USFL Fantasy Rankings & Tiers (2022 Fantasy Football)

Sadly, the major fantasy sports providers aren’t offering USFL fantasy leagues. However, diehard fantasy gamers and spring football enthusiasts will find a way to play. So, I’ve got you covered. Below, I’ve ranked the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends in the USFL, tiering them to boot! Additionally, the rankings offer food for thought for USFL DFS gamers before factoring in matchups and salaries.

Quarterbacks

Jordan Ta’amu tops a three-quarterback first tier. He offers rushing ability that Bryan Scott and Kyle Sloter don’t possess, and he’s a capable passer. Meanwhile, Scott and Sloter have had elite success in The Spring League (TSL) and NFL preseason, respectively. Finally, all three play for offensive-minded head coaches, enhancing their collective fantasy scoring outlooks.

Beyond the top-three quarterbacks, it’s a pile-up of quarterbacks jostling to start for their teams. Kyle Lauletta, Alex McGough, and Clayton Thorson were all drafted in the NFL, giving them more prospect pedigree than most quarterbacks in this section.

However, the Pittsburgh Maulers curiously repeatedly drafted wide receivers that played college football with Josh Love at San Jose State. Meanwhile, J’Mar Davis-Smith was drafted by his former college football coach, possibly giving him a leg up on learning the playbook and winning the quarterback job.

Shea Patterson was the top pick in the USFL Draft. Unfortunately, he’s saddled to dinosaur ground-and-pound coach Jeff Fisher. Additionally, his backup to him, Paxton Lynch, was once a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Obviously, I have flamed out, hence his appearance in the USFL. Regardless, Lynch might recapture his Memphis form in an easier setting.

Finally, the quarterback situation I’m least confident in is on the New Jersey Generals. They popped Ben Holmes in the USFL entry draft but cut him with an injury. They’ve replaced him with spring football mainstay Luis Perez. However, De’Andre Johnson is a gifted runner initially picked as the club’s backup. So, do they still like Johnson more than Perez, who bypassed them in the initial draft phase? Is it possible they use a college-like two-quarterback offense? I think it might be in the range of outcomes.

Running Backs

Darnell Holland is a freakish athlete, and not just by USFL standards.

Thankfully, Holland’s elite athleticism has translated to the gridiron in college and playing for his current head coach, Bart Andrus, in TSL. Therefore, I’m confident in a seamless transition to the USFL.

Mike Weber might be ranked ahead of Holland if he didn’t share a backfield with another high-upside back. Nonetheless, Weber is no stranger to thriving in a committee, playing at a high level for Ohio State with Curtis Samuel and JK Dobbins. Like Holland, Weber is an elite athlete.

Volume is king at running back, and Stevie Scott III is positioned to benefit from Fisher’s infatuation with playing Boomer ball and feeding his feature back. Scott’s a classic big-bodied bruiser, weighing 225 pounds at six-foot tall. I expect Fisher to pound his bruiser between the tackles whenever the Panthers are in a neutral or good game script.

The Breakers picked TJ Logan in the third round of the supplemental draft, reuniting him with his college coach Larry Fedora. Logan is an elite speedster with eye-catching percentile ranks for his 40-yard dash, speed score, and agility score. According to Pro-Football-Reference, the diminutive running back has played 22 games in the NFL, carrying the ball five times, reeling in nine of 10 targets, and seeing his most extensive work by him as a returner (13 punt returns and 25 kickoff returns). I nearly included Logan in tier one, and a tier two featuring only him wouldn’t be outrageous. However, he’s a cut above the other backs in this section.

I struggled to place BJ Emmons. Ultimately, he landed where he did because he has a workhorse build, mixed-bag measurables, was a highly-regarded recruit who started his college career at Alabama, got popped as the first running back in the draft, and is in an offense I expect to be one of the best in the USFL coached by former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Do I have strong convictions about Emmons being a top-five back? No. Then again, I don’t have strong convictions about any backs beyond the top four.

You could shuffle up the backs from six through 10, and I wouldn’t have much objection. In fact, I’ve flipped from viewing Mark Thompson as the top back in Houston’s backfield to preferring Dalyn Dawkins.

The situation I’m most intrigued by in this group is Pittsburgh’s backfield. The Maulers released De’Veon Smith and replaced him with Madre London. The Maulers also drafted fullback Winston Dimel in the supplemental draft. Initially, I thought Garrett Groshek might be used in a Kyle Juszczyk-like role. However, due to the club’s most recent moves, I think he might be the team’s top running back. If London or Groshek take the reigns in an offense that the team’s first-time head coach and long-time running back coach Kirby Wilson apparently has plans to use a fullback in, they could be a fantastic fantasy option.

Trey Williams is Weber’s talented backfield mate I teased above. Like Weber, Williams has excellent straight-line speed. The ideal situation for Weber and Williams is New Jersey running a Ravens-like, run-heavy offense spearheaded by a fast quarterback (Johnson). I think that’s in the range of outcomes.

Cameron Scarlett is the other back in tier three I want to call your attention. If Scott stumbles out of the gate for the Panthers or gets hurt, Scarlett is built to slide into a bell-cow role in a likely run-heavy offense.

Wide Receivers

The tier one receivers check at least one of the following boxes with NFL experience (preseason and practice squad time count), size, or speed. You might have also noticed the prominent placement of receivers from the Stars and Breakers. They benefit from my infatuation with quarterbacks Scott and Sloter and the offenses they’ll be leading, suffice to say. In fact, I recently analyzed the Stars and Breakers as my two favorite bets to win the USFL’s inaugural title.

Frankly, I almost had JoJo Ward, Bailey Gaither, Jordan Lasley, and Lance Lenoir in tier two by themselves. So, you should view them as a tier within this tier.

The four wideouts on the table above won’t be season-long fantasy or daily fantasy considerations for me out of the chute. Nonetheless, I can envision paths to fantasy utility for them for one reason or another.

tight ends

Sage Surratt was picked in the supplemental draft. The most exciting part about his selection of him is his position designation of him at tight end. Surratt was a very productive receiver at Wake Forrest. So, if he’s listed as a tight end in fantasy leagues, he could be a cheat code at the position with Mike Gesicki or Kyle Pitts-like jumbo wideout masquerading as a tight end usage.

Nick Truesdell, Marcus Baugh, and Bug Howard have had previous spring league success, specifically in the AAF. According to Pro Football Focus, Truesdell led the position in receiving yards (269), Howard was second (220), and Baugh was fourth (208). In addition, out of 15 tight ends in the AAF with at least eight targets, Truesdell was first with 2.36 Yards per Route Run (Y/RR), Baugh was second (1.84 Y/RR), and Howard was third (1.79 Y/ RR).

Finally, as I discussed in the tight end player profiles in late February, Cheyenne O’Grady, Cary Angeline, and La’Michael Pettway had relative success in college.

I don’t have high hopes for this group. Yet, if I squint, I can see reasons for tepid optimism.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at Fantasy Pros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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