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AFL QuickPlay Week 18—Down the stretch we come

Andrew Nordmeier
Friday July 11, 2014

It’s hard to believe but we have just three weeks left in the regular season—and our fantasy game. This week marks the end of the byes as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are off. It also marks the time to take chances for teams that want to take a last-gasp effort at improving their standings. 

Let’s see who did well last week despite four teams being on bye before we dive into this week’s fun. We went to check last week’s standings and things already flipped over to Week 18, so we’ll just cover the top 10 overall. 
The Short Bus Kids still hold the top spot with 3449 points but RochRush is closing quickly and has 3414 points for the season. The Soup Nazis are holding down the third spot with 3364 and have a little cushion over the fourth-place Phantom Furballs and their 3335 points for the season. The End Zone Kamikazes are fifth with 3314 points. 
Rounding out the top ten are Legnbaz (3293), the Unemployed Punters (3286), The Commish (3246) the South Phoenix Bombers (3246 as well) and Fat Nutz (3245) is the top 10 through 17 weeks. We’re starting to see the teams have more separation at the top of the standings while the second five are closer together. 
Next, we’ll take a look at the schedule for this week. Your roster deadline is 9:30 p.m. Eastern/ 6:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday. 
This week’s games
Tampa Bay at San Jose 10:30 p.m. Friday
Cleveland at San Antonio 8:00 p.m. Saturday
Arizona at Spokane 10:00 p.m. Saturday
Los Angeles at Portland 10:00 p.m. Saturday
Iowa at Orlando 8:00 p.m. Monday
New Orleans at Jacksonville 8:00 p.m. Monday
BYES: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
The Eastern Division is limited to Iowa and Cleveland, which means we can’t rely on Tommy Grady nor Derrick Ross this week. We’ll need to find a deeper fullback option this week so let’s dive in with the West Division
West Division (Arizona, Los Angeles, San Antonio)
The Rattlers are back in action after a bye week. They certainly needed one after San Jose crushed them two weeks ago. They visit Deaf Valley this week in what should be a very good game from a fantasy standpoint. For that reason, we’ll roll with QB NICK DAVILA and WR ROD WINDSOR of Arizona this week. If anyone can give a reason why not to run with a quarterback with 105 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions, we’d love to hear it. 
Windsor leads the league with 36 receiving touchdowns and he should see his share of passes from Davila. He’s been the most consistent and healthiest receiver Arizona has on the roster so he’s the safest play. Maurice Purify has a little more risk than Windsor for those of you who want to take a little gamble. 
Donovan Morgan of Los Angeles is a deeper sleeper and Mykel Benson of the Talons is a desperation play for those who need a fullback this week. 
San Antonio hosts Cleveland and that game has blowout written all over it against the Talons. Los Angeles (without LJ Castille) and Portland (without Erik Rogers) gives the vibe as more of a pillow fight despite it being a battle for the fourth seed in the conference. Both of those star receivers are in the Canadian Football League right now that will deplete the receiving corps of both teams. The Thunder-KISS game has the feeling of a 42-35 game, which doesn’t bode well for fantasy. Let’s move on. 
Pacific Division (Portland, San Jose, Spokane)
We’ll take ERIK MEYER of Spokane this week because we find the matchup favorable against Arizona. It’s hard to tell which receiver he will favor this week so we’ll  pass on all of them. Mike Washington seems to be the most consistent threat if you’re looking for something different. 
The second pick will be FB ODIE ARMSTRONG of San Jose. We need a full back and he’s consistently getting several carries per game. That gives him the best chance of getting into the end zone and it fills that void left by Ross on bye. Tampa is one of the worst defenses against the run allowing 24 yards per game and 22 rushing touchdowns this season. We think Armstrong gets one score and likely a second in this situation. 
Los Angeles will be without Beau Bell this week (injured reserve) but the departure of Rogers really makes us gunshy about selecting any members of the Thunder this week. WR Reggie Gray of San Jose is another option you can chose from with WR Dominique Curry being a sleeper option in San Jose. 
East Division (Iowa, Cleveland)
We’re going to take QB SHANE AUSTIN of Cleveland this week. We saw RJ Archer of Jacksonville tear up the Talons and now it’s Austin’s turn. The other selection is going to be K AARON PETTREY of Cleveland. We anticipate Cleveland putting up a high score on San Antonio as the Talons allow a league worst 60 points per game and a -25 turnover ratio. 
The Gladiators have two solid receivers in Dominic Goodman and Thryon Lewis, which makes it difficult to figure out which one of them will go off on any given week. You can draw the same conclusion about the Iowa duo of Darius Reynolds and Marco Thomas so that gives four options for one slot. It’s a little too difficult to pick just one of the four and hope for the best. 
South Divison (New Orleans, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay)
We’re down to wide receivers here so the pool is limited for us to choose from. New Orleans doesn’t have much to offer so we’ll remove them from consideration. Tampa Bay has a tough matchup on the road at San Jose, which makes us a little hesitant to go with Joe Hills. We know he’ll be a focal point for the San Jose defense, so his effectiveness may be limited. San Jose limited Arizona to seven points in three quarters two weeks ago so the risk is there that playing a member of the Storm could yield poor results. 
Our two picks from the division are WR GREG CARR of Orlando and WR JEFF HUGHLEY of Jacksonville. Carr is having a solid season with 1320 yards and 32 touchdowns on 101 catches. He’s the most reliable threat on the Predators offense and it takes away the question of who will be playing quarterback. Last week, we went with Bernard Morris and it turned out to be Jason Boltus under center. That burned our team last week and playing Carr eliminates the risk. 
Hughley is the second pick and he was welcomed back last week to the Sharks lineup. He gives RJ Archer a solid consistent target to throw to and Hughley came out of the gate with a solid game of 112 yards and a touchdown on eight catches. The opportunities for success should be frequent against lowly New Orleans since the VooDoo has allowed at least 48 points in each of its last seven games. 
Unemployed Punters Week 18 Lineup
QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Rod Windsor ARI
QB Erik Meyer SPO
FB Odie Armstrong SJ
QB Shane Austin CLE
K Aaron Pettrey CLE
WR Greg Carr ORL
WR Jeff Hughley 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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