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AFL Quickplay Week 14—Beware the Thursday Game

Andrew Nordmeier
Thursday June 12, 2014

This week in the world of AFL Fantasy Football we have a dreaded Thursday night game. It’s a week where you make the most boring and conservative plays possible to minimize risks.

When your lineup has to be in Thursday evening (or afternoon for those of you on the West Coast), you run some big risks of things changing last minute and wrecking your week. This week’s key is to play it safe and hope for the best.

Before we dive into this week, let’s look back at last week. Week 13 will go down in the fantasy books as the week of Hannibal’s catch phrase from the A-Team. “I love it when a plan comes together,” he would say. With the results of the last week, our plan came together very nicely.

The Short Bus Kids won the week with 245 points. They used performances from Mike Washington of the Shock and Eric Rogers of the Thunder to put up the best score of the week.

We had a three-way tie for second between The Commish, the Soup Nazis and the Unemployed Punters (which happens to be our weekly example) at 238 points. Sara’s Sabercats rounded out the top five at 237 points.

For the season, those Short Bus Kids need to break an axle to be caught by any of the other teams. They have 2,661 points so far and hold a 92-point edge over second-place RochRush. The Soup Nazis (2537), Legnbaz (2530) and the Unemployed Punters (2525) round out the top five after 13 weeks.

Let’s check out this week’s schedule and see who goes head-to-head. All times are Eastern.

Jacksonville at Orlando 7:30 p.m. Eastern—Thursday June 12
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia 6:00 p.m. Saturday June 14
New Orleans at Cleveland 7:00 p.m.
Arizona at San Antonio 8:00 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Iowa 8:05 p.m.
Portland at Los Angeles 10:00 p.m.
Spokane at San Jose 10:30 p.m.

As you can see, the Jacksonville-Orlando tilt really throws this week out of kilter. Your roster deadline is 6:30 p.m. Eastern Thursday and 3:30 p.m. Pacific. Make sure you get the lineup in on time. While your team may have put up big point this past week, the same guys could lay a collective egg this week.

Let’s go division-by-division and see who to take this week.

Western Division (Arizona, San Antonio, Los Angeles)

We’re going with Arizona QB NICK DAVILA and WR ROD WINDSOR this week. Davila is a given unless the Rattlers are on a bye. To give some perspective on the season he’s having, Davila has thrown 89 touchdown passes and missed 110 passes for the season. That’s amazing.

Kerry Reed has been a dual threat lately for Arizona. He put up a solid line of 90 yards and three touchdowns on nine catches. He added 20 yards on two carries in the win over Portland. He also had 101 yards and four scores against Los Angeles so he’s been hot lately. But Windsor is due for a bounce-back game. Windsor is usually money for three or four scores a game and we should play it safe here. Reed makes a nice sleeper pick but keep in mind Windsor has twice as many receptions and yards as Reed. Windsor leads in touchdowns 27-22 over Reed.

The matchup also helps Arizona’s fantasy value as well. The Rattlers are second in the league with a +15 turnover ratio and the Talons are the third worst at a -16 for the season. Arizona should be able to get extra opportunities and will likely cash them in against a team allowing 58.3 points per game. Don’t get a little gun-shy about using Arizona players in this game since the last time these two teams met it was a 59-49 final.

You might want to consider Talons quarterback Shane Boyd as a sleeper pick this week. Whomever Arizona plays usually gets a pile of chances to put points on the board. Then again, Boyd didn’t make it out of the first quarter as Orlando held a 21-3 lead after 15 minutes last week. San Antonio is also backsliding and scoring fewer and fewer points each week and hasn’t broken 40 points in any of its last three games.

The Portland-Los Angeles game has the word stinker written all over it so we can’t recommend either team from a fantasy perspective. These are the two worst offenses in the league and it could be another game like last week’s Jacksonville-Spokane snorefest that ended 34-28. Donovan Morgan makes a super-deep sleeper coming off of an 11-77-4 game last week against San Jose.

Pacific Division (Spokane, San Jose, Portland)

We’re still not sold on Portland this week so it leaves Spokane and San Jose…and they play each other on CBS late on Saturday night. Last time these two met, it was a 73-62 shootout and a ton of fantasy points were scored.

But that game had Erik Meyer and Russ Michna at quarterback but both of them are injured. Mike Washington (9-171-3) and Reggie Gray (8-75-5) had excellent games that night but neither is likely to repeat those stellar nights.

We lean more towards players from San Jose because their defense is much better than Spokane’s. The Shock is also coming off of a 28-point outing against Jacksonville so there’s little confidence in their offense now.

We’ll take K NICH PERTUIT again this week to fill the requirement at kicker.

The other pick out of this division is San Jose WR REGGIE GRAY since he looks like the most stable receiving option in the division. This is a week to be simple.

And we’ll throw that idea out the window in the next division. 

East Division (Iowa, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland)

Let’s start this division off by saying that Cleveland 86’ed Iowa, literally, last week. Now they take on New Orleans and they have the worst defense in the league at 58.4 points per game allowed. New Orleans was slapped around by Pittsburgh in a 40-point loss last week and they could get stomped like that again this week.

We’re taking Cleveland QB SHANE AUSTIN and it’s hard not to when he’s coming off of a nine-touchdown game (seven passing, two rushing).  The matchup is about as good as it gets.

The second position in this division is a very tough call. It comes down to either FB Derrick Ross of the Soul or QB Tommy Grady of the Power and their teams play each other. Grady threw for eight touchdowns last time out when Pittsburgh knocked off the Soul 65-57 early last month. The Power leads the league in turnover ratio at +16 which helps Grady out.

Grady looks like the better play this week and we’ll take him from this division. That also means we’ll have to look deep for a fullback since we’re going to take two quarterbacks from the division. Pittsburgh is going to provide a tough challenge for Ross to run against. Philadelphia (13.8) and Pittsburgh (14.2) are one-two in fewest yards per game allowed on the ground. And if Ross doesn’t hit the end zone, it could be a fat zero from him this week.

For what it’s worth, we would have taken ODIE ARMSTRONG of San Jose to be our fullback this week if he wasn’t on injured reserve. In the hierarchy of AFL fullbacks it’s Ross then a drop to Armstrong and then a big drop to everyone else. That’s the reality of it.

Southern Division (Jacksonville, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa Bay)

So we need a fullback and a wide receiver out of this group to keep the roster legal. Let’s break down the fullback situation first.

Orlando has Bernard Morris do most of the rushing but he’s a quarterback and Michael Simons doesn’t have much success. Tampa didn’t run the ball once in its last game. RJ Bibbs ran for 10 yards and a touchdown last week for Jacksonville but the dual threat of RJ Archer always looms over his shoulder. Ryan Perilloux does most of the running for New Orleans and he again is another quarterback.

This is tough.

We’re going to take Bibbs for the fact he has 12 carries for 27 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season. This is a hold-your-nose kind of pick since we need someone to keep the lineup legal.

The receiver spot is murky this week. Greg Carr of Orlando has seemingly disappeared since Morris returned. Last week, he posted 32 yards and no touchdowns against San Antonio. The week before, it was a pedestrian 7-73-1 line for Carr while Larry Brackens (9-117-3) had the better outing against Iowa. This was the same player who scored at least four touchdowns in four consecutive games earlier this season and then just fell off the table.

LJ Castille of the VooDoo is another player who started well with Kurt Rocco under center but Quorey Payne has put up the better numbers with Perilloux calling the shots. The Jacksonville receivers are too balanced to pick just one.

So we’ll go with Joe Hills of the Storm again this week. Iowa is vulnerable after scoring 43 points and still got doubled up by Cleveland last week. Hills has 23 receiving touchdowns in eight games. Marco Thomas leads the league with 30 scores…in 12 games. Hills and Randy Hippeard have something good going and it’s time to take advantage of it.

Unemployed Punters Week 14 Lineup

QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Rod Windsor ARI
K Nich Pertuit SJ
WR Reggie Gray SJ
QB Tommy Grady PIT
QB Shane Austin CLE
WR Joe Hills TB

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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