The Duel

3 XFL Players Who Could Earn Their Way Back to the NFL

Max Staley
Top XFL players in 2020 could find their way back to the NFL next year, including Sammie Coates.
Top XFL players in 2020 could find their way back to the NFL next year, including Sammie Coates. / Elsa/Getty Images
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With the 2019 NFL season in the books, February is normally when most NFL fans realize they're going to have to find a new way to fill their Sundays. Fortunately, however, the return of the XFL should have football fans covered this year.

After about a two-decade hiatus, the XFL makes its triumphant return on February 8. And if some star players show out this season, they could find themselves playing in the NFL next year.

With that in mind, here are three XFL players that could get to the NFL next season.

1. Sammie Coates, WR, Houston Roughnecks

Sammie Coates runs after the catch against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Sammie Coates runs after the catch against the Cincinnati Bengals. / John Grieshop/Getty Images

Sammie Coates was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers' back in 2015. And given Pittsburgh's stellar track record of drafting and developing wide receivers, big things were expected of the Auburn product. Unfortunately, Coates never really delivered, topping out at 435 receiving yards in 2016. Still, Coates is a 6-foot-1 wideout who ran a blazing 4.43 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Combine. If he performs well with the Houston Roughnecks, Coates could find himself back in the NFL next year. He has an especially good chance to make it back as a return specialist, as he averaged 25.0 yards per return in 2015 with Pittsburgh.

2. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Dallas Renegades

Cameron Artis-Payne runs with the ball.
Cameron Artis-Payne runs with the ball. / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If you're a fellow fantasy football nerd, you likely remember the name Cameron Artis-Payne. On the Carolina Panthers as recently as 2018, Artis-Payne was a classic waiver wire target during his four-year stint in the NFL. While he was never given too much of a consistent opportunity, he showed some flashes. That included Week 5 of the 2016 season, when he handled 18 carries for 85 rushing yards and two scores. If CAP proves he can handle a significant role on the Dallas Renegades, the 29-year-old could play his way back into the league, likely in a rotational RB situation.

3. Marquette King, Punter, St. Louis BattleHawks

Marquette King after a punt against the Buffalo Bills.
Marquette King after a punt against the Buffalo Bills. / Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

It's not every day that a punter becomes a legitimate star at the NFL level, and yet, Marquette King managed to do just that. The charismatic former Oakland Raider captured fans' attention with his unique celebrations and booming punts. In fact, King led the NFL in punting yards in 2014, and was even named a second team All-Pro in 2016. He was cut by the Raiders in 2018, and quickly released by the Denver Broncos that same year due to an inability to stay healthy. Still, King is likely the most accomplished former NFL player to be getting an opportunity in the XFL, and if he shows he's still got it, he could be back in the NFL in no time.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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