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AFL Quick Pick Week 15: Shock to the System

Andrew Nordmeier
Friday June 20, 2014

The Spokane Shock are the only team we can choose from in the Pacific Division and we’re not taking Erik Meyer this week. We’ll explain the rationale for it below and navigate through what promises to be a challenging week from a fantasy perspective.

Let’s see who the big dogs were last week and how it impacted the season.

Last week, the Phantom Furballs hit on Randy Hippeard of Tampa and won the week with 253 points. Newcomer mjwsr31 had a strong second-place finish with 250 points in their first week. The FAT NUTZ cracked into third place with 243 points. The end zone kamikaze (239) and HornDawgs (235) rounded out the top five. There were at least three teams tied for eighth with 227 points each so there wasn’t too much separation in the top 10. Our “experimental” lineup yielded 207 points and a 19th place finish.

For the season, the top spot is still occupied by the Short Bus Kids for what seems like about 11 weeks in a row now. Their lead has ballooned to more than 100 points over the second-place team and it would take a major face plant to have someone else seize the top spot. 

RochRush has second place for now with 2783 points while the Soup Nazis have spooned up a big helping of third place with 2764 points. The Phantom Furballs sit fourth with 2757 and Legnbaz rounds out the top five with 2736 points. Our example team, the Unemployed Punters sits sixth with 2732 points so we’re still in the running for another solid finish this season. (We were sixth last season.)

Let’s take a look at this week’s games and see how matchups will play a role.

Iowa at Pittsburgh Friday 7:00 p.m. ET
San Antonio at Spokane 10:00 p.m. ET
Cleveland at Philadelphia Saturday 6:00 p.m. ET
Orlando at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m. ET
Jacksonville at New Orleans 8:00 p.m. ET
Los Angeles at Arizona 9:00 p.m. ET
BYES: San Jose, Portland

Your roster deadline is 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, which is 3:00 p.m. for those of you on the West Coast. Notice that two-thirds of the Pacific Division is on the bench this week so everyone will have to play a pair of guys from the Spokane Shock. Or get zeroes in those slots.

That said, let’s get the party started with the anything-but-wild West Division

West Division (Arizona, Los Angeles, San Antonio)

Act surprised when we take Arizona QB NICK DAVILA again this week. While the Los Angeles defense can be tough at times, they have been pillowy soft in the last three games. They allowed 70 to Arizona when these teams met in Los Angeles, 63 points to San Jose and 61 points to Portland last week. The KISS beat Portland to get back into the playoff hunt at 3-9. That is not a typo, folks.

Arizona looks to wrap up homefield advantage in the first two rounds with a win so the Snakes have plenty to play for in front of the home fans. The Rattlers are a +17 in turnover margin while the KISS is a -17 in that department so this could be crazy quickly. Arizona has scored 70 points in five of its last seven games.

The second player from this division is going to be super-tough this week. For the first time in quite a long time, Arizona has all four of its receivers healthy. Maurice Purify, Rod Windsor, Tysson Poots and Kerry Reed are all healthy and trying to pick just one of them is a very tough thing to do.

We’ll do it anyway and go with WR MAURICE PURIFY this week. Purify had a nice comeback last week against San Antonio with 49 yards and three touchdowns. Look for him to get used more this week as Arizona tries to get up to full speed with the playoffs a few weeks away.

Poots has two touchdowns in his last four games which reduces his value in this format. Reed took a backseat last week and had just one catch for a 24-yard touchdown. It’s safe to say that Windsor and Purify are the receivers to play. Purify had a five-game streak earlier this season with three or more touchdowns in each game and we expect that streak to get to two games this week.

If you want a mild sleeper, you can try Donovan Morgan of the KISS. He’s been their only receiving threat this season. Morgan has posted a nice line so far with 98-1185-22 this season but he’s likely to draw the wrath of the Arizona defense. Samora Goodson makes a super-deep sleeper but should only be played by the super-desperate.

We do not recommend the San Antonio Talons this week. Since their only win of the season, the Talons have seen their point total drop every single week. They posted 68 in the win but have put up 59, 52, 44, 40, 40, 39 and 34 points in each game in order since. We don’t think they can go much lower but you never know what will happen in Deaf Valley.

Other options we considered include ARI FB Alex Singleton

Pacific Division (Spokane)

You’re going to play the Shock and you’re going to like it! That’s the motto for this division this week but it’s still difficult despite it being only one team with a positive matchup. Spokane hosts lowly San Antonio this week so this looks like a win on paper.

We’re going to roll with WR MIKE WASHINGTON and K TAYLOR ROWAN for this week. Yes, we’re passing on Erik Meyer despite the positive matchup. Mainly because it’s too good. San Antonio shouldn’t pose much of a problem for Spokane and maybe Meyer *gasp* shouldn’t play this week. Bryan Zybdenweski was reactivated from recallable assignment earlier in the week. It would make more sense to let him go out and take the punishment from the Talons. Follow us on the reasoning.

It’s a relative certainty that Los Angeles will lose so if Spokane wins they will be four games up on the battle for the fourth seed with five games to play. Spokane takes on LA next week and then has its second bye of the season. With the ineptitude of the teams behind them, Spokane might be prudent to let Meyer wear a hat and carry a clipboard this week. That’s why we’re not big on Meyer this week. Even if he plays, how long will Spokane leave him in, especially if this becomes a predictable blowout?

Washington should play the whole game and Rowan looks like he will have plenty of chances to put points on the board with his foot.

We’re halfway done and have filled QB-WR-WR-K positions. We still need a FB, a WR and two flex players.
East Division (Iowa, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland)

Last week we went without Derrick Ross in order to take two quarterbacks from this division. We later found out there are no other fullbacks that make themselves out to be viable options. We’re going to take Ross this week for that reason.

Ross should also see more carries this week. The Soul put Ryan McDaniel on injured reserve this week so it leaves Anthony Tiger Jones as the main receiving threat. Philadelphia needs to find ways to slow down a potent Cleveland offense and running the ball with Ross would be an effective way to do that. The Soul know they can hang with the 11-1 Gladiators and lost 54-52 to them last time out on a last-second touchdown pass for Cleveland.

We’re also not as big on quarterback Dan Raudabaugh because he will be missing McDaniel and doesn’t have as solid of a second option in V’Keon Lacey.

The other position goes to Shane Austin of Cleveland over Pittsburgh’s Tommy Grady. Austin gets the nod because he’s more of a dual threat quarterback while Grady is a better pocket passer. Austin has the better matchup this week. Cleveland takes on a Philadelphia team that has allowed the third-most touchdowns in the league with 94 so far this season (San Antonio 105, Orlando 101).

Austin has been hot lately and has scored 70 total touchdowns this season.  He’s thrown 15 touchdown passes in his last two games and the Soul is the perfect opponent to continue it against.

Grady makes a good second option if you want to take a different route at quarterback. Prechae Rodriguez and, to a lesser extent, Tyrone Goard make good secondary options. Jones also works as well and both Thryon Lewis and Dominic Goodman are solid options at receiver. So many choices and so few spots.

Cleveland and Pittsburgh clinch playoff spots with wins so both have extra motivation this week.

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

Let’s eliminate the obvious here as we look for a quarterback and a wide receiver to fill out our lineup. It won’t be anyone from the VooDoo. Kurt Rocco and Ryan Perilloux both went on IR last week. The rights to LJ Castille were swapped to Los Angeles earlier this week so the VooDoo offers little in terms of fantasy. Additionally, if they lose this week they’re eliminated from the playoff hunt.

Orlando takes on Tampa and Jacksonville meets New Orleans this week. Tampa has the worst defense in the game and Orlando has the best offense in terms of yardage so the ball should be moving quite a bit. Tampa has won four straight and is averaging 59 points a game in those contests.

That’s why we’ll fill out the roster with QB Randy Hippeard and WR Joe Hills. Hippeard is fresh off of a nine-touchdown game (three of them on the ground) and has thrown for at least five scores in each of his last four games. Hills has a streak running of six games with at least three or more receiving touchdowns and at least 65 yards receiving. We like the consistency this time of year and have to have him in our lineup.

Greg Carr of Orlando is another solid choice but he’s not as consistent now as Hills is. Carr has scored seven touchdowns in his last five games. He recorded two games with three scores each but also had a pair of games where he was held out of the end zone. If Carr was as consistent as he was earlier in the season (21 touchdowns in six games), he would likely get this spot. Bernard Morris has been the starting quarterback but Jason Boltus is right over his shoulder waiting for his chance. Orlando used both quarterbacks in two of the last three games so it’s unpredictable at best.

RJ Archer in Jacksonville is dealing with some flux in his receiver corps. Both London Crawford and Jeron Harvey, his top two options, didn’t play last week against Orlando. Jomo Wilson has been inconsistent with two touchdowns in his last three games. There’s more questions than answers in the receiving corps in Jacksonville and it makes us shy away from Archer. The matchup with New Orleans could be a blowout and Archer may not see much playing time if this gets out of hand.

Unemployed Punters Line Up Week 15

QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Maurice Purify ARI
WR Mike Washington SPO
K Taylor Rowan SPO
QB Shane Austin CLE
FB Derrick Ross PHI
WR Joe Hills TB
QB Randy Hippeard TB
Schedules for each team in the final five weeks.
Team     16           17           18           19           20
ARI         @SJ        BYE        @SPO   PDX        @ORL
CLE         TB           PDX        @SA      JAX         @TB
IOW       @PHI     BYE        @ORL    PIT          SJ
JAX         PIT          @SA      NO         @CLE     LA
LA           SPO        SJ            @PDX   SA           @JAX

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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