AFL Quickplay Week 7: Another One Bites The Dust
It seems like as we go through each week of the season, the injuries are piling up week by week and the quarterback position has been anything but immune this year. We’ve already seen Adrian McPherson and Nick Davila go on injured reserve. Now we have San Jose quarterback Erik Meyer joining them. New Orleans quarterback Adam Kennedy was knocked out of the VooDoo win over Spokane and his status for this week is unknown.
That’s a third of the league’s starting quarterbacks going down hurt and we’re only a third of the way through the season. These key injuries play such a huge role in determining fantasy value for practically every player in the league that this could be a very rocky road going forward.
That doesn’t even factor in the two teams that are on bye this week in Portland and Tampa Bay.
Before we tip toe through the minefield called Week 7, let’s look back and see who succeeded on a brutal Week 6.
We have a new leader on top of the overall standings! The new leader is….me! Yes, the Unemployed Punters have seized the top spot with 1176 points. We have a 30-point lead over second-place Legnbaz while the Cincinnati Rockers (1145) and South Phoenix Bombers (1143) all in hot pursuit. The fifth through tenth place teams are separated by 19 points so one good week can vault you up a few places.
Last week, the dadeo squad (207 points) and the Unemployed Punters (205) were the only ones to break the 200-point barrier. Anyone with a score of 177 or better was in the top ten for the past week.
Before my head swells any more, let’s look at this week’s shortened slate of games.
Orlando at Philadelphia
Los Angeles at Spokane
Jacksonville at Cleveland
Arizona at New Orelans
Las Vegas at San Jose
BYE: Portland, Tampa Bay
Incidentally for those of you who are bye-curious, here’s the list of when everyone else goes on bye.
Week 9: Arizona, Los Angeles
Week 13: New Orleans, Jacksonville
Week 18: San Jose Cleveland, Philadelphia, Orlando
Spokane and Las Vegas have already had their bye weeks.
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Let’s start picking some players for this week and try to stay on top of the standings.
It should be a no-brainer to start Dan Raudabugh of the Soul this week. He leads the league with 40 touchdown passes against four interceptions. His yardage total, 1720, is third in the AFL but touchdowns are where the points pile up.
The Orlando defense hasn’t been much of a challenge lately. They’ve allowed 56 points in each of their last two games and both were overtime losses on botched conversions. Orlando has managed just two interceptions on 238 pass attempts by opponents this season and have allowed nearly 300 yards per game through the air. This just sets up to be a feast for Philadelphia on offense and an easy start for Raudabaugh.
The other options in this division are Cleveland (hosting Jacksonville) or New Orleans (hosting Arizona) and both games are in the category of being unknowns.
The VooDoo-Rattlers game has become a total toss-up. Both teams are rolling with backup quarterbacks due to injury. New Orleans scored 66 points last week but hadn’t scored more than 42 in any of its four previous games. This raises the question—was last week the start of a new trend or was it a one-off aberration? Until we see otherwise, I lean towards one-off. Chris Duvalt (37 catches, 472 yards, 11 touchdowns) is the lone receiving threat for New Orleans this season. He’s going to have a tough time against an Arizona defense that was standing toe-to-toe with San Jose last week until it fell apart late I the game. I don’t feel comfortable with using a member of the VooDoo because of the inconsistency and the matchup. This could be a week where they get back into that 35-42 point range that they’ve been found in.
Cleveland’s first option in fantasy is Shane Austin (1670 yards, 37 touchdowns, seven interceptions) as he’s off to a solid start this season. Collin Taylor (48-564-13) and Dominic Goodman (54-521-15) are solid passing threats for him. Two passing threats will offset the value of each of them in fantasy and we can’t tell from week to week who will perform better.
Their matchup is with Jacksonville, arguably the most puzzling team in the league this season. They are 1-5 and were averaging about 54 points a game before the egg they laid last week in Tampa Bay. They have a former AFL MVP in Tommy Grady at quarterback. They have arguably the best running back in league history in Derrick Ross. They have two top notch wide receivers in Anthony Jones (58-857-15) and Joe Hills (53-494-14) to keep the ball moving. And yet they can’t win.
The problem for the Sharks is the teams defense. They’ve allowed 51, 55, 63, 68, 28 and 63 points in their six games this season. They need to show more promise to stop teams if they want to get in the win column much more often. Cleveland has the offense to keep the Sharks in the loss column this week and Austin should have another solid game.
We’re a little short down here this week with Tampa Bay being on bye. It leaves us Orlando and Jacksonville to choose from. We broke down Jacksonville but when you go in depth the Sharks have two viable fantasy players in Ross and Grady. Ross only gets it because of the positional requirements of the game. Grady has been able to shake off bad performances before and should be able to stay competitive with Cleveland this week.
Speaking of fullbacks, let’s break them down into three groups for future use.
Group A: Ross and Tommy Taggart of the Soul. Both are getting solid numbers of carries and are finding the end zone regularly. It’s tough to play Taggart without Cleveland being on a bye because of the quality of the quarterbacks in this division.
Group B: Odie Armstrong and Mykel Benson. The fullbacks for San Jose and Arizona, respectively, are in positions where they play on teams with good offenses that can light up the scoreboard. Both are established in the league so you know what you’re getting if you use them.
Group C: Everyone else that isn’t a quarterback.
We’ll stick with Ross since Taggart won’t work for us this week. I’d be tempted to take a Sharks wide receiver but it’s such a coin toss between the two of them that it’s almost impossible to pick just one.
Orlando is in an odd position. I want to trust quarterback Randy Hippeard but with Bernard Morris lurking on the bench, you never know what will happen inside the five-yard line. Morris has only thrown six passes this season so he’s not a threat to go out and toss the pigskin 40 times a night for now. The only risk with HIppeard is that he gets vulture in the red zone by his own teammate.
You can’t trust Orlando wide receivers in fantasy this season. Kendall Thompkins (40-564-9), Brandon Thompkins (35-431-5), Larry Brackins (14-151=7) and Greg Carr (26-324-5) have made it a very balanced offense for the Predators. Carr went on inactive reserve this week but it doesn’t do much else to improve any one player’s fantasy value over the other.
Our third quarterback this week is Hippeard. He’s been putting up solid numbers the last two weeks (771 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception) and will need to keep pace with the Soul in this week’s game that can put up the highest score.
As we enter the division, we still need three wide receivers and a kicker just like last week. Except this week is nothing like last week. Meyer went down in the second half against Arizona and took a late hit from Arizona defensive lineman Anttaj Hawthorne. Meyer was moved to IR yesterday and it’s unknown how long he’ll be out for, Hawthorne was suspended for four games for the hit.
That leaves it up to Nathan Stanley who has thrown nine passes in mop-up duty this season for the Sabercats. Last year he threw for 50 touchdown passes and had four games with six or more touchdown passes. It would be interesting to see how the San Jose offense runs with Stanley at the helm. Of all the backup quarterbacks, he’s the one I feel the most comfortable with playing in fantasy.
Since we locked up our quarterback spots, we’ll take another roll with kicker Nich Pertuit since the chances are there with San Jose scoring big against Las Vegas.
The wide receiver question is going to be a tough one to answer this week. Portland is off, San Jose has a new quarterback and Spokane is difficult to figure out. Mike Washington has been the most known threat for Spokane but has been inconsistent at best. He’s had two solid games (10-152-3 against Arizona in Week 1 and 10-138-4 against Orlando in Week 5) and no more than one touchdown in any of the three other games. Which Mike Washington will you get when you play him, if you do? The reason we like him this week is the matchup against Los Angeles is very favorable. The KISS has looked seemingly worse by the week and I think Spokane blows them away by at least four touchdowns. Washington should be a big part of the offense.
It’s hard to pick between Reggie Gray and Adron Tennell of San Jose to begin with but it’s even tougher with a new quarterback. The Sabercats should get to 7-0 at the expense of the Outlaws but I want to see a game first with Stanley calling the shots so I can get a better idea here. I want to see how he runs the offense should be he called on to do it on a long-term basis.
This division has gone from one of the best in terms of talent to a total quagmire in a few weeks’ time. We still need two wide receivers here and this is going to be a hold-your-nose-and-pick part here. Arizona doesn’t look the same with BJ Coleman calling the shots while Nick Davila is out with a lower-body injury. Rod Windsor (10-95-1) was okay last week but was overshadowed in fantasy by Markee White (5-75-2). Kerry Reed was non-existent last week with one catch.
Windsor has the pedigree and is the best receiver Arizona has while they wait for Maurice Purify to get healthy. The Rattlers could get back on track against New Orleans and they would almost have to have Windsor go off to make it happen.
The second wide receiver spot is a bigger quagmire. You have Donovan Morgan of Los Angeles who was great when Adrian McPherson was healthy but has disappeared since McPherson went out. You also have the fact that Los Angeles was shutout in the second half by Las Vegas last week. It’s become bad for the KISS and their opponent this week, Spokane, is almost as desperate for a win. At this point, it’s tough to rely on anyone from the KISS to do anything productive in fantasy. Thyron Lewis (9-96-1 last week) had a good game but it came at Morgan’s expense (5-59-0).
Over in Las Vegas, the passing game is a question mark at best. Jomo Wilson has been the lead dog in the passing game despite putting up some very unsexy stat lines. In his last two weeks, he has seven catches for 81 yards and four touchdowns. It’s also hard to gauge the Outlaws on the whole as two of their last three games have been against Los Angeles. Let’s see what they do against other teams that have, you know, won games this season.
Wilson is about the only legitimate threat the Outlaws have and it’s going to be tough sledding this week against San Jose so we’ll take him one more time. He might be good for 12-15 fantasy points but every point helps.
See how tough the decisions are?
Unemployed Punters Week 7 Lineup
QB Dan Raudabuagh PHI
QB Shane Austin CLE
QB Randy Hippeard ORL
FB Derrick Ross JAX
WR Mike Washington SPO
K Nich Pertuit SJ (Pertuit isn’t showing up in the rosters so we’ll take Taylor Rowan of Spokane.)
WR Rod Windsor ARI
WR Jomo Wilson LV