Power Rankings: Week 13

July 26, 2023
By Adam Ruffner

24. Detroit Mechanix (-)
Record: 0-12
Most recent result: Loss, 22-16 at Minnesota
Upcoming matchup: N/A

Make no mistake: This is the best a Mechanix team has looked in several years. When the offense is in rhythm with Jake Kenniv and Joseph Cubitt throwing heaters downfield to Carson Chamberlain running vertical routes, Detroit looks downright dangerous for stretches; it took until the fourth quarter for Madison to dispatch the Mechanix, and Minnesota could not slow down Detroit’s deep attack at the beginning of Sunday’s match. But as aesthetically pleasing as their attack looked, the turnovers never really dissipated as 48 total turnovers in Week 13 sealed their 73rd and 74th straight losses.

23. Montreal Royal (-2)
Record: 0-12
Most recent result: Loss, 28-19 at New York
Upcoming matchup: N/A

As stated last week: Montreal needed at least 31 goals in Week 13 to tie the 2019 Detroit Mechanix for the lowest scoring season in history, and avoid sole possession of the title. Short of “divine intervention” or “total chaos”, it’s hard to describe how the Royal came up with exactly 31 goals; weather shortened Friday’s game in Boston to a single half, robbing the Royal of 24 minutes of game clock; Montreal played their best game of the season against the league’s top defense in New York, scoring 16 goals in the first three quarters before the Empire D-line put the Royal to sleep with a 9-3 run in the fourth quarter. Montreal became the first non-Detroit winless team since Nashville in 2017.

22. Portland Nitro (-)
Record: 1-11
Most recent result: Loss, 25-15 at Seattle
Upcoming matchup: N/A

Only the Royal had a lower offensive efficiency rate than the Nitro in 2023 as Portland finished their season just 12-of-43 (28 percent) on O-line possessions against Seattle; 43 offensive possessions is an absolutely preposterous number, only exceeded by their league-high 44 against Oakland just over two weeks ago. Conversely, the Nitro D-line finished 2023 by playing some of their best coverage, and had their most break scores over a two-game span all season.

21. Houston Havoc (-)
Record: 2-10
Most recent result: Loss, 18-15 vs Dallas
Upcoming matchup: N/A

Even with losses in each of their final five games—including two to Dallas—the Havoc avoided finishing in the cellar of the South Division in their first season. That’s quite the accomplishment for a franchise that didn’t get the green light until late last December. And now with a full offseason to develop and improve, Houston could make great strides before returning to the field in 2024. The Havoc are one of just six teams this season to have two teammates (Jimmy Zuraw and Mark Baldauf) with at least 10 assists, 10 goals, and 10 blocks.

20. Dallas Legion (-)
Record: 2-10
Most recent result: Loss, 27-21 at Carolina
Upcoming matchup: N/A

By the end of their 2023 the Legion offense clearly has some power behind the twin engines of Jason Hustad’s throws and Alec Wilson Holliday’s gamebreaking speed in the open field. Hustad’s 488 throwing yards per game average sets a new league record for a single season; he is also just the third player to average five or more throwaways per game since 2018. But with just three wins in the past two years, Dallas still has a long way to go to get back to the playoffs.

19. San Diego Growlers (-)
Record: 3-9
Most recent result: Win, 20-19 vs Oakland
Upcoming matchup: N/A

It’s cosmically fitting that the Growlers—the not-so-distant divisional champs who just happened to miss their first playoffs since 2017—would be the team to upend the Spiders’ season. Especially so that LA was the team to emerge from Oakland’s wreckage to claim the final spot in the West. As Growlers legend Steven Milardovich put it “Even though in AUDL the Aviators are our rivals, there is a lot of pride in the SoCal ultimate community.” For a team whose season was preceded by the worst kind of tragedy, it was something special to see the Growlers lined up, beaming with smiles and joined by Goose Helton, for their final image of 2023.

18. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (-2)
Record: 5-7
Most recent result: Loss, 21-20 vs Indianapolis
Upcoming matchup: N/A

The fates sure are a funny bunch. The Thunderbirds began their season seemingly with the golden touch as Max Sheppard towered over the pack for a one-goal, buzzer-beating Pittsburgh win over their Madison rivals in Week 1. Pittsburgh then went 0-4 in their remaining games decided by two goals or fewer this season, including their second straight narrow loss to Indy in Week 13. Sheppard ends the season as the league leader in scores (91), and as the only player in the 40/40 Club#. Teammate Carl Johnson had the second most goals in the league (45), including 26 in just his last five starts.

# 40 assists, 40 goals

17. Madison Radicals (+1)
Record: 4-8
Most recent result: Win, 18-15 vs Detroit
Upcoming matchup: N/A

The wins may have come a few weeks too late for their playoff hopes this season, but the Radicals returned heaps of their defensive mojo with three consecutive wins and four straight games with 10 or more blocks. Kai DeLorenzo began the season as a two-way weapon, but has really settled into his role as a pulling specialist and coverage defender for the defense over his last several starts. DeLorenzo’s edge-heavy pulls have pinned opposing offenses deep in their own territory, allowing Madison’s defense to leverage early possession throws with intense pressure. The results have been clear, as the Radicals allowed just over 15 goals per game in their last four outings of the season.

16. Seattle Cascades (+1)
Record: 4-8
Most recent result: Win, 25-15 vs Portland
Upcoming matchup: N/A

There were more than a few notable homecomings this season, including his teammate and prodigal son of Seattle ultimate Khalif El-Salaam returning to the Cascades for 2023. But none of them had quite the statistical impact as Garrett Martin, who concluded the regular season ranked second in assists (57), second in scores (85), third in total yards (6586), and second in points played (293) in the AUDL; Martin is the only player this season to reach the 3,000 passing yard and 3,000 receiving yard threshold so far, and he’s the first player in league history to accomplish the feat during the regular season. Seattle closes their calendar with three wins in their final four, and a lot of downhill momentum heading into 2024.

15. Toronto Rush (-1)
Record: 5-7
Most recent result: Loss, 25-22 at Philadelphia
Upcoming matchup: N/A

The Rush went down swinging—Toronto completed at least 67 percent of their hucks in each of their last seven games—but came up short of the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history. The offense averaged the fifth most holds per game in the AUDL, but despite improvements, the defense once again finished in the bottom third in break scores per game; losing Phil Turner for the back half of the season to injury was a massive blow for a team already thin on that side of the disc. The Rush were in the playoff hunt through the final weekend of the regular season, which is weeks further on than when they were eliminated in 2022. But with the rest of the division seemingly improving alongside them, this young Rush team will have to undergo further evolutions.

14. Chicago Union (+1)
Record: 6-6 *
Most recent result: Loss, 22-17 vs Madison
Upcoming matchup: First round Central Division playoffs, July 29 at Indianapolis

With three losses in their last four games—including 59 turnovers in their last two outings—and a near total shakeup of their offensive rotation since the midseason, last year’s runner-up team enters the playoffs with more questions than any other squad in the postseason field. In five starts since being shifted to offense in late June, Benjamin Preiss is averaging neary five scores and over 400 total yards per game for the Union. Andrew Sjogren has multiple goals in all 11 of his appearances this season. But aside from them, it’s hard to say at this point in the season who will emerge as go-to options for Chicago.

13. Philadelphia Phoenix (-)
Record: 6-6
Most recent result: Win, 25-22 vs Toronto
Upcoming matchup: N/A

A fitting end for this year’s Phoenix as they score 25 goals and complete 12 hucks at home behind Sean Mott’s best passing performance of his illustrious career. The Philly franchise cornerstone has now moved up to seventh all-time in assists (331) and 12th in completions (2797), and sits just four starts shy of 100 career games played. Mott set career highs this season in completions (505), completion rate (96 percent), and throwing yards (3,596), and still won’t turn 30 until December. The Phoenix may have expected to make the playoffs this season, but as Mott told Evan Lepler in this week’s Tuesday Toss, this team still has its best ultimate ahead of them.

12. Oakland Spiders (-5)
Record: 7-5 
Most recent result: Loss, 20-19 at San Diego
Upcoming matchup: N/A

Woof. Spiders may be tough to kill, but both SoCal squads brought a blowtorch to Week 13 and roasted this young team’s playoff hopes right in front of their eyes. Ironically enough, it was the fewest turnovers over a two game stretch for Oakland all season, and both O-line and D-line units were efficient in converting scores. And unlike their nailbiter wins at home, the Spiders defense did not have the playmaking down the stretch to thwart the top stars on LA and San Diego, with both home teams getting stat-stuffed performances from their captains. It’d be impossible to label this 2023 season as anything but a resounding success for such a young team. And yet going from potentially hosting a playoff game to out of the postseason entirely in 24 hours—giving up the game winner in both games with two seconds remaining in regulation—is about as tough as it comes.

11. Indianapolis AlleyCats (+1)
Record: 9-3 *
Most recent result: Win, 21-20 at Pittsburgh
Upcoming matchup: First round Central Division playoffs, July 29 vs Chicago

The AlleyCats might only have two playoff wins since their inaugural season in 2012, but the franchise has qualified for four of the last five postseasons in the Central. Indy has refocused on valuing the disc, and committed as many turnovers combined in its last two wins of the regular season against Pittsburgh (28) as they did in one game against Minnesota in Week 11; ‘Cats are currently tied with DC for the fourth fewest turnovers in the league. But aside from possession and a favorable first round matchup, Indy lacks a discernible strength for a deep postseason push; even if the AlleyCats win against the Union, they face a divisional championship game in Minnesota where they’ve won one game—in 2019 in a weather-tortured game—since 2015.

10. Los Angeles Aviators (+1)
Record: 7-5 *
Most recent result: Win, 24-23 vs Oakland
Upcoming matchup: First round West Division playoffs, July 29 at Colorado

It took their best performance of the season and some extra special help from their closest rivals in San Diego for the Aviators to make the playoffs, but LA enters the postseason with a puncher’s chance at making noise in the West bracket. Sean McDougall is fifth in total scores (79) and has more blocks (12) than any of the other top 12 scorers in the AUDL. No two teammates have thrown for more completions and yards than Pawel Janas and Brandon Van Deusen have in the backfield. The pair are averaging 110 completions and over 830 passing yards per game, and their nuclear levels of production and control on the offense has fused in the second half of the season with LA’s dynamic cutting core. McDougall, Everest Shapiro, Marcel Osborne, and Sam Cook are all playing near their peaks, giving the O-line a lot of versatility and attack points.

9. Minnesota Wind Chill (+1)
Record: 10-2 ^
Most recent result: Win, 22-16 vs Detroit
Upcoming matchup: Central Division Championship, August 12 vs TBD

Even though the Wind Chill struggled to contain Detroit’s deep game and allowed the Mechanix to convert on 7-of-10 huck attempts, Minnesota generated 21 blocks and forced 27 turnovers in a convincing six-goal victory to reach 10 regular season wins for the second time in three years. And for the third straight season Bryan Vohnoutka leads the team in scoring, making it five straight seasons with at least 20 assists and 20 goals. But aside from their franchise goal leader, Minnesota has struggled with offensive identity, and much more than any other playoff team. The Wind Chill have failed to convert on at least 50 percent of their O-line possessions in each of their last six games, and haven’t converted above 52 percent since Week 5 against Detroit.

8. Boston Glory (+1)
Record: 7-5 *
Most recent result: Win, 18-12 vs Montreal
Upcoming matchup: First round East Division playoffs, July 29 at DC

Boston was on pace to score 36 goals against Montreal before the weather intervened at halftime, but it was still enough for the Glory to snag their first playoff appearance. The offense continues to find new highs as a unit, with Simon Carapella finishing the regular season tied for the second most goals (37) among rookies, despite having two games shortened by storms; Carapella had four goals and 191 receiving yards in the first half before lightning gave the Royal a break from guarding the kid. But it’s the discipline and depth that may carry Boston beyond the first round. Absent a few starters, Glory’s D-line converted 8-of-9 break opportunities in Week 13, and the team is now 6-0 when they convert on 50 percent or better of their break opportunities this season.

7. Austin Sol (+1)
Record: 9-3 *
Most recent result: Win, 24-21 at Dallas
Upcoming matchup: First round South Division playoffs, July 29 vs Carolina

The Sol defense was more efficient in converting scores than the offense in eight of their 12 games so far this season, with Austin posting a 7-1 record in those games. But it’s hard to call it a “winning formula” given the opponents in those matchups, and the fact that the Sol have the lowest team completion percentage of any playoff team in 2023; Austin ranked sixth in team completion rate in 2022, and now sit at 19th. The offense is stocked with players capable of making the explosive play, and the Sol are one of just six teams to average over eight huck completions per game this year; Texas likes it big, who could’ve guessed it. But without more discipline in their attack, Austin seem to have diminished a bit of their potential as dark horse playoff contenders.

6. Carolina Flyers (-)
Record: 7-5 *
Most recent result: Loss, 23-22 (OT) at Atlanta
Upcoming matchup: First round South Division playoffs, July 29 at Austin

Carolina avoided backing into the playoffs with consecutive losses and got a win last night over the Legion. Jacob Fairfax ended his 2023 regular season war campaign against the Hustle much like he started it: with 500-plus receiving yards and a few reminders that he is not bound by the same physics as humans.  Yet the Flyers still finished 2023 with their fewest regular season victories in franchise history, and now face a road playoff game in Texas heat this Saturday. Carolina is 2-0 in the playoffs against the Sol, including a win in 2018 in Austin.

5. Colorado Summit (-)
Record: 8-4 *
Most recent result: Loss, 19-15 vs New York
Upcoming matchup: First round West Division playoffs, July 29 vs Los Angeles

Despite playing at altitude, the Summit defense has taken away the longball from opponents this season and are allowing a league-low 51.9 percent completion rate on opponent’s huck attempts. There’s no one deterrent but rather a mixture of personnel and system. Saeed Semrin, Sandford Brown, and Cody Spicer provide the size necessary in one-on-one coverage to lock down deep targets, but there’s lots of available help defense from heads-up offside defenders. And yes, there have been some offensive inefficiencies—Colorado is converting offensive possessions nearly seven percent lower than in 2022—but this team is still extremely hard to score breaks against, and are allowing the fifth fewest break scores per game in 2023. Don’t get caught up on the four losses. The Summit have a toughness, talent, and (finally) healthy roster to avenge what they considered an early exit during last year’s semifinals.

4. DC Breeze (-)
Record: 9-3 *
Most recent result: Win, 27-17 vs Toronto
Upcoming matchup: First round East Division playoffs, July 29 vs Boston

With a full half of his 12 starts this season ending with 100 percent passer ratings, Andrew Roy isn’t just the most reliable distributor on a DC team absolutely loaded with throwing talent—he’s the most precise passer in the league in 2023. There’s simply no peer for Roy’s combination of volume and accuracy as a thrower; Roy is tenth in total completions (485), and his 98.18 percent completion mark is the highest completion rate in the AUDL among 114 players with at least 200 completions this year. This was always going to be a perfect union of system and player from the moment DC signed him this past offseason, but Roy’s skills as a one-man, turn-and-pivot turret exceed even lofty expectations, and allow for more playmaking freedom from Jonny Malks, Rowan McDonnell, Tyler Monroe, and company.

3. Atlanta Hustle (-)
Record: 10-2 ^
Most recent result: Win, 23-22 (OT) vs Carolina
Upcoming matchup: South Division Championship, August 11 vs TBD

Though he fell just two blocks shy of the 20-20-20 Club, Brett Hulsmeyer closed out his herculean (and possible MVP) regular season as the only player in the AUDL with at least 15 assists, goals, and blocks. Hulsmeyer set career highs in goals (6) and receiving yards (488), dominating any number of defenders that were stuck beneath his orbit, including scoring all three Hustle goals in overtime. Justin Burnett ends his first full pro season with blocks in six straight starts—not a coincidence Atlanta has double-digit blocks as a team in seven of their last eight games—joining Hulsmeyer as the only players in team history to notch 20-plus blocks in a regular season. Only one player (Max Sheppard, 84) has thrown more huck completions than Austin Taylor and his 77 bombs since the start of 2021. Only three times in his last 36 starts has Taylor failed to complete a deep pass.

2. Salt Lake Shred (-)
Record: 11-1 ^
Most recent result: Loss, 23-19 vs New York
Upcoming matchup: West Division Championship, August 11 vs TBD

Salt Lake ends the regular season as the number one team in the league in team completion percentage (95.4 percent), offensive hold rate (75.1 percent), offensive efficiency (64.9 percent), scoring (23.5 scores per game), and fewest turnovers (13.8 per game); Shred are second in red zone conversion rate and breaks per game. The offensive core had last year’s body of work to build on and improve from, but the 2023 Shred D-line has made a marked evolution as an even newer and younger unit. Salt Lake’s defense has improved its defensive conversion rate from 46.9 percent last year to 54.8 percent this season, which has made them less block dependent; Shred led the league in takeaways in 2022, but their endless hunt for layout blocks sometimes gave up easy scores in transition. This season the defense is much more disciplined in coverage.

Hold% = Scores / Total O-line points
Efficiency% = Scores / Total O-line possessions

1. New York Empire (-) 
Record: 12-0 ^
Most recent result: Win, 28-19 vs Montreal
Upcoming matchup: East Division Championship, August 12 vs TBD

New York became the first team ever to post back-to-back perfect regular season records, and closed the season with six straight games with 13 or fewer turnovers. The Empire are dangerous from any distance, but the red zone is becoming their province; New York was 18-for-18 in the red zone against the Royal in Week 13, and are a blistering 72-for-78 (92 percent) in their last five wins. John Randolph and Ben Jagt have been the most consistent defensive performers since the beginning of the season for this historically good D-line, but Antoine Davis is New York’s best defender over the past month. He has seven blocks in his last three starts and is absolutely flying around in the open field, hawking and taking away swaths of space. Of note: Davis doesn’t have a throwaway in 2023.

* Clinched playoff spot
^ Regular season division champion

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