July 12, 2018

Start vs. Sit: Shortened week still presents marquee matchups

(Adam Gagnon, CFL.ca)

Week 5 is an open date for Hamilton, Montreal and Saskatchewan, leaving just three games on tap. TSN CFL Fantasy football players may have less to work with, but there’s still matchups to exploit and some that scream, “DO NOT CROSS.”

Two of the three contests are rematches from last week, giving the vanquished (Edmonton and BC) an opportunity to run it back and find redemption from the conquerors (Toronto and Winnipeg), while division leaders Calgary and Ottawa square off for the second time in three weeks. Week 4 did not see a lot of offensive fireworks outside of the 41 points the Blue Bombers scored on the Lions, so perhaps this week will provide more explosiveness.

Who to start? Who to sit? Let’s find out.

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Calgary (3-0-0) at Ottawa (2-1-0)

Thursday | 7:30 p.m. ET

Start: William Powell, RB, REDBLACKS, $8,741 Salary

James Brown once sang about paying the cost to be The Boss, so if winning really matters to you, paying the third-highest salary among Week 5 participants is a must. Powell is playing to the level of his lofty price tag, having rushed for at least 90 yards in six of his last seven games dating back to last season. One of those games was a 123-yard effort against the Stampeders in a Week 3 loss so there’s every reason to feel confident Powell, the league’s leading rusher, can repeat his effort. The vaunted Calgary defence has been suspect against the run, allowing a league-high 6.2 yards per carry.

The Stampeders have allowed just 41 rushing attempts, a testament to their ability to take offences off their game, but if the REDBLACKS feed Powell early, it will open things up for Trevor Harris ($9,464) to rebound from his paltry 135-yard passing effort in the 24-14 loss two weeks ago. The weather won’t be as rainy and chilly as it was in the first meeting, which will also benefit Powell’s ability as a receiver. Only Winnipeg’s Andrew Harris ($7,855) has rivalled Powell’s production at the position, so expect another solid night of running from Powell, who also leads the league with three runs of better than 20 yards.

Sit: Terry Williams, RB, Stampeders, $4,842 Salary

Don Jackson put his Stamp (pun intended) on the starting role with an 84-yard, one-TD performance against the REDBLACKS in their first meeting and he remains a bargain at $5,000. That leaves Williams forced to rely on his return work to rack up Fantasy points. Williams had just 15 yards on four carries against Ottawa and is not a factor in the passing game, so while he has shown his potential as a return specialist, Fantasy players seeking to use Williams will have to bank on him either returning a punt/kickoff for a touchdown or getting a high volume of returns to get reasonable production out of him. Right now, that’s too risky, even in a week where finding a solid option at RB2 is more important than usual.

Toronto (1-2-0) at Edmonton (2-2-0)

Friday | 9:00 p.m. ET


Start: Kenny Stafford, WR, Eskimos, $4,634 Salary

Starting Derel Walker ($7,209) and Duke Williams ($6,186) is easy, yet Mike Reilly ($14,000) throws more than enough to make Stafford a great play this week. Stafford has pulled in 13 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown in his last two games and faces an Argonauts secondary allowing a league-high 310.7 yards per game. He’s also hit double digits in Fantasy points in three of his first four games, including a combined 36 FP in the last two weeks. The odds of the Eskimos scoring just one offensive touchdown a second straight game borders on slim to none and based on the way the Edmonton offence admitted they missed opportunities in Saturday’s loss, don’t count on that lightning striking twice. Plug Stafford in your lineup and watch the points pile up.

Sit: Armanti Edwards, WR, Argonauts, $3,863 Salary

James Franklin ($6,835) will have to step his game up to revive a Toronto passing game that’s averaging in 60 minutes (197 yards per game) what Ricky Ray usually does in a half of work. S.J. Green ($5,750) is risky as is, which makes the usually underrated Edwards less appealing. Edwards has just 10 catches for 117 yards and has only 11.2 FP in his last two games. The Argos are last in the league with a paltry 6.4 yards per pass completion and even with James Wilder Jr. ($8,002) looking dominant, that type of production won’t cut it. Toronto is also hurt by their inability to find a consistent third receiver that can take pressure off Green and Edwards; Llevi Noel ($2,500) showed signs of doing so last week, but another pedestrian-like effort from the passing game will only further weaken the value of Edwards.

Winnipeg (2-2-0) at BC (1-2-0)

Saturday | 10:00 PM

Start: Drew Wolitarsky, WR, Bombers, $2,500 Salary

Risky? Yeah, but follow along. Wolitarsky is catching passes at a 70 per cent rate, while three of his seven receptions have resulted in touchdowns. It will take some time for Matt Nichols ($7,563) to get him more involved, so why not do so against a Lions defence that is seventh in both opponent’s QB efficiency (96.1) and QBR (85.7)? BC will have their hands full as is attempting to contain Darvin Adams ($5,532) and Weston Dressler ($4,617). While Adarius Bowman ($3,674) continues to struggle, this is a great opportunity for Wolitarsky to step up and emerge as the third (OK, fourth if you count Andrew Harris) receiver that Winnipeg is seeking.

Sit: Jonathon Jennings, QB, Lions, $7,226 Salary

Cody Fajardo ($5,000) is the object that is closer to Jennings’ rearview mirror than he appears. Travis Lulay ($1,572) is progressing and should be game-ready by the end of July. Welcome to Jennings’ world – one that has seen the talented dual-threat continue to regress. After putting up a modest 15.6 Fantasy Points in Week 1, Jennings has produced all of 6.2 FP the last two games combined. Ouch. His struggles are the struggles of Bryan Burnham ($5,461) and Emmanuel Arceneaux ($4,086), both of whom have been ineffective. Saturday could be a make-or-break moment for Jennings, who looks less and less like the explosive young talent he was in 2016. Again, the talent is there, one Lions fans hope will return soon, like as in 7:00 PM Pacific on Saturday night.