May 4, 2023
By Daniel Cohen
Big throwing performances feel inevitable in Week 2, with some of the best quarterbacks in the league headlining this week’s list. Critical rivalries, the year of the Yorgason, and indoor Indy round out the storylines for this week’s Players to Watch.
Players listed in alphabetical order. Watch every game live at watch.AUDL.tv.
Abe Coffin, Minnesota Wind Chill
The leader of Minnesota’s D-line counterattack last year, Coffin should be busy on the O-line this week in the Wind Chill’s first game following a handful of offseason losses. As the 2022 All-Star Game MVP showed back in November, Coffin is a field general and playmaker whenever he’s on the field, with or without the disc in his hands. We’ve seen him dominate at all levels of the field on both O and D for years now, and playing in the comfortable indoor environment in Indy this week should make for an explosive 2023 debut. Coffin came in at number 13 in the “Top 25 Players in 2023” rankings released a week ago, but his ceiling feels firmly in the top 10. Expect somewhere in the 30 to 40 touches range this week against the AlleyCats.
Brett Hulsmeyer, Atlanta Hustle
Brett Hulsmeyer set the tone last Saturday with the biggest defensive performance of Week 1, tying a franchise single-game record with six blocks against Indianapolis. The stat looks even more impressive when you see he played just 11 D-points, his fewest in a game since his 2019 rookie season—five of his six blocks came on D-points, meaning he earned a block on basically every other D-point played. But it’s the career-high 11 O-points that stand out to me despite the efficient defensive performance; Hulsmeyer racked up 275 total yards on 21 touches in Week 1, both marks were career highs. It looks like the Hustle are unleashing the 6’5” Hulsmeyer as a two-way weapon this year, and with his comfortability around the disc, big throws, and towering downfield presence, he could be in for a career year in the new Hustle system. Rivalry game against Carolina this week—he’s the guy to watch on both sides of the disc.
Pawel Janas, Los Angeles Aviators
The biggest news of the 2022 offseason came when Pawel Janas signed a six-year contract with the Los Angeles Aviators, the longest term deal in league history. Maybe more impressive than his statistical achievements—his 396 career assists are the most all-time, despite having played just five seasons—Janas built Chicago up from a 4-10 team in 2016 into two-time Central Division champions in 2021 and 2022, slowly raising Chicago’s ceiling each year by quarterbacking the offense, rounding out his game, and creating a new winning culture from scratch. It feels all too similar that LA was also a four-win team the year before Janas joined. This Saturday we’ll get a first look at the new face of the franchise, and see how the offense structures itself around one of biggest free agent additions in league history.
Sean Mott, Philadelphia Phoenix
The one guy DC never really had an answer for, Sean Mott had exactly eight scores in all three games against the Breeze in 2022. Working fluidly in and out of handler sets, Mott’s free rein in the Phoenix offense makes for a difficult matchup any week, but DC’s defense already looks improved from last year after a 14-block Week 1 performance against the Flyers. The Phoenix offense was a mess last week, in part due to the horrendous playing conditions in New York, but if there’s anyone that can get the unit back on track, it’s Mott and his all-around ability. After being shut down by a combination of the weather and Empire newcomer Bretton Tan last Saturday, it’ll be worth watching how he bounces back from his 11-touch Week 1 outing, his fewest in a game since 2017.
Jonathan Nethercutt, Colorado Summit
When Jonathan Nethercutt traveled to SoCal for Colorado’s double header road trip last season, he threw for 14 assists, completed 11 hucks, and racked up nearly 1,400 throwing yards in two games against San Diego and LA. Nutt will look to take revenge on his former team on Friday night—San Diego handed Colorado their only regular season loss of 2022—before going toe-to-toe with Pawel Janas in LA the next day. It’s a true QB1 vs. QB1 matchup in this week’s Game of the Week, and especially without backfield complements Alex Atkins and Danny Landesman available for the Summit, the offense may need to ride Nethercutt more than usual.
Keegan North, Indianapolis AlleyCats
Here’s a ridiculous Keegan North statline: In four indoor games last year, North recorded 24 assists (6.0 per game), 13 goals (3.3 per game), 4 blocks (1.0 per game), and 2,764 total yards (691 per game). Yes, two of those meetings were against Detroit, but the point still stands that North levels up as both a thrower and receiver in that familiar indoor environment. The Indianapolis offense struggled against Atlanta in Week 1, forcing deep shots at times and lacking the seamless flow that the veteran core is capable of. I expect them to look more like their old selves this Saturday for home opener, and North should provide the necessary explosiveness to put up 20-plus points as a team, which in reality should be their floor.
Chad, Luke, and McKay Yorgason, Salt Lake Shred
It’s officially Yorgason season. Yorgaseason. Three brothers on one team—do I need to give any other reason to watch them? 2022 All Defense Team selection, 23-year-old Chad Yorgason will make his 2023 debut this weekend after missing Salt Lake’s home opener last week. Luke Yorgason, who turns 25 next week, already looks improved from last year; he threw for a career-high 560 yards in Week 1 and averaged 14 yards per completion, nearly double his 2022 season average. And the newest Yorgason in the AUDL, 21-year-old McKay Yorgason led the Shred in his debut with 26 points played against Seattle, recording a block and completing all 24 of his throws. There’s an incredible mix of ability between the three on both offense and defense, and they could all feast this week in their double-header road trip to Portland and Seattle.
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