The Weekend Preview: Week 5 in Minnesota
By Josh Schafer | Jul 1, 2022
The time has come to cast your ballot for the 2022 PLL All-Star Game. That includes players, of course, but also rule changes.
In past years we’ve seen quarters without faceoffs and quarters with a ball drop, akin to hockey’s puck drop. On Pardon My Take, PLL President and Co-Founder Paul Rabil pontificated rule changes with the hosts. Some popular suggestions included: A goal increasing in size each quarter, adding a three-point arc and shortening the shot clock and field for a quarter.,
Fans can vote on some of these options and more leading into the PLL All-Star Game in Boston on July 16. Starting on July 7, this free-to-claim NFT will provide access to vote for this year’s rules.
All-Star voting stops even earlier. Vote as much as you can before tomorrow because the below lineup has been voted multiple times and if you think it’s wrong you’re running out of time to prove it wrong:
Archers LC vs. Redwoods LC
Friday, July 1st at 7:00 p.m. ET | ESPN+
All-time series: Tied, 2-2
Stat to know: 36.8%
Archers score 36.8% of the time they initiate offense via a dodge. Redwoods are last at defending shots initiated by a dodge. Watch for the Archers to dodge short-stick defenders early in possessions and challenge the Redwoods defense that’s struggled this season.
Player Royale to consider: Will Manny, A, Archers LC
I love the Archers matchup this week and therefore we’re taking their top scorer on the year (and the PLL’s top scorer for that matter). It’s that simple.
Why the Archers: The Archers now sit at 2-2 but have shown spurts where they appear like the most dangerous offense in the PLL. In fact, the stats show they might be. The Arrows are still leading in overall scoring and allowing less than 11 goals per game, which is good for fourth in the league. Archers can flat out score and the ‘Woods defense hasn’t been up to the challenge thus far this year. On paper, this is a best offense in the league plays worst defense in the league matchup.
Why the Redwoods: Redwoods will have a clear advantage at the faceoff stripe. Though star specialist TD Ierlan has been spotty this year, Archers flat out haven’t been good at the stripe. At a 35% win percentage, Archers loses at the stripe more often than any team and is approaching the territory where it’s hard to win games with lackluster performances there (see last week’s Atlas game). Redwoods has improved over the last two weeks and appears to be approaching a level of consistency on offense. If the ‘Woods can find ways to score on offense, they’ll have enough extra possessions to win this game.
The pick: Assuming Archers find a way to steal some possessions at the stripe, their offense can lead the way here.
Atlas LC vs. Chrome LC
Friday, July 1st at 9:45 p.m. ET | ESPN+
All-time series: Atlas leads, 5-0
Stat to know: 144
Chrome has snagged 144 groundballs this year. While it’s perhaps a lacrosse cliché, or at least something your high school coach repeated over-and-over, groundballs can decide games. It’s no surprise to see the top team in the league leading this category through four games. Hustle plays can be a difference maker and Chrome seems to always have the ball at the end of the games when it needs most.
Player Royale to consider: Trevor Baptiste, FO, Atlas LC
Through four games, Baptiste is the highest fantasy scorer in the league. He doesn’t have a great matchup this week going against another top specialist in Chrome’s Connor Farrell but he’d be who I’d pick if I had to choose from each game. On my actual team, I don’t and therefore avoided what I believe might be the game of the weekend. Both teams cross each other off in too many areas in this game for me to believe strongly in one player.
Why Chrome: As detailed above, this is the hottest team in the league. Even last week, trailing four goals at the half, Chrome found a way to squeeze out a win. It’s always hard to pick against a team rolling like this. Connor Farrell should give Trevor Baptiste a battle at the faceoff stripe. A stout defense may be able to hold Atlas offense at bay. If Chrome can play a full 48 minutes, and not start like it did last week, the PLL’s new darling should be in position for another barnburner.
Why Atlas: On paper, Atlas has more starpower. Baptiste is an extra tick above Farrell. Jeff Teat and Chris Gray are two of the most electrifying offensive players in the PLL. Goalie Jack Concannon is tied for the league lead in save percentage (at 60%) and has allowed five less goals than chrome goalie Sean Sconone. Atlas needs this game to become a foot race and make the Chrome defense feel uncomfortable. If this game becomes a shootout, Atlas should win.
The pick: You have to ride the hot hand until it cools off. I’m taking the Chrome even if some of the stats tell me otherwise.
Chaos LC vs. Cannons LC
Saturday, July 2nd at 6 p.m. ET | ESPN+
All-time series: Chaos leads, 1-0
Stat to know: 20.7%
Chaos is scoring on just 20.7% of its shots when initiating via the two-man game. This is the worst mark in the league. It’s most notable because it’s the opposite of how Chaos has played over the last three seasons. Chaos finished each of the last three seasons atop the list. Perhaps another week with the full offensive unit together, and maybe a bit more healthy, will force that percentage up.
Player Royale to consider: Asher Nolting, M, Cannons LC
Nolting’s leading all PLL midfielders in goals with eight and scoring at a 50% clip. Against a Chaos team that’s struggled this year, Nolting could be poised for another day as the defensive focus shifts to Lyle Thompson once again.
Why Chaos: Chaos hasn’t had a consistent group of players this season and it’s shown thus far. While those losses can’t be undone, the roster is going to look similar for the second week in a row against Cannons and there’s a chance Chaos’ championship winning style of play returns. Blaze Riorden can turn hot in an instant in cage. If the offense can piece together a more complete game, Chaos might not be as far away as they seem.
Why the Cannons: Cannons have played more successful lacrosse, and at a more consistent rate, than Chaos this year. Nick Marrocco has been asked to do a lot in net this season and has answered with a PLL leading 59 saves. Thompson and Nolting have provided scoring. The question with Cannons is who else will step up? A surprise performance from a role player or two could give Cannons the advantage here.
The pick: Eventually, you have to bet on Andy Towers rallying his team and Chaos coming out with a character win. I like those odds this week.
Whipsnakes LC vs. Waterdogs LC
Saturday, July 2nd at 8:45 p.m. ET | ESPN+
All-time series: Whipsnakes lead, 3-1
Stat to know: 30.7%
Only 30 percent of the Waterdogs possessions end in turnovers. That’s the best mark in the league. The Dogs are also tied for second in possessions ending in a goal. Yet, the Waterdogs are 1-3. A subpar defense and near-bottom performance at the faceoff stripe are holding down what’s been an efficient offense. If rookie Zac Tucci can find a rhythm and the Waterdogs start to win more possessions, watch out.
Player Royale to consider: Connor Kelly, M, Waterdogs LC
Connor Kelly’s been the offensive scoring spark the Waterdogs need. While the Whipsnakes aren’t the kind of team I expect Kelly to ransack for five goals, he’ll likely have a solid game if the Waterdogs offense continues to click, Also worth pointing out, given the aforementioned faceoff discrepancy, I’m taking Joe Nardella in this game as a tier 2 player.
Why the Whipsnakes: The Whips are rolling. Undefeated through four games, the Whipsnakes continuously find ways to win close games and that makes them hard to pick against in a straight up pick’em. As already mentioned Nardella’s performance at the stripe will be a key part of this game as will the Whips defense which is currently the most efficient in the league.
Why the Waterdogs: Waterdogs has played solid settled offense and those set offensive plays and formations could help combat a stout Whipsnakes defense. Neither of these teams have run transition at a high clip this year. This game will really come down to who gets the ball more, and based on the last few games it’s hard to reason that will be the Waterdogs.
The pick: The Whipsnakes potential possession advantage and ability to finish on long offensive possessions will help them prevail here.