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AFL Quickplay Week 5

Andrew Nordmeier
Wednesday April 9, 2014

Thursday night football has long been an enemy of fans of fantasy football. It skews games. It leads to poor performances. It makes fantasy owners want to cheer Friday morning or decide what risks to take when they wake and see their team is down by 27 points.

The AFL is no different. We saw a game last Thursday between Orlando and New Orleans that caught me off-guard. It completely decimated my lineup and I took it on the chin last week with a miserable performance of 159 points, good enough for 35th place last week. My team has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse known as 15th place in a span of two weeks.

The Short Bus Kids broke out with 253 points last week to take the top spot. This was the lineup they rode to victory.

Julian Rauch (K) - 10
Derrick Ross (FB)- 0
Reggie Gray (WR/DB)- 33
Erik Meyer (QB)- 57
Le`Nard Castile (WR)- 30
Randy Hippeard (QB)- 46
Nick Davila (QB)- 45
Donovan Morgan (WR)- 32

Bobby Boucherís favorite team, the waterboys, finished second with 235 points. The Sugarmill Giants picked up 232 for third place while the team with no name (228) and I got the Power (227) rounded out the top five.

Overall, the Short Bus Kids are in the driverís seat. Theyíve reached the gas pedal and motored to first place with 856 points. The Swamp Dawgs have moved into second with 793 points. RochRush (776), pickeditagain (773) and Iím NOT Buying (767) round out the top five.

Letís try to dust off last weekís disaster and look ahead to Week 5. And yes it has a Thursday game!

Philadelphia at Orlando THURSDAY 7:30 pm
New Orleans at Pittsburgh FRIDAY 7:00 pm
Tampa Bay at Jacksonville FRIDAY 8:00 pm
San Antonio at Iowa SATURDAY 8:05 pm
Cleveland at Los Angeles 10:00 pm
Portland at Spokane 10:00 pm
Arizona at San Jose 10:30 pm

That makes your roster deadline 6:30 pm Eastern Time Thursday. Knowing that, letís start building this weekís lineup.

Western Division

This division is really looking like Arizona might wrap it up embarrassingly early. San Antonio looks like it is for an awful season and getting more than four wins could be a monumental task with how horrible the Talons have started the season. If Los Angeles falters, the Rattlers could open up a huge divisional lead early on. From a fantasy standpoint, it has us keeping on with the Rattlers until someone else in the division steps up.

Act surprised when one of the selections is Arizona QB NICK DAVILA. Neither of the other quarterbacks in the division have been effective and itís very difficult to say no to a player with 22 touchdowns and two interceptions in a 3-0 start. The difficult part of the division is which Rattler wide receiver to pick to pair with him.

Tysson Poots has gone incognito since his opening game explosion so it leaves Maurice Purify or Rod Windsor as the best options there. Each player scored three touchdowns from Davila so this becomes harder and harder to pick. Iím going with WR MAURICE PURIFY for the second spot. The last time I picked him, he had an outstanding game and Iíll try it again. Mainly because I canít come up with any better way of separating those two short of flipping a coin.

Pacific Division

Our first pick here is QB ERIK MEYER of Spokane. He had a solid week with eight total touchdowns last week. Keep in mind four of them were rushing scores so his passing attack didnít yield much. It also made Adron Tennell look weaker as a fantasy option. Tennell is also nursing a high ankle sprain, so that has been slowing him down a little in terms of fantasy output. Mike Washington has been the beneficiary of this and has put up solid numbers to start the season. But itís still not good enough to get the second spot out of this division.

The Spokane-Portland game also has all the hallmarks of a blowout. Portland has struggled on offense all season and the Thunder have not broken the 40-point barrier as of yet. Thatís not a good sign for a team in this league to be that low on offense. Spokane continues to be one of the more consistent teams and that points to fantasy success.

Weíre taking WR REGGIE GRAY of San Jose with our second pick. Gray scored five touchdowns last week and has a league-leading 14 touchdown catches on the season. Itís difficult to say no to the league leader in that category, and this week is no exception. San Jose has plenty of weapons but Gray always finds a way to get open and do some serious damage when he plays Arizona. Itís also the first road game of the season for Arizona and the crowd in San Jose could also play a factor.

Southern Division/Eastern Division

The first pack out of the Southern Division makes a ton of logical sense and thatís QB JASON BOLTUS from Orlando. Boltus has put up solid fantasy totals in the first few weeks and has a great matchup this week. The Predators take on the winless Soul (did I really just type that?), and Boltus should be in every line up. Orlando averages 60 points per game. Philly gives up an average of 65 points per game, the worst figure in the league. Itís safe to say that Boltus and Predators will be able to put up some big numbers this week.

The second pick needs to be a wide receiver or a kicker. Weíll address the fullback position in the remaining division. Weíll come back around on this one since there are plenty of options.

One thing to keep in mind is to NOT play QB AARON GARCIA of Jacksonville. Yes, he was activated this week but I want to see how he does in a game situation before I consider tossing him into the mix. Being one of the all-time best is great but fantasy football is a ďWhat have you done for me lately?Ē game. So far this season, he has just as many points as I do.

The fullback should be obvious by now as FB DERRICK ROSS of the Soul. Ross is the choice since we need one and heís the best in the league. I would also look for a steady diet of Ross from Philadelphia to try and keep its defense off of the field as much as possible. The risk is that if the Soul get down early, there might be too much of a hill to climb over and Ross could be relegated to an extra blocker role.

So, we have a kicker and a wide receiver left. We have an Eastern spot and a Southern spot. This is where it got tricky this week. Prechae Rodriguez has disappeared off the fantasy radar. Justin Hilton looked solid for Tampa Bay but Amari Jackson has been hot lately. The wide receiver situation in Tampa has turned on a dime with TT Tolliver joining the team and Joe Hills being activated this week. Hills had a great season last year and was a consistent starter in fantasy. Iíll give WR JOE HILLS a shot this week since 6-5, 225 is hard to cover in the red zone.

With the firepower on offense, Randy Hippeard of the Storm would be a good call as well. Boltus has the better matchup this week, contributes with his feet too and I want to give Hippeard a game to adjust to his new weapons.

That leaves us needing a kicker from the Eastern Division and weíll take K JULIAN RAUCH of Pittsburgh. The Power looked impressive putting up 70 points last week. Another performance like this could make Rauch a great play.

Unemployed Punters Week 5 Lineup

FB Derrick Ross PHI
K Julian Rauch PIT
QB Jason Boltus ORL
WR Joe Hills TB
QB Erik Meyer SPO
WR Reggie Gray SJ
QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Maurice Purify ARI

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.
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