AFL Quickplay Week 1
Finally, the season is upon us. Of course, the landscape in the league looks a lot different than it did six months ago. Except for the fact that the Arizona Rattlers continued their domination. They won back-to-back league championships. They try for the three-peat this year and a fourth straight trip to the Arena Bowl.
The Chicago Rush and Utah Blaze are both gone but not forgotten. In their place, we have new franchises on the West Coast in the LA KISS and the Portland Thunder. Players have moved around and divisions have been realigned.
Let’s take a look at the new divisions and see how that will impact the game this season.
National West: Arizona, Los Angeles, San Antonio National Pacific: San Jose, Spokane, Portland American South: Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Orlando American East: Iowa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
It looks like this season could come down to how well you manage the American Conference. The West Division looks like it could be Arizona’s to run away with while San Jose and Spokane should contend for the Pacific Division title. The fourth playoff spot from the National Conference looks to be a toss-up.
The American South is nicely compact which helps with travel. Iowa found itself in the East Division since it doesn't have a team within 600 miles of Des Moines. Seriously. Cleveland is 662 miles away.
Just like last season, the game requires you to set a lineup with a required quarterback, fullback, kicker and three wide receivers/offensive specialists. The other two spots are considered “flex” spots and can be additional players of your choosing. We found out that using the other two on quarterbacks was a pretty solid strategy.
Here’s what the scoring system will be in 2014. It’s the same as 2013 for those of you who played last season.
- Passing, rushing, receiving, fumble return, kick return touchdowns: 6 points
- Interception return touchdowns: 4 points
- Interceptions caught: 2 points
- Interceptions thrown: -2 points
- Every 40 Passing Yards: 1 point
- Every 20 Receiving Yards: 1 point
- Every 10 Rushing Yards: 1 point
- 2 Point Conversions: 2 points
- Sacks: 2 points
- Safeties: 2 points
- Kicking: Total number of points kicked
Note: Yardage totals are always rounded down, the player must make each "level" of yards to get another point.
That said, let’s take a look at the first week’s games. All times are Eastern. Your fantasy roster is due an hour before the first kickoff of the week.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay March 14 7:30 pm Cleveland at Pittsburgh March 15 5:00 pm Los Angeles at San Antonio 8:00 pm Philadelphia at Arizona 9:00 pm Iowa at Spokane 10:00 pm Jacksonville at Orlando March 16 4:00 pm San Jose at Portland March 17 10:00 pm
It’s a long, full week of games to open with. When your roster has to be in on Friday, there’s a good amount of risk involved with selecting players who play Sunday or Monday. Now that we know who’s playing, let’s work on setting up the first lineup of the season.
From the National West, we’ll take a pair of Rattlers. LA plays San Antonio and both teams have a bit of uncertainty about them. We don’t know who will be quarterbacking the Talons and there’s always an adjustment period when you start out with a new team. That’s why we’ll take the tried-and-true here.
QB Nick Davila and WR Rod Windsor are the picks this week. Davila threw for 4,847 yards and 110 touchdowns last season. Windsor posted the best stat line out of the Arizona receivers last season with 110-1,590-42 in 2013. Windsor gets the looks and makes the most of them.
On to the Pacific we go, and I’ll take another quarterback: Erik Meyer of Spokane. It’s pretty much a lay-up to take him since he excelled so much last season. It will be interesting to see who emerges between Adron Tennell and Mike Washington (from Pittsburgh) as the top dog.
The other choice from that division is a new player to it. He’s new since his team folded, and it’s WR Reggie Gray. A road game at Portland looks like a nice way to start the season in a new uniform. I want to see what Portland looks like before I endorse it (or LA for that matter). Having one guy from each team is nicely balanced.
Over to the East and we get an old standby in FB Derrick Ross of Philadelphia. Odie Armstrong of Arizona was the only other consistent enough fullback to merit consideration. Armstrong isn’t with the Rattlers anymore and is a free agent. Until someone can step up at the position, it’s a steady diet of Ross to meet the positional needs. The Soul have Tiger Jones, and he racked up more than 2,000 receiving yards last season. No one else did. He’s a solid start this week against Arizona.
It will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh starts out with Tommy Grady and Aaron LeSue both coming from Utah after the Blaze folded. Prechae Rodriguez has plenty of potential, but it all depends on how it clicks.
So we have one division left. We need a kicker and a flex player from JAX, NO, TB and ORL.
The kicker will be Fabrizio Scaccia of Jacksonville. He was solid last season with Arizona and had a good number of field goal attempts, too. He has the best chance to score points in his matchup with Orlando.
It looks like it’s quarterback time then. Adrian McPherson is in the CFL so he’s out. Tampa has a new quarterback and a new coach and I’m not eager to jump in on this right away. We’ll switch it up and try Kurt Rocco of the VooDoo. Rocco had a good season last season. He is my second choice in the division and meets the requirements.
This week is about going with the tried-and-true options. There’s a lot of unpredictability out there and playing it safe is the smart call this week. Good luck to everyone on the first week!