2017 Week 6 Power Rankings

By Adam Ruffner

Rankings Archive

Rank Team Record Trend Comment

1

6-0 - After throwing just 15 assists in 10 games total (including playoffs) in 2016, Dalton Smith has already tossed 22 in six games so far this season, including a career-high six on Saturday against the NightWatch. He's definitely benefitted from having his offensive role expand following the departures of Beau Kittredge and Cassidy Rasmussen, as well as the injury to Kurt Gibson, but Smith has also shown a lot more aggressiveness with his looks. He's still completing 93 percent of his throws, but now in his second year as a pro, he's showing more of the throwing skill and bravado that made him a Callahan finalist in college.

2

4-1 - San Francisco finally gets its long awaited rematch with Seattle tomorrow following the FlameThrowers bitter defeat to the Cascades in the second round of the 2016 playoffs. And after a down season a year ago, Lucas Dallmann is once again playing to his abilities and may be the difference for this team remaining atop the West. He's in the top five on the team in assists, completions, goals, points played, and blocks, while also holding the dubious honor of committing the most turnovers. Though the raw numbers may be cause for concern, many of those throwaways were on hucks deep into the opponents territory. Dallmann plays with the kind of energy and fun-loving swagger that mitigates most of his mistakes; shooters gotta shoot, is what I'm trying to say here.

3

5-1 - A week of rest was much needed for a Flyers team that played six games in the first 28 days of the season, and now must host the undefeated Roughnecks in the Game of the Week tomorrow night. Raleigh gets the added benefit of their rivals in Jacksonville softening up the league's toughest opponent tonight. With the schedule working so much in Raleigh's favor, and them needing a win to stay in contention for first place in the South and a possible home field advantage in the playoffs, the Dallas game looms as large as any in the Flyers franchise history.

4

4-1 - Like the team above them in the rankings, San Jose faces a rubber-meets-the-road test tomorrow as they host Los Angeles in an important seeding matchup for the West Division playoff race. The Spiders are 3-1 all-time against the Aviators, including a 27-25 win in their last meeting. One of the quieter performers around, Evan Boucher continues to be an amazing offensive fit for this team and will be vital in tomorrow's matchup. An All-AUDL selection back during the inaugural season in 2012 with the AlleyCats, Boucher has had a journeyman career in the pros despite always putting up solid numbers, but in 2017 he's having his best season yet, with 14 assists, 10 goals, and 117 completions (98%) in just five games.

5

3-1 - With last Saturday's 22-21 nailbiting win over the Empire—the fourth straight regular season game between DC and New York that was decided by a single goal—the Breeze have now won five straight games against their rivals. And though he might not be the first name dropped when discussing DC's success so far in 2017, Chuck Cantone has undoubtedly been one of their most important. The defensive specialist has been playing in more O-line lineups lately, with good results. He works well as a primary or continuation cutter—he lead the team with three goals against the Empire—and while he doesn't have a wide array of throws, he seldom makes a mistake with the disc (one turnover in four games). To be able to transfer one of your best defenders onto the offensive unit is a big luxury and speaks to DC's depth.

6

3-0 +1 Following two convincing wins to begin the season, Minnesota experienced their first hiccups against the always tough AlleyCats last weekend. The offense converted 74 percent of their opportunities into scores, but the defense generated just nine blocks, compared to the 17.5 they averaged over the first two games of 2017. Minnesota now goes on the road to face Chicago and Detroit in Week 7, both teams who lack the offensive capabilities of Indy, which might allow the Wind Chill to recalibrate their defensive pressure.

7

2-2 -1 Historically, the magic number for the Empire has been 20: If they can hold opponents to 20 goals or fewer in a game, New York is 20-3 going back to the beginning of the 2015 season, including both of their wins so far this year. That is the second most amount of games of allowing 20 or fewer goals to an opponent over that time span, trailing only the Radicals (27 games). The offense is efficient—they're converting a crisp 67 percent of their opportunities into scores so far in 2017—but it lacks the firepower or timeliness to push the Empire past DC or Toronto.

8

2-1 - The Radicals continued their awkward start to the 2017 season by trailing the Wildfire 9-7 at halftime before rallying to win their home opener. Beyond focus, it's hard to pin down what exactly is amiss with Madison's play, but offensive tempo may be one culprit. With a unit that has largely been intact since 2013, the Radicals O-line is so finely tuned that seemingly small errors, like a mistimed cut, can throw their whole system off. When they're in rhythm, Madison's drives are almost impossible to interrupt. But lately, there have been a lot of late-stall passes that lead to suboptimal results.

9

4-1 - The Cannons have one of the best shots to become king killers if they can knock off the short rostered Roughnecks in Jacksonville tonight, and they might be the best equipped team to take advantage of the opportunity. Jacksonville continues to show in 2017 it isn't reckless with the disc as in years past, converting 74 percent of their offensive points played into scores. Jacksonville can struggle to generate turns against good offenses—they had just five takeaways against Raleigh in Week 3 and three against Atlanta in Week 4—but they have a chance against Dallas if they don't gift them to disc.

10

3-1 - Winning three of their first four games was vital for an LA team that now has road games in six of their next eight matchups, including playing the Bay Area powerhouses of San Jose and San Francisco in three of their next four. The Aviators offense continues to show an adaptability that will keep them in every game, and a big reason for that is their handler Tim Beatty. He leads the team with 177 completions (98%) to go along with his 11 assists through three games, but his ability to change up his style of play given a specific context is very representative of this LA offense as a whole. One point, you may see Beatty only swinging the disc and making good throws to open looks, while the very next he's dropping in a 50+ yard hammer on a dime to end the drive in under five throws.

11

3-1 +1 After the Cascades impressive 26-24 victory over Pittsburgh in the Cross Coast Challenge last weekend, Seattle has now scored 26+ goals in each of their first four games, a remarkable feat for a team still acclimating to heavy roster turnover following last season's runner-up finish. Mark Burton once again looks poised to challenge for the league's scoring title, while Mario O'Brien and Adam Simon continue to be two of the best handler anchors in the division. The biggest question for Seattle entering the season was depth, but with nine different players with four or more goals, they've quickly vanquished any doubts.

12

3-2 +2 Toronto did what they had to do on the road in some very adverse conditions, grinding out two big road wins to claw back into second place in the East a week after being in fifth. Like Madison, something is still just off about the Rush and their execution, but they're figuring out ways to win in spite of their errors, which should terrify the rest of the division. 19-year-old Bretton Tan was a monster on the mark this past weekend, generating eight turnovers, with at least half of them on pointblocks.

13

2-1 -2 Even though it was a loss, the Thunderbirds showed a lot of moxie by trimming a once 15-9 lead to just two goals by the end of the game on the road without their best player. Pat Earles—who finished with a 2017 single game season high 10 assists—almost singlehandedly hucked the team back into the game, and now has 19 assists on just 87 completions so far through three games.

14

2-2 -1 After such an encouraging start to the season through the first few weeks, the Royal struggled mightily last Sunday to move the disc against a Rush team that was already coming off of a game the day prior. Only one Montreal thrower finished the game with 20 completions (Max Rick), with nine different players committing two or more throwaways to contribute to the team's staggering 44 turnovers on the day. The Royal now must play three of their next five on the road.

15

1-2 - The Outlaws traded with the Rush for much of the first half on Saturday, before the Outlaws offense came out of sync in the second half on the way to their loss at home. Ottawa has a lot of skill at the handler position, and their downfield receivers this season are better than ever. But their loss showed that if you can disrupt their point of attack, the Outlaws struggle to work the disc through their second and third options.

16

1-5 +1 The most deserved win of the season came on Sunday when the Sol blew out the NightWatch by 20. It's easy to look good at home against a team already coming off of a game the previous day, but Austin sorely needed the confidence boost a win provides. They now get a week off before hosting Atlanta, a team the Sol always matchup well against. And with five goals on Sunday—his fourth game in six with 4+ goals—the Sol's Caleb Denecour has sneakily tied Mischa Freystaetter for second place in the league with 23 goals.

17

1-3 -1 Entering this season, Atlanta was 6-3 in the month of April over two years. The slippage in 2017 is part schedule—their losses have come to Dallas, Raleigh, and Jacksonville—and partly missed opportunities, the latter of which the Hustle can no longer afford. Through three games, Dylan Tunnell (20 assists, 11 goals, 144 completions in three games) is putting up even better numbers than his MVP season from 2016, but the Hustle are just 1-2 when he's in the lineup.

18

1-4 - Another team in unfamiliar territory, the AlleyCats three games below .500 for the first time in their five year team history. The offense has scored 25+ goals in three of their last four games, but the defense is giving up almost 27 goals per game during their current three-game losing streak. Rick Gross (12 assists, 21 goals, 12 blocks) and Travis Carpenter (19 assists, 12 goals, 9 blocks) continue to do it all on both sides of the disc. But beyond the top 10 or so players, the backend of the AlleyCats roster is sore for production.

19

1-4 - San Diego got it's first victory at home against the Riptide, ending a five-game losing streak going back to last season. The youngest player in their talent coup from LA over the offseason, Hunter Corbett played his best game of the season in Saturday's win, throwing six assists on 33 completions to go along with three goals and only three turnovers.

20

0-6 - Vancouver failed to score 20 goals in each of their two losses on the road this past weekend. It was the fourth time in six games in 2017 the Riptide failed to score 20 or more in a game. The power outage for this team offensively is unprecedented: Vancouver has finished in the league's top 10 for scoring in each season since 2014, and is currently fourth worst this season.

21

0-3 - Philadelphia goes on the road this weekend to face Ottawa and Montreal, likely needing to take one of the games in order for a chance to remain playoff relevant. Philadelphia has held a lead in each of their first three games, so the solution to more wins may simply come down to disc and game management and reducing turnovers.

22

1-1 - The Mechanix host the Wind Chill on the second day of Minnesota's back-to-back, and have a pretty good opportunity to give the Midwest Division leaders their first loss of 2017. Detroit played Minnesota very well last season despite losing both matchups, taking the Wind Chill to overtime on the road before losing 31-28, and then dropping the regular season finale in Detroit by just one goal.

23

0-3 -1 The Madison zone eventually wore down the Wildfire in their two-goal loss on Saturday, but the Chicago O-line and its many new pieces looked very comfortable being patient against one of the toughest tests in the league. Pawel Janas alone completed 108 passes, the second highest total in a game since Brett Matzuka in 2015.

24

0-6 - No wins, but a slew of attention for the NightWatch and their highlight level play. Nashville makes a lot of head scratching errors that ultimate result in their big margins of loss, but they are not afraid to take a shot if it is available. And after years of making similarly jaw-dropping plays for Cincinnati, it's great to see Colin Grandon finally and deservedly land on SportsCenter.