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AAF Week 1 Recap - Fantasy Risers, Fallers (Sunday Games)


We continue our coverage of the AAF (Alliance of American Football) with a recap from Sunday's action. To read about Saturday's games, click here.

The AAF has been a success so far, outperforming the NBA showcase game ratings-wise on Saturday. Ultimately, the longevity of the AAF is going to come down to how user-friendly the league can become. Fantasy football is just one avenue for the league to appeal to fans who just can't get enough football.

Here at RotoBaller, we are proud to be one of the first platforms to cover the AAF market. The support we received during the first weekend was overwhelming and hope you have enjoyed the unique and exciting content that we have produced so far. Our goal is to continue to provide information that you can't find anywhere else, and we want to thank you for making the opening weekend a success. Without further ado, let's dive a little deeper into what happened on Sunday from a fantasy perspective.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Birmingham Iron 26, Memphis Express 0

The Birmingham Iron shut out the Memphis Express by a score of 26-0. The lopsided result was slightly deceptive since the game was deadlocked at 9-0 for nearly three quarters. However, the contest shifted when wide receiver Quinton Patton had a catch stand on a ball that clearly hit the ground. It was the first egregious missed call of the AAF, and the Express crumbled after the decision. Birmingham entered the season as the biggest longshots to capture the title at 12/1, but they will have a great chance to become the Cinderella team in the league. Quarterback Luis Perez and RB Trent Richardson are going to form a deadly run/pass combination, and Patton appears to be locked in as Perez's go-to option.

 

AAF Fantasy Football Risers

Luis Perez (Birmingham QB)

Luis Perez did not throw a touchdown pass in the game but still looks like the third-best fantasy option in the AAF for quarterbacks. The former Division II standout at Texas A&M-Commerce is poised beyond his years in the pocket and remains an under-the-radar candidate to capture the MVP award. As the year progresses, I anticipate that Perez will become more aggressive on offense, and this should lead to more prominent showings.

Ladarius Perkins (Birmingham RB)

Ladarius Perkins' stats aren't currently listed correctly on any of the sites, so it is difficult to pinpoint precisely how he did, but from a viewing perspective, it appeared as if he had between 4-6 catches against Memphis. Perkins did fumble on one of his receptions, but it was an encouraging sight to see how active he was in the passing game. Trent Richardson carried 23 times for 58 yards but managed to salvage the day with two touchdowns. The Iron won't deal with his ineffectiveness forever, and Perkins could find himself getting extra playing time, especially in games that they are trailing. I may sound like a broken record, but in a league where RBs are failing to do much of anything, Perkins should be viewed as a fringe top-10 option at the position.

Quinton Patton (Birmingham WR)

There was a lot of discussion going into Week 1 of who the primary target would be for Luis Perez, but after peppering Quinton Patton nine times against the Express, it is safe to say that the former San Francisco 49ers draft pick is his go-to player. Patton was only able to haul in four of those receptions, but his big-play ability helped him to become the first player in league history to eclipse 100 yards receiving. Patton is one of the biggest climbers of the week and has entered the conversation as one of the leagues best WRs.

Zac Stacy (Memphis RB)

There were concerns about what Zac Stacy's usage would be with him being limited in practice all week, but the former St. Louis Rams running carried the load for Memphis, rushing for 58 yards on 12 carries. Memphis resembles a dumpster fire on offense, but I know two things about head coach Mike Singletary. For starters, he is going to continue to have his team play hard-nosed defense. And secondly, Singletary will attempt to keep Memphis in games with a downhill rushing attack. Stacy has never been able to catch out of the backfield, but his usage was promising on Sunday.

 

AAF Fantasy Football Fallers

Amba Etta-Tawo (Birmingham WR)

Amba Etta-Tawo was only able to bring in two of six targets for 16 yards against the Memphis Express. Etta-Tawo was slotted to be the organization's number one wideout, but his inconsistent hands were on full display all game. To make matters worse, the 25-year-old was forced out of the contest with a leg injury. As long as the damage isn't severe, I wouldn't worry too much because he does seem to be Perez's second favorite target. But the issue has more to do with where Etta-Tawo was going in drafts in the last couple of days. If you happened to burn an early round selection on him, there is some risk based on that draft capital spent. I currently have him ranked as the 17th WR.

Christian Hackenberg (Memphis QB)

So much for Christian Hackenberg's throwing mechanics being fixed. The 23-year-old only completed 10 of 23 passes in the game, throwing for 87 yards and one INT. Hackenberg sunk the whole offense with his ineptitude, and you will need a backup plan in place if he was your starting QB. Brandon Silvers took over late in the game, but my best guess is Zach Mettenberger would get the start next week.

Fabian Guerra (Memphis WR)

One catch for 11 yards on four targets is not the production that you wanted to see from one of your best WRs. Similar to Malachi Jones in Atlanta, I am chalking this up to Hackenberg destroying the entire offense. The one issue, however, is that Jones should get Aaron Murray to enter the fray, as where I am not sure if Mettenberger would even be an upgrade over Hackenberg. All the wideouts in Memphis are going to take a hit until this situation can be figured out.

 

Arizona Hotshots 38, Salt Lake Stallions 22

Las Vegas had the Arizona Hotshots as the top projected team in the league, and it is safe to say that they looked every part of it in Week 1. The game entered halftime with the Hotshots up 19-16, but everything spiraled for Salt Lake in the second half. Stallions' starting QB Josh Woodrum injured his hamstring on the last play of the first half and wasn't able to continue. Backup Matt Linehan took over for Woodrum but didn't render the same upside as the 26-year-old. Personally, I thought this was the most exciting of the four contests, and there is a lot of fantasy-relevant information to consider with what transpired.

 

AAF Fantasy Football Risers

John Wolford (Arizona QB)

John Wolford stole the show on Sunday night. The 23-year-old threw the same amount touchdowns (four) as the other 12 quarterbacks combined that saw playing time in Week 1. That statistic almost doesn't sound possible, but Wolford lit up the Stallions defense for 275 yards and no interceptions to go along with his four scores. The former Wake Forest product should be the first QB off the board in fantasy leagues, and his upside is tantalizing under head coach Rick Neuheisel.

Jhurell Pressley (Arizona RB)

If having the best QB in the league wasn't enough, Jhurell Pressley made his case for being the overall No. 1 player taken in fantasy drafts. Pressley carried the rock 18 times for 64 yards while scoring a two-point conversion and hauling in a 30-yard touchdown through the air. Arizona's offense is going to be potent this season, and Pressley and Wolford should form the leagues top 1-2 punch.

Rashad Ross (Arizona WR)

Rashad Ross is going to be the number one waiver pickup this week and deservingly so. The speedy slot WR caught five passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. There has been a guessing game to who was going to step up as the top target for the offense, and after night one, it does seem to be Ross. Freddie Martino, Josh Huff and Marquis Bundy were all wildly ineffective, and outside of Richard Mullaney, no other WR caught more than two passes. Ross has top-five WR upside in Arizona's robust system.

Joel Bouagnon and Branden Oliver (Salt Lake RBs)

The injury to quarterback Josh Woodrum is going to turn a team that already wanted to run the football into a unit that is going to attempt to pound the rock. Matt Asiata was nonexistent in the rushing attack, carrying the ball four times for four yards, and the duo of Joel Bouagnon and Branden Oliver will form a deadly 1-2 combination. Bouagnon struggled on the night with only 39 yards on 16 carries, but the volume in a game that they lost by 16 points is encouraging. Oliver rushed it eight times for 40 yards and received three targets out of the backfield. Even with the 2.4 average for Bouagnon, he remains one of my favorite five backs in the league, mostly due to the expected workload but also because of the size he possesses.

 

AAF Fantasy Football Fallers

Josh Huff (Arizona WR)

Josh Huff was questionable coming into the game, and it showed with his output of one catch for three yards on five targets. A former third-round pick in the 2014 draft for the Philadelphia Eagles, Huff is one of the bigger names in the league at WR, but you wouldn't have known it by his lackluster performance. I'll attribute the performance to limited reps in practice, but the 27-year-old will need to show more next week to warrant the draft capital that was being spent on him. I still believe that he is a top-20 wideout, but red flags are beginning to show.

Kenny Bell (Salt Lake WR)

In reality, every single wide receiver for the Stallions could have been included in this section, but Kenny Bell is the star of the unit. You probably invested some hefty draft capital in acquiring the 26-year-old, who was among the top-ranked preseason wide receivers. Bell has speed and elite jumping ability, but zero catches on three targets will not get the job done. Nobody did much of anything on offense for Salt Lake, but the wideouts could have issues if Josh Woodrum's injury keeps him out for any period of time. Bell will be the top target for the team this year, but it just comes down to how much is his value affected with Matt Linehan or Austin Allen? Keep an eye on the severity of Woodrum's injury in the next few days.

 

AAF Team Twitter Beats

Team Name Twitter
Arizona Jose Romero @RomeroJoseM
Atlanta Jaylon Thompson @JaylonThompson
Birmingham Marq Burnett @Marq_Burnett
Memphis Dylan Rubino @DylanJRubino
Orlando Tom Alexander @TheTomAlexander
Salt Lake Chantel Buchi @chantelbuchi
San Antonio Cole Thompson @MrColeThompson
San Diego Jeff Goldberg @SDFleetBeat

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