With the emergence of another quarterback, the top of the AFL MVP Watch has gotten a lot tighter. In the end, there is only one new face on the list, giving the official top five list three quarterbacks and two wide receivers.
1 Randy Hippeard – Tampa Bay Storm (1st Last Week)
Even with a bye week, Hippeard leads the AFL in total touchdowns and passing yards. He has completed 71.2% of his passes – also best in the league – and is second in the AFL in rushing yards. His next touchdown pass would be the 20th on the season, and he is averaging nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns per game this season – both tops in the league.
Hippeard engineered a late-game comeback after falling down 33-14 early against the Cleveland Gladiators. With just three seconds left, Hippeard scored to give the Storm an one point victory.
Next up for the Storm is the Baltimore Brigade and a defense that allowed 69 points last week against the Philadelphia Soul.
2 Dan Raudabaugh – Philadelphia Soul (2nd Last Week)
In most cases, if the Philadelphia quarterback and reigning MVP had the week he did and wasn’t already number – he would have taken it. That’s how good a start Hippeard had.
In any case, Raudabaugh is hanging close to Hippeard, throwing five touchdowns in each game this season.
This most recent game saw him connect all five times to Ryan McDaniel, a lot of times in more than impressive fashion.
Raudabaugh has thrown 15 touchdown passes to just two interceptions while completing 65.3% of his passes. He hasn’t had to sling the ball as much as the other quarterbacks and Mykel Benson has vulture some potential touchdowns, but that doesn’t lessen the impact that Raudabaugh has on the Soul.
3 Arvell Nelson – Cleveland Gladiators (Not Ranked Last Week)
It has been a crazy season for Nelson. He was cut to start the season, came back to be the starting Jack linebacker and is now third on the MVP Watch as the Gladiators starting quarterback.
He accounted for eight touchdowns in his first start against the Storm, jumping out to a 33-14 lead before eventually losing on a last second touchdown.
Faced with a deficit of his own the following week, Nelson accounted for over 300 yards and five touchdowns against the Washington Valor, getting the Gladiators their first win of the season.
Nelson has the lowest INT% in the league, with a 1.3 mark. He has accounted for 15 touchdowns in barely over two games played and leads the AFL in rushing yards.
Nelson has certainly given a completely different look to the Cleveland offense and has a chance to make a statement against the defending champs Soul this week coming up.
4 Quentin Sims – Cleveland Gladiators (4th Last Week)
Continuing to be the focal point of the offense, Sims leads the AFL in receptions and receiving yards and total touchdowns. Sims had an ‘off day’ against the Valor, seeing him only pull in four catches for 51 yards, while scoring two touchdowns.
With Nelson at the helm, Sims has the potential to have a big season, and keep his name on this list.
5 Joe Hills – Tampa Bay Storm (3rd Last Week)
Hills dropped two spots, which in all actuality was due to the fact he didn’t play last week. A bye week is the only way you can keep him from scoring, as in his most recent game, Hills became just the 15th player in AFL history to score 200 touchdowns.
He has also caught a touchdown pass in 70 straight games. The 2016 Offensive Player of the Year gets the Brigade secondary this week, and will look to continue his offensive tear. Chances are he will be making a case about jumping back up in the MVP Watch.
Honorable Mention – Dwayne Hollis – DB Philadelphia Soul
To come up with a win in the AFL, you need a handful of stops from your defense. For the Soul’s defense, most of those plays have come from Hollis.
The league leader in turnovers – three interceptions and one fumble recovery – Hollis has been a huge playmaker for the Soul. He returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown in their game against the Brigade.
It’s hard to truly get your name in the top five if you play the defensive side of the ball, but Hollis’ play this season has been worthwhile to mention.