June 9, 2022
By Adam Ruffner
25. Detroit Mechanix (Previously 25th)
With their second 20-plus goal performance of the season, the Mechanix have already doubled their 2021 season total. Detroit’s 18.5 goals per game this season is the team’s highest scoring average since their inaugural season in 2012. In his third year quarterbacking the offense, 24-year-old Joe Cubitt has taken a mini leap. Cubitt has upped his completion percentage from 90.6 percent last season to 94.4 in 2022 while increasing his potency (2.8 assists per game in 2021; 4.6 in 2022), his touches (43.4 completions per game; 57.6), and production (406 total yards per game; 576) at the same time. Detroit is sticking around longer and longer against teams in games because of their offense’s ability to hold at a higher rate than ever before.
24. Tampa Bay Cannons (Previously 24th)
The Cannons did a good job of making the Hustle play swamp ball down in Tampa Bay, and held a 10-8 halftime lead on Atlanta before getting outscored 10-6 in the second half. Despite the narrow scoring margin, the Cannons committed a season-high 29 turnovers in Week 6, and for the second time in three games failed to generate at least 10 red zone attempts. Tampa Bay is scoring slightly more in the last three weeks thanks to their deep attack led by throwers Brandon Perales, Tannon Hedges, Jaime Perez, and Billy O'Bryan. But the Cannons have given up second half leads at home in each of the past two games because the offense can’t maintain consistent drives if the huck isn’t available.
23. Oakland Spiders (Previously 23rd)
The Spiders struggled to just 37 goals and six breaks on their 0-2 road trip through the gauntlet of Salt Lake and Colorado in Week 6. The biggest problem is the mistakes, as Oakland now sits dead last in the league in turnovers per game (26.3). Similar to the Cannons, the Spiders have seemed to adopt the huck as an underdog strategy—Chris Lung throwing frozen ropes to Keenan Laurence, Max Williams, and Robin Vickers Batzdorf certainly has its appeal—and have attempted over 17 per game through four contests this season. But Oakland is third-worst in huck completion percentage (50.7), and is one of just four remaining teams without a win.
22. Toronto Rush (Previously 17th)
Toronto came out quick in the first quarter against the Empire, with Oscar Stonehouse getting three early layout goals for the home team as they held tight, trailing just 6-4. Then the lights went out for the Rush and they scored four goals in the remaining three quarters—including just one goal in each of the second and third quarters—on their way to being routed 25-8 by New York. Going from 26 goals scored in Week 5 to just eight seven days later as the Rush have done has to be some kind of week-to-week scoring discrepancy record, and really shows both the highs and lows of this team.
21. Dallas Legion (Previously 20th)
Now a full month into their rebrand, the Legion are winless, and have yet to score 20 goals in a game this season, ranking last in team completion percentage. Jimmy Zuraw and the offense showed pop at times against the Flyers last Friday night, and Dallas registered season highs in goals (18), completion percentage (93%), holds (18), red zone conversions (12), and had their fewest turnovers (17) of the season. But for the first time in franchise history, Dallas failed to convert a break score, and recorded a season-low five blocks against Carolina.
20. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (Previously 22nd)
Following last Friday’s heartbreaking loss in Pittsburgh, the Thunderbirds have lost two games by three goals combined against the Radicals this season; imagine how different a 4-2 T-Birds team sounds. Much to the offense’s credit, Pittsburgh hasn’t committed 20 or more turnovers in their last three games, with Clint McSherry and Ian Engler finding rhythm in the backfield as a newer throwing battery; Thunderbirds converted just 58.9 percent of their red zone attempts in their first three games of the season, and have improved to 78.3 percent in their last three games. But their record remains frustratingly the same, no matter how you split it over the first six games.
19. Indianapolis AlleyCats (Previously 20th)
After holding a one-goal lead at the end of the first quarter in Minnesota, the AlleyCats got outscored 24-8 in the final three frames by the Wind Chill on their way to losing 28-13 in Week 6. Not only was it the ‘Cats lowest scoring output since June 2021, it was the largest defeat in Indy’s 10-year franchise history, Carter Rae’s immaculate Greatest throw be damned. And yet even with the setback, the AlleyCats remain just a half game out of third place in the Central.
18. Ottawa Outlaws (Previously 21st)
If you ignore their 30-18 loss to a New York team that has rampaged its way through Canada, the Outlaws have been a competitive team in each of their games this season. Some of the team’s offensive efficiency numbers have waned in recent weeks, but veteran Jeremy Hill is having a career year as a striker. Hill is averaging career highs in completions per game (19) and completion percentage (95.9 percent), and is already within five assists of his most for a season through just five games in 2022. The seventh-year workhorse remains one of Ottawa’s most reliable receiving options—Hill is third in goals (16) and second in receiving yards (1285)—but his added throwing dimension is a big reason why the Outlaws are finding such success on offense.
17. Boston Glory (Previously 15th)
A full strength Boston still feels like a playoff team in the East Division. But with over half their schedule gone and just two wins to show for it—and with one game remaining against DC and New York apiece—Glory have dug a deep hole to climb out. Ray Tetreault has made the most of Boston’s tumultuous lineup, and leads the team in total scores (34), goals (24), and receiving yards (1883), while connecting on a tidy 96.8 percent of his throws. Glory have a bye before hosting Ottawa in what amounts to a do-or-die game for Boston’s postseason chances.
16. Los Angeles Aviators (Previously 16th)
LA committed just 16 turnovers in their win in Portland last Saturday as the Aviators defense punched home 6-of-8 break scores in the impressive road upset. Matt Miller committed almost a third of those turnovers by himself, but his energy and relentless attacking—Miller finished with game highs in completions (48) and total yards (744), and tied for goals (5)—fueled LA’s tight win to insert themselves into the midseason playoff race in the West. The nine-goal loss the next day to Seattle was tough, as the Aviators are now set to face their immediate playoff competition in Portland, San Diego, Colorado (twice), and Salt Lake in each of their next five games. LA has made a living off of proving me wrong, so if they can manage at least two wins in that set of postseason-level competition, they will deserve a boost up these rankings.
15. Seattle Cascades (Previously 18th)
The Cascades are the team nobody wants to face out West, especially in Seattle. The ‘Scades have outscored Portland and LA 49-32 in their last two games at home, with Adam Simon and Matt Rehder gaining some kind of environmental bonus whenever they play at Memorial Stadium; in their last two games Simon has 11 assists and nearly 900 yards throwing, while Rehder has amassed six assists, five goals, four blocks, and 812 total yards. Same as last season, Seattle has a spring-loaded counterattack off of opponent turnovers, and it can overwhelm most teams for points at a time.
14. Portland Nitro (Previously 11th)
Leandro Marx, Raphy Hayes, Jack Hatchett, and company continue to manufacture a lot of highlight plays at home. But with a 1-2 record in Portland, the Nitro have slipped into the bottom half of the division in the standings. It speaks to this team’s playmaking ability that their offense ranks eighth in offensive efficiency, while ranking bottom seven in team completion percentage. The Nitro face the Aviators in LA tomorrow night in a rematch of last Saturday’s one-goal scrum in a pivotal game for both teams.
13. Madison Radicals (Previously 14th)
Madison bounced back after their loss to Minnesota with a win at the death in Pittsburgh thanks to rookie Matt Tucker’s focus catch. It was the Radicals’ second come-from-behind win on the road this season in the fourth quarter, with longtime defensive veteran Kevin Pettit-Scantling transitioning to offense due to injury limitations and having a career night as a thrower. Madison continues to show a winning pedigree and edge out close games in the Central, but the margins continue to shrink between the Radicals and the teams just beneath them in the standings.
12. Montreal Royal (Previously 13th)
Montreal get a mega boost with the activation of goal scoring phenom Quentin Bonnaud this weekend for his 2022 debut, and it could not come at a better time for a Royal team looking to hold its third place position in the East. Nabil Chaouch could stand to benefit from defenses having to choose who to cover, and his progress has a thrower will be vital for the Royal; Chaouch is completing 96.4 percent of his throws as an upfield continuation passer, and is 7-of-8 on hucks this season, including 4-of-5 in his last two games. Seven wins is starting to feel like the magic number for the final playoff spot in the division, and Montreal needs a win this Saturday at home versus the rival Rush to stay on track.
11. Philadelphia Phoenix (Previously 12th)
With each win Philly feels more like a squad that can make a lot of noise atop the East, and their three losses by a combined four goals make this team battle tested before the midway point of the season. James Pollard continues his career year, ranking eighth in the AUDL in scores (35) while averaging nearly 400 yards of offense per game; Pollard has the most blocks (8) of any AUDL player among the top 20 in scores. His combination of throwing and playmaking are reaching All-AUDL levels, but it’s his ability to make The Big Play when it matters most that separates him in 2022.
10. San Diego Growlers (Previously 8th)
The Growlers host the Nitro this Saturday before embarking on a three-game road slate through the rest of June against LA, Salt Lake, and Colorado, the final two matches coming on back-to-back nights. It is always around this time of year when the West becomes tempestuous, and it is in these times when San Diego has earned its reputation as an elite team by closing out tight games with takeaways and defense. Growlers rank first in the AUDL with 14 blocks per game, with eight different players averaging at least one takeaway per game.
9. Chicago Union (Previously 7th)
Pawel Janas moved into third place all-time last Saturday with his nine assists against Detroit, doing it in literally half the games as the two players—Goose Helton and Keenan Plew—above him on the leaderboard. Chicago now faces the slingshot portion of their schedule starting tomorrow night against Madison, as the Union will play four games in 21 days after playing just three in the first six weeks. Eli Artemakis had six goals in his 2022 debut last weekend, and Chicago will need his spark to jumpstart their midseason push to defend their division title.
8. Minnesota Wind Chill (Previously 9th)
The Wind Chill offense found its stride against Indy last weekend, converting season highs in hucks, hold efficiency, and red zone conversions while committing a season-low 12 turnovers. But the real promise for Minnesota is the play of their defense, as they smothered an otherwise efficient AlleyCats offense in Week 6 and converted 16 breaks, their most in a game since 2018. The Wind Chill have always been a top four team in takeaways, and now with Abe Coffin leading the counterattack, Minnesota is cashing in on all sorts of opportunities that were left on the field in years past, and currently lead the league in break scores per game (9.5).
7. Austin Sol (Previously 10th)
The Sol’s Week 6 win over Carolina was a true team effort, highlighted by the efficiency of the Austin defense in converting what little break opportunities they had against an in-rhythm Flyers offense. Paul Starkel and Jake Radack continue to provide a potent one-two throwing combination from the backfield, and first year striker Mark Evans made his living in deep space against an elite Carolina defense, coming up with a late game sky in the open field that led to the go ahead score. But what has been the backbone for the Sol’s success, especially on offense, has been the near-flawless play of Kyle Henke, who hasn’t committed a turnover in his last three games, and is averaging five scores and 359 total yards per game.
6. Salt Lake Shred (Previously 6th)
The Shred continue to give visiting teams the what-for whenever they come to Salt Lake, which makes tomorrow night’s matchup with the undefeated Summit so tantalizing. This team needed another defensive playmaker like a fish needs a bike, but here comes Ben “Dusty” Green with a six-block Shred debut last Friday, giving Salt Lake another disc getter in space to add alongside Joel Clutton and Chad Yorgason. The Shred lead the league in scoring (26.2 per game) not just because Jordan Kerr is having an MVP-level season on offense, but also because they’re one of just four teams averaging eight or more break scores per game this season.
5. Atlanta Hustle (Previously 3rd)
The Hustle defense locked in and led the team for their second half comeback in Week 6, generating 23 blocks against the Cannons, the most by any team in a game this season. Rookies Tyler Randall and Justin Burnett combined for seven blocks against Tampa Bay, and can provide Atlanta with even more D-line rotational pieces for one of the league’s best units. The Hustle host the Cannons once more this weekend before facing Carolina in back-to-back matchups. With one loss already to the Flyers, those two games will likely determine home field in the South Division.
4. Colorado Summit (Previously 4th)
As good of a veteran duo as Jay Froude and Jon Nethercutt have been for the Summit, the ceiling of this Colorado team is defined by its ridiculous amount of athletic playmakers. There’s some erratic moments due to the pure amount of youthful energy that radiates off of this Summit lineup, but it's worth it for the sheer volume of layouts and skies this team is capable of producing. Mathieu Agee has the kind of open field ability to hawk for the disc that is downright Froude-ian, and Alex Tatum is able to uncoil for big plays as both a thrower and defender on the D-line. Colorado is still very much figuring things out in their first month-plus as a franchise, and they’re one of just three remaining undefeated teams. Scary.
3. DC Breeze (Previously 5th)
The Breeze scored just 19 goals in their Week 1 loss against the Empire. Since then, DC has won three straight by averaging 26 per game, never scoring fewer than 25 in each of the past three matches. A resurgent Rowan McDonnell has amplified an already excellent Breeze offense, while fellow sixth year team vet Jeff Wodatch is playing some of the sharpest offense of his career, particularly as a distributor. Alexandre Fall has been good for a chest-level layout block per game, and is a bottle rocket off of turnovers, continually finding breakaway scores as he streaks downfield following opponent mistakes.
2. Carolina Flyers (Previously 2nd)
The Flyers committed the second fewest turnovers of their season—and continued their streak of committing fewer than 20 turnovers to 22 games—and still lost to Austin, which really goes to show the kind of performance the Sol had on Saturday night against the reigning champs. And were it not overshadowed by the historic offensive season by the team ahead of them in these rankings, the 2022 Carolina offense would be the most efficient unit ever, converting over 67 percent of their offensive possessions so far this year. Eric Taylor returned to the lineup after missing three games and threw 14 assists in Texas over the weekend; Alex Davis is tied for the league lead in goals (30), and is 13th in receiving yards (1576).
1. New York Empire (Previously 1st)
In their last four games against Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, the Empire have outscored their opponents 108-61, and bumped up their already historic offensive conversion rate from right around 70 percent to where it sits now at 72.2 percent. New York has converted 27 of their last 32 offensive possessions into scores, and did not allow the Rush to score a break in Week 6. They accomplished this while the two-time reigning MVP Ben Jagt played every point on defense; Jagt’s D-line transition has always made sense theoretically given his high block numbers, but watching it play out in reality is even more impressive and foreboding for opponents.
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