Welcome RotoViz readers to the wonderful world of AAF daily fantasy sports! Each week I’ll be running through some of the top plays, stacks to target, and a few punts to consider when building DFS lineups at Fanball. Let’s dive into Week 5.
Target Running Backs with Volume
Over the course of the early part of the season, few teams have decided to utilize bell-cow backs, relying on a heavy rotation at the position. The backs that are used sparingly remain tough to rely on as a source for fantasy points, with inconsistent volume and touchdown upside. Unfortunately, that means if we want to get those heavy-hitter backs with rushing, receiving, and red zone work, we’re forced to pay up.
Birmingham’s Trent Richardson ($7,300) continues to lead the league in carries (67), receptions (15), and most importantly, fantasy points (87.5). He remains a workhorse in the red zone, seeing 21 touches in 27 red zone snaps. He now has seven touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions to his name. Brandon Ross made his debut last week with nine rushing attempts, far outgaining Richardson on a per-carry basis (7.1 YPC to 1.9). Richardson’s work in the receiving game (25 routes run, eight targets) keeps him in play as the top back to pursue, with him nearly doubling the next-closest running back in targets thrown his direction (22). However, we will need to keep an eye on the workload Birmingham gives Ross moving forward. Richardson is still a plug-and-play RB1 this week and now comes with a $300 discount.
My favorite punt last week was San Antonio’s Trey Williams at just $4,100, and while he was a fair play (9.6 fantasy points), his teammate, Kenneth Farrow ($6,700), did some major heavy lifting for the Commanders with 30 carries. Finishing with a 30-142-0 stat line and a three-yard reception, Farrow picked up 17.5 points last week and nearly doubled his total touches through the first three weeks of the season. San Antonio was able to hold off Birmingham in a close 12-11 game, as they took the ball out of Logan Woodside’s hands (PFF’s No. 6 QB) and leaned on Farrow instead. This week’s matchup with Arizona (2-2), could follow a similar game flow with them having an even worse run defense than Birmingham.
Zac Stacy ($6,300) draws the softest matchup of the week on paper against the Atlanta Legends. Atlanta has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing backs this year and Stacy enters this matchup after seeing 20, 19, and 20 opportunities (carries plus targets) the last three weeks. Atlanta has scored the league’s fewest points on offense (44) while allowing the most on defense (103). Stacy inherits what should be incredible game script against a defense that has just allowed Jhurell Pressley (14-110-0), Richardson (17-46-3), and Ja’Quan Gardner (15-104-2) to run all over them in recent weeks.
Chase the Targets at Wide Receiver
The perennial RotoViz moniker, targets are the lifeblood of fantasy, applies to the AAF just as much as the NFL.
Until we see Orlando’s Charles Johnson ($7,900) price point reach $8K, I’m still buying. He’s playing fantastic ball right now with arguably the league’s best quarterback throwing to him. He’s seen target totals of 5, 10, 5, and 12 to start the year. Only Quinton Patton has seen as many five-target games. Johnson leads all receivers in targets (32), receiving yards (410), and target market share (28 percent). He draws a tough outing this week against PFF’s No. 1 CB, Jamar Summers, who looks like he has NFL-caliber talent allowing a 2.8 QBR in coverage. Yes, that’s single digits in QBR, with 18 targets thrown his direction. Get your popcorn ready, folks. For AAF football, this is as good of a one-vs-one matchup you’ll get.
Propelled by five touchdowns in four games, Rashad Ross ($7,400) leads all wideouts through the first four weeks in fantasy points, averaging 20.6 per game. Drawing 6.3 targets per game, Ross takes on a San Antonio defense that’s allowed the most receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts and the second-most fantasy points. Over the last three weeks, Nelson Spruce (4-50-2), Charles Johnson (7-192-1), and Jalin Marshall (3-57-1) have all hit pay dirt against the Commanders. Ross and his $500 savings from Johnson could end up being the top wide receiver play of the week.
If this Birmingham-Orlando shoots out as expected, we’re going to want to get some exposure with our lineups. Quinton Patton ($5,500) is an absolute bargain at that price tag. He leads the league in air yards (476) while sporting a ridiculous 17.6 aDOT. He’s a perfect tournament option with how they utilize him in their offense. Birmingham is second in the league in dropbacks, and no team has more air yards against than Orlando (288.5 per game from wideouts).
Stacks to Target
John Wolford ($6,000) and Rashad Ross ($6,900)
While our favorite Orlando passing stack (Garrett Gilbert/Charles Johnson) faces a quality defense in Birmingham, it makes a lot more sense to pivot down to Arizona’s top passing duo with their fantasy-friendly matchup against San Antonio. Not only do we save $1,300 in the process, we also get a shot at a huge fantasy outing with the Commanders allowing the most passing yards (1,032), the most air yards (1,411), and second-most fantasy points (69.5) to opposing quarterbacks. Wolford (PFF’s No. 3 QB), leads the league in passing touchdowns (eight) and has completed over 60 percent of his dropbacks. With Ross seeing a 23 percent target share (third-highest rate), he makes for a perfect stacking candidate against a San Antonio secondary that’s allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Zach Mettenberger ($6,100) and Zac Stacy ($6,300)
Mettenberger has shined in two outings so far, completing 73 percent of his dropbacks and averaging 7.9 yards per attempt. He draws the league’s worst overall defense this week in Atlanta. Most offenses have utilized a ground-and-pound attack against the Legends, which is why I like the idea of stacking the “Zac(h) Attack” at an affordable cost (35.4 percent of budget). Stacy has the third-most carries on the season among all backs (62) and ranks third in red-zone touches (11).
Punts ($5K and below)
Farrow’s big performance for San Antonio last week has made Trey Williams ($4,300) an afterthought, but that’s exactly why he’s in play for tournaments. Farrow’s 30 carries were an obscene amount and it’s tough to project him continuing such a heavy workload. Williams has looked fantastic when given his opportunities with a league-leading 8.6 YPC and averaging 1.46 fantasy points per touch. If the Commanders continue to utilize last week’s run-heavy game plan (61.2 percent run percentage), Williams should be in for an uptick in volume in order for them to keep Farrow healthy down the stretch.
After picking on Atlanta through much of this article, I don’t hate the punting option of Tarean Folston ($4,200) now that Akrum Wadley has been placed on injured reserve. Folston led the backfield committee in snaps (25) while sporting a team-high seven targets (5-66-0). He also played on 11-of-15 third downs where he’s solidified himself a role in this offense. With Atlanta projected to be trailing in this one, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Aaron Murray go back to Folston often as a checkdown option.
I’m also open to the idea of going back to the well with James Quick ($3,600) again. Quick has seen 13 targets over the past two weeks and draws a Memphis squad that looks to finally be in a groove offensively. Atlanta will need to come up with a way to move the ball against this offense and outside of Seantavius Jones, there aren’t many receiving options for Atlanta to utilize. Murray looked effective last week under center, leading all quarterbacks with 254 passing yards (7.7 YPA) and completing over 60 percent of his attempts. Quick was Murray’s most-targeted wide receiver (five targets) and led the team in air yards.
While Folston and Quick both merit roster consideration individually, I’d probably split my ownership without having them in the same lineup too often.