Ranking Every AAF Team’s QBs, Backfields and Receiving Corps
Courtesy of @TheAAF/Twitter. Pictured: Orlando QB Garrett Gilbert, Arizona RB Jhurell Pressley
- Ian Hartitz ranks every AAF team's quarterbacks, backfield and receiving corps rank heading into Week 4.
- He digs into the stats to see who is getting the most opportunities, who is making the most of theirs and more.
The Alliance of American Football league is officially three weeks old! One hundred and eighty minutes of action for each team still isn’t a massive sample size, but what we’ve got people.
It’s also a good time to deepen our understanding of who operates the AAF’s top offenses, who is getting the most opportunities at each position and who is actively cashing in on their chances.
What follows is a breakdown of the league’s top quarterbacks, backfields and receiving rooms as well as power rankings of each.
We’ll assess the strengths and weaknesses of each quarterback then rank the group.
Note that 10 quarterbacks are listed since the situations in Arizona and San Antonio are in flux: John Wolford (strained back) was injured shortly after halftime in Week 3 while Logan Woodside and Marquise Williams are entangled in an open quarterback competition.
The following statistics cover Weeks 1-3.
- John Wolford, Garrett Gilbert and Zach Mettenberger have easily been the best overall quarterbacks in terms of yards per attempt, touchdowns and quarterback rating.
- Mettenberger has only 12 pass attempts, but he managed to throw more touchdowns (2) than Memphis’ original starter Christian Hackenberg managed in 63 attempts (0). The former LSU quarterback’s ability to consistently dice up the Orlando defense downfield was particularly impressive.
- Logan Woodside has both the worst quarterback rating and the worst completion rate among starters. Marquise Williams has only attempted eight passes this season, but he was good enough to keep Mitchell Trubisky sidelined at North Carolina for two seasons.
- Wolford and Gilbert have both demonstrated surprising ability and willingness to run the ball. Still, nobody in the league should be confused with a true dual-threat quarterback with the exception of Williams, who leads all quarterbacks in rushing despite playing just 25 snaps.
- Wolford leads the league in touchdowns and has thrived in Arizona’s up-tempo and play-action heavy scheme. However, his back injury was caused in part by the Hotshots’ consistent use of run-pass-options, which can leave the quarterback exposed to more hits because the offensive line is run blocking.
- Trevor Knight continued to show the same accuracy problems that have plagued his entire career in his AAF debut. Still, his willingness to throw the deep ball could produce some fantasy-friendly opportunities when paired with the 96th-percentile SPARQ-x athlete’s rushing ability.
- Steve Spurrier’s Sun ‘N’ Gun attack has particularly thrived when Gilbert has utilized play action and been kept clean. Orlando has easily been the league’s premier pass offense all season thanks in large part to Gilbert’s pin-point accuracy downfield.
- Mettenberger, Gilbert and Philip Nelson are the only three quarterbacks to throw 20-plus yards downfield on at least 20% of their attempts. The former two have managed to post top-three efficiency marks on these throws despite their increased volume.
- Neither Nelson or Matt Simms have looked great, but both played well in Week 3 and showed real signs of progress. The ceiling is still limited here as their low respective play-action percentages are indicative of San Diego’s and Atlanta’s underwhelming offensive schemes.
- Luis Perez is painfully slow as a runner. That combined with his absurd release time has resulted in a league-high 43 pressured dropbacks. Perez deserves a little bit of slack considering Birmingham also leads the league in dropped passes (10), but both the Iron and the Apollos have benefited from an easy early-season schedule.
- Salt Lake managed to out score Arizona by five points during the Stallions’ six quarters with Woodrum on the field. They’re certainly capable of continuing to win games with steady quarterback play and a strong run game and defense, but there isn’t much fantasy upside in the Salt Lake passing game as long as Woodrum continues to not run the ball or test defenses downfield.