diego State back Juwan Washington. Washington also battled injury during portions of this college career. Standing 5-foot-7, 190 pounds, Washington profiles as the pass catching back after notching 27 receptions over his final two years in college. No stranger to coaching bell-cow backs, Haley coordinated the Le’Veon Bell glory days in Pittsburgh. Emmons has the potential to occupy this role in what looks like one of the league’s better offenses.
Unfortunately, the Bandits drafted Eli Rogers with the fifth pick in the receiver draft in attempt to reunite the NFL veteran with his former offensive coordinator in Haley. However, Rogers didn’t report to camp and the Bandits are down their top receiver before the year even starts. Now, 12th overall pick Derrick Willies will have to step up as the top receiver. Willies made Cleveland’s active roster in 2018 and 2020, playing with Haley in 2018. Willies has solid preseason numbers after catching just 36 passes in his final two years at Texas Tech. He is 6-foot-4 and will play out wide here. He ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at his pro day. Behind him, the Bandits drafted Derrick Dillon and Jordan Lasley in the third and fourth rounds. Dillon is 5-11, 186 pounds and played the slot at LSU. A complete burner, Dillon ran a 4.29 40-yard dash, but that never really translated to on-field production at LSU. He maxed out at 22 receptions for 307 yards in 2018. For what it’s worth, Dillon played behind Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall. Lasley is 6-foot-1, 213 pounds and ran a 4.5 40-yard dash coming out of UCLA. The Ravens selected Lasley in the fifth round of the NFL Draft after he recorded 1,264 yards in his final year with UCLA. He will most likely play outside opposite Willies. For depth, the Bandits also have Vinny Papale, John Franklin, Keith Mumphery and Rashard Davis on the roster. Davis is interesting as a late addition to this team. His experience in the NFL preseason and even making the Titan’s roster for a single game. He could start here at some point.
The Tampa Bay Bandits also selected two tight ends in Cheyenne O’Grady and De’Quan Hampton. O’Grady played college ball at Arkansas, standing 6-foot-4, 256 pounds. O’Grady ran a 4.81 40-yard dash, but off-field issues hurt his draft stock and limited his college career. He caught 85 passes over three years at Arkansas and showed the ability to play in and out of the slot. He played 204 snaps out wide and 140 in the slot in his final collegiate season. Hampton is a converted wide receiver from USC. He stood 6-foot-4, 223 pounds coming out of college with a 4.66 40-yard dash. Hampton never notched strong college production, but he will presumably play in the slot when on the field. This looks like a solid pass catching group at the tight end position.
New Jersey Generals
Head Coach – Mike Riley
Offensive Coordinator – Steven Smith
The failed Nebraska coach from 2015-2017, Mike Riley most recently coached the Seattle Dragons in the XFL. Before that, Riley coached the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF. Riley runs an archaic, run-heavy offense. In Seattle, the Dragons averaged the second-least yards passing per game, but the fourth most yards rushing behind Kenneth Farrow and Ja’Quan Gardner. With the AAF, the Commanders were also second-to-last in pass attempts per game, but second overall in rushing attempts per game. The USFL’s version of the Tennessee Titans, this team projects to be among the run-heaviest in the league.
Shockingly, the Generals selected 5-foot-10, 200-pound former Tarleton State quarterback Ben Holmes with the third overall pick. Unfortunately, Holmes broke his foot and was cut by the Generals. De’Andre Johnson now likely will get the first crack at starting duties. Johnson played college ball at Texas Southern. He initially played in eight games for Florida Atlantic, before transferring to JUCO and subsequently Texas Southern. Johnson has the chance to be one of the best dual threats in the league. He rushed for 834 yards in JUCO and even put up 178 yards on 35 attempts with Florida Atlantic in 2018. With Texas Southern, he notched 417 yards on the ground as well. To replace Holmes, the Generals also brought in spring veteran Luis Perez. Overall, this looks like a volatile quarterback room, unless Johnson can utilize his legs.
The Generals spent the third pick in the running back draft on former Ohio State rusher Mike Weber. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Weber is 5-foot-10, 211 pounds. Weber ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, making him one of the better athletes in this league. In college, he bested 1,000 yards as a redshirt sophomore in 2016 and then played alongside J.K. Dobbins to end his career. Weber also amassed over 20 receptions in two of his three seasons, making him a solid three-down back here. However, Riley has a history of utilizing multiple backs going back to his AAF days. Behind Weber, the Generals also drafted Trey Williams. Williams has now played a change of pace role on both of Riley’s minor league football teams. The Generals also have Darius Victor on the roster, who finished fifth in the XFL in rushing on the New York Guardians. This offense could use as many as three backs. However, Weber should get the first crack at lead back duties, making him a solid runner to target here.
At receiver, the Generals spent the seventh overall pick in the receiver draft on former TCU Horned Frog KaVontae Turpin. Kicked off the TCU roster for domestic abuse, Turpin spent some time playing football in Europe after his final downs with TCU in 2016. Turpin is 5-foot-7, 157 pounds and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He played all over the formation in college but looks like a slot guy here. He recorded 649 yards as a freshman in 2015 and never eclipsed 410 in another season after that. He does have 44 career college carries to his name, giving him a Tavon Austin-like vibe. Behind him, J’Mon Moore and Darrius Shepherd came off the board in the second and third round. Moore is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash coming out of Missouri after catching 60+ passes for over 1,000 yards in each of his last two years with the Tigers. He should play on the outside here. Shepherd has six catches in regular season games for the Green Bay Packers, despite going undrafted out of North Dakota State. He is 5-11, 188 pounds and offers additional value as a returner. Shepherd ran a 4.57 at his pro day and could operate in and out of the slot here. He mostly played in the slot during his time in the NFL. Lastly, the Generals drafted Randy Satterfield with their fifth receiver pick and cut Christopher Platt, who the team drafted in the fourth round. The Generals also took supplemental draft pick Alonzo Moore to provide depth. They also signed former Western Kentucky receiver, Cameron Echols-Luper to give them six bodies at the position.
At tight end, the Generals selected Braedon Bowman with the eighth overall pick and Nick Truesdell 12th overall. Bowman is 6-foot-4, 239 pounds and played his college ball at South Alabama. A severely undersized inline tight end, Bowman is also already 28 years old. He has 29 career catches for 381 yards in two seasons with the Jaguars, for the little it’s worth. Truesdell is a veteran of the XFL and finished fifth in yards receiving among tight ends with 91. Truesdell is another inline tight end, standing 6-foot-5, 249 pounds after playing college at Grand Rapids Community College. If Riley’s plans to run weren’t already clear, this team also has a third tight end on the roster in Woody Brandom.
Head Coach – Kirby Wilson
Offensive Coordinator – John Tomlinson
Kirby Wilson most recently coached the Las Vegas Raiders’ running backs from 2019-2020. Before that, he also coached running backs for the Browns and Cardinals. Offensive coordinator John Tomlinson coordinated the Juniata College offense last year. They played slow, run-heavy football with a 47% pass rate and 63.4 plays per game, which ranks well below average for the college level. Not to mention, the team also sucked, scoring 13.5 points per game. While there is little historical data to use here, this team looks like another run-heavy team.
With the seventh overall pick in the USFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Maulers selected former Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta. In addition to passing for 3,737 yards at Richmond, Lauletta has played across multiple preseasons in the NFL. Lauletta is 6-foot-2, 222 pounds and profiles as a pocket passer. Unlike most quarterbacks in this league he has some decent preseason numbers and completed 65% of his passes at Richmond for 8.6 yards per attempt. Unfortunately, he looks to be stuck in a run-heavy scheme. Behind Lauletta, the Maulers drafted former San Jose State quarterback Josh Love as insurance.
Another tidbit pointing to a run-heavy scheme, the Maulers are the only USFL team to carry a fullback in Mikey Daniel. Interestingly, the Maulers already cut De’Vion Smith, who expected to handle a large workload. At the actual running back position, the Maulers now have just two backs. Leading the group is former fullback/combo-back Garrett Groshek. Groshek played fullback/running back in the NFL for the Raiders, carrying the ball six times in the preseason. In addition to his full back duties at the University of Wisconsin, Groshek notoriously stole passing game work from Jonathan Taylor. Groshek amassed over 20 receptions in three straight years for the Badgers. Groshek is 5-foot-11, 220 pounds. While unconventional, he looks every bit like a feature back. Behind him, the Maulers signed Madre London off the street to work as a complement. There’s a pretty good chance that Groshek operates as the true feature back here.
While the Maulers might be a run-heavier team, they’ve invested in some interesting options at receiver. With the fourth pick, the Maulers selected former Miami receiver Jeff Thomas. While Thomas only is 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, the former Hurricane played primarily on the perimeter in college. Logging a 4.45 40-yard dash, Thomas has solid speed to combine with this middling collegiate production. Thomas never recorded more than 563 yards or 35 catches in any single season. With their second pick, the Maulers selected former San Jose State receiver Bailey Gaither. Gaither also played out wide in college, despite his 6-foot-1, 182-pound frame. The six-year college player recorded over 725 yards in each of his final two seasons. With a 4.48 40-yard dash, Gaither is a middling athlete here. Third, the Maulers selected former Temple wide out Branden Mack. Another perimeter receiver, Mack is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds with a 4.64 40-yard dash. His best season came in 2019 with 59 receptions for 904 yards. Fourth, the Maulers selected Delvon Hardaway, who barely played in college. They also doubled down on San Jose State receivers, taking Tre Walker in the fifth round. Walker is just 5-foot-11, 180 pounds and could serve as a backup to Thomas in the slot. He was more productive than Gaither in 2019 but took a step back in 2020. This roster also has just five receivers.
The Maulers spent the third overall pick in the tight end draft on Matt Seybert. Seybert is 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and played college ball at Michigan State. Seybert played largely attached to the offensive line, but he showed some pass catching ability with 26 receptions for 284 yards in his final season. He also ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at his pro day, giving him solid athletic measurables. Behind him, the Maulers picked up Hunter Thedford in the supplemental draft, who functions as a pure blocker. Thedford had five catches in three seasons at tight end in college.
Head Coach – Skip Holtz
Offensive Coordinator – Skip Holtz
The Stallions do not have an offensive coordinator, with head coach Skip Holtz calling plays. Holtz coached Louisiana Tech from 2013-2021, which operated a fantasy friendly scheme. Often running four-wide sets, Louisiana Tech passed 52.5% and 53.1% of the time in his final two seasons. Both ranked inside the top 33. They also ran 71.4 and 73.0 plays per game in his final two years, ranking inside the top 54. It appears, Holts plans to run the same fantasy friendly offense here.
Drafting sixth overall, the Birmingham Stallions selected Alex McGough to play quarterback. McGough is 6-foot-3, 214 pounds and was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He played college at FIU and completed 65.4% of his passes for 7.9 yards per attempt. Unlike many of the pocket passers in this league, McGough appears to have some escape-ability. He rushed for 231 yards in his final year of college, giving him Joe Burrow-like mobility. In the 2021 preseason with Seattle, he completed 65.2% of his passes for 6.1 yards per attempt. He looks like one of the better quarterbacks in this league. Behind McGough, the Stallions reunited former Louisiana Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith with his former head coach.
Currently carrying three backs on the roster, the Stallions drafted Tony Brooks-James with the seventh overall pick and C.J. Marable with the 10th overall pick. After playing his college ball at Oregon, the undrafted 5-foot-9, 190-pound Brooks-James appeared in two preseasons for the Falcons and Vikings. He looks like an undersized, grinder back, who never rushed for more than 771 yards in any college season. He allegedly ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at Oregon’s pro day. Marable entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2021 after playing for Coastal Carolina. Also undersized, Marable is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds. He eclipsed 700 yards rushing in three seasons in college and amassed 69 receptions in his final two years with the Chanticleers. Jordan Chunn occupies the third running back spot on this roster, but Brooks-James and Marable should battle for work here. Holtz historically utilized multiple backs at Louisiana Tech.
Drawing the first pick in the receiver draft, the Stallions selected Victor Bolden. Bolden entered the NFL in 2017 as a 5-foot-8, 178-pound undrafted free agent from Oregon State. Bolden appeared in two regular seasons and four preseasons, primarily with the 49ers. He ran a middling 4.54 40-yard dash but has played more NFL snaps than most in this league. While likely limited to the slot, he looks like one of the better talents here. Bolden amassed at least 461 yards in three separate season with Oregon State and offers versatility as a kick returner. Behind him, the Stallions drafted Emanuel Hall and Osirus Mitchell with their second and third picks in the receiver draft. Hall was projected to function as a deep threat after running a 4.39 40-yard dash coming out of Missouri. However, the Stallions waived Hall in favor of Michael Dereus, who played college ball at Georgetown. Mitchell is 6-foot-5, 210 pounds and ran a 4.60 40-yard dash coming out of Mississippi State. Mitchell recorded at least 425 yards in three straight seasons, maxing out at 505 yards on 47 catches in 2020. He profiles as more of a possession receiver. With Holtz’s affinity for four-wide sets, fourth- and fifth-round draft picks Manasseh Bailey and Peyton Ramzy could also see action. Bailey is 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and played college ball with Morgan State. He allegedly ran a 4.39 coming out of college and could function as a logical replacemen for Hall. Ramzy is 6-foot-1, 165 pounds and played with Tuskegee in college. Former UCF receiver Marlon Williams also made the roster. He is 6-foot, 215 pounds and ran a 4.59 40-yard dash. After catching 71 passes for 1,039 yards as a senior, Williams has a solid chance to climb the depth chart here over lower-level talents Bailey and Ramzy. Dereus stands 6-feet-1, 210 pounds. He finished his 2019 college season with 41 catches for 726 yards.
Mentioned above, Holtz runs a lot of four wide, but when he uses a tight end, athletic pass catchers have generally been a priority. In the tight end draft, Holtz selected former North Carolina State tight end Cary Angeline with the fourth overall pick. Angeline is 6-foot-7, 250 pounds and ran a 4.89 40-yard dash. He played more in the slot, but his snaps were split almost 50/50 between the slot and inline. Productive as well, Angeline has 52 catches for 791 yards over his last two seasons with North Carolina State. Behind Angeline, the Stallions drafted former Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt to play tight end. Surratt caught 66 passes for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019, before foolishly opting out of 2020 and going undrafted in 2021. He is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds with a poor 4.69 40-yard dash.
New Orleans Breakers
Head Coach – Larry Fedora
Offensive Coordinator – Noel Mazzone
Head coach of North Carolina from 2012-2018, Larry Fedora most recently coordinated Baylor’s offense in 2020 before getting fired. While Fedora’s offense failed to exploit their offensive advantages, they still threw the ball 54.9% of the time, which ranked 17th in college football. They also ran 73.3 plays per game, which could make the Breakers one of the pass-heaviest and uptempo teams in the league.
Drawing the last pick in the first round, the Breakers selected former Northern Colorado quarterback Kyle Sloter. Sloter is 6-foot-5, 218 pounds and went undrafted in 2018. He initially started his career at Southern Miss but transferred to NOCO when they tried to move him to tight end. Sloter has played in multiple preseasons in the NFL and displayed some skills. While semi-mobile, Sloter threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 76.5% of his passes for 8.7 yards per attempt. Behind him, the Breakers drafted former Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith as the ninth quarterback off the board. Sloter offers decent athleticism and this scheme should help either quarterback achieve fantasy relevance.
The Breakers drafted AAF and XFL veteran Larry Rose with the fifth pick in the running back draft. Rose failed to make an impact with either league, making him a curious pick at this position in the draft. He is 5-foot-9, 192 pounds, but he rushed for 4,558 yards and caught 133 passes in his career at New Mexico State. He ran a 4.47 40-time at his pro day and continues to be drafted off this college hype. Behind him, the Breakers drafted former Virginia back Jordan Ellis. Ellis is 5-foot-11, 215 pounds. He rushed for 1,997 yards and caught 29 passes in his final two seasons with Virginia. Rose certainly profiles as the pass catching back that Fedora likes. However, Rose’s recent failures make Ellis an intriguing player to monitor here. Former North Carolina back T.J. Logan also finds himself on this roster. Logan ran a 4.37 40-yard dash and spent multiple seasons in the NFL. While he mostly played in the preseason, he played in a few NFL regular season games as well. Logan is 5-foot-9, 196 pounds and plays a similar game to Rose. With Rose consistently underperforming, seeing Ellis or Logan climb the depth chart wouldn’t a surprise.
For a team that projects to be pass heavy, the Breakers currently only have five receivers on the roster. They spent the third overall receiver pick on former Arizona Wildcat Shawn Poindexter. Standing 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, Poindexter ran a 4.73 40-yard dash at his pro day. In college, he played a field stretching role, maximized in his final year with 759 yards and 11 touchdowns on 42 catches (18.1 yards per reception). He looks like a poor man’s KeeSean Johnson. With their second and third overall selections, the Breakers drafted Johnnie Dixon out of Ohio State and Jonathan Adams out of Arkansas State. Dixon finished fourth in receiving on the Buckeyes in 2018 behind Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill and Terry McLaurin. Dixon is 5-foot-11, 198 pounds and played outside at Ohio State. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash, making him one of the better athletes in this league. As the smallest projected starter here, Dixon may move into the slot. Adams is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with a 4.59 40-yard dash and a 39″ vertical. Adams recorded 851 and 1,111 yards receiving in back-to-back seasons with the Red Wolves and profiles as a hyper athletic boundary receiver here. Behind them, the Breakers drafted former NFL receivers Taywan Taylor and Chad Williams. Both failures at the NFL level, Taylor was drafted 72nd overall by the Titans in 2017 after recording a 4.5 40-yard dash at 5-foot-11, 203 pounds with Western Kentucky. Williams was drafted 98th overall out of Grambling State. He is 6-foot-2, 204 pounds and logged a 4.37 40-yard dash. The Breakers clearly prioritize size and athleticism, making them one of the strongest teams to target for receiving production in this league.
Interestingly, the Breakers continue to carry three tight ends on their roster. Only Sal Cannella was drafted, but the Breakers selected him second overall among tight ends. Cannella is 6-foot-5, 228 pounds and played wide receiver for Auburn. He ran a 4.73 40-yard dash, giving him decent athleticism. However, he had just 25 career receptions for 330 yards in Auburn’s offense. Behind him, the Breakers also have Justin Johnson and E.J. Bibbs on the roster. Johnson played tight end at Mississippi State and operated both inline and the slot. He is undersized at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. Bibbs played in the XFL and finished with a poor 55 yards receiving on the year. None of these tight ends have the size to serve as solid blockers, but none of them have ever produced in the pass game either, making this a curious group overall.
Head Coach – Jeff Fisher
Offensive Coordinator – Eric Marty
Jeff Fisher coached the Los Angeles Rams from 2012 to 2016 before being out of football from 2017 to 2020. Last year, he worked in a meaningless role for the Titans as an advisor. His offensive coordinator Eric Marty most recently coached Reedley College from 2016-2020 before coordinating Grambling State’s offense in 2021. Grambling State finished 4-7 but insisted on running the ball 55% of the time. They also ran a pathetic 59.7 plays per game. Fisher arguably has more coaching experience than anyone in this league, but a series of questionable decisions already make this team a questionable target for DFS.
Highlighting the aforementioned questionable decision making, Fisher and the Panthers selected Shea Patterson with the first overall pick in the USFL Draft. Originally at Ole Miss, Patterson transferred to Michigan to finish out his college years before going undrafted. Patterson is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, but has struggled at every point in his career. In his final college season, he completed 56.2% of his passes for 8.0 yards per attempt. He also rushed for 273 yards, giving him middling mobility. However, Patterson has never appeared in an NFL game, even the preseason. With almost every quarterback drafted behind him bringing more experience, Patterson was an egregious pick by this coaching staff. On top of the disappointing profile, he also projects to operate one of the least fantasy friendly offenses in the league. Behind him, NFL failure Paxton Lynch will serve as the team’s backup.
The Michigan Panthers drafted Stevie Scott as the fourth overall running back and Reggie Corbin as the 13th overall running back. Scott handled feature back duties at Indiana for three seasons, with his best year coming as a freshman in 2018. Scott is 6-foot-2, 231 pounds and ran a 4.66 40-yard dash. Even as an underwhelming athlete, Scott has the profile of a three-down back. As for Corbin, the Illinois product is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and ran a 4.55 40-yard dash. Corbin had an up-and-down career with the Illini, recording his best season in 2018. He rushed for 1,085 yards and caught 16 passes that years. They should form a decent one-two punch in this run-heavy scheme. The Panthers also have former Carolina Panther Cameron Scarlett on the roster to potentially handle some carries.
With their projected run-first approach, the Michigan Panthers also have just five receivers on the roster. Similar to the Gamblers, they elected to draft just four receivers in favor of selecting two tight ends later in the draft. Their first wide out taken, Quincy Adeboyejo is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds with 4.42 speed. Adeboyejo played at Ole Miss, but never reported to training camp. The Panthers drafted former Dallas Cowboy Lance Lenoir second and former XFL pro Jeff Badet third. Without Adeboyejo on the roster, these two should clearly start. Lenoir is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and played college at Western Illinois. He ran a 4.67 40-yard dash, but he has also been able to make the Cowboys preseason for multiple years, sticking with the practice squad. Badet is a pure burner , who allegedly ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at 5-foot-11, 178 pounds. He sucked in the XFL with just 108 yards receiving and nothing indicates that he got any better. The Panthers drafted Ray Bolden with their fourth receiver pick and took Devin Ross to round out their roster in the supplemental draft. This looks like one of the weakest receiving corps in the league. Bolden is a 5-foot-9, 165-pound receiver, who played at Stony Brook. Bolden ran a horrific 4.62 40-yard dash at his pro day and projects as a pure slot receiver. Ross stands 5-foot-9, 181 pounds and played his college ball at Colorado. He ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at his pro day. He caught 69 balls for 787 yards and five scores in his 2016 junior season with Colorado.
Another baffling decision by Fisher, the Panthers are currently carrying four tight ends. The Panthers drafted Joey Magnifico seventh overall, followed by La’Michael Pettway 11th overall. Magnifico played his college ball at Memphis, recording 71 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns in his five-year career. He is 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, but played primarily inline for Memphis. Pettway is 6-foot-2, 223 pounds and played wide receiver for Arkansas and Iowa State. Pettway finished with 499 and 676 yards receiving in his fourth and fifth seasons in college. Pettway did supposedly run a 4.47 40-yard dash, making his position switch a bit confusing. Still, he should be a big bodied receiving threat for this offense when they decide to pass. Behind them, the Panthers also have Marcus Baugh and Connor Davis. Baugh bounced around the NFL and played one game for Washington in 2020. Davis played for the Battlehawks, but only appeared in one game. This is a curious group of players on the strangest roster in the league.
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