Players To Watch: Week 3

May 9, 2024
By Daniel Cohen

Two weeks into the season, and we’re starting to see team identities forming around key playmakers across the league. Strong downfield cutters, active primary throwers, and guys stepping into expanded roles headline this week’s watchlist. 

Elliot Bonnet, DC Breeze

The DC Breeze lost Christian Boxley and Ben Oort this offseason, leaving questions about which players will take on more of the downfield receiving workload for the O-line. Those questions have been answered, and the answer is Elliot Bonnet. The 20-year-old from France had three goals against Salt Lake, four more last week against Philly, and he’s averaging nearly 250 receiving yards per game while completing 100 percent of his 34 throws. Boxley’s averages last year? 240 receiving yards, 22 completions (96 percent), and 2.8 goals per game. Bonnet has shown a similar ability to stretch the field, while still being able to operate as that flow-based continuation cutter within the Breeze system. Next up for Bonnet and the Breeze is a Boston defense that’s been stingy against hucks so far this year, allowing just 53.9 percent of 40-plus-yard throws to be completed (sixth best in the league). 

Anders Juengst, Carolina Flyers

No Allan Laviolette or Ethan Bloodworth for the Carolina Flyers O-line this week, which means Anders Juengst could be in for a busy night as the primary glue hybrid connecting the backfield to the downfield cutters. He started the season strong against Atlanta in Week 1, totaling six scores and over 300 yards of offense without a turnover. He played the perfect complement to Laviolette, just like we saw during the Flyers’ 2021 championship run, but it’s unclear how things will shift around when the Flyers are shorthanded. Alexander Wilcox and Elijah Long are still a relatively unproven backfield duo, so Juengst may need to play a more active role in facilitating possessions. This offense is gonna need some time to reach its final form, so it’s worth following throughout the season what types of rotations the Flyers deploy and how guys like Juengst settle into their roles. 

Zeppelin Raunig, Seattle Cascades (Pictured)

Zeppelin Raunig has been a goal-scoring machine for the Seattle Cascades; he currently leads the league with 15 goals, on pace for a 60-goal season through three games. In part due to the continued development of Raunig and the rest of their young core, this is a Cascades team that has clearly leveled up this year, both offensively and defensively, and they seem to have the top-end talent to make plenty of noise in the West. Now in his third pro season, Raunig has visibly improved every year and now looks like one of the more natural downfield receivers in the division—his ability to consistently break free downfield and high-point the disc has left defenses helpless this season, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. With a knack for putting on a show in front of the home crowd, Raunig could put up big numbers this week in a rematch with the Spiders. 

Matt Rehder, Minnesota Wind Chill

In his first game with the Minnesota Wind Chill, Matt Rehder finished with a very Rehder-esque statline of three goals and three blocks on just 14 points played; for his career, Rehder has averaged 3.3 goals and 1.9 blocks per game. He looked natural slotting into a new system, and while he played primarily offense against Pittsburgh, it wouldn’t surprise me if Head Coach Ben Feldman experiments with Rehder on both sides of the disc throughout the season, depending on the matchup and available personnel. This week, he’ll match up against his former team in Chicago, and with Dylan DeClerck expected to miss the game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rehder shift over to D-line, especially considering Chicago’s got two big cutters they didn’t have a year ago in John Lithio and Jeff Weis. Rehder can be the answer to Chicago’s downfield threats, and he could have a Babbitt-like influence on the counterattack as a primary scoring option. 

Ben Sadok, Boston Glory

Ben Sadok returns to the Boston lineup this week, as Glory head out on a double header road trip to DC and Philly for their first true test of the season. Sadok looked to be back in an unquestioned QB1 role against Montreal in Week 1; he had nearly 20 more completions than the next closest player and tossed a game-high five assists. Between Jeff Babbitt, Simon Carapella, and Tannor Johnson-Go among others, Sadok has never had this much talent around him, and he’s well-equipped to take the offense to new heights. Sadok has the range to take advantage of big downfield receivers, he’s decisive and slippery on throw-and-gos, and he’s got a nose for the end zone when the offense gets into scoring territory. While he looked incredible in the first half against Montreal, Sadok’s throwaways started to pile up in the second half, and he ended up finishing with five on the night, a number that’ll have to go down if Boston expects to compete with DC. This offense is still feeling itself out after two weeks, and it’ll be on the high-volume guys like Sadok to ensure this unit reaches its full potential. 

Austin Taylor, Atlanta Hustle

In Atlanta’s first meeting with Carolina this year, eighth-year Hustle vet Austin Taylor was largely bottled up; he finished the game with just 13 completions, marking his lowest single-game total since 2017. He averaged four assists per game against Carolina in 2023, though the bulk of that total came in an eight-assist, 600-plus yard throwing clinic at home—he’s actually never thrown more than four assists in any career game in Carolina. Taylor’s seen many different roles with the Hustle over the years, including center handler, initiating hybrid, downfield cutter, and more, and while his throwing talent remains top-tier, his usage has been a bit down this season. That could change this week, however, as 2023 First Team All-UFA selection Brett Hulsmeyer is not expected to play—Taylor could absorb a chunk of that 30-to-40-touch workload, as the Hustle look to ride the momentum of last week’s win over New York.

Jeff Weis, Chicago Union

Expected to make his return to the Chicago Union lineup this Saturday night for the first time since the 2022 championship game, Jeff Weis will look to lead the team back to the top of the division, and it starts with a matchup against the reigning Central champs. Weis dominated this matchup in 2022; he had at least 300 receiving yards and five scores in three of four meetings, topping 400 receiving yards in two of them. The Wind Chill have never had a great answer for the 6’4” cutter, and it’s Weis’s ability to be dangerous both with and without the disc that has made him a matchup nightmare—he’s a strong thrower who can shoot deep for continuation hucks, and if he’s in the deep space himself, he’s able to body and box out virtually any player in the area. If we do see Rehder on defense this week, matching up against his former teammate would make a ton of sense. 


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