AFL Fan Zone Week 1 Power Rankings

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By Kyle Sander | kyle.sander09@gmail.com
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on April 11, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Week one is in the books and already there is a shakeup in the rankings. Last week saw Cleveland at number two slightly edging the Washington Valor. Then Saturday happened and the Gladiators came out looking about as rusty as you can imagine starting with a new quarterback in Shane Boyd and dealing with the amount of injuries that occurred in the game.

I would also like to welcome Jesse to the Fan Zone Power Rankings team. Adding another voice into the mix will only strengthen how each team is ranked week after week.

Lets get into it…

  1. Washington Valor – (1-0) LW: 3, Last Game – W  51-38 vs BAL

Last week’s rankings had Washington and Cleveland very close for the #2 spot, with the Gladiators edging out the Valor by a slim margin. Friday’s inaugural game for the Monumental Sports organization showed that at least early in the season, the Valor deserve to be higher.

Although they seemed to ease off the gas pedal in the second half, Erik Meyer and company showed the league just how dangerous they can be soaring out to a 34-6 halftime lead. Meyer showed no signs of rust early on and finished 21/32 for 237 yards and four touchdowns. The chemistry between him and wide receiver Mike Washington was a site to see for Valor fans, but one likely to put fear into defensive coordinators around the league.

2. Philadelphia Soul – (0-0) LW: 1, Last Game – Bye

Philadelphia had the luxury of taking Week one off and being able to scout the other four teams live as they happened due to their first bye of the season. With only five teams, there will obviously be one team on a bye, week one just happened to go to the defending Arena Bowl champions.

The drop in ranking is purely due to not playing week one and not having an accurate look at how the 2017 team will fare against the other four squads.

3. Tampa Bay Storm – (1-0) LW: 4, Last Game – W 46-40 at CLE

What a difference having a quarterback can make for a football team. In one game, Randy Hippeard made Storm fans forget last seasons debacle at quarterback that Tampa Bay rolled out. Hippeard finished the game 22/31 205 yards and six touchdowns. His ability to find the twin towers at wide receiver (Joe Hills and Lamark Brown) were clearly the difference in this game.

Whenever the game got close, Hippeard found one of these two monster wide receivers and there were nothing the Gladiators could to do to stop it. Brown and Hills accounted for 16 catches 174 yards and five touchdowns. The defense was no slouch either putting new Gladiators quarterback Shane Boyd on the ground four times while intercepting him once. If this is the new look Storm that we will see week in and week out, the league better be on notice because the chemistry on offense will only get better with time.

4. Cleveland Gladiators – (0-1) LW: 2, Last Game – L 40-46 vs TB

Saturday night’s game at Quicken Loans arena was supposed to a big welcome back to the Gladiators after the city of Cleveland witnessed the resurgence of the Cavaliers and Indians. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the Gladiators and new quarterback Shane Boyd struggled for most of the night. It didn’t help that player after player seemed to go down ultimately forcing star wide receiver Collin Taylor to play jack linebacker in the second half.

A bright spot for Cleveland is it looks like the team finally found help for Taylor at wide receiver, Brandon Thompkins and Larry Brackins are more than capable of taking some of the load from Taylor. Of course, none of that will matter if the defense can’t stay healthy for a full four quarters.

5. Baltimore Brigade – (0-1) LW: 5, Last Game – L 38-51 at WAS

Let me start off by saying, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a team give up on a quarterback as quickly as Baltimore did Chase Cartwright. That being said, I think they might’ve left him in too long. Last week’s game got ugly fast due to the inability of Cartwright to handle the pressure of opening day and/or the vaunting Valor defense.

Cartwright saw nine snaps resulting in three fumbles (one lost) and one interception. On the flip side, Shane Carden came into the game and looked very calm and collected under the pressure of being down so much so early. He finished the night 21/33 197 yards and three touchdowns. He did have an interception, but he was forced into an almost impossible situation. On the road against a very talented team in their first ever home game, Carden brought the Brigade within two scores in the fourth quarter. Baltimore is clearly the worst team in the league, but that isn’t to put down what Coach Smith has put together.

This team will just need time to grow, of the four teams, Baltimore is the only one starting a rookie quarterback. We called this in our pre-season rankings, due to being the last team on the docket for roster picks, they were set-up to fail in year one. But I will say, with the way Carden played, I expect to see an upset or two to the hands of the Brigade before the season is over.

  1. Washington Valor – 24 (2)
  2. Philadelphia Soul – 20 (4)
  3. Tampa Bay Storm – 19
  4. Cleveland Gladiators – 13
  5. Baltimore Brigade – 7

()=First Place Votes


The AFL Fan Zone power rankings contributing members are:
Kyle Sander @ArenaFBOutsidrs, Scott Soares @AFLSlasher, Stephen Ur @writingfanatic2, Joran Palacio @Joran_Palacio16, Ryan Knowles @rykno52, and Jesse Mattson @LocalBigTime1

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