We’re on to Week 8 of the Alliance of American Football league, which means we once again have the luxury of competing in the glorious pastime known as daily fantasy football.
Here’s this weekend’s four-game slate:
- Orlando Apollos at Memphis Express: Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on TNT
- San Diego Fleet at Salt Lake Stallions: Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network
- Atlanta Legends at Birmingham Iron: Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
- Arizona Hotshots at San Antonio Commanders: Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network
FanBall offers daily fantasy contests featuring six-player lineups with a $35,000 salary cap with one quarterback, one running back, one wide receiver and three flex players (running back, wide receiver or tight end).
Scoring is pretty much the industry-wide point-per-reception format with multi-point bonuses for clearing 100, 150 and 200 rushing or receiving yards and 300, 350 and 400 passing yards.
And if you’re looking for more in-depth analysis, we have you covered with all the AAF content your heart could desire:
- Koerner’s AAF Power Ratings: How Much Should Orlando Be Favored over Memphis If Johnny Manziel Starts?
- The Action Network NFL Podcast: AAF Week 8 Breakdown
- AAF Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 8
Be sure to check out this week’s betting guide later in the week for specific Week 7 takeaways along with relevant matchup and injury notes.
Here’s a key to the table below that features the following information for every player included in our FantasyLabs AAF Fantasy Rankings.
- Personal: Player name, team, opponent, position and FanBall salary.
- Salary Diff: The difference between each player’s Week 8 and Week 7 salaries. A positive number means the player’s salary has increased since last week.
- Workload: Pass attempts, carries and targets per game.
- Week 7 snap %: Each player’s respective percentage of snaps played on offense.
- Opportunity per dollar: The sum of each player’s average pass attempts and rush attempts (for quarterbacks) or carries and targets (for running backs and wide receivers) per game divided by their FanBall salary. A higher number indicates that player has earned an above-average workload relative to their price tag, while a low number could mean that specific player might need a huge game to meet their salary-implied expectation.
Week 8 FantasyLabs AAF Model and Roster Construction Notes
- It remains unclear exactly when the Johnny Manziel era will get started in Memphis. The former Heisman winner displayed a live arm and quick feet during his Week 7 debut, but incumbent backup Brandon Silvers has continued to play well enough to start instead of Manziel. Of course, the AAF is a business as well as a football league, so it would make sense for the Express (6% chance to make the playoffs) to turn to Johnny Football sooner rather than later in an attempt to cash in on the league’s most famous and marketable players. For now, both quarterbacks are best approached with extreme caution in fantasy formats of all types. Here’s what head coach Mike Singletary said on the quarterback situation this week: “Right now, Brandon is our quarterback … I’m very excited about what Johnny does and what he brings to the team, but Brandon is our starting quarterback.”
- There’s also some uncertainty under center in San Antonio. Logan Woodside has played the best football of his short AAF career for the better part of the past month, but he was forced out of action early in Week 7 due to an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Woodside tentatively appears to be the favorite to start after he said after the game that he could have re-entered it, and he expects to get in a full week of practice. Woodside has averaged a league-high 9.8 air yards per attempt (per AAF Stats & Info) and also boasts the league’s highest play-action rate (Pro Football Focus). This downfield mentality has helped him maintain fantasy relevance despite not throwing more than 30 passes in a game since Week 2. Backup Marquise Williams would instantly be a locked-in fantasy starter if forced into action thanks to his unique (for the AAF) dual-threat abilities.
- Aaron Murray seems to be locked in as the Legends starting quarterback. Still, he’s failed to play the full game in consecutive weeks thanks to consecutive blowout losses of 30-plus points. Murray is a thin play under center on the league’s worst team. He has yet to throw for multiple touchdowns in a game and hasn’t reached even 250 passing yards since Week 5.
- The remaining five starters that encompass our most viable fantasy options are: John Wolford, Luis Perez, Garrett Gilbert, Mike Bercovici and Josh Woodrum.
- Wolford has regained some of his early-season moxie during the Hotshots’ two-game winning streak, most recently completing 15-of-19 (79%) passes for 212 yards (11.2 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns against San Diego’s league-best pass rush. He’s set up well against in Week 8 against a San Antonio defense that’s allowed 7.2 yards per pass attempt, the second-worst mark in the AAF.
- The Fleet’s aforementioned league-best pass rush does come with a mediocre secondary. Overall, they’ve allowed a league-high 7.4 yards per pass attempt and are one of three teams that have allowed at least 150 total points. Woodrum is positioned for success considering he has the league’s quickest average release (2.21 seconds). He threw for 380 yards against the Fleet in Week 5, although there’s a low floor here considering he hasn’t reached even 250 passing yards in another game.
- Perez threw for zero touchdowns in 153 pass attempts in Weeks 1-5 compared to five scores through the air in 87 attempts in Weeks 6 and 7. Still, he’s completed only 49% of his passes during this stretch and has averaged a pedestrian 6.8 yards per attempt. Perez’s consistently high volume has him ranked among the week’s top-three quarterbacks in opportunity per FanBall dollar, but Atlanta does boast the league’s No. 3 defense in yards per attempt allowed and PFF’s No. 4 unit in pass rush.
- Bercovici comes in as the week’s No. 1 play under center in terms of opportunity per FanBall dollar. He’s thrown 43, 34 and 43 passes in his three starts since regaining his starting job in Week 5. Bercovici needs to be better at taking care of the ball (five interceptions during this recent three-game stretch). Nevertheless, Bercovici has emerged as the position’s most fantasy-friendly signal-caller considering he boasts league-high marks in passing yards (925) and passing touchdowns (5) from Weeks 5-7 thanks to a gunslinger mentality that’s resulted in the second-most deep-ball attempts (20-plus yards downfield) over the past three weeks.
- This leaves us with the AAF’s early GOAT as far as quarterbacks are concerned. Gilbert ranks among the league’s top-two quarterbacks in yards per attempt (8.3), touchdowns (11) and quarterback rating (103.3). Overall, he’s thrown just a single interception all season despite being one of just three signal-callers with at least 30 deep-ball attempts. Up next is an Express defense that’s allowed the third-most yards per pass attempt and second-most total points. Gilbert continues to demonstrate high-level ability when pushing the ball downfield in Steve Spurrier’s Sun ‘n’ gun offense.
- Only four running backs have averaged at least 15 combined carries and targets per game this season: Trent Richardson (21.4), Zac Stacy (16.7), Jhurell Pressley (15.3) and Kenneth Farrow (15.1).
- Additionally, only four backs played at least 50% of their offense’s snaps in Week 7: Richardson (84%), Stacy (75%), Pressley (61%) and Bishop Sankey (51%).
- T-Rich, Stacy and Pressley are by and large the AAF’s only featured running backs that have held consistent three-down workloads for most of the season.
- San Diego has seemingly replaced early-season stud Ja’Quan Gardner (5% snaps in Week 7, placed on IR) with a two-back committee featuring Sankey and Terrell Watson. They’re both in a tough spot against Salt Lake’s league-best defense in yards allowed per carry (2.9) and total fantasy points allowed to running backs.
- The remaining backfields are each made up of at least three backs at the moment.
- Orlando utilizes D’Ernest Johnson (40% snaps in Week 7) as their de facto starter and No. 1 pass-down back, De’Veon Smith (34%) as the goal line and short-yardage specialist along with Akeem Hunt (26%) as the group’s jack-of-all-trades.
- Atlanta has been hesitant to give Tarean Folston (45% snaps in Week 7) a featured workload ahead of Brandon Radcliff (38%) and Denard Robinson (18%). Still, Folston does carry a higher floor than most committee backs considering his average of 3.8 targets per game trails only Richardson (6.1) among all running backs.
- Salt Lake seemingly replaced scat back Terrell Newby (31% snaps in Week 7) with Terron Ward (37%), although Newby remained involved in Week 7 by lining up as a true wide receiver on 13-of-18 (72%) snaps. Joel Bouagnon (32%) remains locked in as the offense’s early-down and goal line back, but the entire group has a tough matchup this week against San Diego’s second-ranked defense in average yards allowed per rush.
- And then we have San Antonio, which has managed to feed Farrow a featured workload for most of the season despite continuing to utilize multiple backs. Still, Week 7 was particularly egregious when it comes to backfield committees as Farrow (34% snaps in Week 7), Trey Williams (27%), David Cobb (25%) and Aaron Green (13%) were involved. It’s tough to trust any running back to produce in fantasy if they’re playing fewer than 50% of their offense’s snaps, let alone 40%.
- The week’s top values at running back include our aforementioned three workhorses along with Radcliff. The latter back isn’t exactly a great recommendation either as a committee back in a tough matchup against Birmingham’s Iron Curtain defense, but beggars can’t be choosers in a league lacking an abundance of three-down backs
- Six running backs had a salary increase of at least $500: Sankey (+$1,400), Hunt (+$700), Newby (+$700), Pressley (+$600), Ward (+$600) and Smith (+$500).
- Four backs had a salary decrease of at least $300: Bouagnon (-$700), Johnson (-$600), Folston (-$400) and Radcliff (-$300). I’m most inclined to take a chance on Johnson this week out of the group considering his plus matchup against Memphis and secure starting job.
- Each team has one receiver averaging at least six targets per game: Daniel Williams (10.5 targets per game) on Memphis, Quinton Patton (8.3) on Birmingham, Charles Johnson (8) on Orlando, Nelson Spruce (7.1) on San Diego, Rashad Ross (6.6) on Arizona, Mekale McKay (6.4) on San Antonio, De’Mornay Pierson-El (6.3) on Salt Lake and Seantavius Jones (6.1) on Atlanta.
- Among that group, Williams (didn’t make his season debut until Week 6) and Spruce (unsustainable 14 targets in Week 7) seem like the most likely candidates for regression. Additionally, Ross (58% snaps in Week 7), McKay (45%) Spruce (46%) and Pierson-El (49%) didn’t manage to play even 60% of their offense’s plays last week. The former two have been dealing with injuries in recent weeks and don’t appear to be at 100%.
- Six wide receivers played at least 80% of their offense’s snaps in Week 7 and appear to be tentatively locked into starting roles: Reece Horn (100% snaps), Francis Owusu (88%), Richard Mullaney (88%), Brian Brown (85%), Justin Thomas (84%) and Jamal Robinson (82%). Note that Owusu and Brown’s high-volume roles are locked in after stud field-stretcher Dontez Ford was placed on the injured reserve list due to an ankle injury.
Both Brian Brown and Francis Owusu have sub-$4k salaries and played over 80% snaps last week https://t.co/fza8KWPDLY
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 27, 2019
- We’ve cashed in with Mullaney and Amba Etta-Tawo over the past two weeks, as both were min-priced receivers who had starting roles prior to missing extended time due to injuries. There doesn’t appear to be another $3,000 option in a similar spot for Week 8, although each of Owusu (88% snaps in Week 7, $3,700), Brown (85%, $3,800), Justin Thomas (84%, $3,600), Brian Tyms (63%, $3,400) and Marquis Bundy (60%, $3,700) stand out as sub-$4,000 receivers who played at least 60% of their offense’s snaps last week.
- The week’s top values in terms of combined carries and targets per FanBall dollar are Williams, Greg Ward Jr., Patton, Brown, Alton “Pig” Howard and Jones. Ward is another enticing salary-saving option at only $3,200 considering he led all Commanders wide receivers in snaps last week, is tied for third in the AAF with nine red-zone targets and has demonstrated game-breaking ability as a returner (although special teams scores unfortunately don’t count for fantasy points on FanBall).
Greg Ward 🔥🔥🔥
Have also been impressed by how polished he's been as a WR since Week 1pic.twitter.com/AVc767XaeV
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 17, 2019
- Six receivers have incurred a salary increase over $500: Bug Howard (+$600), Horn (+$600), Malachi Jones(+$700), Williams (+$700), Spruce (+$800) and Etta-Tawo (+$1,100).
- Only three receivers had a decrease in salary of over $500: Ward Jr. (-$600), Jones (-$700) and L’Damian Washington (-$1,000). Ward Jr. and Jones are certainly in play, but exposure isn’t recommended for Washington after he played just 3% of Birmingham’s offensive snaps in Week 7.
- The only tight ends averaging at least three targets per game are Keith Towbridge (3.7), Wes Saxton Jr. (3.6), Anthony Denham (3.6), Gavin Escobar (3.3), Nick Truesdell (3.3) and Cole Hunt (3). Marcus Baugh (2.9) is also just about there. Note that all of the above tight ends played at least 50% of their offense’s snaps in Week 7 with the exception of Hunt, who hasn’t managed to suit up since Week 3.
- Saxton Jr. (81% snaps in Week 7) joins Evan Rodriguez (81%), Baugh (73%), Towbridge (68%) and Thomas Duarte (63%) as the only tight ends that played at least 60% of their offense’s snaps last week.
- Denham is the only tight end with a double-digit value score. The tight end position simply doesn’t see enough targets in the AAF to be a consistently reliable option to target in fantasy. For reference, 16 wide receivers and 22 running backs have an equal or greater opportunities per FanBall dollar value than Denham. He’s the only tight end I’ll consider having any exposure to this week thanks to his near-min price tag ($3,200).
Cash Game Strategy
Richardson and Johnson remain cash-game staples as the consensus highest-scoring and most consistent options at the running back and wide receiver position in the AAF. We’re going to stray from our strategy over the past two weeks of also jamming in Pressley considering Arizona’s featured back incurred a salary increase of $600 since last week and is no longer a screaming value.
I’m inclined to utilize Ward Jr. as a salary-saving option thanks to his aforementioned team-high snap count and consistent target share throughout the season. He’s also one of the league’s few wide receivers that offers a reasonable chance to cash in on a passing or rushing touchdown.
This leaves us with enough salary to pay up at quarterback and lock in Gilbert. Adding Jalin Marshall isn’t a bad idea considering he’s locked in as Orlando’s No. 2 receiver, but I’d rather save an extra $1,000 and get D’Ernest Johnson considering there are more fantasy-viable options in the upper-$4,000 range than the upper-$3,000 range.
With a core of Gilbert, Richardson, Johnson, Ward Jr. and Johnson, we can choose from…
- Seantavius Jones ($4,800): Leads the Legends in targets per game (6.1) and benefits from a $700 salary decrease. Still, teammates Justin Thomas (84% snaps in Week 7) and Malachi Jones (75%) worked ahead of Jones (71%) last week.
- Brandon Radcliff ($4,600): Has averaged three receptions and 7.7 carries during the last three weeks as the 1.B. back in Atlanta behind Folston. Radcliff (38% snaps in Week 7) joins Johnson (40%) and Sankey (51%) as the only backs priced under $5,000 that ranked among last week’s top-eight backs in percentage of snaps played.
- Richard Mullaney ($4,500): Has played 100% and 88% of the Hotshots’ snaps in two weeks since returning from injury, although Mullaney’s seven targets in Week 6 far surpassed his two targets in Week 7.
I’m planning on finalizing my cash lineup with Radcliff in the belief that he has a higher touch floor than Jones and Mullaney.
Bercovici and Perez have separated themselves as tournament-friendly options at the quarterback position thanks to their consistent volume and penchant for throwing downfield.
Spruce clearly has earned a high level of trust from Bercovici in recent weeks, but Spruce (46% snaps in Week 7) was still a distant third option compared to Brown (85%) and Owusu (88%) in terms of total time spent on the field. The continued absence of Ford allows users to stack Bercovici with Owusu and Brown to open up the rest of the lineup to numerous high-priced options.
Patton continues to be underpriced relative to his target share and offers value in a stack with Perez and Richardson. Overall, Patton (58 targets) and Richardson (43) are two of just nine players with at least 40 targets this season.
Riding with a San Diego core allows users to finalize lineups with rock-solid RB1s and WR1s. The Birmingham route offers less salary relief, but a heightened touch- and snap-floor thanks to Perez’s aforementioned habit of zeroing in on Patton and T-Rich in the passing game.
- Orlando: Garrett Gilbert, Charles Johnson, D’Ernest Johnson/Jalin Marshall
- San Diego: Mike Bercovici, Brian Brown, Francis Owusu
- Birmingham: Luis Perez, Quinton Patton, Trent Richardson
- QB: Marquise Williams, Johnny Manziel
- RB: Terrell Newby, Terron Ward
- WR: Greg Ward Jr., Adonis Jennins, Brian Brown, Marquis Bundy, Francis Owusu, Justin Thomas, Brian Tyms
- TE: Anthony Denham