AAF Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7
It’s hard to believe that after six full weeks of play we would see so many firsts for players and teams who have been active all season. But, that’s just what Week 6 gave us. We saw Garrett Gilbert commit his first INT of the season as the Arizona Hotshots upset the Apollos and gave them their first loss. Jhurell Pressley secured his first rushing touchdown of the season in that game. Birmingham Iron QB Keith Price made his first start of the season as Luis Perez was benched to start the game for the first time. That didn’t last long, however, as Price left with an injury and Perez went on to have his best game of the season in relief, throwing his first, second, and third passing TDs of the season. This will also be the first article of the season where we officially (and regrettably) talk about Johnny Manziel as a member of the AAF.
With all of this exciting action in Week 6, we do have quite a few new names to look over this week that are worth adding off the waiver wire in season-long leagues. These players are also worth monitoring going forward for DFS purposes. Fantasy stats and points for all AAF articles are sourced thanks to Fanball (DFS), No Extra Points, and The Football Database.
Luis Perez – Birmingham Iron
Unlikely heroes haven’t been all that rare in the AAF this season, and this week, Luis Perez filled that role. After gradually declining each and every week essentially since the beginning of the season, Perez found himself entering the game in Week 6 on the bench. Keith Price was named the starter, but after only a few pass attempts, Price was shaken up and Perez entered. Perez had his chance to regain starting duties, and he may have just done that.
Perez looked like the Week 1 version of himself, completing 27-of-49 attempts for 359 yards, three TDs and two INTs. His 7.3 YPA was the highest he’s recorded all season while his 55.1 completion percentage was his best since Week 1. Perez secured his first three TD passes of the season with a lot of help from Week 6 breakout WR, L’Damian Washington (more on him below). Perez basically hooked everyone up except for my boy, DeVozea Felton.
It is still TBD who will be the Iron’s starting QB going forward as the team now has a tough decision to make. Do they trust Perez has turned the corner here or do they stick with their original decision in returning to Price as the starter? Either way, if someone gave up on Perez and dropped him in your season-long leagues, he becomes a solid pickup there. In DFS, Perez was the highest-scoring fantasy performer in Week 6 with 34.2 points. He will be back on the streaming radar if he gets the nod.
Johnny Manziel/Brandon Silvers – Memphis Express
The Memphis Express quickly went from showing signs of hope for a potential mid-season turn around to completely tanking for the rest of the season. Zach Mettenberger was hurt immediately to open the game in Week 6 and has now been placed on IR. But, the biggest news coming out of Memphis this week, of course, is the controversial signing of Johnny Manziel to a standard AAF contract.
Manziel, as we all know by now, was a touted college prospect full of ego and bad decisions right out of the gate. He was selected by the Browns in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. This was still in the dark era of the Browns where the team had no chance of winning. Manziel flopped hard at the NFL level both on and off the field. He carries a 57% career completion percentage at the NFL level with an even split of seven TDs and seven INTs. He only managed to average 111.7 yards per game and has a QB record of 2-6 in his time with the Browns.
Off the field, Manziel has been an absolute train wreck dating back to his college days. During his time with the Browns, he was constantly being exposed for not taking football seriously. He was busted for partying in Vegas the day before a game and indicted by a grand jury for domestic violence. This all led to him being completely dropped by his marketing agency, personal agent, and losing his sponsorship with Nike. He was even called out by his own father for being a “druggie.”
Most recently, Manziel was kicked out of the CFL for still undisclosed reasons. Not just kicked off a team, kicked out of a league completely. In Canada, like, the friendliest country in the world. His play had not improved there as he managed only five TDs and seven INTs for the Montreal Alouettes. Now in the AAF, I am not excited to see Manziel potentially take the field. While this is a league of second chances, Manziel clearly still isn’t taking the game or his life seriously. He is riding the very last waves of fame wherever they will take him, which is now unfortunately in Memphis. All the headlines this week read, “Johnny Football is back!” but the truth of the matter is, he never left. He’s still been there kicking around the bottom of leagues doing the same things he has been doing his entire career. Wasting away his talent.
Hopefully, the Express will show a sliver of dignity by rolling with Brandon Silvers as the starter going forward. Silvers had a respectable showing last week in place of Mettenberger completing 23-of-37 pass attempts for 242 yards and one TD. Silvers was originally picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Eagles after the 2018 NFL Draft but never made the team. He chose to play in the AAF over the CFL due to the fact that he could be released by the AAF if an NFL team were interested in picking him up, as opposed to being locked into a contract with the CFL. Express WR Reece Horn finally had a true breakout with Silvers under center, catching eight-of-10 targets for 129 scoreless yards. This QB situation will, unfortunately, be one to monitor going forward for fantasy.
Brandon Radcliff – Atlanta Legends
The Atlanta Legends had a day to forget in Week 6 as they got absolutely manhandled by the Commanders in a 37-6 loss. After taking steps forward in recent weeks, the Legends took a huge step back last week. This is to be expected, however, when you’re trying to completely rebuild an offense mid-season. Part of that rebuild has been centered around running back Tarean Folston breaking out as a potential lead back, but Brandon Radcliff has quietly remained an active contributor and this backfield is probably still a little bit more of a fluid situation than people realize.
Radcliff led the Legends in rushing last week, though that was only good for six carries for 24 yards. What was more impressive from Radcliff last week was his heavy involvement in the passing game as well. He matched Folston with five receptions, though he saw one more target than Folston out of the backfield and outproduced him in receiving yards 27-8. This offense is still trying to figure things out as a whole, but right now Radcliff looks like he could potentially offer equal value to that of Folston going forward, but he’s doing so by flying under the radar a bit. Radcliff is a solid grab for your Flex spot in season-long leagues and continues to carry value in DFS right under that $5k mark on Fanball.
Terron Ward – Salt Lake Stallions
The Salt Lake backfield was completely dominated by Joel Bouagnon on the ground last week as he totaled a season-high 19 carries in the game. Behind him, however, we have a bit of a power struggle going on for change-of-pace duties that warrants some consideration in fantasy. Terrell Newby was the heir apparent once Branden Oliver was placed on IR, but with former Atlanta Falcon Terron Ward signing with the team, things have gotten a little more complicated.
Ward and Newby split backup duties evenly last week with three carries each, with Ward gaining 24 yards on his carries compared to only 14 yards for Newby. What is strongly working against Newby right now is that he has lost a fumble in back-to-back weeks which is the absolute best way to lose work in a backfield. I like Ward’s chances of supplanting Newby as the number two back behind Bouagnon, and I also think that Ward could even push to make this more of a committee backfield once again. Ward hasn’t broken out yet, but it’s a good time to grab him before he does in season-long leagues. In DFS, Ward is a risk/reward value play just a hair above the minimum at $3,100 this week against San Antonio.
L’Damian Washington – Birmingham Iron
The DFS stack that no one was on in Week 6 was pairing the Iron’s backup quarterback with the WR2 in a game with the lowest projected over/under total of the week. That’s definitely how it works out sometimes, but there were some signs that L’Damian Washington could see a bit of a breakout before this game.
Washington finished as the overall WR1 in Week 6 catching four-of-10 targets for 128 yards with two TDs and a converted two-pointer, finishing with 32.8 points in fantasy. That marks the second highest fantasy performance we have seen from a wideout this season next to Charles Johnson’s Week 2 breakout. Washington was seeing steady work as the WR2 on the Iron leading up to this game with consistent targets, but with Perez struggling mightily over the last few weeks, it was impossible for Washington to surpass 35 receiving yards in a game before Week 6. Expectations need to be tempered here a bit as this performance could wind up being a flash in the pan as we still try and get a comfortable grasp on the Birmingham QB situation. Washington has certainly deserved adds in season-long leagues, though, after that showing and will need to be taken more seriously as a big-game threat in DFS.
Daniel Williams – Memphis Express
Daniel Williams jumped into fantasy relevance last week as he came out of nowhere with his unassuming name to lead Memphis with 11 targets. He caught seven passes for 70 yards in the game while also earning two looks in the red zone. As mentioned above, this Memphis QB situation is a complete cluster right now with sideshow potential should Johnny Manziel take over as the starter.
Williams is a product out of Jackson State University. He finished out his career there breaking the school’s record for career receptions, a record that stood since back in 1999. Williams is a big-bodied receiver at 6’3″ and 200 lbs who was briefly tied to the Jets, Redskins, and Browns as a practice squad talent. If the Express can get this offense rolling again, Williams could carve out a solid role as the WR2 behind Horn in one of the thinnest WR corps in the league.
Richard Mullaney – Arizona Hotshots
After missing three weeks with an injured knee, Richard Mullaney was welcomed right back into the Hotshots offense with open arms. Mullaney led the team in receiving with six receptions for 73 yards in his first game back, trailing only Rashad Ross in targets. It was back to business as usual for Mullaney after he was acting as the clear-cut WR2 on the team before his injury.
The Hotshots looked refreshed in this game as they upset the Apollos, handing them their first loss of the season. Looking again like the team that sat at the top of power rankings to start the season, Mullaney and the Hotshots will look to keep things rolling this week against an SD Fleet defense that is suddenly giving up the most fantasy points to wide receivers. If Mullaney is somehow floating around on your season-long waiver wire, snatch him up. As for DFS, Mullaney saw a huge bump in price after sitting at the minimum $3k last week, he’s up to $4,400 this week. There is still value to be had there as an affordable Flex play who should carry a safe weekly floor.
Anthony Denham – Salt Lake Stallions
One of the top tight ends to start the season, Anthony Denham had vanished through the middle of the year. An injury may have played a factor in that, but he looked as good as new last week. Denham caught four-of-five targets for 42 yards and TD, finishing with a season-high 14.2 fantasy points. He still fell to the overall TE2 spot on the week as he was outdone by fellow tight end Nick Truesdell who has been on an absolute tear over the last two weeks.
Denham has looked like one of the most talented tight ends in the league when he’s had the opportunities this season. As a natural pass-catching option, he has reinserted himself as a fringe top-five play at a position that has been trending up over the last two weeks.
Ben Johnson – San Diego Fleet
Whether you consider him a full back or a tight end, Ben Johnson has been getting it done over the last two weeks. Johnson, who is officially designated as a tight end everywhere except for Pro Football Focus’ ranks, has seen a solid role in the red zone for San Diego as he has totaled two TDs on three red zone targets over the last two weeks. There hasn’t been much work between the 20s for Johnson, but with a steady role where it really counts, Johnson has found himself as a back-end starting option in season-long leagues.