The inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football is three weeks in and already some players are statistically starting to distance themselves from their competitors. Below we'll cover the AAF top fives in passing touchdowns, rushing yards, tackles and more.
1. John Wolford, Arizona Hotshots, 7
2. Garrett Gilbert, Orlando Apollos, 5
3. Logan Woodside, San Antonio Commanders, 2
3. Matt Simms, Atlanta Legends, 2
3. Philip Nelson, San Diego Fleet, 2
3. Zach Mettenberger, Memphis Express, 2
3. Josh Woodrum, Salt Lake Stallions, 2
Wolford and Gilbert are going to the air for scores early and often this season, and it's paying off for their teams. Both the Hotshots and Apollos are tied for the lead in their respective conferences. However, the fact they hold five- and three-touchdown leads in this category over the group of players tied with two passing TDs this season doesn't mean teams have to rely on the arms of their quarterbacks to have success.
1. Gilbert, 827
2. Woodside, 629
3. Simms, 614
4. Wolford, 596
5. Luis Perez, Birmingham Iron, 596
There's Gilbert again. Wolford's a little further down. And look, the top four players in passing yards are the same as the top four in passing touchdowns, just in different positions. That means these players' touchdown numbers aren't a misrepresentation of the play calls. Their stats come from a commitment from coaching staffs to throw the ball. All that needs to happen for the Commanders and Hotshots is for Woodside (five interceptions) and Simms (six interceptions) to take better care of the ball.
1. Trent Richardson, Birmingham Iron, 6
2. Ja'Quan Gardner, San Diego Fleet, 3
3. Joel Bouagnon, Salt Lake Stallions, 2
3. Kenneth Farrow, II, San Antonio Commanders, 2
3. De'Veon Smith, Orlando Apollos, 2
Richardson has proven to be a reliable force on the ground this season in the moments it counts the most. He might not have the rushing yards to support the AAF-leading 59 carries he has so far, but his touchdown total shows eventually he does get into the end zone. Gardner has a shot at being the best running back in this league if he can continue to find the end zone.
1. Gardner, 281
2. Zac Stacy, Memphis Express, 188
3. D'Ernest Johnson, Orlando Apollos, 171
4. Jhurell Pressley, Arizona Hotshots, 155
5. Bouagnon, 154
Just like with passing yards, the fact a team has someone on this list doesn't mean it's found success. League-leader Gardner and the Fleet might be 2-1 but Stacy and the Express are 0-3. What this does mean is a number of teams have viable options at running back who can shoulder the load if called upon. And if you're the Fleet, Express or Apollos, you're looking at backs in the top three in this category with averages of at least 4.2 yards per carry.
1. Rashad Ross, Arizona Hotshots, 4
2. Jalin Marshall, Orlando Apollos, 2
3. Nelson Spruce, San Diego Fleet, 2
4. 15 players tied, 1
If you throw the ball to Ross, success will follow. The man leads the league in receptions and off that he leads the league in touchdowns. No wonder Wolford leads the AAF in passing touchdowns and the Hotshots are 2-1; this guy is slicing up secondaries. Watch out for the Apollos' duo of Marshall and Charles Johnson, though. It's tough enough to defend one top-flight receiver let alone two. Their numbers will rise.
1. Charles Johnson, Orlando Apollos, 305
2. Ross, 221
3. Quinton Patton, Birmingham Iron, 209
4. Mekale McKay, San Antonio Commanders, 207
5. Marshall, 150
This is more or less a reflection of the touchdowns list, apart from Patton who has yet to score this way this season. These players are being targeted more than most players in the league and the stats reflect that. Their quarterbacks trust them to make plays and they've made them. And unless the percentage of targets they receive drops they'll all stay among the AAF leaders in this category.
1. Tyson Graham, Jr., Atlanta Legends, 20
2. DeMarquis Gates, Memphis Express, 18
3. Beniquez Brown, Birmingham Iron, 17
4. Steven Johnson, Arizona Hotshots, 14
5. Ed Reynolds, Jr., Atlanta Legends, 13
5. Cody Brown, Salt Lake Stallions, 13
5. Will Davis, Salk Lake Stallions, 13
Graham, Gates and Brown may have a slight margin of separation from the pack now but at this point, with how many players are hovering between 11 and 14 tackles, it'd be premature to say they'll be the biggest playmakers by season's end. However, it's clear the Legends, Express and Iron are all lucky to have players of their caliber lining up on defense. Each one has a fumble recovery, too.
1. Terence Garvin, Orlando Apollos, 3
2. Ryan Moeller, San Diego Fleet, 2
3. De'Vante Bausby, San Antonio Commanders, 2
4. Jamar Summers, Birmingham Iron, 2
5. Keith Reaser, Orlando Apollos, 2
5. Carlos Merritt, Atlanta Legends, 2
You just shouldn't throw the ball Garvin's way. Don't do it. The Apollos linebacker is not only one of the host of players with double-digit, solo tackles but he leads the league in interceptions. Among those with two interceptions or more, only Moeller has at least 10 solo tackles, too. Players like this are invaluable to a defense. If you can rely on your linebackers in coverage your playbook can allow for more opportunities to mess with quarterbacks.
1. Karter Schult, Salt Lake Stallions, 4
2. Shaan Washington, San Antonio Commanders, 3
3. Shakir Soto, San Diego Fleet, 2.5
4. Winston Craig, San Antonio Commanders, 2.5
5. Eight players tied, 2
Schult can wreak havoc on an opposing offensive line for the Stallions. The team might not be having the overall success it wants three weeks in, but at least it has a piece to the puzzle on the defensive line who also has double-digit solo tackles. And look at the Commanders with two players with 2.5 sacks or more. The bulk of those came in Week 1 against the Fleet, but as the whole team rebounds from a two-game losing streak you know opposing quarterbacks can't take Washington or Craig lightly.