May 17, 2019
by Matt Rezin
The closest thing we have to an advanced stat in the ultimate world (for now) is plus/minus which is calculated as follows: +1 for a goal, +1 for an assist, +1 for a block, -1 for a drop, -1 for a handler turnover, +2 for a callahan (which is both a goal and a block in the stat book). If you get a couple goals and an assist without turning the disc over it can be easy to build up your plus/minus. But if you have a couple throws defended well or are forced to throw into contested situations too often, your turnovers can just as quickly reduce your plus/minus. For a player that participates in most of their team's games during the AUDL season, the plus/minus stat leaderboard is usually a quick glance at the MVP standings.
Friday, May 17
San Jose Spiders at San Diego Growlers - 9:45 PM/ET
- Keenan Laurence (SJ) — Leading the Spiders with 7 blocks this season, Laurence is proving he's one of the strongest elements of the San Jose defense. He was crucial to the Spiders week 6 victory against Seattle, scoring 6 assists, 2 goals and a block on a huge plus/minus game of 9.
- Travis Dunn (SD) — Dunn's had an excellent start to his season and his plus/minus of 40 leads the league by 5 and his team by 17. He's the player to stop on the Growlers through the first half of their season. He's tied for 9th in goals in the league, and in the hunt for the assist title in 2nd place at the moment with 26.
Saturday, May 18
Detroit Mechanix at Pittsburgh Thunderbirds - 6:00 PM/ET
- Mark Whitton (DET) — Playing almost exclusively on the offensive line somehow Whitton has been able to lead his team in blocks with 4, and also leads the team in plus/minus with 17, especially significant because he's only played in 2 games. He's proven he can get the disc back if his team is taking risks to get in the end zone and the Mechanix will need him against a Thunderbirds squad coming off their first win of the year and looking to bring their record closer to even.
- Thomas Edmonds (PIT) — Thomas Edmonds huge game against the Wildfire in week six is a great example of why the plus/minus stat represents the best players BUT if you're a disc dominant handler who takes any risks around the end zone, you'll fall into the middle of the plus/minus pack. Edmonds had 3 assists and 2 goals but a plus/minus of 1 because of a few throwing turnovers (but no drops on his 58 throws). His consistent handling efforts are being noticed by his team.
DC Breeze at Ottawa Outlaws - 7:00 PM/ET
- Matthew McDonnell (DC) — Because I'm talking about plus/minus DC's player to watch this week has to be Rowan. His plus/minus of 31 is more than double the next player on the Breeze, partly because they've only played in 4 games... and a plus/minus of 7.75 per game is an incredible pace to maintain. If Rowan keeps it up (and the Breeze need him to) then he could repeat as MVP.
- Nick Boucher (OTT) — Historically a defender on the Outlaws (and on his player page) Boucher's statistics this season reveal he's become the team's busiest offensive handler. His season plus/minus is only at 8 because of his 13 turnovers, but as he gets used to handling the o-line instead of the d-line perhaps those turnovers come down and Nick will find himself high on the plus/minus rankings. Defender is still fitting because Nick hasn't given up blocks and is on pace to get more than he did playing mostly d-line last season!
Toronto Rush at New York Empire - 7:00 PM/ET
- Nathan Hirst (TOR) — In week 5, on just 17 points played (16 o-line) Hirst threw 4 assists and pulled in 4 goals without turning the disc over to wind up with a stellar plus/minus of 8 for the game. The coaches noticed and last weekend Hirst increased his playing time, he had a solid game scoring 2 assists and 5 goals but those pesky turnovers brough his plus/minus down to 4. Let's watch what Hirst can do with his starting role on the Rush.
- Ben Jagt (NY) — Ben Jagt has begun the 2019 season at an incredible pace, and it seems he's picking up steam. He has a plus/minus of 35 after only four games and in last week's double overtime game against the DC Breeze, he added *15!* to his plus/minus scoring 9 assists, 8 goals, and a block. After starting the season with a good but pedestrian 3 plus/minus game, he's since put up games of 7, 10, and then last week's 15. Jagt is staking his own claim on the MVP discussion early in the season and his numbers will put him in strong contention.
Indianapolis AlleyCats at Minnesota Wind Chill - 7:00 PM/ET
- Rick Gross (IND) — As the AlleyCats scrap through the midwest, their regular leader in the box score has maintained his place at the top of the team's plus/minus ranks. He's been his normal productive self in 2019 and his 21 goals also lead the team as Gross stretches the Indy offense down the field.
- James Kittlesen (MIN) — Through 5 games Kittlesen has almost matched his blocks total from 2018 on about half the points played. He was critical to the Wind Chill's upset of the Radicals last weekend when he got 4 blocks for the second game in a row. Kittlesen doesn't put up many assists or goals but still finds his way into the team's top five in plus/minus because of his incredible league-leading 14 blocks.
Madison Radicals at Chicago Wildfire - 7:00 PM/ET
- Colin Camp (MAD) — Camp's plus/minus of 19 stands out against the rest of the Radicals gang with the next highest in a tie for 11. His 100% completion and catching percentages keep that plus/minus number from dropping and handlers are able to find his big cuts to open end zone space with regularity. Camp leads the team with 12 goals and has found a way to stand out in a system that encourages consistency more than flashy play.
- Pawel Janas (CHI) — The Wildfire handler has been as efficient as ever as Chicago tries to stake their claim as a playoff contender in the tough Midwest division. Janas's 19 assists are 10 more than his next teammate, but most impressively, he has just 6 turnovers (1 stall, 4 throwaways, 1 drop) on 195 touches.
(Check out Janas's discussion of relevant ultimate statistics on this week's Stall Seven podcast from Ultiworld)
Atlanta Hustle at Raleigh Flyers - 7:00 PM/ET
- Matt Smith (ATL) — Smith started the season splitting time between o-line and d-line evenly and only completing 11 passes in their first game of the season. Game by game that playing time divide has drawn wider with Matt finding himself playing 22 offensive and 5 defensive points in the Hustle's cross-divisional week 6 win in Indianapolis. As Smith's touches have crept back up to ~30 per game he's found his rhythm and has his season plus/minus (4.33) back around his impressive career mark of 4.67 over 71 regular season games.
- Noah Saul (RAL) — A Flyers veteran in his 6th AUDL season, Noah Saul has started on both lines in recent years, this year it looks like he's focused more on the o-line and he's been getting buckets! His 16 assists and 5 goals over 4 games are good for a plus/minus of 19. On most teams Saul's plus/minus would have him in the lead but lucky for him, he's got a big target in Henry Fisher (who is back in action after an inactive week 6) to find deep downfield who is well ahead with 30 plus/minus thanks to his gaudy goals statistic.
Tampa Bay Cannons at Austin Sol - 8:00 PM/ET
- Andrew Roney (TB) — Playing both lines as the Cannons try to earn their way into the playoffs in a wildly competitive south division, Roney's handling is crucial to the Cannons success early in the 2019 season. Through three games he's already got 21 assists and 5 blocks, doing it all to lead the Cannons as one of their longest tenured players, first playing with the team in Jacksonville in 2016.
- Mick Walter (ATX) — After getting three blocks in each of the Sol's first three games, Walter let the rest of the league catch up a little bit, but still finds himself in second place in the league with 13 total blocks. Those blocks are a major factor in Walter's team leading plus/minus of 24, 3 ahead of Kyle Henke who does most of his work on offense.
San Jose Spiders at Los Angeles Aviators - 8:30 PM/ET
- Lior Givol (SJ) — Through six games the Spiders have had to deal with some of their key players missing games and playing with different lineups week to week. After Givol's standout week 1 performance with 6 assists and 5 goals, he was next able to play in week 5 in a rough game of the week loss to the Aviators. This weekend as the Spiders hit the road without some of their key players they'll need Givol to step up and have a couple of highly productive games to fill the gap.
- Sean McDougall (LA) — The Aviators captain has been leading by example this season, topping his team's plus/minus rankings with 29 (2 ahead of standout rookie Joc Jimenez) and doing it all for the Aviators offense. After a huge 58 goal season in 2018, McDougall's statistics have tilted strongly toward assists rather than goals for the first time in his AUDL career. With the addition of so much young, quick talent to the Aviators this season, McDougall is filling a team need as a good leader should and is already drawing near to his personal season assist record.
Sunday, May 19
DC Breeze at Montreal Royal - 1:00 PM/ET
- Garrett Braun (DC) — Playing in his first pro season, Braun has been a strong part of the Breeze game plan, starting on the offensive line and hasn't dropped a disc since the first game of the year. Braun is coming off a huge game against the Empire in week six where he notched a plus/minus of 7 (4 assists, 3 goals). He'll look to repeat that performance twice during a tough road trip to Canada.
- Quentin Bonnaud (MTL) — While the Royal have had a tough go in their first two games, one positive to point to has been the downfield performance of Quentin Bonnaud. He's got 12 goals on 44 points played and has had sure hands after catching the disc. His teammates should look to Bonnaud as an example for their own play as the Royal begin their home season against the Breeze.
Tampa Bay Cannons at Dallas Roughnecks - 2:00 PM/ET
- Bradley Seuntjens (TB) — A fixture on the defensive line in past years, Seuntjens is splitting time between lines this year and he's leading his team in goals with 8 through three games. He's been solid with the disc too and hasn't recorded a turnover yet in 2019, keeping that plus/minus toward the top of his team with 9.
- Carson Wilder (DAL) — Carson and last week's player to watch Abe Coffin are at the head of their team in both assists and goals. Coffin leads both but Wilder owns the lead in plus/minus by one because Coffin has more throwaways due to his larger role handling the Roughnecks offense. Watch for Wilder and Coffin to keep connecting as cutter and handler, or perhaps vice versa as two cogs in the Roughnecks quick moving offense.
Toronto Rush at Philadelphia Phoenix - 2:00 PM/ET
- Akifumi Muraoka (TOR) — Joining the Toronto Rush for his rookie AUDL season, Muraoka is getting a starter's playing time on Toronto Rush roster that returned most of its players form last season. In three games thus far, he's done the most with his time on the field, earning a season plus/minus of 13; reflecting 6 assists, 10 goals and 2 blocks in his young pro career.
- Himalaya Mehta (PHI) — In his second season with the Phoenix, Mehta stands out from the crowd in receiving statistics. He's got 11 goals through three games, 6 more than his next teammate! When goals are hard to come by, the most important thing for a handler is knowing they've got a solid cutter causing chaos downfield and opening up space. Like a shot creator in basketball who can make their own space to shoot, a cutter who can create throwing space for a handler is crucial. To this point of the season, Mehta has been the one making things happen for the Philadelphia offense.