AFL Quick Play Week 16—Shane Austin, International Man of Touchdowns
Thursday June 26, 2014
We barely got our jaw off the floor in time to write this column this week. We’re still reeling over the end of the Cleveland-Philadelphia game last week. Shane Austin threw a hail mary pass that was tipped and landed in the arms of his receiver for a touchdown as time expired.
That was his 11th touchdown of the night. Take a moment and breathe that in. Eleven touchdowns in one game is amazing. He needed every one of them since the Gladiators missed seven conversions in the game including four extra points.
It was one of the best fantasy outings we’ve seen with a 77-point performance and it was key to your team having success last week. Players who picked him were left yelling,” Yeah, baby! Yeah!” And those who didn’t, well, were as pathetic as an aging hipster.
Let’s recap Week 15 and see where things stand overall as we start the fourth quarter of the season.
RochRush won the week with 252 points. He was able to take advantage of the top quarterback performances of the week and hit on Rod Windsor of Arizona having another strong game to get the win. Second place honors went to Polster38 with 249 points while the Sugarmill Giants came home third with 243 points. There was a tie for fourth between Fat Nutz and the Unemployed Punters at 235 points as both teams used the suggested lineup.
Overall, we saw the Short Bus Kids get a little bit of a flat tire this week to tighten the game standings. They posted a rare sub-par week with 194 points and are now only 50 points ahead of second-place RochRush. Those teams are the first two to eclipse the 3000-point total for the season.
Hot on their heels are The Soup Nazis with 2991 points. The Phantom Furballs sit fourth with 2978 points and the Unemployed Punters are fifth with 2967 for the season. The next five teams, Legnbaz, end zone kamikaze, Sugarmill Giants, The Commish and Fat Nutz round out the top 10. They are separated by a total of 50 points. It’s going to be an interesting end to the season and it very well could come down to a Gladiator-style Hail Mary on the last week of the season.
Here’s this week’s schedule and notice how we have another Thursday game this week, which makes your roster deadline very early. We’re talking 9:00 p.m. Eastern and 6:00 p.m. Pacific on Thursday.
New Orleans at Portland Thursday 10:00 p.m. Eastern
Tampa Bay at Cleveland Friday 7:00 p.m.
Arizona at San Jose 10:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville Saturday 7:00 p.m.
Philadelphia at Iowa 8:05 p.m.
Spokane at Los Angeles 10:00 p.m.
BYES: Orlando and San Antonio
Let’s get right in to it then with the West Division
West Division (Arizona, Los Angeles)
San Antonio is on bye this week so we only have two teams to pick from in this division. We’re going to keep rolling on with Arizona QB NICK DAVILA. Arizona has the highest scoring offense at 66.9 points per game while San Jose has the best defense at 40.6 points per game allowed. The Rattlers lead the AFL in practically every offense category and Davila has to be the first choice.
The second one is more difficult. Last week, we went with Maurice Purify of Arizona and he scored a couple late touchdowns to salvage his night. Rod Windsor had a solid game with five touchdowns and has been putting up solid numbers each week. Windsor is leading the league in touchdown catches with 35. If you can think of a reason not to play the receiver with the most touchdowns on the highest scoring team in the league, let us know.
We can’t come up with one so we want WR ROD WINDSOR this week.
The Los Angeles KISS
made a move this week by picking up LJ Castille from the New Orleans VooDoo
for future considerations. This is an interesting move since it gives Donovan Morgan a capable second receiver for Aaron Garcia
to throw to. Last time the KISS took on the Shock, they were held to 25 points and got drilled by Spokane. We’re not 100% sold on the KISS players yet but wise players will use their performance this week to determine which of them to play next week. Arizona is on bye next week and you will find yourself mulling over the KISS as a legitimate fantasy option.
Pacific Division (Spokane, San Jose, Portland)
Portland leads us off this week with a game against the lowly New Orleans VooDoo on Thursday night. While the Thunder sits at 3-10, they have a positive element to them that should be noticed. They’ve gone 1-3 in their last four games but have scored at least 48 points in each of those games.
Eric Rogers has been the receiving threat for the Thunder and he has good fantasy value this week. Rogers has put up at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in six of his last seven games. Add that to Portland needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt (yes, seriously , at 3-10) and a VooDoo squad that was eliminated from the playoffs and this looks like a nice night for Rogers. New Orleans is a -19 in the turnover battle this season and Rogers and the Thunder should get some extra opportunities to score. We’re going to take WR ERIC ROGERS with our first selection this week.
Last week, we went with Mike Washington of Spokane but that fell apart on us thanks to Erik Meyer. Meyer helped Spokane rip San Antonio 70-30 and he had six total touchdowns in the win. Meyer threw three touchdown passes and ran for three more so it’s good to see him lower the shoulder and seek out contact. The downside is he threw for three touchdowns against a miserable Talons defense. We expected Meyer to throw for more than that and he didn’t deliver.
This week, he has another good opportunity against a KISS defense that has been picked apart for at least 60 points allowed in each of their last four outings. They gave up a jaw-dropping 83 at Arizona last week so Meyer has a golden chance to shine this week.
We’re going to go with Meyer this week and hope we’re right. There might also be a little revenge factor at play here since the KISS put him out of commission with the broken collarbone that sidelined him for several weeks.
San Jose should get its share of chances to score against Arizona. It makes K NICH PERTUIT a sleeper option at that position. We’re not recommending WR REGGIE GRAY against Arizona this week. Do you remember what he did last time against Arizona? He had three catches for 24 yards and no touchdowns. You can’t run the risk of that kind of performance happening this late in the season.
We’re halfway there and have two quarterbacks and two wide receivers booked. That leaves us a wide receiver, kicker, fullback and another quarterback to fill in.
East Division (Iowa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia)
Yes. It’s another week of FB DERRICK ROSS. Act surprised.
It’s another week of QB SHANE AUSTIN. Act surprised we that we want to ride the hot hand that has thrown 26 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games. Cleveland takes on a Tampa Bay team that has won five in a row after losing five in a row. It leads us to ask which is the real Tampa team? During the losing streak they allowed 60 points or more in four of the five losses. In the five wins, they’ve held four of five opponents to less than 50 points and two of those were less than 35 points.
Iowa takes on Philadelphia in a key divisional game between the two bottom-feeders. The winner jumps back into wild card contention and the loser will have a longer way to go.
The game has a good amount of fantasy potential for secondary options. Tiger Jones of the Soul could build off of last week’s performance against Cleveland and he makes a good secondary option. Marco Thomas and Darius Reynolds of Iowa should both have solid games against a weak Soul defense but it’s hard to pick one of them over the other. They’re both about equal and a coin flip might be needed to make that decision for you this week if you go that route.
Pittsburgh visits Jacksonville this week and it has the potential for a low-scoring game. Jacksonville throttled New Orleans to a 13-point dud and the Power limited the VooDoo to 14 points earlier this season. Pittsburgh has been winning with defense and they will make life difficult for the Sharks this week. Jacksonville has held two of its last three opponents to less than 30 points. We’re not implying they can shut down Pittsburgh like that, but the potential is there.
South Division (Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, New Orleans)
We need a kicker and a wide receiver for this week to finish our lineup. We’re not going to find either in New Orleans. Castille is in Los Angeles and the VooDoo doesn’t put up enough points to invest in a kicker. Jacksonville has a tough match up with Pittsburgh so we’ll pass there.
That leaves us Tampa Bay against Cleveland and it pushes us towards WR JOE HILLS from the Storm. Cleveland has allowed around 46 points in six of its last seven games so the overall Tampa offensive output could be limited this week. Hills has been the consistent threat for Tampa and should be able to make some headway in this game.
We’ll take K JUAN BONGARRA this week for the final spot to keep the lineup legal.
Unemployed Punters Week 16 Lineup
QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Rod Windsor ARI
WR Eric Rogers PDX
QB Erik Meyer SPO
FB Derrick Ross PHI
QB Shane Austin CLE
WR Joe Hills TB
K Juan Bongarra TB
NEXT WEEK: The bye’s the limit. Four teams are off and it’s going to be interesting.
Andrew Nordmeier is a freelance sportswriter originally from Chicago. Andrew is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and has won more than three dozen fantasy championships. He has written for local newspapers in the Phoenix area covering high school sports for the last seven years. Andrew also has done play-by-play in the USHL and on the Arizona Rattlers internet broadcast in 2011. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two sons. You can find Andrew on Twitter @AndrewNordmeier
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.