Power Rankings: Week 1

May 2, 2024
By Adam Ruffner

24. Detroit Mechanix (-)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 4 vs Chicago

2024 looks like a blank slate once again for Detroit. Carson Chamberlain is the lone Mechanix player returning from last season with double digit scores, or more than 100 completions. It is now seven years and three days since their last win.

23. Portland Nitro (-)
Most recent result: 23-16 vs San Diego (L)
Next game: May 10 vs Oakland

Longtime defensive veteran Scott Radlauer didn’t have more than 284 receiving yards for the season in either 2021 or 2022, so his 300-yard, 5-score start to 2024 is a bit of a shocker. What’s not as surprising is the Nitro offense struggling to stay consistent for two quarters at a time. Sunday marked the eighth straight game where Portland failed to convert at least 50 percent of their O-line possessions, breaking a tie with Detroit for longest active streak with such performances. 

22. Dallas Legion (-1)
Most recent result: 26-21 at Houston (L)
Next game: May 11 vs Austin

Jake Floyd joined the “1,000 Yard Club” by completing 7-of-9 huck attempts on 59 total passes, and Alec Wilson Holliday seems destined for his second straight 40-goal season. But Dallas has now surrendered at least 20 goals in 11 of their last 13 games, and are coming off a season where they finished last in goals allowed per game. The Legion had eight different players finish with multiple throwaways against Houston, far too many to stay near their closest competitors in the South Division.  

21. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (-3)
Most recent result: 18-11 vs Minnesota (L)
Next game: May 11 vs Madison

After finishing with the second most hucks in the league last season and averaging over three per game, Max Sheppard completed just 1-of-2 deep attempts against Minnesota as the Thunderbirds struggled to move the disc. The offense looked more patient and capable of using the width of the field to reverse attack angles and challenge weak spots in coverage, with Carl Johnson and Anson Reppermund as solid primary targets. But the Pittsburgh defense failed to register a break, and could be empty handed another time or two this season on converting defensive chances. 

20. San Diego Growlers (-1)
Most recent result: 23-16 at Portland (W)
Next game: May 3 vs Salt Lake

After a lethargic start in Seattle, the Growlers got back on track and notched their first win of the season in Portland. Travis Dunn nearly doubled the next highest teammate in scoring production, which figures to hold for the remainder of the season as he figures to have one of the largest workloads of any player. San Diego is more possession focused than in recent years, if a bit tentative on offense. LA transplant Matt Miller led the team in yardage production, and has some pop to make plays alongside Dunn. 2023 All Rookie selection Max Gibson is set to make his season debut tomorrow night, and will give the Growlers another big time scorer. 

19. Montreal Royal (+1)
Most recent result: 18-16 at New York (L)
Next game: May 11 at Toronto

The Royal extended their losing streak to 19 games, which really is hard to type out given that little pesky “+1” next to their team name above. But if you watched their two games this past weekend, this Royal team came within a goal of both Boston and New York late in the second half on the road, and they look like a real wild card in an already bustling East Division. Rookie Tobe Decraene had one of the best pro debuts in league history, and played like someone deserving consideration for last week’s “Top 25” list. Quentin Bonnaud still looks like a gazelle in open space with his ability to create separation, Kevin Quinlan officially moved into second place all-time on the UFA assists leaderboard, and Christophe Tremblay-Joncas completely shut down Ben Jagt in the air. Montreal is still far from a contender, but they’ve got talent at the skill positions, and can push a lot of teams if they’re not careful.

18. Houston Havoc (+4)
Most recent result: 26-21 vs Dallas (W)
Next game: May 3 at Austin

Houston had wheels in their 2024 opener. Ben Lewis exploded for 13 scores, three blocks, and 670 total yards, showcasing his relentless route running and some newly added touch throws to his arsenal. Lefty thrower Jimmy Zuraw also had a career night, tossing nine assists and 468 passing yards on 53-of-54 throws, with Lewis continually as the recipient as the two found a new rhythm in deep space. Texas wind still thwarted much of this squad’s efficiency—Havoc committed 29 turnovers and managed just 88 percent on their throws as a team—but Houston has something heading into Year 2. 

17. Toronto Rush (-)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 4 at Boston

The Rush suffered their second biggest defeat of the 2023 season at Boston, so a rematch against a strengthened Glory lineup—especially without defensive starters Phil Turner and Toronto newcomer Brandon Adibe — will be a tough road battle to start the new year. Keith McRae and Griffin McKee both had over 300 total yards in their last meeting with Boston, with the former averaging over 18 yards per touch. Toronto closed out last season committing 18 or fewer turnovers in four of their last five games, and could really use that level of efficiency to start this season. 

16. Madison Radicals (-)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 11 at Pittsburgh

While Madison has always been notorious for their defensive pressure, the real lynchpin to their 2018 title—and last playoff appearance—was an uber-efficient offense that could generate explosives when needed. Since finishing third in the UFA in scoring in 2018, the Radicals haven’t placed higher than eighth, and usually fall somewhere in the back half of the league. But there are rumors that Kai Marcus and some rejuvenated vets like Brian Hart and franchise assists leader Pat Shriwise have revamped the O-line, with 6’7” receiver Max Sample a possible breakout candidate for “Most Improved.”  

15. Los Angeles Aviators (-5)
Most recent result: 20-17 at Oakland (L)
Next game: May 4 vs Salt Lake

This is probably too harsh of a penalty/drop for a team missing the second-highest usage thrower in the UFA last year in Brandon Van Deusen, but the Aviators looked out of sorts. The LA offense struggled to move the disc past midfield and had their lowest success rate in their last 12 games. And while the defense had 13 break chances against the Spiders, the Aviators could only capitalize on four of their opportunities. It doesn’t get any easier this weekend as LA hosts the reigning divisional champs from Salt Lake. And with Seattle looking real, an 0-2 hole could be dangerous for an LA team that needed help to make it into last year’s divisional playoffs.

14. Indianapolis AlleyCats (-1)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 11 vs Detroit

With an overcrowded offensive rotation, and some notable departures on defense like Jacob Fella, I’ve been told by my “Swing Pass” co-host and the league’s all-time goals leader Cameron Brock that he’s been taking reps on D-line this preseason. The 12-year legend has spent just under 14 percent of his playing time on defense throughout his career, and played just six defensive points in 12 starts in 2023. It would be a radical shift this late in his career, but not anything approaching surprising for a player who has always marked his progress by tackling new challenges. Brock has recommitted himself to a new training regimen, and is running as well as ever. 

13. Chicago Union (-1)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 4 at Detroit

No Henry Goldenberg, Jeff Weis, or Joe White debuts this weekend in Detroit, so we won’t get a proper look at the true potential this 2024 Union roster has to offer. But John Lithio could put up career numbers against the Mechanix in his first game with Chicago, as there are few players in the Central Division with his combination of size and throwing talent. The two former Detroit players on Chicago’s team also figure to factor in: the “Tax Man” Andrew Sjogren averaged six scores and 428 total yards in two games against his former team last season, while Jake Steslicki had 11 scores, two blocks, and 51 completions in two starts without a mistake.

12. Seattle Cascades (+3)
Most recent result: 28-14 vs San Diego (W)
Next game: May 3 at Oakland

Honestly, the 14-goal gap doesn’t even do the Cascades justice for just how thoroughly they outperformed the Growlers in their home opener. The offense was consistent and electric, with third year receiver Zeppelin Raunig looking like a true star alongside All-UFA talent like Garrett Martin and Khalif El-Salaam. And the new handler core consisting of veterans Tommy Li, Christian Foster, and Jeremy Norden gives the ‘Scades O-line a backfield stability and confidence it hasn’t since Danny Karlinsky nearly a decade ago. Defensively, Lukas Ambrose picked up four blocks in his first Seattle start, while newly arrived international prospect Aaron Wolf gives the Cascades a second premier defender that they didn’t have a year ago. The Week 2 road back-to-back will be a true test for this Seattle team who has the makings of something legit. 

11. Oakland Spiders (+3)
Most recent result: 20-17 vs Los Angeles (W)
Next game: May 3 vs Seattle

It wasn’t pretty, but the Spiders gutted out an important divisional win to start the season against LA. Four different Oakland throwers had at least two throwaways, and the Spiders as a team finished with 24 or more turnovers for the third time in their last five games dating back to the end of the 2023 season. But once again positive team vibes and endless emphatic celebrations characterized a close Oakland win at home. Evan Magsig, Eli Kerns, and Robin Vickers-Batzdorf all contributed clutch plays, and the Spiders scored 20 or more goals for the eighth time in their last nine games. Oakland needed overtime to eke past the Cascades at home last season, and now Seattle brings in a much improved roster to the Bay on Friday night.

10. Philadelphia Phoenix (+1)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 5 vs DC

Philly hasn’t notched a win against interdivisional rival DC since June 3, 2017, making Sunday’s upcoming “Game Of The Week” home opener tilt against the Breeze especially tantalizing for the Phoenix. The Breeze are sitting at a precarious 0-1 after last weekend’s interdivisional loss to the Shred, and with two one-goal losses in their last four meetings, the Hotbirds have the motivation to seat DC even lower in the heavily contended East Division standings. James Pollard put up some monster production numbers last season against DC, but the Phoenix offense as a unit failed to convert above 50 percent of their offensive possessions in either of their losses to the Breeze in 2023. 

9. Minnesota Wind Chill (-)
Most recent result: 18-11 at Pittsburgh (W)
Next game: May 11 at Chicago

The Minnesota D-line mauled the Thunderbirds to the tune of 18 blocks—a Week 1 league high—and were particularly stout in deep space. Numerous times Pittsburgh would attack looking for favorable matchups in single coverage, only for a Wind Chill help defender to appear and make it a two-on-one in favor of the defense. Veteran playmaker Matt Rehder had a very signature statline of three goals and three blocks in his Minnesota debut, while rookie Leo Sovell-Fernandez slotted in immediately on offense and finished without a turnover. And while it wasn’t highlight filled, the Wind Chill offense finished with the second highest success rate of the 16 teams active on opening weekend.

8. Atlanta Hustle (-3)
Most recent result: 24-16 at Carolina (L)
Next game: May 4 vs New York

I didn’t expect the Hustle to win given their Week 1 roster limitations on the road against a rival with a grudge, but I didn’t see that kind of demolition coming. Brett Hulsmeyer and Hayden Austin-Knab combined for 13 scores and over 1,100 yards of offense, and it barely made a dent in Carolina’s eight-goal stomping. The Hustle have had the best deep attack in the league since 2021, and completed over 70 percent of their hucks for the entire season in each of the past three years. Yet they only mustered 7-of-12 (58 percent) from range against the Flyers last Saturday, and while it could be a single game aberration, the lack of balance and presence of a midrange game—something that made Atlanta one of the most potent offenses in the league last year—is concerning. They’re healthier going into this weekend’s matchup with New York, and while an 0-2 hole to start the season isn’t a death sentence, it’s a tough look for a Hustle team trying to establish itself as elite.

7. Colorado Summit (+1)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 4 vs Seattle

Saturday’s upcoming matchup with Seattle will be against a vastly different Cascades team than the one the Summit beat by an average of 10.5 scores per game last season. And without last year’s leading scorer Quinn Finer available, Colorado’s offense will have to recalibrate and recover quickly to keep pace with a Seattle team that lead the first weekend in scoring. Conor Tabor was on the practice squad before being activated this week, and has the kind of range as a thrower to be a true x-factor. He finished with a career best 221 throwing yards in Colorado’s last meeting with the Cascades, which feels a couple hundred yards shy of his potential if he starts connecting on hucks. 

6. DC Breeze (-3)
Most recent result: 23-20 at Salt Lake (L)
Next game: May 5 at Philadelphia

Despite a tough road environment, a handful of D-line starters missing, and the league’s lowest huck completion rate (20 percent) from Week 1, the Breeze continued to hang around late into the fourth quarter in Salt Lake. Andrew Roy had an uncharacteristic drop on the first possession of the season, but then went on to finish 39-of-39 with 406 total yards in his 2024 debut; backfield partner Gus Norrbom was just as impressive with a game-high 48 completions on 49 attempts, and continually asserted himself in red zone situations. And Thomas Edmonds finished with his biggest production in a Breeze uniform, registering seven total scores and 546 total yards against one turnover. DC still has many of the same strengths that have made them perennial title contenders, but also seemingly the same limitations that have held them back from Championship Weekend.

5. Boston Glory (+1)
Most recent result: 19-17 vs Montreal (W)
Next game: May 4 vs Toronto

The Jeff Babbitt premiere in a Boston uniform went to script for the home team as the reigning MVP opened and closed the game with crucial blocks, and finished with five total on the night without contributing a turnover himself. And besides Babbitt’s game-changing impact, there were notable contributions up and down the Glory roster. Absent two of their handler starters in Cole Davis-Brand and Caelan McSweeney, third year pro and recently nominated team captain Nathanial Dick was a give-and-go merchant with Ben Sadok for the Boston offense. A fluid thrower and agile in tight spaces, Dick generated pace and rhythm for a newly formed O-line rotation, and finished 36-of-37 on throws with nearly 400 total yards. The cutting core of Tyler Chan, Simon Carapella, and Tannor Johnson-Go all finished with over 240 receiving yards against Montreal, with Johnson-Go collecting 376 receiving yards and unleashing one of the biggest throws of opening weekend. 

4. Carolina Flyers (+3)
Most recent result: 24-16 vs Atlanta (W)
Next game: May 11 vs Atlanta

The most impressive team in Week 1, the Flyers excelled at both team strategy and individual execution against a very good Atlanta team, and effectively bowled them off the field in the middle two quarters of their eight-goal rout. Allan Laviolette shows zero signs of missing two full seasons and looks like an All-UFA talent on offense again. The new O-line backfield of Alexander Wilcox and Elijah Long were versatile and virtually mistake free with high workloads, while Jacob Fairfax, Anders Juengst, and Ethan Bloodworth got to their spots as scorers seemingly whenever they wanted. But it was the defense that really has the Flyers looking like a true contender again. Sol Yanuck, Trevor Lynch, and Henry Fisher have flipped to D-line and added a tremendous punch to the Carolina counterattack as the Flyers converted on 11-of-13 (85 percent!) of their break opportunities. Fisher in particular was instrumental in pinning Atlanta’s offense repeatedly with big pulls. 

3. Austin Sol (+1)
Most recent result: N/A
Next game: May 3 vs Houston

The reigning division champs reignite this Friday at home against a recharged Havoc team. The Sol will be at full strength, and unloaded 25 goals on Houston in their last meeting. Jake Radack was a full on bombardier against the Havoc last season, and averaged three assists, 391 throwing yards, and over two hucks per game in four matchups; Austin as a team averaged nearly 10 hucks per game against Houston. The early returns on the new frisbee is that it flies fast and far, which could make an already huck happy Sol team even more dangerous in 2024.

2. Salt Lake Shred (-)
Most recent result: 23-20 vs DC (W)
Next game: May 3 at San Diego

The number one scoring team from last season hit the ground running in 2024. Salt Lake’s 23 goals were the most scored against DC by a non-Empire opponent since 2022, and the Shred were able to push tempo all night long when they had the disc. The O-line throwing backbone of Grant Lindsley, Luke Yorgason, Sean Connole, and Jacob Miller were mobile and precise against a hard nosed Breeze defense, and combined for 156 completions on 162 attempts (96 percent). Their reliability allowed the downfield playmaking core of Jordan Kerr, Will Selfridge, and rookie Ben Field to stretch the field with explosive plays; Selfridge took over the fourth quarter on Saturday night, and could not be slowed down from attacking the end zone with glee. But the tests don’t slow down for Salt Lake, as now they must face San Diego and LA in a SoCal back-to-back in Week 2.   

1. New York Empire (-)
Most recent result: 18-16 vs Montreal (W)
Next game: May 4 at Atlanta

The Empire tallied 17 blocks in their Week 1 victory to extend their winning streak to a league-record 31 games, but there was nothing dominant in their performance. The 23 turnovers New York committed against Montreal ties the franchise single-game high over the past four seasons, and the team finished just 3-of-11 (27 percent) from deep; the latter stat really stresses the loss of Ryan Osgar, as if Babbitt’s Boston debut last Friday night wasn’t news enough. And maybe most importantly, for the first time in the past two years, New York didn’t simply impose their play style onto their opponent, but rather had to make their own in-game adjustments to fit the competition, and shifted John Randolph over from defense into a stabilizer role on key offensive possessions. It was a small opening in their armor, but one you can be assured the Empire’s opponents took careful note of.