It’s been a great three weeks for America’s newest football league. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) has stormed into our hearts with exciting finishes, tough battles, and nostalgic memories. We’ve seen no kickoffs, 60 percent less commercial time, faster plays, an onside play, and much more.
The AAF has rewarded us with 300-plus yard passing games, 100-plus yard rushing games, 190-plus yard receiving games, three-touchdowns-by-one-player games, and everything else we want in an NFL game. The play may look a little sloppy in comparison, but the results and heart-racing plays stay the same. It’s another reason for fantasy football nerds to play, and for football fans to enjoy.
The current standings are as shown
1. Orlando Apollos (3-0)
2. Birmingham Iron (3-0)
3. Memphis Express (0-3)
4. Atlanta Legends (0-3)
1. San Diego Fleet (2-1)
2. Arizona Hotshots (2-1)
3. San Antonio Commanders (1-2)
4. Salt Lake Stallions (1-2)
Since we’ve been able to watch and gauge these eight teams for the past three weeks, we have a better idea of who are truly contenders and who are just pretenders. So without any more preamble, here are your week four AAF power rankings.
8. Atlanta Legends (0-3)
The Legends are still the worst team in the AAF, as they have been for the last three weeks. Averaging just ten points per game, this team has yet to score more than 12 points in a single game. Though he has a repulsive 2:7 TD:INT ratio, Matt Simms remains the starter for the Legends, even as fans chant for Aaron Murray. Atlanta lost their head coach and offensive coordinator, both within the last four weeks before the season started. They’re doing their best with new leadership on the sideline, but it’s just not there. A Sunday night road matchup against the Arizona Hotshots in week four is not what Legends fans were hoping for. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing the Legends bring up the caboose next week, too.
7. Memphis Express (0-3)
Though the Express may be ranked seventh out of eight and winless, I actually see a jump up in the rankings after week four. Memphis has lost their last two games by a combined six points. If they would’ve done away with Christian Hackenberg before halftime of week three, who knows where this team would stand? Mettenberger replaced Hackenberg at halftime and came out dealing. He scored two touchdowns and led the Express to a field goal in his 30 minutes of work. Memphis’s defense is stout and has been for the last two weeks, holding two of the top teams (Orlando and Arizona) to an average of 20.5 points per game. Now with Mettenberger getting the nod for a home game against the streaking San Diego Fleet, we should see this team’s true potential.
6. San Antonio Commanders (1-2)
One of my favorite teams entering the season and one of the teams atop of my list last week, the Commanders have fallen dramatically. Their first road game was going to be a test of this team’s ability, and it started out great, intercepting San Diego’s Philip Nelson on the first play and following it up with a 40+ yard bomb from Woodside to McKay for a touchdown. Things looked bright. However, there were still 59 minutes to play in that game. We saw the Fleet start putting up points, and the Commanders were not scoring any of their own. Now the Commanders have dropped two straight games and sit third in the West at 1-2. Woodside is second in the league in passing yards but has thrown five interceptions to his two touchdowns. He has no time to throw the ball. Backup quarterback Marquise Williams played two drives and went 6/8 for 21 yards. However, he also added a little spark rushing the ball eight times for 65 yards. The Commanders need to figure out what their identity will be and hope for a little more defense, as they’ve allowed 34.0 points per game over the last two weeks.
5. Salt Lake Stallions (1-2)
The Stallions currently sit fourth in the West behind the Commanders, but after having their first home game and getting their first win, I believe in them. Defeating an unbeaten Hotshots team in week three, the Stallions look to battle the best team in the league, the Orlando Apollos, at home in week four. This will be one of the most exciting games of the week as the Stallions try to prove their worth in the AAF’s inaugural season. The two-headed monster in the backfield of Joel Bouagnon and Branden Oliver, along with the return of starting quarterback Josh Woodrum, seems to be a life-saving combination. Woodrum returned in week three’s victory, finishing the day 22/31 with 178 yards, one touchdown and one successful two-point conversion. The Stallions will definitely be contenders as long as Woodrum can stay on the field.
4. San Diego Fleet (2-1)
After starting their season with a tough loss in week one, the Fleet have bounced back with two straight home victories. The AAF‘s leading rusher by more than 90 yards, Ja’Quan Gardner has almost single-handedly kept San Diego relevant in the early stages of this league. Gardner posted 104 yards in week two and scored the game-winning touchdown for the Fleet. He then followed that up with 122 yards on the ground and another score. Philip Nelson is proving to be a consistent starter who isn’t making immaculate plays but is keeping the ball in the Fleet’s hands, hitting Nelson Spruce over and over again on third down and making this team one of the best third down converting teams. The Fleet have a tough matchup on their hands as they head to an 0-3 Memphis stadium, where fans are itching to see a victory behind newly-appointed quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
3. Arizona Hotshots (2-1)
Once considered the favorite to win, the Hotshots are now looking like the third-best team. They squeaked out a come from behind win over the Express, led by Hackenberg, in week two, and followed it up with a tough loss to an unbeaten Salt Lake Stallions team in week three. The backup quarterback was forced to replace Wolford after he took one too many hits in week three. Knight didn’t bring any spark with him, going 8/17 for 95 yards. The Hotshots also tried to lean heavily on their three-headed monster running attack yet saw no success with any of them against the Stallions’ defense. The Hotshots looked like a very good team with starter John Wolford bringing is moxy to the AAF field, but with him getting hit hard and often, there needs to be more consistency in the trenches in front of the quarterback. Allowing your quarterbacks to be hit ten times per game isn’t conducive to winning.
2. Birmingham Iron (3-0)
One of two remaining undefeated teams, the Iron are still looked down upon. They’re winning games the blue collar way: short runs, short passes, stout defense, and game management. When everyone else is trying to zig, the Iron are zagging. The Iron are led by star running back Trent Richardson, who’s now rushed for six touchdowns in three weeks, all of which have been under five yards. He’s totaled 59 attempts for 145 yards, averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, but they’re winning with him. Through three games, the Iron starting quarterback, Luis Perez, has thrown for 596 yards, zero touchdowns, and one two-point conversion. So through the first three games, the Iron have scored seven touchdowns, six of which were from Richardson and one by the defense. This offense will have to become more balanced and be able to make a few big plays through the air if they want to compete with the Apollos in the East, but as of now, the Iron don’t look like they can be beaten as they remain undefeated entering a week four battle against San Antonio at home.
1. Orlando Apollos (3-0)
The number one team in the AAF, as it was after week two, is your Orlando Apollos. Riding the wave of breakout quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who leads the league with 827 passing yards. Gilbert is the only quarterback to throw more than 30 times and is still yet to throw an interception. Gilbert has tossed five touchdowns and led his team to three straight victories. Averaging 32.6 points per game and only allowing an average of 17.3 points per game on defense, a +15.3 point margin is a great way to establish yourself as a dominant and feared team. They’re also just one of three teams to win a game on the road and will look to do so for the second time as they head to Salt Lake to take on a Stallions team that just got their first taste of victory and will not let that taste go easily.