June 23, 2022
By Daniel Cohen
Travis Dunn, San Diego Growlers
With what could be a season-defining double header road trip on the docket for Week 9, the San Diego Growlers are going to have to lean on their franchise player to lead them to victory. A week after connecting for the game-winning goal in LA, Travis Dunn will be without his hybrid counterpart in Jonathan “Goose” Helton this weekend in two pivotal matchups with Salt Lake and Colorado. The Growlers offense was humming last week, though Helton’s success on deep throws (6-for-6 on hucks) was a big reason why; without Helton, Dunn may be asked to take on more of a throwing role as San Diego’s primary option for continuation hucks. Jesse Cohen is also out this weekend, so Dunn may be in for an encore performance of his Week 1 game vs. Salt Lake—he totaled a season-high 492 yards with seven scores—as he looks to carry the Growlers O-line. How San Diego reshapes their offense around Dunn, and whether he can stay in rhythm, are both key storylines surrounding the seventh-year pro.
Joel Clutton, Salt Lake Shred
Absent for their opening weekend matchup, Salt Lake Shred defender Joel Clutton will play his first career game against the San Diego Growlers tomorrow night. The Shred defense made the Growlers work in their first meeting, as they totaled 10 blocks as a team and held San Diego to a 58 percent O-line conversion rate. But the Growlers are coming off their most efficient offensive game of the season—they converted 18-of-24 (75 percent) O-line possessions against LA—and it’ll be up to shutdown defenders like Clutton to put pressure on a talented core of Growlers cutters. There’s no traditional ‘big’ cutter on the Growlers O-line, which makes the Shred’s choice of where to play their 6’5” playmaker one to watch; he could match up on deep threat Sean McDougall, or try forcing Travis Dunn back towards the disc. Clutton has just one block in his last two games after totaling eight in his first three. With the Shred missing a pair of D-line starters in Garrett Martin and Ben Green, Clutton will have to be the tone-setter for the Shred defense.
Cole Davis-Brand, Boston Glory
Like their first Canada road trip, the Boston Glory offense is set to lean largely on second-year handler Cole Davis-Brand to move the disc against a beatable Rush defense this week. The huck-heavy style of ultimate seen in a lot of Canada games fits with Boston’s preferred method of play; Davis-Brand attempted nine hucks in the two games at Ottawa and Montreal the first time they traveled north of the border. Davis-Brand currently leads the team in yards per game with 482, but also throwaways per game with 3.0—he’s adapted a pure gunslinger mentality in his second season, which has resulted in a lot of high risk high reward shots. Boston is missing four O-line starters this week, so Davis-Brand will be in for a big workload in what will likely be a high-scoring shootout with Toronto; the Rush allow the fourth-most huck completions per game (9.7) and have allowed 25-plus goals in every home game they’ve played. How effectively Davis-Brand can connect on deep shots will be directly tied to Boston’s ability to take home the W.
Kai DeLorenzo, Madison Radicals
Madison Radicals rookie Kai DeLorenzo returns to the lineup this week after missing the last three games, and he’ll look to carry the momentum from his last game played about a month ago. Against Minnesota in Week 5, DeLorenzo looked like Madison’s best offensive player, accumulating 227 throwing yards, 239 receiving yards, and five scores in 18 points played. The offense has lacked a consistent vertical dimension since losing Kai Marcus to injury, and DeLorenzo has throws to help fill it as a catch-and-shoot initiator. He’s 5-for-5 on hucks in three games this season, and he ranks second on the team among O-line-dominant players in individual offensive efficiency; the Radicals score on 56.5 percent of possessions when he’s on the field, up two percentage points from their team O-line conversion rate. Facing the Wind Chill defense on the road is a tough draw, but DeLorenzo could provide a much-needed spark to the middling Radicals offense.
Quinn Snider, Minnesota Wind Chill
In his nine career games, Minnesota Wind Chill cutter Quinn Snider has never faced the Madison Radicals. That’ll change this week, as the Radicals head to Minnesota this Saturday looking for some momentum after dropping each of their last two games by a single goal. Snider has been a goal-scoring machine throughout his career; he’s averaged 5.3 per game in his two seasons and leads the team this year with 19 in four games, nine more than the next closest player. His ability to stretch the field with his legs has brought a needed vertical dimension to the offense, especially after Nick Vogt was lost to injury earlier this season, and he’s made countless plays in the air skying over defenders. The Radicals are not a team that allows many scores, and they’ve allowed just one player to reach the five-goal mark in a game this season. Snider will push to be the second, as Minnesota looks to stay hot and win their fifth consecutive game.
Jeff Weis, Chicago Union
Jeff Weis is coming off his most productive offensive game of the season for the Chicago Union, and should be able to build on it this week in Indy. In their comeback win against Austin, Weis finished with seven scores and 558 total yards on 34 touches, all season highs. At 6’4” he’s a force downfield, showing a consistent ability to shield off defenders on hucks and high-point discs in the air. His throwing ability also looks largely improved from years past, as he’s gone 3-for-3 on hucks the past two games with over 300 combined throwing yards. Paul Arters continues to miss time with injury, and the Union will also be without cutter Eli Artemakis this weekend against the AlleyCats, so Weis may find himself in more of a primary goal-scoring role to fill the vacated production. He could have a field day in the offense-friendly indoor environment of Grand Park.
Quinn Finer, Colorado Summit
While Jonathan Nethercutt deservedly gets a ton of credit for Colorado’s offensive success, there’s a case to be made for rookie Quinn Finer as the team’s offensive MVP through their first seven games. Finer leads the team in scores with 42—18 assists and 24 goals—and is the only player on the team with over 1,000 throwing and receiving yards. He’s been their most versatile offensive chess piece, spending the occasional possession complementing Nutt in the backfield while possessing the speed and field sense to take the top off opposing defenses. There have been 17 instances of the Growlers allowing a player to top 400 yards in their six games played this season, and this week they’ll be without a couple notable defenders in Steven Milardovich and Trevor Purdy, both adept at helping out in the deep space. Finer and the Summit deep game could find plenty of success in San Diego’s second game of the weekend.
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