Power Rankings: Week 1

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2017 Week 1 Power Rankings

By Adam Ruffner

Rankings Archive

Rank Team Record Trend Comment

1

1-0 Dallas extended its winning streak to 20 games with their win on Saturday, but they showed signs of the proverbial championship hangover. The 21 goals they scored was a franchise low, and the offense struggled at times to establish a rhythm despite solid performances from Jimmy Mickle (5 assists, 1 goal), Dylan Freechild (5 assists, 4 goals), and Ben Lohre (2 assists, 4 goals). The role players—as important and productive as they were for this Roughnecks squad during the team’s championship run last season—were silent for much of the season opener, which might spell trouble in future matchups.

2

1-0 Although they had a tough time slowing down and putting away the Spiders’ offensive attack, the FlameThrowers were the most impressive team top-to-bottom in Week 1. Newcomers Mac Taylor and Grant Lindsley (unsurprisingly) showed why they can be immediate stars in this lineup, while returners Patrick Baylis and Joel Schlachet played their usual brand of hyper-efficient, mistake free ultimate by combining for nine goals and six assists on 72 completions with just a single turnover between them. And Cassidy Rasmussen had the kind of swagger filled, sky-your-whole-family performance that leaves little doubt as to why he’s one of the best players in the world.

3

1-0 Madison has put Indianapolis in a kind of ultimate purgatory in the Midwest, upping their all-time record against the AlleyCats to 13-0 after Sunday’s 24-19 win. But now the Radicals don’t play again until April 29 when they visit the revamped Wind Chill in Minnesota, so their challenge will be to keep sharp as they face a motivated rival. It’s important to note: The last time these two teams played in a televised game (April 2014), the Wind Chill won 23-20 while forcing Madison into an uncharacteristic 17 throwaways.

4

1-0 Well the Flyers quickly dispelled any notion that their offense would struggle to integrate its new pieces, jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the first quarter before winning by eight. Raleigh completed 95 percent of their 301 throws while scoring on 76 percent of their offensive drives. Eight different Flyers scored two or more goals, and the lineup of Helton-Nethercutt-Saul-Snoke-Bode-Dieter-Fairfax showed a scary amount of balance, possessing both aggressive risk takers and methodical producers. It was an important rivalry matchup for the team, but it felt like the Flyers never needed their top gear for an impressive showing against a solid Atlanta team.

5

0-0 This weekend’s road trip to New York and DC on back-to-back days presents the greatest regular season challenge for this Rush team in franchise history, and will likely set the path for the East Division playoff race going forward. It’s hard to imagine Toronto—who went 6-1 last season against their two rivals—dropping both games, but it is a distinct possibility. Adrian Yearwood, Isaiah Masek-Kelly, and Cam Harris were instrumental to their successes in 2016, combining for 46 assists and 47 goals in those games last season. If they can replicate similar production this weekend, expect the Rush to keep their position atop the division.

6

0-0 For the fifth straight year, the Breeze will host their home opener against the Rush. DC has gone 0-4 in openers against Toronto while being outscored 111-73, but two of those losses were by a single goal, including last year’s double overtime classic. The now-departed Tom Doi (LA) and Jonathan Helton (RAL) were two of the Breeze’s most productive players during last year’s season series with the Rush, so it will be important for someone else to step up. Tyler Monroe and Rowan McDonnell are good candidates for big days.

7

0-0 The Empire have a lot to prove on the field on Saturday, but they have the kind of team mentality that likes large challenges. Similar to the Madison-Indy rivalry, New York has yet to take a game from Toronto in five seasons of play, and has continually been flummoxed late in games against their Canadian rivals. But all of that frustration for New York could be vindicated by giving Toronto their first ever losing record

8

1-0 The first AUDL team to open a season by scoring 40 goals, the Cannons were as impressive in their 2017 debut as advertised. Jakeem Polk had a Klay Thompson-like scoring efficiency night, reeling in six goals on just nine catches, while looking nearly unstoppable. Jeremy Langdon returned to put up a ridiculous six assists and 10 goals, nearly surpassing his entire season scoring totals from last season in Dallas in a single game. And the handling duo of Bobby Ley and Cole Sullivan displayed almost limitless range with their throws, but most impressively, committed just two throwaways combined and showed a lot of disc discipline.

9

0-0 Minnesota is still 15 days out from their 2017 season opener, but that is good news for the Wind Chill. With all their new pieces still being integrated into lineups, and a reinvigorated workout ethic, this Minnesota team can use the extra time to develop. But on a pure talent alone, this Wind Chill team is set to take the field with its most dangerous lineup in franchise history.

10

0-0 Another team two weeks out from its opener, the Thunderbirds are set to take on the Wildfire to begin 2017, a team Pittsburgh has won four of their five all-time matchups against. Related and somewhat remarkable stat: Tyler Degirolamo has played in none of those games.

11

1-0 +1 After Saturday’s 29-goal statement game against their rivals, it’s time for me to put away my skepticism about this Cascades’ ceiling. With Mario O’Brien and Adam Simon leading the handling duties from the backfield, the Seattle offense has one of the most reliable initiation sequences on offense in the league. Couple that with the blitzing speed and energy of cutters Mark Burton and Khalif El-Salaam (9 assists, 10 goals combined), and the Cascades have an enthusiastic and potent attack.

12

1-0 +2 As far as grudge matches go, the tilt between the Growlers and Aviators had a lot of spicy elements to it, making it an all-the-sweeter road victory for Los Angeles after San Diego poached so many players during free agency. Mark Elbogen led all Week 1 players with 11 goals, and got to wherever he wanted on the field whenever he wanted to be there. The surprise came from Los Angeles’ defensive effort. Led by the freshly recruited Tom Doi, who were pesky all game and got a handful of clutch break conversions to help maintain the Aviators’ lead throughout the second half.

13

0-1 Austin once again had a performance that would likely have led to a win against any other team, but alas, they dropped their sixth straight against Dallas. The Sol were down just two at halftime, but allowed the Roughnecks to go on a 6-1 run to open the third quarter. Drops were a big issue, and Austin converted just 35 percent of their total possessions into scores. Still, they looked scrappy against the reigning champs. The problem now comes with their schedule: Austin plays Dallas (once), Jacksonville (once), and Raleigh (twice) in each of their next four games, and could start their second straight season 0-5.

14

0-1 -3 Without the presence of last season’s MVP Dylan Tunnell, the Hustle offense looked a bit lost against the Flyers athleticism and pressure, completing just 92 percent of their passes and converting a lowly 55 percent of their offensive drives. Atlanta made some big individual plays, but more often than not looked sapped of their normal level of team energy. The Hustle have Week 2 off to figure things out before they travel to Nashville in Week 3.

15

0-1 Up until halftime, the Riptide were hanging tough with the Cascades and were only down three goals. The immortal Brendan Wong (5 goals) was roofing defenders half his age in the endzone, and Rumi Tejpar seemed to add a much needed dimension to Vancouver’s counter attacking off opponents’ turnovers. Then, as is their team destiny, the wheels came off defensively, and the Riptide ended up losing by 11. Vancouver has now lost four straight going back to the end of 2016.

16

0-1 The Growlers could not keep Elbogen out of the endzone last Saturday, but their bigger problem was disrupting LA’s handler sets. Despite San Diego adding top flight defenders during the offseason, they looked helpless trying to slow down the Aviators’ offensive rhythm; the Growlers generated a Week 1 low of just seven turnovers. It wasn’t a must-win for San Diego and their playoff hopes, but it was a brutal way to open the season against a rival after all of the expectations going in.

17

0-1 Snakebitten, star crossed, or something, these AlleyCats just cannot get over the hump against the Radicals. The hard part in these losses is the awareness internally that it isn’t so much Madison winning as it is Indy losing. The AlleyCats had no fewer than three goals dropped in the endzone on Sunday to add to a handful of careless throwaways in the second half that spelled their demise.

18

0-0 The Outlaws have the latest date for their season opener of any team in the league, not suiting up until April 29 against the Breeze in DC. Until then, this team remains a relative unknown in the new landscape of the East.

19

0-0 Today news broke that the Royal’s Head Coach Guylaine Girard would be sidelined indefinitely, and that assistant Caroline Cadotte will be taking over her duties in the interim. It’s a tough loss for a Montreal team with such a new roster heading into 2017, and here’s to Girard’s speedy recovery.

20

0-1 +2 Look, I had an inkling San Jose was going to surpass expectations, but I had no idea how crisp they would look in their debut. The handling trio of Chuck Cao, Justin Norden, and Steven Chang might be the most well balanced in the league, and they complement each other so well and have so much patience with the disc it’s almost impossible to throw them off their progressions. Evan Boucher and Andrew Berry were pitch-perfect Sean Ham impersonators, combining for nine goals. But San Jose looked its most dangerous when Jackson Stearns was feeling it, as he showed signs of being able to take over the game all on his own.

20

0 -1 The biggest unknown of the 2017 season is how Philadelphia will look with an overhauled lineup and if they can make some noise and challenge for a playoff spot in the East. Nicky Spiva certainly has the talent and history of leading unsuspecting teams to new heights, but the Phoenix’s successes will likely be determined by how the back end of their roster. How will they fare in their matchups in games against Montreal and Ottawa will be a good indicator of this team’s potential in 2017.

21

0-0 -1 For Chicago to avoid its first back-to-back losing seasons in franchise history, they will need one of their role players to transform into a star in 2017. Michael Pardo surprised a lot of opponents last season, as his skinny frame undersells his ability to attack the disc and leave defenders in his wake. But maybe the most important player on this roster is Von Alanguilan, who has the gamechanging speed to be a disruptive force and lead the Wildfire back to their former glory.

23

0-0 Detroit opens its season on the road against Indy tomorrow night. They’ll be led again by the always underrated Eric Hubbard, who is the only player in the league to have 40 goals and 20 blocks in each of the last two seasons. Austin Engel will bring a much needed throwing dimension to the offense, but Detroit is in for a tough game as the AlleyCats always play especially well following a loss.

24

0-0 A huge congratulations to Jesse Shofner for becoming the first woman to score a goal in the league. And despite the final score, the NightWatch looked frisky for large portions of their game against the Cannons. They were unafraid to challenge Jacksonville with deep hucks, and were successful on a number of connections. Handlers Tyler Conger and Blake Waldron are really settling into a rhythm. But defensively, the NightWatch are in for a long year.