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AFL Quickplay Week 12-The West Gets Its Quarterbacks Back

Andrew Nordmeier
Friday June 12, 2015


The league became very different in the last few days in terms of personnel. Arizona’s Nick Davila came back after a stint on injured reserve and threw for nine touchdown passes as Arizona thumped Tampa Bay. Late Friday, the Los Angeles KISS announced Adrian McPherson was coming back off the injured list. That move turned out well since the KISS won its first game of the season to improve to 1-9 and sit two games out of a playoff spot.

Those two moves are going to really shake up the way lineups look this week but let’s take a look back at last week to see how people did. Last week was the first real strong point week seemingly across the board.

Two teams broke past 250 points with Fat Nutz recording the best score at 256 while Rattler 1 was hot in their heels with 255 points in a week that lit up the fantasy scoreboard. Six other players were between 240-250 and our lineup brought home a solid 234 points, good enough for 14th last week.

For the season, Legnbaz stands on top of the mountain with 2148 points and has a 29-point edge over the second place South Phoenix Bombers. The Phantom Furballs are third with 2112 while Rattler 1’s strong week boosts them to fourth at 2097. Our model team, the Unemployed Punters, stands fifth at 2079 points.

There’s a 41-point gap down to the sixth place team of The Commish while the Soup Nazis, Marc’s Mad Dawgs, Cincinnati Rockers and RochRush round out places seven through ten, respectively.

The only significant roster moves come from Philadelphia where fullback Tommy Taggart has been reactivated from Inactive Reserve and linebacker Beau Bell was placed on Inactive Reserve.

Points are on the rise but will they stay there in Week 12? Let’s look at the schedule to find out. Everyone plays this week but byes will factor in next week with Jacksonville and New Orleans being off.

Tonight (all times Eastern)

Jacksonville at Tampa Bay 7:00 p.m. **ROSTER DEADLINE 6:00 P.M.***

Cleveland at New Orleans 8:30 p.m.

Arizona at Portland 10 p.m.

Las Vegas at Spokane 10 p.m.

Tomorrow

Philadelphia at Orlando 7:00 p.m.

Los Angeles at San Jose 10:30 p.m.

Let’s dive in with the easier part of the lineup and work from there.

Pacific Division

We’re going to take a San Jose stack here and roll with QB Erik Meyer and WR Reggie Gray again this week. I’m not going to overthink this one but you would be hard-pressed to not run with this matchup. San Jose has the best offense and defense in the league. They also have the best turnover margin at +19 and are one of four teams in the positive. Los Angeles has the worst offense in the league and a -9 turnover ratio, tied with Portland for second-worst while New Orleans (-14) is winning that race to the bottom.

Meyer only threw for five touchdowns last week but he also ran for two more against his former team. He looks like he is undoubtedly back from his injury and with the weak division he plays in is in contention for a must-start every week.

Gray has been hot in this last three games with 39 catches for 460 yards and 12 touchdowns. The next closest Sabercat is Adron Tennell who has 41 catches for 520 yards and 17 touchdowns…in eight games. Tennell missed last week and there was nothing as of press time to show him being activated for this week’s game. D.J. Stephens came back last week after missing four games for San Jose and posted a 10-79-1 line. It’s enough to keep defenses from totally focusing on Gray and should give him a great chance to go off again this week.

If you want a deeper option, think of Kyle Rowley from Portland. He’s been around the league a few years and this quarterback should have chances to put points on the board against Arizona. With the way Davila dismantled Tampa last week, the Thunder should get the ball often. We don’t know if Rowley can capitalize but he’s a sneaky play.

Spokane has gone from bad to good to bad again to who knows what. The bad news is they’ve dropped three of their last four games and in two of them failed to crack 30 points. Both of those games were against San Jose but they lost those games by a combined 84 points. The good news is they take on Las Vegas again which is the only team they beat in the last month (63-56 on May 23 in Vegas). Both teams are 3-7 and in the wild card hunt so this game actually means something.

There is also a cloud looming over the Shock and that came out in the last few days. Two members of the team have been suspended following an alleged criminal incident that happened while the Shock was in Las Vegas. Neither player, offensive lineman Mark Jackson nor wide receiver Samuel Charles, was relevant in terms of fantasy football. It can bring an entire team down however and we don’t know how this could impact the team. Either way, we’re staying away from the Shock this week and it’s difficult to use any of them when they are in the same division with an undefeated San Jose team.

Eastern Division

Yes, we’ll have another helping of Dan Raudabaugh please. The signal caller for the Soul threw for 323 yards and nine touchdowns as Philadelphia rolled over New Orleans last week in a divisional game. He leads the league with 74 touchdown passes, nine better than Shane Austin of Cleveland.

We’re going to bench Shane Austin of Cleveland this week. Yes, it’s the Gladiators’ turn to pound on the VooDoo but his performance last week was not that great. Sure, he threw for five touchdowns but had only 182 passing yards and barely completed half of his passes (23-of-40). His opponent, Sean Brackett of Las Vegas was 18-of-34 for 256 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions.

Austin was performing at the same level as a backup quarterback with little experience and he should be better. Hopefully this game gets him back on track but it’s hard to take him with Davila and McPherson both coming back into the fold. He’s tempting given that he’s thrown for 13 touchdowns with one interception in two games against New Orleans this season but hasn’t thrown for six or more touchdowns in a game in nearly a month.

We’re going to make our second pick from this division Philadelphia kicker Tommy Frevert. He’s hit four field goals this season and is a solid 74-of-79 on extra points. Philly and Orlando played a 70-63 barn burner earlier this season and it could be another game like that this week.

The thought is there to take a Philadelphia wide receiver but picking which one to use is hard. Marco Thomas (93-1110-24) has emerged as the leader by a head over Ryan McDaniel (80-891-19) and Shaun Kauleinamoku (56-880-19) in terms of who’s putting up the better fantasy numbers this season. Last week, Kauleinamoku was two yards short of giving the Soul three receivers with at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in the same game.

The point is you can’t pick just one of them in case you get a game like the win over Las Vegas two weeks ago. Thomas had 125 yards and five touchdowns while the other two guys were held out of the end zone in that game. There isn’t enough separation to take Thomas this week but he would be my pick out of those three wide receivers.

South Division

Derrick Ross is going to be the fullback again this week for two reasons. First, he’s the best one in the league with 103 carries, 407 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Second, Ross is on a bye next week so let’s use him while we still can.

We still need a quarterback and two wide receivers as we keep going in this division an we’re looking at a wide receiver for sure.

Jacksonville’s duo of Anthony Jones and Joe Hills are great together but picking one over the other is a similar situation the Soul at this position. They both put up similar results from week to week but neither is pushing far ahead of the other one. If you want to take one, use Jones since he has more catches (28-23), yards (378-221) and touchdowns (8-5) in the last three weeks than Hills. You also run the risk of not knowing which Sharks team will show up each week. Will you get the one that has gone 6-1 after an 0-4 start or will you get the one that went up early on Los Angeles and had to hang on to escape with a win?

Orlando has Greg Carr back in the lineup after he missed five games. In the Predators’ game with the Sharks, quarterback Bernard Morris used a very balanced attack to put points on the board. No receiver had more than two touchdowns and four different receivers scored at least once. The yardage isn’t there either as they have a total of two 100-yard performances from all of their receivers, combined, in the last five games. They should have plenty of chances to score as they take on Philadelphia but the question lingers—who can you trust to score? We don’t know either.

Our other wide receiver is going to be Tampa Bay’s Julius Gregory. He has nine touchdowns in his last three games and has evolved into the best receiver on the team over that period by a wide margin. We’re not sure why quarterback Jason Boltus is going to him so often but it’s delivering results and we’ll take it. It also helps that Tampa is dead last in rushing the ball so it’s all air all the time for the Storm.

The other question to ask is what happened to T.T. Tolliver? He has 72 catches for 986 yards and 22 touchdowns this season but only 13 catches, 168 yards and two touchdowns in the last three weeks. Kendrick Ings didn’t play against Arizona and has 6-83-1 in the same time as Tolliver’s woes.

Sometimes you have to ride the hot hand and this is one of those cases. Hopefully, Gregory stays hot this week against Jacksonville.

West Division

It’s time to get back on board with Nick Davila of Arizona. He showed no ill effects or much rust in dismantling Tampa Bay last week with nine touchdown passes. Davila distributed the ball well as three different receivers had at least five catches. Rod Windsor and Kerry Reed each scored twice while Chase Deadder made five of his six catches into touchdowns. Markee White is out of the picture for Arizona for the season (broken back) so Deadder might be the new big target in the red zone for Arizona. It’s a little too risky for our taste since he scored half of his 10 touchdowns this season in one game.

Last time against Portland, Davila threw for 319 yards and nine touchdowns against the Thunder. We know Arizona is inching closer to a playoff berth and I can see Davila throwing at least seven scores and 250 yards this week. Portland could be embarrassed after losing to the then 0-9 KISS and they can either rebound nicely or get rolled this week. It looks more like the latter.

Of note, in the previous meeting between these two teams Windsor scored six touchdowns. The temptation is there to take Windsor in an Arizona stack this week against a Portland team that had struggled to put up points all year. Ever since Jamar Howard went down hurt against San Jose, this Portland team hasn’t been able to put up points and is giving up more and more of them each week.

Portland has allowed at least 50 points to six of its last seven opponents and four teams have scored more than 60 against them.

Windsor looks like a great play this week but so does Donovan Morgan of the KISS. Morgan has performed well all season despite multiple quarterbacks. Adrian McPherson is back under center for Los Angeles after missing five games but they have a brutal matchup this week with San Jose. In the first meeting between those two teams, Morgan posted a nice line of 141 yards and three touchdowns on five catches but it is a little deceptive.

He had 63 yards and two of his three touchdowns in a garbage time fourth quarter. McPherson was benched and Brian Zybdenewski came on in relief, tossing both of those scores. That was a 47-14 game heading into the fourth quarter and Los Angeles was on the wrong end of the score.

I can’t trust Morgan to rally back late in the game again and I’m not going to use him this week. San Jose has allowed less than 35 points in four of its last six games, which doesn’t bode well. McPherson has eight rushing touchdowns this season that means Morgan is at risk of getting scores vultured away from him inside the five-yard line.

Las Vegas isn’t looking that impressive and being on the road at Spokane is a tough place to play. There are also reports of problems within the organization off the field, which could loom over the team. They’ve also lost their last five games in a row and don’t show much in terms of fantasy to make me want to choose any of them now.

That said, we’ll take the Arizona stack and put Windsor with Davila to round out the lineup.

Unemployed Punters Week 12 Lineup

QB Dan Raudabaugh PHI

K Tommy Frevert PHI

FB Derrick Ross JAX

WR Julius Gregory TB

QB Erik Meyer SJ

WR Reggie Gray SJ

QB Nick Davila ARI

WR Rod Windsor 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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