2017 Week 4 Power Rankings

By Adam Ruffner

Rankings Archive

Rank Team Record Trend Comment

1

3-0 - The Roughnecks are now just the second team in league history to reach a 20-game overall win streak, joining the Toronto Rush circa 2013-2014. And there is currently not a more potent receiver in the league than Stanley Peterson. With just 39 touches in three games, Peterson has already thrown six assists and caught 13 goals, registering a score almost every other time he possesses the disc. Part of that is a function of the talent that surrounds him, but Peterson is creating plenty of opportunities on his own.

2

2-1 - Through three games, the FlameThrowers are converting 76 percent of their offensive possessions into scores, second only to the Roughnecks among teams who have played at least two games. They've been unafraid to attack deep space, which is partially responsible for their 28 goal average so far in 2017. The other component to their offensive success is that they are just not turning the disc over, especially their high-volume throwers. As a team, they're completing an elite 94 percent of their passes, with each of their top four throwers—Patrick Baylis, Cassidy Rasmussen, Joel Schlachet, and Beau Kittredge (70+ completions per individual)—averaging 97+ percent on their passes.

3

4-1 - Talk about stepping up in the clutch: The 85 completions (to just two throwaways) Jonathan Nethercutt registered in Saturday's terrific comeback win in overtime nearly equaled his output from the previous three games combined. Alongside Noah Saul and Dave Snoke, the three handlers form most balanced throwing attack in the league. Saul, in particular, is having a breakout season: he's first on the team in points played (122), second in completions (140), and tied for second in goals (11).

4

1-0 - In their last eight games against the Wind Chill dating back to 2014, Madison has not allowed Minnesota to score 20 goals. The Radicals are 8-0 against their border rivals in those games, while allowing an anemic 14.9 goals against. The Minnesota team they are set to face tomorrow in a primetime broadcast will be a much different lineup. And without Peter Graffy, who generated 15 blocks in just three games against the Wind Chill in 2016, Madison is more vulnerable than they've been in recent showdowns.

5

1-1 - It's a hard loss for any team after racing out to a 5-1 start, but last Saturday was especially brutal for a Breeze team that was outperforming a lot of expectations on the road, and without some premium offensive talent in Jeff Wodatch, Markham Shofner, and Tyler Monroe. DC didn't surrender the lead until overtime, which is a remarkable feat against the Flyers in Raleigh. The Breeze's undoing was turnovers, which is less a worry and more an aberration given the quality and depth of their handlers. When is the next time you're going to see Alan Kolick and Jon Neeley combine for 13 throwaways in a game?

6

1-1 - They're young, undersized, and still a little rough around the edges, but count on the Mackenzie brothers Mike and Iain to have an impact on the 2017 Rush season. Primarily defenders, both were flying around the field and giving up the body to contest numerous passes during Toronto's first road trip, combing for five blocks in the two games.

7

1-1 - The Empire defensive pressure was the best I've ever seen on Sunday afternoon, limiting the Royal to their lowest scoring output (8) in franchise history, and the second lowest goal total for a full game in league history. Human semi truck Jeff Babbitt ended up with five goals and four blocks, while Ryan Drost contributed another four blocks. But the sneaky defense award goes to Markian "Muk" Kuzmowycz, who collected three blocks earning the disc back for the O-line, including two big layout stuffs.

8

1-0 - Minnesota's win in their home opener was the best all-around game they've played in years, if ever. The defense was absolutely stifling, generating 21 blocks while holding Cameron Brock goalless for the first time in years; it was the lowest point total for the AlleyCats since 2014. On offense, Josh Klane's deep throws were complemented perfectly by the steady vision of Austin Lien, giving the team a handling dynamic it just hasn't had in the past. The Wind Chill can throw a lot of different looks with their lineups, and their height might prove to be a difference maker in the Midwest playoff race.

9

3-1 +1 After going winless on the road last season, Jacksonville's road trip sweep in Atlanta and Nashville was a momentous shift for the franchise and their confidence going forward. The Cannons did not engage deep space with their usual aplomb, instead opting for long, consistent drives down the length of the field with no-frills offense within the redzone. They kept the disc in the hands of their playmakers, and responded quickly whenever the opposition scored. It was boring at times, particularly for a team as explosive as Jacksonville, but it showed the Cannons are finally willing to adapt their playstyle to fit a particular matchup, which is major progress and should alarm the rest of the division.

10

2-0 -1 The playmaking trio of Eric Lissner, Mark Elbogen, and Bryan Nguyen get a lot of attention for their gaudy production numbers, but one of the biggest reasons for the Aviators' offensive successes is the reliable presence of Eli Friedman. The former Callahan winner has just 21 turnovers in 10 games as a pro, compared to 18 assists and 410 completions while operating as the team's primary handler. Friedman has the athleticism and opportunism to cycle upfield and become a dangerous receiver, which allows Lissner and Elbogen to more effectively operate in their tweener handler/cutter roles. Before Friedman's arrival, LA scored 25+ goals just three times; since they've had nine such games.

11

1-0 - Offensively, that was as good a season opener as Pittsburgh could've asked for, with Tyler Degirolamo registering five assists and four goals in his return, while the team completed 95 percent of its passes on the way to scoring 30 goals. Just as impressive was the aggressive/savvy balance of throwers on the team. The big arms of Degirolamo, Pat Earles, and Xavier Maxstadt combined for 12 assists, but also 10 throwaways, so the steadying presences of Joseph Marmerstein, Max Thorne, and Jonathan Mast—a combined 81/81 with nine assists—solidified the drives of each Thunderbirds possession.

12

2-0 - The Cascades have faced the Riptide in each of their last three regular season games going back to 2016, going 3-0 and while scoring 27+ in each of the games. Saturday might have been their most impressive showing, as Seattle arrived late and with a shortened travel roster, and still held the lead almost wire to wire.

13

2-1 - The Spiders continue to put on an offensive clinic each week, converting over 74 percent of their possessions into scores for the second time in three games. And remarkably, this team has only become more consistent with its offensive production after it won back-to-back titles: San Jose had three games in which they failed to score 20 goals in 2015; they have had zero such games in their 17 games since 2014 & 2015 MVP Beau Kittredge's departure. I attributed SF's early season success to the crisp accuracy of their throwers, but San Jose outclasses their Bay Area rivals by a margin:
All 10 of the Spiders' top passers are completing their throws at 93 percent or greater, with eight of those 10 exceeding 96 percent.

14

0-3 - The Sol were within two goals of the Roughnecks at the beginning of the fourth quarter before Dallas went on a four-goal run to balloon their lead to six and put the game away for good, sealing the Roughnecks' sixth straight win in the all-time series. With Austin now going on the road to face Raleigh and Jacksonville on back-to-back days this weekend, the Sol will have faced arguably the toughest starting schedule of any team in the league's history; their opponents are 9-2 in 2017.

15

1-2 - Through two games played this season, Dylan Tunnell is on pace for 85 assists and 65 goals, and the team is averaging 31 goals per game. But the concern for this Hustle team—as always—is their ability to apply defensive pressure through all four quarters. Atlanta has now given up 27 goals in each of their three games in 2017, and is averaging 27 goals per game against in their last nine games stretching back to 2016. This team always gets a late-May bump from their collegiate additions, but the Hustle have five games between then and now that will likely determine the course of their season.

16

1-2 +1 Despite Indy's sixth straight loss against their rivals from Minnesota, Rick Gross continued his torrid to the season. He now has 14 goals and nine blocks through three games, both team highs. It's not just the volume that is impressive, but the frequency with which he's accomplishing it in relatively limited points. He's scoring a goal in one out of every four points he plays, and generating a day in 18 percent of his points, the same rate as the heralded Jeff Babbitt.

17

0-0 +1 Ottawa finally takes the field this weekend as the latest franchise to start the 2017 season with a road trip to DC and Philadelphia. In five games (4-1) against those two teams last season, Mike Lee accounted for 28 goals and 11 assists, while Alec Arsenault had similarly impressive numbers on defense, collecting 16 blocks and 11 goals in just four appearances against DC and Philadelphia. And with two big international additions in Pierre Lemerle (France) and Luca Miglioretto (Italy) set to make their AUDL debuts tomorrow, Ottawa could sneak up on a lot of teams in the East by at least splitting their games this weekend.

18

1-1 +2 Montreal's come-from-behind thriller in double overtime against the Phoenix was one of the grittiest comebacks I've seen in this league. Though the team was integrating a lot of new players, by the end of the game, the Royal had a definitive rhythm to their offensive sets, and had noticeably more firepower in their handler lineups with the additions of Steve Bonneau and Christian Foster stepping up alongside Kevin Quinlan and Felix-Antoine Daigle.

19

0-3 -3 Though they are winless so far through three games, the Growlers have a lot of upside if they can just figure out their defensive matchups to slow down the opposition at all. The San Diego offense has shown at times it can be one of the fastest paced units in the league, as evidenced by their blitzing play during the third quarter of their eventual loss to the Spiders last Friday. Sean Ham now has scored 3+ goals in all 12 of his appearances dating back to the start of the 2016 season for a total of 70.

20

0-3 -1 The Riptide are having trouble staying above water, holding a lead in just five points so far through three games. The presence of Tim Tsang (six assists, one turnover) last weekend definitely helped add some punch to their offense, but the defense is inconsistent at best. Vancouver has historically performed well in their matchups with San Jose, so tomorrow offers good hope for the team's first win in 2017.

21

0-1 - It was such a hot start for the Phoenix at home, with their offense going big early and often before the eventual heartbreaking loss in sudden death. Sean Mott and William Hoehne were practically camping in the endzone, combining for eight assists and seven goals, with Hoehne accounting for another four blocks despite playing 19 of his 20 points on offense. Philly has confidence and ability for the first time in years, and as soon as they solidify their roles a bit more, they're going to be a challenge for every team in the division.

22

0-1 - There has never been a throwing performance in a professional debut like the one Pawel Janas had for the Wildfire last Saturday. He threw four assists in the first half alone, many of them coming on 50+ yard hucks that floated on a shelf for their receivers, and finished the day with seven assists on a jaw dropping 76 completions (96%), the most of anyone in their AUDL debut. Considering Chicago scored 20+ goals just six times in 2016, starting off the new season by putting up 22 on the road is a great sign for the rebuilding Wildfire.

23

0-1 - The Mechanix's last win came against the Wildfire last June 5 at home. Detroit plays host to Chicago tomorrow night, with Johnny Bansfield set to make his first appearance with the team since the 2013 season. Bansfield has all of the throws and the vision to make any defense pay, but it remains to be seen who will be his top target on this Mechanix roster.

24

0-3 - Despite their struggles on the scoreboard and in the win column, the NightWatch remain the team with the best attitude in the league. Their chemistry and fondness for each other is plainly visible on any given point, and they have a unparalleled ability to celebrate the successes of each teammate. If this might seem like a backhanded compliment given their results, it's anything but—enjoying the experience of playing itself, win or lose, is a hallmark of teams with a bright future.