AFL Quickplay Week 13-We Need a Fullback!
Last week seemed to be another mildly predictable week in the Arena Football League until we got to the late game. It has taken almost a week to comprehend the fact that the Los Angeles Kiss went into San Jose as a 1-9 team and knocked off an 11-0 Sabercats squad in overtime. It’s that kind of uncertainty that keeps you guessing in fantasy football as well as in real football.
It also proves that you can never truly know what’s going to happen next between the boards as we saw in the results. We saw four teams break the 200-point barrier and the Sugarmill Giants won the week with 207 points. The Soup Nazis and Phantom Furballs tied for second with 206 each while Sara’s Sabercats clawed their way to 204 points. Our example team, the Unemployed Punters, limped home with a middle-of-the-pack 172 points, good for 28th place.
For the season, the Phantom Furballs now have top spot with 2318 points, six points up on second-place Legnbaz. The third-place South Phoenix Bombers have 2309 points and a 40-point edge on fourth-place Rattler1. Our team is fifth with 2251 points so we’re still doing quite well.
In general, teams that did well cashed in on a solid game by Jacksonville’s Tommy Grady and Joe Hills to pile up the points. We know they won’t do it again this week since they are on a bye as well as the New Orleans VooDoo. That means we need to find a replacement for steady fullback Derrick Ross. Joe Hills, Anthony Jones and Tommy Grady are going to be sitting at home as are the seldom-used New Orleans squad which has little fantasy value.
Don’t forget about the transactions that can impact the fantasy game and the league rosters. For example, Los Angeles quarterback Adrian McPherson is now playing with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League so he is statused as other league-exempt. That could serve a rough blow to the two-game winning streak the KISS has.
Cleveland placed wide receiver Dominick Goodman on inactive reserve after he was voted the Week 12 MVP by fans. Goodman is fifth in the league with 1,098 receiving yards on a league-best 111 catches and a solid 25 touchdowns so far. If Goodman’s out, Collin Taylor (98-1054-25) becomes the top target for Shane Austin this week.
Philadelphia is without wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku as he was placed on inactive reserve mid-week. It opens up more targets for Marco Thomas and Ryan McDaniel to take advantage of.
So, what does the five-game schedule look like this week? Here it is with all times Eastern.
Tampa Bay at Cleveland 7 p.m. **ROSTER DEADLINE 6 P.M.**
Orlando at Arizona 8 p.m.
Philadelphia at Los Angeles 11 p.m.
San Jose at Las Vegas 5 p.m.
Spokane at Portland 10 p.m.
The byes leave us with shortened East Divisions (Cleveland and Philadephia) and South Divisions (Tampa Bay and Orlando). The West and Pacific Divisions are full strength. Finding a fullback is going to be a key challenge this week. The best thing to do is focus on the quarterbacks and wide receivers then fill in the fullback and the kicker.
We’re going to take quarterback Erik Meyer and wide receiver Reggie Gray of the Sabercats again this week in a nice stack. The Sabercats were stunned (to put it mildly) by Los Angeles in overtime last week. That should be a wake up call to that team that you can’t put it on cruise control now that they’ve wrapped up their division title and playoff spot.
We fully expect San Jose to flex its muscle and get back to steamrolling its opponents. Las Vegas knocked off Spokane to break a five-game losing streak but it’s little consolation as San Jose tries for a third win over the Outlaws this season. Last time out San Jose crushed Las Vegas 61-28. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Sabercats put up more than 60 points this week and I wouldn’t put 70 out of the question. In order to do that, Meyer and Gray are going to have huge games.
If you’re looking here to find a fullback, consider Odie Armstrong of San Jose. Armstrong isn’t going to bowl you over with stats but might be good for a short touchdown
The other two teams in the division are going head to head in what could be an interesting proposition. They are the two teams that are the worst when it comes to points allowed. This could be a shootout since neither team seems to be capable of playing defense. On the flip side, this is the first meeting between Portland and Spokane this season and it’s hard to know what to expect. Portland seems to get stuck around 42 points each week and has broken 50 points once this season.
Spokane has put up stronger point totals when playing teams not named San Jose. Quarterback Warren Coffman makes a good sleeper play if you want to go that route but it’s hard to recommend anyone in this division not from San Jose.
We’re going to take another stack here and this one will be Arizona Rattlers. Nick Davila is going be out quarterback of choice since the Rattlers look great again. They’ve won eight of their last nine games and have scored 69 points in each of the two games since Davila returned from a lower-body injury. They host Orlando and the Predators defense can be awfully bad at times so this makes for a good matchup. Don’t let last week’s line on Davila fool you. He can’t take into account two kickoff returns for touchdowns, a rushing score and a garbage-time receiving score from AJ Cruz eating into this fantasy points.
There is a temptation here to take Mykel Benson as the fullback this week. Benson is the second –best fullback in the league with 12 touchdowns and 149 yards on 54 carries. It’s hard to use him since Arizona has been lighting it up in the passing game.
Instead, we go with Rod Windsor of the Rattlers. He picked up 133 yards and a touchdown last week but Kerry Reed had three touchdowns. Chase Deadder is on inactive reserve for Arizona a couple weeks after his five-score night so it leaves Windsor and Reed to do the heavy lifting. We’ll take Windsor on gut instinct alone here but Reed is a worthy player. Donovan Morgan of the KISS is also worth a look but the continued uncertainty at quarterback makes him a little less desirable. Players like Jomo Wilson and Tysson Poots of Las Vegas are an interesting proposition as the Outlaws should have the ball a bunch.
We’re limited between Cleveland and Philadelphia this week so we need to tread lightly.
I’m not that crazy about Shane Austin this week as he has only one of his two star receivers as we mentioned above. Dan Raudabaugh is also down a receiver this week but we’re going to go with him. The matchup is favorable against Los Angeles even despite the late start time of 11 p.m. Eastern. Simply stated, Raudabaugh has been the best quarterback in the league this season. He has 3,443 passing yards and 80 touchdowns so far this season. If you can take the top quarterback in the league, you do it.
Our other player of choice this week is from the Soul and it’s Tommy Taggart, the fullback. He came back and posted 19 yards on five carries against Orlando last week after missing three games and added a six-yard touchdown catch. We can see the potential for this game to get out of hand and Taggart taking advantage if the Soul goes to a ground-based offense to run the clock. He fills the need for us this week and is one of the more predictable names you can find at the position.
We need a kicker and a wide receiver between Orlando and Tampa Bay. It’s tempting to take an Orlando receiver given the matchup with Arizona but it’s becoming tougher to figure out which one of them to take. Kendall Thompkins (73-1019-16), Brandon Thompkins (72-871-15) and Larry Brackins (34-386-12) are nearly equal in our fantasy format and now Greg Carr is contributing in the offense too. It makes the decision far too difficult between these four players so the best answer is none of them.
We’ll take a shot with Mark Lewis of Orlando as our kicker this week since we know he is the consistent threat at that position. He’s tied for second in the league with 90 points this season on four field goals and 78 conversions.
That leaves with a wide receiver and a Tampa Bay team that plays Cleveland tonight. Julius Gregory is the hot hand right now with 12 touchdowns in his last four games. The other consideration is TT Toliver and he has gone off against Cleveland this season with 19-300-7 in two games against the Gladiators. I’m still going with Gregory again this week. In fantasy, you take the hot hand and ride it as long as you can and Gregory is hot indeed. Tolliver scored twice last week but four touchdowns in four games doesn’t really do enough to move the needle his way.
That does it for this week. Let’s get our lineup out there and see how it does. Next week, everyone is back in action for one more round before the whole league takes the Fourth of July weekend off.
Unemployed Punters Lineup Week 13
FB Tommy Taggart PHI
QB Dan Raudabaugh PHI
K Mark Lewis ORL
WR Julius Gregory TB
WR Reggie Gray SJ
QB Erik Meyer SJ
QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Rod Windsor ARI