October 12, 2017

Start or Sit: Go with the bargain Eskimo?

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

With four weeks left in the regular season, Fantasy owners are aware the margin of error becomes thinner with each play. Information become more valuable than hunches, although there will be Fantasy leagues decided by the bold who are willing to defy convention and go with their gut instinct.

Common sense appears in our Start/Sit report for Week 17, yet we will also dedicate a decision or two for those who love the risk and reward that comes from gambling on a player a few of their other league mates will overlook. Playoff implications lay throughout each of this week’s games, which only adds to the excitement.

Calgary at Hamilton
Friday | 7:00 p.m. ET

The league’s leading rusher, Jerome Messam, is back and will be a solid play for fantasy owners (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

Start: As mentioned, common sense appears, this time in the form of Stampeders running back Jerome Messam ($7,074). The league’s leading rusher with 897 yards, Messam missed Calgary’s Week 15 victory over Montreal while backup Terry Williams ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns in the 59-11 win. The Stamps have the league’s second-best running game and while the Tiger-Cats are a respectable fifth in rushing yards allowed per contest, they are eighth in the league with 15 rushing majors given up. Keep in mind that Messam mauled the Hamilton run defence for 91 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 6 victory that also saw him tally a season-high 27.4 Fantasy points. The Ticats have played better of late, yet it’s hard to envision them being able to contain Messam, especially near the goal line.

Sit: Hamilton running back Alex Green ($4,500) enters the game with 227 rushing yards in his two starts, averaging 7.2 yards per carry in the process. Expecting him to continue that pace is a mistake waiting to happen, as Green and the Ticats’ ground game will be running into the formidable Stampeders run defence, which leads the league with a paltry 73.9 yards allowed per game. The mere thought of running successfully against Calgary is further dimmed when one looks at the fact the Stamps also lead the league with fewest running plays of 20-plus yards allowed (five), and are second only to the Roughriders with seven rushing majors conceded. In short, look elsewhere for a better RB2 option.

Ottawa at Saskatchewan
Friday | 10:00 p.m. ET

William Powell is a must-start after moving up to second in the league in rushing yards (The Canadian Press)

Start: Who are we to tell you not to start REDBLACKS running back William Powell ($7,870)? Since returning to the starting lineup six games ago, Powell has recorded double-digit Fantasy production in five of those contests, including three straight games of over 100 yards rushing. The questions about his durability have long passed, as Powell is now second only to Messam in rushing yards (835). As last week’s five catches attest, Powell can also be a factor in the passing game. He’ll be facing a Roughriders defence allowing 105 yards per game on the ground and with pivot Trevor Harris ($11,601) back in the lineup, Powell should be able to put together numbers conducive to the RB1 status he now enjoys these days.

Sit: This is not the week to get cute and swing for the fences at pivot. That means bypassing Roughriders signal-caller Kevin Glenn ($8,812), who is in the throes of a three-game slump that has seen him amass a combined 12.4 Fantasy points over that span. Glenn is tempting, as he would be facing an Ottawa defence that leads the league with 31 passes of 30-plus yards allowed and is seventh with 304.6 passing yards allowed per contest. However, Glenn has not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 12 and has thrown at least one interception in six of his last eight contests. He’s certainly capable of breaking out of his skid, but let one of your other Fantasy league owners take that risk.

BC at Winnipeg
Saturday | 4:00 p.m. ET

Arceneaux could a solid play this week at wide receiver after he’s collected three 100-yard games in his last five contests (The Canadian Press)

Start: Emmanuel Arceneaux ($6,806) is a hot hand with three 100-yard games in his last five outings, including the 103-yard, two-major performance he had in last week’s loss to Ottawa. After a slow start, Arceneaux is on pace for his third straight 1,000-yard campaign, and he’s found his big-play spark with five straight games of at least one reception for better than 20 yards. He and quarterback Jonathon Jennings ($9,747) have found a groove and should be able to continue their recent stretch of success against a Winnipeg defence that has allowed 27 touchdown passes, including a pair to Arceneaux during the teams’ previous meeting in Week 5.

Sit: Bombers receiver Clarence Denmark ($5,565) has been up and down all season, yet it appears he’s in a down stretch. Denmark has 53 catches this year but he’s been a Fantasy letdown over the past six weeks, except for an 18.5 Fantasy point outing in Week 12. He’s the fourth option in Winnipeg’s passing attack and while he has proven effective when given an ample number of targets, Denmark’s recent skid no longer makes him the intriguing high-risk WR2/Flex he has been at times during the regular season.

Toronto at Edmonton
Saturday | 7:00 p.m. ET

Can’t afford Zylstra? Go with Duke Williams this week instead (Walter Tychnowicz/CFL.ca)

Start: We’re suggesting an Eskimos receiver, though not the most obvious one. While everyone flocks toward Brandon Zylstra ($8,429), go the bargain route and take D’haquille Williams ($3,761), who should benefit while the Argonauts focus their attention on Zylstra and Derel Walker ($7,579). Williams has three 100-yard games this season, while pulling in eight passes of 30-plus yards, making him a value play. Toronto has allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game, but that won’t deter Mike Reilly ($12,938) from throwing the ball downfield.

Sit: Not all Eskimos receivers have value these days. Adarius Bowman started the season among the highest-salaried players at the position yet has fallen to $4,179, as he has just 28 catches while averaging a disappointing 9.9 yards per catch. Bowman doesn’t have a reception longer than 23 yards this season and may have reached his low water mark when he did not have a single catch in Edmonton’s Thanksgiving Day win over Montreal. With Zylstra, Walker and even Williams atop the Eskimos’ pecking order at receiver, Bowman will be hard-pressed to recover what has become a lost season for him.