AAF Stat Leaders
It’s hard not to think at this point that the Orlando Apollos will be in the playoffs at the end of the season. They haven’t officially clinched anything yet, but they have a two-game lead on the Birmingham Iron and already have a win against each of the other Eastern Conference team. Six wins might be enough to clinch at least a spot in the playoffs in the East, and they can get there this weekend against the Arizona Hotshots.
The Western Conference is another story altogether. I think at least one five-win team will make it, unless things dramatically change over the last five weeks of the stadium. But I don’t think the teams should be expecting that they can sneak into the playoffs as a 0.500 team. The Salt Lake Stallions, currently 1-4 on the season, really needed that last second lead to stand on Saturday. They can still technically make the playoffs, but anything less than 5-0 from this point out might make it pretty precarious.
Let’s take a look at the individual categories:
This was the most pass happy week of the season thus far, with just over 74% of the offensive yards coming through the air. Three quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards, and all but one team eclipsed 200 yards passing. After two consecutive weeks of the Offensive Player of the Week Award going to running backs, a quarterback won again this week, with Logan Woodside of the San Antonio Commanders taking home the honors.
Garrett Gilbert continues to be the dominant quarterback in the league, leading in nearly every passing category. Not to sound like a broken record, he has now gone 148 attempts (tied for second in the league) without throwing an interception. Woodside, who leads the league with 150 attempts, has thrown six interceptions, while Luis Perez (who has 148 attempts as well), was benched on Saturday after throwing his fourth interception of the season.
As it was in previous weeks, to qualify for this leaderboard, a quarterback needs to have at least 14 attempts per team game scheduled, even if they haven’t necessarily played every game. Just missing the cut this week was Mike Bercovici of the San Diego Fleet, who returned to the starting lineup after the season-ending injury to Philip Nelson. He has only 68 attempts on the season, so expect him to join the table (near the bottom) after next week’s game.
Rushing performances across the league were a bit ugly this week. Only three teams eclipsed the century mark as a team this week, and the week’s leading rusher – De’Veon Smith of the Apollos – eclipsed the rushing totals of six of the other seven teams all by himself (he rushed for 119 yards on 14 carries). The average output of the eight teams’ leading rushers was 46.5 yards per game, with Smith’s total the max and the Fleet’s Terrell Watson’s team leading 14 yards bringing up the rear.
Trent Richardson continues to lead the league in rushing touchdowns (he scored another this past weekend despite only getting 21 yards on eight carries), but he no longer makes the cut among the leaders, as the cutoff is an average of at least 40 yards a game. Here’s what the leader board looks like (by total yards) using that criteria:
Charles Johnson of the Apollos continues to lead in all major receiving categories, though he has now dipped below 100 yards per game. Rashad Ross of the Hotshots continues to lead in touchdown receptions after adding a superfluous one this weekend.
Here are the current leaders (minimum 200 yards receiving):
Defense & Special Teams
It wasn’t a shock that Kameron Kelly of the Fleet was the Defensive Player of the Week. He intercepted three Josh Woodrum passes, including one that he returned for a touchdown. The first two interceptions were especially painful for the Stallions, as they occurred in the red zone on solid first half drives. Even field goals on those drives would have given the Stallions a better chance to win the game, instead of having to rely on last second drives only to lose.
Drew Jackson of the Memphis Express leads the league with 42 tackles (33 solo), and six other players have over 30 tackles on the season. Karter Schult of the Stallions picked up another sack on Saturday to maintain his lead in that category with 5.0, as well as leading the league in tackles-for-loss with eight. He is also second in the league with 11 quarterback hits.
Three players – Kelly, Terence Garvin (Apollos), and Keith Reaser (Apollos) – are tied with the league lead for interceptions with three, and 22 players total have combined for 32 interceptions across the league. In a league dominated by passing, it is not a surprise that there have been over six interceptions per week on the season.
The Special Teams Player of the Week was Atlanta Legends kicker Younghoe Koo, who kicked a winning field goal to help the Legends win their second game in a row. The former San Diego Chargers kicker is 11-for-11 on the season, though his longest remains 38 yards. Elliott Fry (11-for-11) of the Apollos and Danny Hageman (11-for-13) of Fleet are tied for scoring among kickers.
AAF League Attendance
For the first time this season, total attendance increased from the previous week, though it was still 32% decline from Week 1 figures. Total attendance for the week was 54,313, an average just short of 14,000 across the four games. Not terrible, but not exactly something to get terribly excited about.
Here’s a look at average attendance and the number of home games each team has hosted thus far. All teams have now hosted at least two games, but the Commanders, who lead the league in average attendance, won’t host again until next week:
- San Antonio Commanders – 28,517 (2 games)
- Orlando Apollos – 20,293 (2 games)
- San Diego Fleet – 18,544 (3 games)
- Birmingham Iron – 13,552 (4 games)
- Memphis Express – 12,801 (2 games)
- Atlanta Legends – 10,773 (2 games)
- Arizona Hotshots – 9,989 (3 games)
- Salt Lake Stallions – 9,857 (2 games)
Overall league average: 15,214 (20 games)
Week 5 Power Rankings
This was perhaps the first week where the majority of the league played well. Granted, nobody really decided to feature the run, but the scoring average for the week was just over 24 points per team.
All that said, here’s how we envision the league at the moment:
- Orlando Apollos (5-0)
- San Diego Fleet (3-2)
- San Antonio Commanders (3-2)
- Birmingham Iron (3-2)
- Arizona Hotshots (2-3)
- Atlanta Legends (2-3)
- Salt Lake Stallions (1-4)
- Memphis Express (1-4)
We’ve reached the halfway point, so these last five weeks should be a blast! Be sure to check back tomorrow for our weekend preview, then all weekend long for the recaps from this weekend’s games.
Until next time…