September 12, 2012

Cauz: My 2012 CFL fantasy award winners

There are many sure signs that you’re getting older beyond random grey hairs: a decrease in binge drinking and an increase in amount of time watching cooking shows.

Another indicator is just how difficult it is to organize a boys-only weekend with so many more life responsibilities than you possessed at 23. For my group of friends we have an annual tradition of getting together at my cottage for our Fantasy Football draft.

Wild Williams

Cauz says Williams has been the most exciting player to watch so far this season.
» WATCH: Williams sets kick return TD record

Usually it is done with about two weeks left until the start of the season. However, with more and more of the group having children, some with multiple, it becomes more and more difficult to find a weekend that will work for everyone.

As a result of some of my buddies selfishly electing to have children in late August our draft didn’t occur until this past weekend, yes one game into the season.

As I was wading through a mountain of empty beer cans, cheat sheets and heart burn I wondered what would be our reactions, from a fantasy standpoint, to the first 11 weeks of the CFL season. These are the thoughts that went through my mind when I wasn’t debating whether or not it is a good thing to be double fisting a Coors Light tall boy and an ice cream sandwich at 9:45am:

Safest First Round Pick: Anthony Calvillo

Other guys may have more upside, but I’m betting Calvillo went first overall. He’s the ultimate pick’em and forget about ’em. You never have to worry about massive fluctuations (except when he is visiting Vancouver), he’s like a healthy Peyton Manning, and you’re getting great numbers week in and week out. Nothing sexy about this pick, but sexy selections rarely win.

Rookie of the Year: Kory Sheets

Who needs a veteran running back? The first year back from Purdue leads the league in yards from scrimmage and is second in touchdowns. Sheets has been the steadying force for the Roughriders and should be a great one-two punch with Darian Durant for years to come. On a side note, on his Wikipedia page it says that Sheets majored in Organizational Leadership and Supervision, I have no idea what that means.

Most interesting QB controversy: Willy vs. Durant

With Drew Willy playing well last week many fans are starting to turn on Durant. I’ve seen the message boards. While I would stick with Darian for the season, you just know that so many fantasy owners would be adding Willy to their rosters and probably changing their team names to something not safe for work that has something to do with Drew’s last name.

Most annoying fantasy Stat: Simon says don’t score

Zero touchdowns for Geroy Simon. Every one of his owners are slowly muttering to themselves right now and probably cursing Arland Bruce for no good reason.

Biggest Disappointing First Round Pick: Jamel Richardson

While you could have made the argument to take the receiver first overall, Jamel has been limited to just seven games due to injury. But even on the field we haven’t seen the same production from the league’s best receiver in 2011 as Richardson has yet to post a single 100-yard receiving day.

Harris Flying Under the Radar

Ever so quietly, BC running back Andrew Harris has been making his mark all through the 2012 season.
» VIEW: Harris’ 2012 Stats

A far cry from his ridiculous 1,777-yard, 11 touchdown season a year ago that saw him top 100 yards 12 times. On the bright side, the guy is too talented to not explode down the stretch and has scored three touchdowns in his last two games. Don’t even think of trading him!

Worst Injury: Drew Tate

This one is a no brainer. Drew quarterbacked the Stampeders to a blowout win over Montreal in Week 1 and was cruising past the Argonauts before his season-ending injury. You just know someone would have drafted Tate for all his potential about four picks too soon. Here’s hoping that person somehow got to handcuff that pick with Kevin Glenn who has been steady for Calgary.

Best late round value: Adam Bighill

If you’re in a league where you get to draft defensive players, whoever got Adam Bighill late in the draft has to be doing cartwheels. Everyone expected JC Sherritt to do what he’s doing, but no one projected Bighill would be third in the league in tackles (59) while contributing with two sacks and two picks as well. Now Bighill owners are hoping Solomon Elimimian gets picked up by an NFL team.

Most frustrating “Good Stat” Player: Ricky Ray

He’s second in the league in passing yards, he’s attempted and completed the most passes of anyone in the CFL and has the highest completion percentage, yet Ricky Ray has only tossed 11 touchdowns. That has to drive his owners nuts; watching the team march up and down the field only to see Swayze Waters kick yet another field goal.

Guy who misses Ricky Ray the most: Fred Stamps

Last season, Stamps registered 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. This year Stamps has zero 100-yard games and will be lucky to break 1,000 yards on the season, snapping three-straight years of achieving this mark.

Patience is a virtue award: Chad Kackert

I talked about him in my rankings column this past week. Anyone who watched the Argonauts in 2011- well first let me say thanks for still sticking around – could see that Chad had talent and only needed a chance. Whichever person drafted Kackert late must have been doing back flips after the news of Boyd’s release. On the flip side Boyd owners must want to strangle Jim Barker for jettisoning Boyd to the running back netherworlds of Edmonton. Just a complete reversal of fortune in one day. Player most fun to root for: Chris Williams

With apologies to Tim Brown and Larry Taylor, but how could I not put the guy leading the league in touchdowns off of this list? Chris has been a bright spot in a subpar season for Hamilton and the single reason I ranked them first in my power rankings back in Week 5. (Me = Idiot) Speaking of rankings, Williams is second in yards from scrimmage, third in receiving and first in punt return yardage all while scoring 11 touchdowns.

Fantasy Player who has made the biggest leap from 2011: Chad Owens

I know what you’re saying, how could I have mentioned all these great return men and not mention Chad Owens? I agree the Flyin’ Hawaiian has to make this list. I assumed that the addition of Jason Barnes would mean the Owens would be the #2 or even the #3 receiver for the Argonauts. Instead, he is blossoming into a legitimate #1 receiver. What’s more remarkable about his numbers (second in receptions & second in receiving yards) is he still is the main focal point for the team’s return game and leads the CFL in total return yards. Just a remarkable season, just how tired must he be after every game?

Underappreciated Fantasy Player: Andrew Harris

I was just about to sing the praises of Jon Cornish for being the best Canadian fantasy player when I realized that Harris has more yards from scrimmage and one more touchdown. Harris seems less flashy but every week you’re getting at least 65-100 yards from Harris who only once this year (Week 8 against Saskatchewan) has been held below 50 yards from scrimmage. Harris is one of those players who will help you win your league and you won’t even realize just how much he’s contributing to your team’s success.

Biggest Disappointing Free Agent Acquisition: Andy Fantuz

Did you really expect Fantuz to be 14th in receiving yards at this point in the season? Not sure if it is a lingering injury or that he’s playing for a new system, but Hamilton’s prize off-season acquisition not named “Henry” has been held to three receptions or less in five games.

Player you can’t take any credit for being right about: Chris Matthews

A rookie wideout playing on a team that is a mess at quarterback? Oh sure you knew that Matthews would become this big play target that has more yards than Nik Lewis, Weston Dressler, Jamel Richardson and Terrence Edwards. Please stop lying to yourself and to the rest of your fantasy league and for the love of god stop patting yourself on the back, you got lucky.

I’m not gonna lie I could probably do about 27 more fantasy categories but I’m still up at my cottage, sitting on a deck, trying to squeeze the last couple days of summer. Besides I’ve got a lot of cleaning up still to do, and my body is still a wreck from all that early morning ice cream and beer.