Memphis Express (1-4) at Salt Lake Stallions (1-4)
Where to Watch: B/R Live
Two teams desperate for a victory and attempting to double their win total from the 1st half of the season. Both the Express and Stallions are coming off tough games in which they each lost by a last-second field goal. Now, a battle for last place in the AAF standing may now sound very entertaining but these two teams will not only put up points, but they are the worst in the league in terms of points allowed, so it’s safe to say this game should be a high scoring affair and gamblers should take the over on the 39.5 point over/under. The question will be whether a run-heavy Mike Singletary approach will continue to hinder QB Zach Mettenberger, who’s looked good as the starter but has been limited in his attempts due to Memphis’s offensive game plan. As for Salt Lake, the team has continuously shot themselves in the foot time after time this season. Not only have they been in every game, but they could have easily won a number of their matchups if not for mental errors and mismanagement.
Players to watch
Both sides will be looking to get their run game going this Saturday. Memphis back Zac Stacy totaled 86 yards from scrimmage and had 2 touchdowns against the Legends last week, but will have his hands full against the number one ranked rushing defense. Stallions running back Joel Bouagnon also had a two-TD performance last weekend, putting him behind only Trent Richardson with 5 rushing touchdowns on the year. Ultimately this will come down to the quarterback play; if Salt Lake QB Josh Woodrum can cut down on the 3 interceptions he threw last week and continue to drive the ball downfield with play action, his team will have a shot at win number two. Zach Mettenberger will be looking for wideouts Alton "Pig" Howard and Reece Horn to show up big this week against a susceptible Stallions secondary.
Keys to the game
Get “The Zac(h)s” going early and sustain drives (Stacy & Mettenberger)
Pressure Josh Woodrum and limit throws from a clean pocket
Prevent the big plays downfield
Salt Lake Stallions
Eliminate the Express’s offensive centerpiece in Zac Stacy.
Establish the run in order to set up play action
Control the clock and time of possession
Top 5 Fantasy Players
Zac Stacy, RB (MEM)
Joel Bouagnon, RB (SL)
Josh Woodrum, QB (SL)
De'Mornay Pierson-El, WR (SL)
Zach Mettenberger, QB (MEM)
The Express own the league’s 8th ranked offense, averaging 239 yards and 16.2 points per game. The Stallions aren’t much better, meanwhile, but happen to be coming off a game in which their QB threw for 380 yards, rebounding from 5 turnovers in a spoiled comeback attempt. Salt Lake has beaten themselves all season long, while Memphis’s last three losses have come from a combined nine points. This game could go any way, but if the Stallions rush defense holds strong and shuts down Zac Stacy, they win. If Stacy even has the slightest bit of success and can find the endzone, I lean towards the Express. Either way, it should be a fun one to watch!
Final Score: Stallions 29, Express 23
Written by: Jack Bourgeois
Arizona Hotshots (2-3) at Orlando Apollos (5-0)
Where to Watch: NFL Network
The Hotshots come limping into Spectrum Stadium after a brutal loss to the San Antonio Commanders, and they will look to get their playoff aspiration back in order in a somewhat unsettled Western Conference. They will have a tall task at hand, coming in to face the AAF juggernaut known as the Apollos. The Hotshots are looking to get their offense back on track after they turned the ball over 5 times last week, and if they get close to that number this week, this Orlando team will simply blow them out of the water. The Apollos are looking to continually ride their wave of momentum into a sixth straight victory after manhandling the Birmingham Iron last week. They are stacking up these wins behind the best offense, an aggressive defense, and a consistent kicking threat.
Players to watch
The Apollos look to keep up their winning ways by following their MVP candidate in Garrett Gilbert. He will look to shred the Hotshots secondary with his stud #1 WR, Charles Johnson, but don’t discount the impact that Jalin Marshall may have on this game due to all the attention Johnson will receive. De’Veon Smith should see a steady diet in the run game after an impressive 100+yd rushing performance, and look for D’Ernest Johnson to be sprinkled in on passing downs. The Apollos defense has standout performers at all three levels, but it is a player that came back from injury last week in Jerel Worthy that will look to continue on his impressive debut. The Hotshots will look to their QB, John Wolford to tighten things up after tossing 3 INT’s last week in their loss. He will look to get the ball into Rashad Ross’s hands early and often and see what he can get from his trio of talented RBs as well. On defense, Arizona has quality LBs and they should be able to limit the running game, but the question will be can the secondary put up a strong performance against Garrett Gilbert?
Keys to the game
Don’t turn the ball over!
Rashad Ross needs to be fed!
Which CB is going to step up to the task of covering Charles Johnson?
Garrett Gilbert do your thing!
Feed the two-headed monster of De’Veon Smith and D’Ernest Johnson
Can the secondary limit Rashad Ross’ production?
Top 5 Fantasy Players
Garrett Gilbert, QB (ORL)
Rashad Ross, WR (ARI)
Charles Johnson, WR (ORL)
De’Veon Smith, RB (ORL)
John Wolford, QB (ARI)
I see this game as being a quality matchup and don’t see John Wolford continuing his turnover ways, but I do believe his production will be depressed due to the terrific pass rush the Apollos will bring. Orlando’s offense, in my opinion, is a distinct advantage over the Arizona defense, and we will see them put up some big gains and scores en route to another victory.
Final Score: Orlando Apollos 36, Arizona Hotshots 24
Written by: Roy Countryman