AFL Quickplay Week 19—The End is Near!
Last week was one of the most unusual weeks in the history of the Arena Football League. One third of the teams were scheduled to be out on a bye when the league also cancelled the Las Vegas-New Orleans game and declared it a tie. It made for a bizarre week in Quickplay where successful teams had to put two players from the East Division into their lineups despite the fact none of them played in Week 18.
This limited everyone’s fantasy teams and gave us the first week where nobody broke the 180-point barrier. As a matter of fact, our example team-the Unemployed Punters-won the week with a meager 17 points and the top 10 teams last week scored 155 or better.
It didn’t do much in the overall standings since everyone moved together. The top two teams are the Phantom Furballs with 3361 points and Legnbaz with 3352. After them, it’s a drop-off of nearly 100 points to the third-place team of The Commish at 3267. Third through tenth are separated by 54 points so there still is plenty up for grabs in the final two weeks. The Unemployed Punters are tied for sixth with the Thunder Dragons at 3242 points.
Let’s look at this week’s schedule and see how that plays a role in shaping our lineup. All times Eastern.
Tonight: Arizona at San Jose 10:30 p.m.
Saturday: Jacksonville at Orlando 7:00 p.m.
Spokane at Cleveland 7:00 p.m.
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Las Vegas at Portland 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: New Orleans at Philadelphia 4:00 p.m.
Let’s build this lineup.
We’re going with Nick Davila and Week 18 MVP Rod Windsor here. We know it’s a tough matchup at San Jose for Arizona but if there’s one team that can send a message to the Sabercats, it’s the Rattlers. Arizona knows it needs to win this game if they want to have a sniff of the top seed in the conference. The last time these two teams met, it was a 34-34 game in the fourth quarter before San Jose broke away and scored the final 22 points for the win.
This might not be the highest scoring game of the week but it certainly has the potential to light up the scoreboard with the talent involved. This is also going to be a real measuring stick game for Arizona since their last three opponents (Los Angeles twice and Las Vegas) have been cannon fodder this season.
It is worth noting that Chase Deadder came back to the lineup and posted a 6-65-4 line last week in the Arizona win over Los Angeles while Kerry Reed was non-existent with two grabs for 11 yards and no scores. Deadder makes a sleeper option if you want to try something different on the Rattlers but it would be a high risk, high reward play at best and is not advisable.
Las Vegas isn’t worth a roll of the dice this week even though they can clinch a playoff spot with a win. Wide receivers Tysson Poots (inactive reserve) and Jomo Wilson (Injured reserve) are both expected to be out for the game against the Thunder. It makes the fantasy value of the Outlaws rather low given the question marks at wide receiver and that there are several quarterbacks with better value.
The LA-Tampa Bay game is too unpredictable in terms of fantasy and should be avoided. Los Angeles has been winning some ugly football games by scoring fewer than 40 points. The Tampa Bay Storm was more like a drizzle last week scoring a miserable 16 points. The Storm needs a bounce-back week and it’s going to be tougher than expected against Los Angeles.
We’ll take another dose of Erik Meyer and Reggie Gray this week. Meyer has been hot and is coming off of an eight-touchdown game against Portland last week. Gray racked up another four-touchdown game and has been one of the better wide receivers in the league in the last month. Gray is also one of the more consistent players at that position as well. San Jose should rise to the occasion of the big game with Arizona and being at home, they have the chance to make a statement to the snakes.
Kyle Rowley of the Thunder was okay last week with six touchdowns and 290 passing yards in the loss to San Jose. Jared Perry put together a solid stat line with 13-156-2 but was eclipsed in fantasy by V’Keon Lacey having a four-touchdown night on seven catches for 63 yards. The Thunder looks like the more solid team and I would favor them over Las Vegas this week if I was picking the game. Then again, this is fantasy and this late in the season, it’s time to stick with the big guns. Portland looks to be a team to choose from if you want to take a chance and try to step out to pick up some points.
Spokane could be in for a hard thumping against a desperate yet talented Cleveland team fighting for its playoff life. The Shock are in the playoffs and can’t do much about their seeding. It should be a good game for the Shock to see how they fare against a better team on the road but the Shock doesn’t have the value like they have in seasons past to justify using any of them here.
Derrick Ross at fullback? Yes, don’t mind if we do. He had 67 yards and three touchdowns last week in the demolition of Tampa including a 43-yard run. He’s been a fixture at the position all year and is the bar-none choice at fullback for everyone.
The second position in this division becomes a bit dicey. We need a kicker, wide receiver and quarterback. Philadelphia has been hot all season and Cleveland will claw for the last playoff spot. Jacksonville has been scoring in bunches lately with at least 63 points in four of its last six games.
We’re going to take the Sharks kicker Julian Rauch in this spot. While Jacksonville has been putting up the points, their game this week against Orlando has a tight feel to it. It’s for a potential division title and could be a low-scoring game given that each team might be a little more conservative. I can see this being a 43-40 game and it could come down to the kicker.
This is a tough one to work with this week as we try to find our final quarterback and wide receiver. The Soul is locked into its playoff spot and hosts a New Orleans team that is playing out the string. The question there is how tough of a game could this be for the Soul and how long will they keep their starters out there, namely quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. Cleveland, on other hand, hosts Spokane and is fighting with Tampa Bay for its playoff life. Both teams have favorable matchups against weak defenses and are fresh off bye weeks.
We’re going to take Shane Austin of Cleveland this week as our final quarterback. Austin accounted for eight total touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) in his last game against Orlando. He has passing options in Dominick Goodman, Amarri Jackson and Collin Taylor. The Gladiators have re-activated Thyron Lewis and he scored 37 touchdowns last season. Austin has the weapons, the matchup and the need so we’ll take him this week.
That said, we’ll still take Marco Thomas of the Soul as the final wide receiver given his overall solid play this season. Harvey Binford is a sleeper pick but didn’t follow up his monster 7-145-4 game with anything strong (6-98-1) last week. Thomas has been the best wide receiver on the Soul all season and should be the pick here.
Next week is the regular season finale where anything can happen. With playoff spots clinched and seedings locked in teams could be tempted to rest key players.
Unemployed Punters Week 19 Lineup
QB Shane Austin CLE
WR Marco Thomas PHI
FB Derrick Ross JAX
K Julian Rauch JAX
QB Erik Meyer SJ
WR Reggie Gray SJ
QB Nick Davila ARI
WR Rod Windsor ARI