This won’t be your typical Add/Drop article.
With so much uncertainty around the players in the AAF, there isn’t a consensus perfect target. Thanks to the helpful creator of altfantasysports.com (AFS), Brian Wentzloff, we do have an idea of the percentage of leagues in which each player is owned. I’m going to track down some of the least-owned players that showed excellent promise in the debut week of the AAF.
Each one of the following players is owned in less than 50% of the AFS leagues, according to AFS, and waivers will be opened some time on the morning of Wednesday, February 13th.
The top three quarterbacks from week one are all owned in less than half of the AAF fantasy leagues. I’d strongly suggest dropping Christian Hackenberg, Mike Bercovici, Matt Simms, and Aaron Murray for any of these top three performers.
1. John Wolford – Arizona Hotshots – Owned in 23% of leagues
Blowing up the AAF in week one, Wolford, threw for four touchdowns, two 2-point conversions, and 275 yards. All three of those led the league after the inaugural games. Wolford looked comfortable in the pocket and outside of it. He was helped out by stud teammates Richard Ross, Gerald Christian, and Jhurell Pressley. The Hotshots are the favorite to win it all, in my eyes, and that’s largely due to Wolford’s play. It was a shock to see Wolford start over Trevor Knight, who was the sixth pick in the AAF quarterback draft and the first selection by the Hotshots. However, it seems Wolford outperformed Knight in training camp, and now we can see how.
2. Garrett Gilbert – Orlando Apollos – Owned in 45.5% of leagues
Outside of Christian Hackenberg and Josh Johnson, Gilbert was the best-known quarterback in the AAF quarterback draft. Gilbert threw three passes in 2018 for the Carolina Panthers and completed two of them for 40 yards. Then enter the AAF, where Gilbert finished the first week as the second-best quarterback in the league, throwing for 227 yards, two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. Gilbert, along with Mike Bercovici, only threw 10 incomplete passes. That’s the fewest by any quarterback who threw 20 or more passes. The Apollos look like they’ll be one of the more explosive offenses, and it should be a fun season watching Gilbert and the Apollos.
The running back position is the most-owned, and therefore has the slimmest pickings of the lot. Of the top-10 scoring running backs, only two are owned in less than half of leagues. Of those two, Jhurell Pressley and De’Veon Smith, one of them only ran the ball for 13 yards on five attempts. That’d be Smith, but he was able to jump into the top ten with a one-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion. The moral of the story is that running backs are like gold, especially if you’re playing in a two-running back league. Keep everyone you can and add everyone you can from this position.
1. Jhurell Pressley – Arizona Hotshots – Owned in 42.7% of leagues
With 16.4 points in week one, Pressley finished as the second-best fantasy scoring running back (Trent Richardson had 20.2). Pressley’s 18 rushing attempts were also second-most (Richardson – 23). While he finished runner up, it was Pressley who looked superior. Pressley averaged 3.6 yards per carry, compared to Richardson’s 2.5. Pressley also shined when it came to receiving, as he finished the first week with two targets, one reception, 30 yards, and a receiving touchdown to go with his 18 rushing attempts and 64 rushing yards. As mentioned earlier, the Hotshots look to be in full control of the AAF and will likely lean on their running game if and when they break out to big leads. Pressley is a must-own and must-start moving forward.
2. Aaron Green – San Antonio Commanders – Owned in 20.2% of leagues
Out of the Commanders’ running backs, it was Kenneth Farrow who finished week one with the most attempts (14), but it was Aaron Green who made the most of his attempts. Green finished the game with a mere six attempts, eight fewer than Farrow, and 43 yards, six more than Farrow. That’s a 7.2 yards per carry average, compared to Farrow’s 2.6. So as much as Farrow brings with his name, it seems that Green is the player you’ll want to own from San Antonio. Green showed his ability to find the endzone in the preseason, but he was held out of the endzone last week. Green was able to add a reception for three yards, which isn’t much, but 1.3 points is pretty big when the top seven running backs averaged just 14.55 points. Every point matters in this league.
The receiver position was scattered coming into week one. Everyone had their own idea of who was going to break out. Whether it was because of a memory they have of this player on their local college team, a highlight reel they saw on YouTube, or a catch or two made for their favorite NFL team. However, as we saw, there were some unexpected results in week one. Now that we can see trends and habits, there will be more clarity in this position.
1. Richard Ross – Arizona Hotshots – Owned in 2.8% of leagues
MONSTER! Ross is a monster on the football field. His speed leaves defenders in the dust, his hands look elite-level for the AAF, and he’s on the hottest team in the league. This is a recipe for some delicious fantasy feasting. Ross was one of two receivers to finish week one with over 100 receiving yards. Patton’s 107 yards led the league with Ross close behind at 103 yards. Ross added two touchdowns in the Hotshots’ blowout win, which lifted him to the number one fantasy receiver in the AAF. Ross finished with five receptions on seven targets for 103 yards and two touchdowns, good for 27.3 fantasy points. In a week where 55 fantasy points gave you a great shot at winning, Ross would likely have been the difference between a win and a loss.
2. Quinton Patton – Birmingham Iron – Owned in 21.6% of leagues
As I mentioned under Richard Ross, it was Patton who lead the league in receiving yards after week one. Patton also led the league in yards per catch (26.75) and finished second in the league with nine targets. Even though he only hauled in four of those targets, Patton made the most of them. He had one very impressive 42-yard catch that really put the league on notice. With the fan favorite, Luis Perez, at the helm for the Birmingham Iron, expect the late addition of Quinton Patton to be consistent every week. The Iron will be facing the Stallions, who just allowed four passing touchdowns against the Hotshots, in week two. If the Iron can emulate Arizona’s offensive prowess, then Patton will be in for a big day yet again.
Wide Receiver Honorable Mentions:
Jalin Marshall – Orlando Apollos – Owned in 11.7% of leagues
5 targets – 3 receptions – 51 yards – 1 receiving touchdown – 1 passing touchdown
Greg Ward Jr. – San Antonio Commanders – Owned in 20.2% of leagues
9 targets – 5 receptions – 65 yards – Return Specialist, Ex-Quarterback
Brian Brown – San Diego Fleet – Owned in 5.6% of leagues
7 targets – 5 receptions – 66 yards
Richard Mullaney – Arizona Hotshots – Owned in 7.0% of leagues
6 targets – 5 receptions – 31 yards – a 2-point conversion reception
Alonzo Moore – San Antonio Commanders – Owned in 0.9% of leagues
5 targets – 3 receptions – 78 yards
It was a toss-up, outside of Gavin Escobar, going into week one, and I believe it still is. Some of the tight ends got a couple more looks than others. Some of them had hands made of stone, while others’ seem stickier. When watching the AAF, don’t just look for who’s the best receiving tight end. As this league will need all the help blocking they can get, if a tight end is a phenomenal blocker, then expect him to be on the field more often, which should lead to a few more targets each week.
1. Anthony Denham – Salt Lake Stallions – Owned in 0% of leagues
Denham isn’t even owned in a single AAF league, according to the AFS site, which is a little tough to comprehend, seeing as he put up the third-most fantasy points of all the tight ends. Honestly, who would’ve guessed that? Yet now that we’ve seen the Stallions push the ball to their tight ends, it’s time to fix our collective mistake. I know he’s available in your league, and if you’re sitting there with Cole Hunt in your lineup and a confused look on your face, go add Denham as soon as waivers are open. Denham led his team with seven targets, five receptions, and 59 yards. The Stallions were playing from behind most of the game, which could’ve inflated Denham’s numbers, but we can surely see he is valued in that offense. A quick note, Denham did leave the field with an injury, but he did return. However, six of his seven targets came with Woodrum in the game. So if it’s Linehan getting the nod next week, Denham is still a starter, but limit your expectations.
2. Gerald Christian – Arizona Hotshots – Owned in 0.9% of leagues
The tight end position was a little scarce in the first week of the AAF. Similar to the NFL, you’re truly just banking on your tight end catching a touchdown. Christian’s four targets were fourth-best for all tight ends and his three receptions were tied for third-best. Christian made the most of three receptions, tallying 44 yards, which equals 14.67 yards per catch (eighth-best in the AAF and second best of all tight ends). Christian made himself the second-highest-scoring tight end when he caught a 5-yard crossing touchdown, adding six points to his fantasy total, which landed at 13.4 points.