We’re on to Week 3 of the Alliance of American Football, 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:
- Arizona Hotshots (-4.5) at Salt Lake Stallions: Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on B/R Live
- Memphis Express at Orlando Apollos (-15):Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network
- Birmingham Iron (-7) at Atlanta Legends: Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
- San Antonio Commanders at San Diego Fleet (-2.5): 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 Power Ratings: San Antonio-San Diego Offers Biggest Betting Value
- AAF Fantasy Football Rankings
- Offensive Scouting Reports: Every Team’s Biggest Strength, More
- Who Is Orlando Apollos WR Charles Johnson?
- The Action Network NFL Podcast: AAF Week 3 Breakdown with Evan Silva
- Your Ultimate Week 3 AAF Betting Guide: Picks, Analysis, More For All 4 Games
Before getting into strategy, let’s assess each team’s quarterback, backfield and receiving room to see who has had success — or at the very least volume — through two weeks.
Salt Lake Stallions
- Starting quarterback Josh Woodrum ($5,200) hasn’t played since the second half of Week 1 due to a hamstring injury, but he practiced in full on Thursday and is expected to start this Saturday. The Stallions trailed the Hotshots 19-16 at halftime of the season opener before Woodum exited. He’s certainly in play as a salary-saving option at quarterback thanks to his dual-threat talents in a game with the week’s highest over/under.
- Matt Asiata ($3,000) was benched last week after losing a fumble and was limited in practice Thursday with a hamstring injury. We should expect Branden Oliver ($4,500) and Joel Bouagnon ($5,500) to continue to rack up rush attempts behind Salt Lake’s massive offensive line. Oliver (5 targets) is the preferred DFS option thanks to his reduced price tag and enhanced receiving role compared to Bouagnon (1).
- Only tight end Anthony Denham ($4,500; 12 targets) and wide receivers De’Mornay Pierson-El ($4,500; 11) and Adonis Jennings ($3,900; 9), have more than five targets this season. Denham is one of very few AAF tight ends worthy of DFS consideration. Note that the expected return of Kaelin Clay ($3,000; hand) as well as the potential absence of Jordan Leslie ($4,100; hamstring) could throw off this still-murky rotation.
- Quarterback Luis Perez ($5,700) has dealt with a league-high eight drops on top of a banged-up receiving corps. He’s also been pressured on a league-high 28 dropbacks, though the Iron’s scheme hasn’t helped matters by averaging a league-high 2.93 seconds per pass attempt. With that said, there’s no reason why Perez should be cheaper than Matt freaking Simms ($5,900).
- Trent Richardson ($7,200) has played 69% of Birmingham’s offensive snaps … while no other running back has surpassed even 55%. Unsurprisingly, this three-down role has led to a league-high 50 combined carries and targets for T-Rich through two weeks. He’s a cash-game lock and a tough fade in guaranteed prize pools in this pristine matchup against Atlanta’s league-worst defense in average yards allowed per carry.
Best defenses in @TheAAF in yards allowed per rush:
1. Salt Lake (3.2 yards per carry allowed)
2. San Diego (3.5)
3. Arizona (3.9)
4. Memphis (4.2)
5. Orlando (4.4)
6. Birmingham (4.5)
7. San Antonio (4.9)
8. Atlanta (5.3) 👀
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 20, 2019
- Quinton Patton ($6,300; 16 targets) is easily the team’s No. 1 pass-game option, but Richardson (8) has also been plenty involved as Birmingham’s three-down workhorse. Only backup running back Ladarius Perkins ($3,100; 9) and receiver Tobias Palmer ($3,600; 6) have also surpassed five targets. Neither Palmer (heel) nor Amba Etta-Tawo ($3,000; knee) were able to practice Thursday, making Patton one of the best candidates for a high-volume game.
- John Wolford leads all AAF quarterbacks in quickest time to attempt (2.39) and has the second-highest play-action percentage (30.6%). The Hotshots have accordingly boasted the league’s second-best offense behind only Orlando. The only concern is that Arizona and Salt Lake already met in Week 1. According to our FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, quarterbacks in their second matchup against division opponents have averaged 1.5 fewer points per game with a 44.5% Consistency Rating compared to a 52% rating in late-season matchups against non-division opponents.
- Jhurell Pressley ($5,400) seemed locked in as the bell cow in Week 1, when he racked up a team-high 18 carries and played 44-of-75 snaps (59%). But that wasn’t the case last week. Pressley played 32-of-64 snaps (50%) and was out-carried 13-to-12 by Tim Cook ($4,400). With scat back Justin Stockton ($3,300) also involved, this could be a three-back committee moving forward, but Pressley’s massive price reduction offers some bounce-back appeal .
Seven @Fanball RBs are priced over $5K
Three of those RBs have a Week 3 salary that's at least $1K cheaper than Week 2
Trent Richardson (+$200)
Zac Stacy (+$800)
Ja'Quan Gardner (+$1.6K)
Kenneth Farrow (+$400)
Joel Bouagnon (-$1.1K)
Jhurell Pressley (-$1.5K)
Akeem Hunt (-$1.1K)
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 21, 2019
- Rashad Ross ($6,900) is the Hotshots’ most dangerous weapon and has caught 9-of-11 targets for 170 yards and three touchdowns. The expected absence of Richard Mullaney ($4,400; knee) could open up extra looks for Josh Huff ($5,800) and potentially tight end Gerald Christian ($3,500), who respectively have eight and seven targets. Ross, Huff and Christian are each in play as stacking partners with Wolford or as part of a game stack with Woodrum.
San Diego Fleet
- The Fleet benched opening day starter Mike Bercovici in favor of someone named Philip Nelson ($5,500), who completed just 14-of-30 passes (47%) for 142 yards (4.7 Y/A) with zero touchdowns and one interception. The only feasibly playable quarterbacks I ranked behind Nelson this week are Christian Hackenberg ($5,300) and backup Commanders signal-caller Marquise Williams ($5,200).
- San Diego backed off its ridiculous pass-heavy approach from Week 1 and heavily utilized Ja’Quan Gardner (15 carries; 104 yards; 2 TDs) and Terrell Watson (14 carries; 49 yards) during last week’s victory over the Legends. Watson ($4,700) managed to out-snap Gardner ($7,000) 45-to-34, but both backs are in play this week against the Commanders’ porous run defense. Gardner ranks sixth among all running backs in Elusive Rating (PFF) and has made an early push as the AAF’s best overall running back.
- Wide receivers Brian Brown ($5,700; 12 targets), Francis Owusu ($4,300; 10), Nelson Spruce ($4,800; 9) and Dontez Ford ($5,100; 7) join tight end Gavin Escobar ($4,400; 7) as the Fleet’s top pass-game options. Note that Kameron Kelly has been moved to cornerback and isn’t expected to see snaps on offense moving forward. They’ve combined for zero touchdowns and nobody has cleared 100 total receiving yards. This is a passing game to avoid.
San Antonio Commanders
- The Commanders blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter last week and ultimately lost to the Apollos, 37-29. The most surprising development was San Antonio’s new-found quarterback rotation. After the game head coach Mike Riley said, “I do think Logan [Woodside] is our starter … I really like him.” Riley added, “Marquise [Williams] made some plays as you saw … I should have put him back in during the second half for a drive, but I lost track of what was going on there when we should have put him back in. We’ll continue to do that with him.” Woodside ($6,100) is too expensive with this type of uncertainty, while Williams ($5,200) offers rushing upside without much of a guarantee for snaps.
- Commanders starting running back Kenneth Farrow ($6,400, back) didn’t practice Wednesday, but he did return to a limited session on Thursday. His absence would likely result in David Cobb ($3,400) starting and an enhanced third-down role for Aaron Green ($4,100). Additionally, backup running back Trey Williams ($3,000) is expected to make his season debut after not being listed on the injury report.
- Mekale McKay ($6,200; 20 targets) and Greg Ward Jr. ($5,300; 13) have separated themselves as the pass game’s top-two options, but Alonzo Moore ($5,000; 10) and De’Marcus Ayers ($6,000; eight in only Week 2) are also plenty involved. All four are in play considering Salt Lake boasts the league’s best defense in fewest yards allowed per carry, but also the AAF’s sixth-worst defense in yards per pass attempt. McKay (No. 1), Ward (No. 3) and Moore (No. 13) each rank among the league’s top-15 receivers in targets per dollar. We should try our best to target players on the league’s best offenses, and that appears to be Orlando, Arizona and San Antonio after three weeks.
Most efficient AAF offenses after two weeks:
1. Orlando (7.6 yards per play) 👀
2. Arizona (6.2)
3. San Antonio (5)
4. San Diego (4.8)
5. Birmingham (4.1)
6. Atlanta (3.9)
7. Salt Lake (3.8)
8. Memphis (3.6)
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 18, 2019
- I literally ranked a backup quarterback (Marquise Williams) ahead of Hackenberg ($5,300) in this week’s AAF fantasy football rankings. The Express held a two score lead at halftime in Week 2, yet Hackenberg was still nearly benched in the third quarter in favor of backup Brandon Silvers. It’s fair to say the only positive to come out of the Hackenberg era has been his surprisingly entertaining reel of scrambles.
Christian Hackenberg clearly just needs the right offense to embrace his obviously-elite dual-threat talents pic.twitter.com/5DMqJtgPgP
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 21, 2019
- Zac Stacy ($7,100) is one of only six running backs to play at least 40% of their offense’s snaps this season. He managed to become the first AAF back to break the century mark on the ground by converting 19 carries into 101 yards and a touchdown last week. Terrence Magee ($3,200; 6 carries) and Rajion Neal (5) were also involved, although Neal was released this week in favor of free agent Sherman Badie. Every backfield outside of Birmingham is basically a committee, but these recent roster moves and Week 2 usage suggest it might be #StacySzn.
- Alton “Pig” Howard ($5,600) led the way in Week 2 with seven targets and is one of eight players in the AAF with 12-plus targets. Still, anyone involved in the league’s least efficient pass offense is probably better off left alone in fantasy.
- Garrett Gilbert has been the AAF’s best quarterback through two weeks. His numbers are that much more impressive when you consider he’s attempted a league-high 30.2% of his passes downfield. No NFL quarterback has reached even a 20% rate over the past five seasons.
Garrett Gilbert is the QB1 of @TheAAF so far.
64% completion rate (1st among QBs)
620 yards (1st)
11.7 yards per attempt (1st)
129.4 rating (1st)
4 TDs (2nd)
0 INTs (T1st) pic.twitter.com/nbRM19NgBc
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 18, 2019
- Orlando and San Diego are tied for the league’s highest pass play rate (58.7%). Akeem Hunt ($5,300), De’Veon Smith ($4,000) and D’Ernest Johnson ($4,800) have been plenty involved, but I’m most willing to take a chance on Smith thanks to his fantasy-friendly role as the offense’s short-yardage and goal line back. Overall, Smith has more goal-line and two-point conversion touches (four) than Hunt (two) and Johnson (one) combined.
- Wide receivers Charles Johnson ($7,400), Jalin Marshall ($6,500), Chris Thompson ($4,700) and Ishmael Hyman ($3,000) have emerged as pass-game weapons and each have top-10 marks in yards per route run (Pro Football Focus). Rannell Hall ($4,300) seemed to take Hyman’s spot as the offense’s No. 4 receiver last week. Steve Spurrier’s willingness to take downfield shots in the Apollos’ Sun n’ Gun offense makes it the league’s most fantasy-friendly scheme for wide receivers.
- Matt Simms ($5,900) completed 13-of-15 passes to start Week 2, but ultimately faded down the stretch and didn’t lead the offense into the end zone after the first quarter. Atlanta has racked up 18 points after eight quarters of football and could be inclined to give Aaron Murray a shot at running the offense before much longer. Birmingham hasn’t played a difficult schedule, but the Iron have boasted one of the league’s strongest secondaries after two weeks.
Each defense's rank in yards per rush, pass and play allowed in the @TheAAF …
-ARI and BIR boast the best overall defenses, but neither has faced one of the league's better offenses yet
-MEM and SL secondaries look meh
-SA and ATL are the two worst defenses so far pic.twitter.com/Ytp8GKC9pu
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 20, 2019
- Tarean Folston’s ($3,900) stranglehold on the Legends’ backfield didn’t last long. Folston (6 carries; 0 targets) played just 13 total snaps and worked behind Lawrence Pittman ($3,500; 9 carries; 0 targets) and Akrum Wadley ($4,300; 4 carries; 8 targets). Wadley’s huge pass-game role is intriguing considering Simms’ check-down mentality, although this backfield doesn’t seem all that established and there’s a low floor with anyone involved in Atlanta’s porous offense.
- Wide receivers Seantavius Jones ($6,100; 14 targets), Malachi Jones ($5,900; 9) and Ervin Philips ($3,000; 7) join Wadley (eight) as the only Legends with more than five targets this season. I’ll take my chances with the Birmingham Iron Curtain and plan to fully fade this Atlanta passing “attack.”
Birmingham Iron CB Jamar Summers should be the early leader for @TheAAF defensive MVP.
2 receptions allowed
-1 yards allowed
1 pass breakup
2 forced fumbles pic.twitter.com/WDoRbMgS26
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 18, 2019
Roster Construction Notes
Garrett Gilbert and John Wolford have separated themselves as the AAF’s best quarterbacks on the league’s best offenses. They’re accordingly the two highest priced signal-callers and your best bet for a high floor in cash games.
Still, there are multiple options this week at reduced price tags in Luiz Perez and Josh Woodrum. The latter quarterback in particular is a bargain at $5,200 considering he was priced as the backup.
Trent Richardson figures to be the highest-owned player in Week 3 thanks to his unrivaled workload and pristine matchup.
Zac Stacy and Ja’Quan Gardner proved plenty capable of cashing in with their enhanced workloads last week, but their price tags are remarkably higher than Jhurell Pressley and Terrell Watson. Branden Oliver and De’Veon Smith also offer upside at a reduced cost, while David Cobb and Trey Williams will be in play if Kenneth Farrow is ultimately unable to suit up.
Charles Johnson deserves to be the No. 1 wide receiver and has been virtually un-guardable through two weeks. The top five receivers in targets per dollar are Mekale McKay, Quinton Patton, Greg Ward, De’Mornay Pierson-El and Ervin Philips. Josh Huff is also an intriguing play if Richard Mullaney is ultimately sidelined.
Continuing to invest in the Orlando, Arizona and San Antonio offenses seems wise, so peppering lineups with mid-tier talents such as Alonzo Moore, Chris Thompson and Rannell Hall makes sense. Kaelin Clay seems to have the most potential to be this week’s min-priced gem. To reiterate: Kameron Kelley is a cornerback now, please don’t play him.
The only tight ends I would consider playing in the flex spot are Anthony Denham, Gavin Escobar and Gerald Christian — in that order.
Cash Game Strategy
I’m inclined to pay down at quarterback this week to Woodrum.
From my preseason AAF preview:
Josh Woodrum possesses surprising athleticism. His three-cone time of 6.74 seconds is the fifth-fastest time by a quarterback at the NFL combine since 2006 and is on par with someone like Danny Amendola (6.81).The former Liberty quarterback posted a 61-30 touchdown/interception ratio and chipped in an additional 16 scores on the ground during his four collegiate seasons. Woodrum spent time with the Giants, Colts, Bears, Bills and Ravens from 2016-2018, ultimately completing a respectable 37-of-55 passes (67%) for 442 yards (8.04 Y/A) with three touchdowns and one interception to go along with another 55 yards and two scores on the ground in seven preseason appearances.
Doing so enables you to get the clear No. 1 running back and wide receiver in Trent Richardson and Charles Johnson.
There are a couple options to go from here with the three remaining player slots …
- One of target-hog receivers Mekale McKay, Quinton Patton or Josh Huff (if Mullaney is out) in the $5,800-$6,300 range.
- One of Woodrum’s teammates in De’Mornay Pierson-El, Anthony Denham or Branden Oliver at $4,500. I favor Oliver considering his aforementioned fantasy-friendly pass-game role.
- One running back to fill out the lineup between Terrell Watson, Akrum Wadley and Aaron Green (if Farrow is out).
Paying up at quarterback is more feasible if Farrow is ruled out and we can roll with David Cobb or Trey Williams.
Garrett Gilbert, John Wolford, Luis Perez and Josh Woodrum are the week’s only quarterbacks worthy of major exposure. The uncertainty surrounding Logan Woodside and Marquise Williams in San Antonio makes both low floor/ceiling options.
Richardson’s enhanced pass-game role makes him incredibly tough to fade in full point-per-reception formats like FanBall. He looked fully healthy from his alleged hamstring injury in Week 2 and wasn’t even listed on the injury report in Week 3. Ownership is going to be extremely high, but T-Rich truly possesses a different level of volume that isn’t reflected in the price yet. Of course, an off game could lead to a major payday for anyone brave enough to fade the Iron’s bell cow.
The Atlanta and San Diego receivers in general seem a bit overpriced considering their general season-long struggles in throwing the football. Continuing to focus on the passing games from Orlando, Arizona and San Antonio makes the most sense, while Birmingham has conveniently funneled a hefty amount of its targets through undisputed No. 1 receiver Quinton Patton.
- Orlando: Garrett Gilbert, Charles Johnson, Jalin Marshall, Chris Thompson
- Birmingham: Luis Perez, Trent Richardson, Quinton Patton
- Arizona: John Wolford, Rashad Ross, Josh Huff
- Salt Lake: Josh Woodrum, Branden Oliver, Anthony Denham
- QB: Marquise Williams ($5,200)
- RB: Justin Stockton ($3,300), Trey Williams ($3,000), David Cobb ($3,400)
- WR: Adonis Jennings ($3,900), Kaelin Clay ($3,000)
Stacy and Gardner will certainly offer reduced ownership at similar price tags in worse matchups with more volume uncertainty. But hey, crazier things have happened than T-Rich letting everybody down in a prime spot.
I’m also generally expecting lower-scoring games between Arizona-Salt Lake and San Antonio-San Diego since they already faced each other back in Week 1. This obviously doesn’t mean to fully fade these matchups, but the Birmingham and Orlando offenses should perhaps be prioritized in their prime respective matchups against the league’s definitive bottom two teams.
Photo above courtesy of @TheAAF/Twitter
Pictured: Trent Richardson