AFL QuickPlay Week 20—End of the Line
It’s finally here. The sad end of the regular season of Arena Football. Six teams are going to play Saturday and then go back to their regular jobs on Monday. The other eight continue on in hopes of winning the ArenaBowl.
This fact alone makes this the most unpredictable week in terms of fantasy football. This is a lot like Week 17 in the NFL where anything can and usually does happen.
Before we dive into the AFL finale, let’s look back and see how people did on Week 19.
The winner of the week was arenabowlbound with a 241-point performance. Their biggest hit was Darius Reynolds of Iowa who scored seven touchdowns last week and racked up 51 fantasy points. Erik Meyer, Tommy Grady and Nick Davila were their three quarterbacks and all performed well.
The Sugarmill Giants were right behind them with 237 points. PowerUp and the Swamp Dawgs tied for third with 223 each. I’m NOT Buying and RochRush tied for fifth at 219 for the week. The HornDawgs stood alone in seventh with 216 points, one more than the Unemployed Punters and Thanks for the lunch, Tim with 215 each. Skillet rounded out the top 10 for the week with 206 points.
Let’s check out the overall standings with one week left.
The Short Bus Kids may have run out of gas at the end of the season. They picked up a bland 171 points last week, which created an opening for a change at the top of the leaderboard. The Kids have 3837 points for the season and still cling to the top spot. RochRush is right on their back side with 3826 points for the season. It’s only an 11-point margin and this could go either way in the final week.
The Soup Nazis sit in third with 3770 points and would need a big week to sweep in and steal one of the top two spots. The Phantom Furballs are nuzzling up against the Nazis with 3,763 points to date. The Furballs are owned by our own jack-of-all-trades on the site, Tim Capper. Capper can’t win any prizes because of this. He can’t claim a prize if his team squeaks past the Nazis and finishes third.
The reality is it looks like the Short Bus Kids, RochRush and Soup Nazis are going to be the top three teams in the game this season. It would take a brain fart of biblical proportions to let any team from fifth through 12th place have a shot at a prize. It would be difficult at best to make up nearly 100 points in a single week. It could happen, but it’s a longshot at best.
Legnbaz (3689), Sugarmill Giants (3684), arenabowlbound (3683), I’m NOT Buying (3675), Thanks for lunch, Tim (3674), end zone kamikaze (3635) are the top 10 this week with the Horn Dawgs and Unemployed Punters tied for 11th with 3621 points each.
Those teams are all in the same boat. They need to have insanely high scores and hope the top three completely wipe out in a chance to move into the top three. Otherwise, it will be fun to watch those places shake out on the final week.
Let’s check out the schedule for the final week of the 2014 campaign. All games are Saturday and all times are Eastern.
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 5:00 p.m.
Arizona at Orlando 7:00 p.m.
Los Angeles at Jacksonville 7:00 p.m.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
San Antonio at New Orleans 8:00 p.m.
San Jose at Iowa 8:05 p.m.
Spokane at Portland 10:00 p.m.
This week comes down to one thing: who has something left to play for. It’s going to go a long way to determining who to pick this week. Let’s examine this further.
Los Angeles, Jacksonville, San Antonio, New Orleans, San Jose, Iowa, Spokane, Pittsburgh, Orlando and Portland have nothing left to play for. That leaves four teams to focus on in Arizona, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. They happen to make up three of the four divisions we need players from so it falls nicely in that regard.
SIx of those teams are eliminated from the playoffs while four others are locked into their playoff spots with no chance at all to move up or down. It’s going to make personnel decisions interesting and see who plays an who sits this week to rest up for the playoffs.
Let’s dive into the divisions one last time and build our final lineup of the season.
West Division (Arizona, San Antonio, Los Angeles)
We’ll take QB NICK DAVILA and WR ROD WINDSOR of Arizona this week. The Rattlers are 15-2 and have wrapped up home field advantage for the first two rounds. We know they want it for the Arena Bowl too. Arizona needs a win and a Cleveland loss to finished tied at 16-2 and give the Rattlers the inside track as they would win the tiebreaker on point differential. That tiebreaker is used since Arizona did not meet Cleveland in the regular season.
Davila has thrown for 121 touchdowns with nine interceptions this season. Windsor has a league-high 43 touchdown catches. The Rattlers want to win to take a shot at the ultimate home field advantage. The game has shootout written all over it. Arizona has the highest scoring offense in the league. Orlando has the most yards per game and the Rattlers defense is only average.
San Antonio and Los Angeles played a surprisingly high-scoring game last week that caught everyone off guard. The game between the Talons and VooDoo looks like it could be a colossal snorefest or a total barnburner. It’s too late in the season to roll the dice on that game especially in the final week of the season.
Los Angeles doesn’t have much to give either and could be going through the motions with Jacksonville this week. Neither team gains anything regardless of the outcome of this game.
Pacific Division (Spokane, San Jose, Portland)
This division has nothing to gain and everything to lose if injury were to strike them. We’re going to roll with San Jose K NICH PERTUIT this week. He fills the slot and helps to clear the waters of this division.
The second spot is tough to figure out. San Jose takes on an Iowa team that has given up points in bunches while Spokane and Portland go head to head. San Jose was held to 20 points this past week and hopefully it’s a lousy game the Sabercats got out of their system prior to the postseason. Iowa has lost six in a row and given up at least 57 points in each game.
That will have us take one more shot on SJ WR DOMINIQUE CURRY. He didn’t do much last week but has a good matchup and you have to wonder how much Reggie Gray will be out there for the SaberCats. It makes sense to roll with Curry here in the finale.
Eastern Division (Iowa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia)
The Soul needs a win to make the playoffs and there’s little doubt FB DERRICK ROSS will be a key part of the game plan against a tough Pittsburgh defense.
We still need a quarterback and it comes down to Shane Austin or Dan Raudabaugh. The case for the Soul QB is this: In both of the earlier Power-Soul games, Philadelphia kept pace but fell short both times 65-57 and 57-56 so they can put up points. It will also be interesting to see whom Pittsburgh rests in this game.
Philadelphia also plays earlier in the day and they have their playoff destiny in their hands; win and they’re in. It’s lost in the fact they are 9-8 this season but they have made two straight Arena Bowl finals and people are sleeping on it. If the Soul gets in, they will give Cleveland a real tough game in the first round.
Cleveland might do a little scoreboard watching to see what happens with Arizona-Orlando and make in-game personnel changes depending on the score. It’s a risk we’re not willing to take on the final week of the season. We know Raudabaugh will play and he will have plenty of chances to get to the end zone.
Our other pick is Soul QB DAN RAUDABAUGH for this week.
We can’t trust Pittsburgh to keep its key players, i.e. Tommy Grady, in for any length of time and it could open the door for the Soul.
We’re not flocking to Darius Reynolds of the Barnstormers this week. He went off with a seven touchdown game but it is going to be different against a tough San Jose defense. We’re sitting both Iowa star wideouts this week.
Southern Division (Orlando, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Jacksonville)
We’re going with QB BERNARD MORRIS for Orlando and WR GREG CARR of the Predators. We expect the Arizona-Orlando game to be high scoring so we’ll take advantage of it here.
Randy Hippeard of Tampa has more to play for but the result of the Soul-Power game will be known early on. The game could be meaningless and Hippeard might sit. He was struggling in the fourth quarter last week after taking a shot to the ribs at Spokane. It lessens the value of WR Joe Hills as well because of the whole scenario. New Orleans and Jacksonville don’t have enough to offer to play this week.
Unemployed Punters Week 20 lineup
QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Rod Windsor ARI
K Nich Pertuit SJ
WR Dominique Curry SJ
QB Dan Raudabaugh PHI
FB Derrick Ross PHI
QB Bernard Morris ORL
WR Greg Carr ORL
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.