- Free Agency
By the end of the season, we may look back on Week 15 as the beginning of Fantasy redemption or the final nail in the Fantasy coffin for a few low-priced former stars. Matt Nichols draws the ailing Alouettes while Duron Carter gets his shot at revenge with the Roughriders. The fates of pros and Fantasy players alike will all be known by late Saturday night.
Mike Reilly, EDM – $14,000
Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $11,054
Matt Nichols, WPG – $6,726
Reilly makes an expected resurgence to the top of the quarterback projections after Masoli had a disastrous Week 14 outing. Reilly leads the league in rushing touchdowns (11) and passing yards (3,943) and is second in passing touchdowns (26). That’s a dominant Fantasy weapon to have in lineups. Ottawa presents a below average matchup in terms of projected pace and yards per pass attempt allowed, but the REDBLACKS’ 18 total passing touchdowns allowed this season has them giving up touchdowns through the air at the third highest rate in the league. Ottawa has also allowed a league-high 16 rushing touchdowns, so it could be a big afternoon for the Eskimos offence on the scoreboard even if the yardage comes with diminished efficiency.
Masoli is likely to be without another two of his biggest weapons as both Alex Green and Brandon Banks are expected to miss this week’s contest. Their absence led to the Ticats’ offence bogging down versus Calgary last week, giving him his worst Fantasy performance of the season. The Lions present a little bit more positive matchup as they allow the second most plays per game to opposing offences (59). However, the Lions allow below average rates of yards per pass and rush as well as below average rates of touchdowns per pass and rush, which makes Masoli a risky play. If the loss of Jalen Saunders, Chris Williams, Banks, and Green weren’t enough to scare players off the Ticats offence, the matchup should certainly give players pause in considering Masoli in Week 15.
Like Masoli, Nichols is coming off his worst Fantasy performance of the 2018 season, but unlike Masoli, he finds himself in about as good a matchup as he could hope for to get back on track. Nichols has struggled this season, but the Alouettes are a great draw as they allow the most plays per game to opposing offences (62.8) along with the third most yards per pass attempt (8.61) and the second highest rate of passing touchdowns per attempt. The likely return of Weston Dressler this week should also be a boost to Nichols. If he’s going to turn his season around, this is the week to do it. At a deeply discounted rate to other starting quarterbacks, he presents one of the best values on the slate.
Andrew Harris, WPG – $7,666
William Powell, OTT – $8,991
James Wilder Jr., TOR – $8,172
William Stanback, MTL – $4,092
Harris has seen one of the sharpest slashes in salary this season following a disappointing Banjo Bowl outing that saw him finish with a meager 4.4 Fantasy points. With Green likely out for the Ticats this week, that propels Harris back to the top of the projections at the position. While he’s almost certain to outperform his 4.4-point stumble, the Alouettes defence may not be as terrible as their record would indicate. They allow a league low 4.87 yards per attempt, so Harris’s value will likely have to come through increased volume – which projections expect – and through work as a receiver. In their Week 2 matchup, the Bombers totaled 56 points, but Harris’ main Fantasy contributions were as a receiver with six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. The Als are most vulnerable through the air, so PPR scoring may be Harris’ edge this week.
Powell somewhat unexpectedly blew the doors off the Roughriders’ stout rush defence last weekend with long touchdown runs of 19 and 69 yards on his way to a 29.5 Fantasy Point performance. That was his fourth performance in his past five games with over 80 yards rushing as the REDBLACKS appear to have stabilized his workload. Edmonton allows the fewest plays to opposing offences on the slate however, so Powell will have to be efficient with the touches he gets. Thankfully, the Eskimos allow the second most yards per carry to opposing offences (5.71) and the highest rate of rushing touchdowns per attempt in the league so Powell should be able to make the most of his opportunities.
After being one of the most electrifying players in CFL Fantasy one year ago, it’s hard to get too excited about Wilder in the current version of the Argos’ offence. The Argos average the fewest yards per rush in the CFL (4.51), and Wilder himself is averaging only 4.7 yards per carry – a full 2.4 yards per attempt fewer than in his breakout 2017 season. Prior to last week the Riders presented one of the toughest matchups in the league for opposing rushers, but Powell’s explosion has bumped their yards per rush allowed to the third highest in the league (5.15). If the advent of Duron Carter breathes a bit more life into the Argos offence, this may be the turnaround Wilder needs, but he certainly represents a contrarian play at this salary level.
With Alex Green likely sidelined for the Ticats matchup with the Lions, John White should get the majority of the work in the Hamilton backfield. The Lions allow around a league average 5.14 yards per carry to opponents as well as a league average rate of rushing touchdowns per attempt. At only $4K though, White may be the best value at the RB position this week.
Stanback was not awe-inspiring in Week 14, but at this salary he doesn’t have to do much to be of great value. He received all but one of the carries out of the Alouettes’ backfield last week, so his workload should be predictable. Winnipeg allows the second fewest yards per carry on the slate (4.98) but they have allowed a league high 16 rushing touchdowns to this point, which is good for the second highest rate of rushing touchdowns per attempt in the league. If Stanback can catch a few passes and rush for 40-50 yards he’s a great value play this week.
Duke Williams, EDM – $8,396
Luke Tasker, HAM – $7,723
Diontae Spencer, OTT – $8,789
Greg Ellingson, OTT – $6,515
Brad Sinopoli, OTT – $6,563
Bryant Mitchell, EDM – $4,629
Darvin Adams, WPG – $6,350
DeVier Posey, BC – $4,194
Terrence Toliver, HAM – $4,463
Duron Carter, TOR – $3,530
Kenbrell Thompkins, WPG – $2,500
Kyran Moore, SSK – $2,500
Shaq Evans, SSK – $2,500
Williams is one for the few elite talents left at the receiver position not currently on injured reserve and even he had an injury scare in his last game. Williams is second in the league in targets (110), while leading in yards (1,235) and receiving TDs (9). With Derel Walker still sidelined, he is the focus of the top passing offence in the league. The REDBLACKS allow a below average 7.99 yards per target but allow the third highest rate of receiving touchdowns per attempt. Williams is the clear top receiver on the slate, without drawing the highest salary level, making him a priority spend. His teammate (Mitchell) has also been given regular playing time due to the loss of Walker and is another great receiving option versus Ottawa. Mitchell comes in at a very affordable mid-tier price, which makes the unfathomable option of an Eskimos double stack a real possibility for a team with the second highest implied total on the slate.
With all of Williams, Saunders, Banks, and Green likely on the shelf for this week’s matchup versus the Lions, there’s really few safer locks for eight-plus targets than Tasker. The Ticats offence had already become very condensed to Banks, Tasker, and Green in the previous few weeks and injuries will only further cement Tasker’s importance to his offence. As witnessed in the Calgary game, there becomes a law of diminishing returns for condensed offences as, at some point, the whole unit bogs down and increased volume cannot make up for decreased efficiency. Tasker may be the case study for that. The BC defence has been drastically improved over the past month – now allowing the fourth fewest yards per target and second lowest rate of receiving TDs per target on the slate – so unless Toliver, Rashad Lawrence, Mike Jones and company can improve their play it will be difficult for Tasker to make much of his increased opportunities.
The Ottawa trio of Spencer, Ellingson, and Sinopoli make up the next group in the projections. Of that group, Spencer and Ellingson certainly seem to be the most interesting options as Sinopoli’s torrid start to 2018 has faded in the second half of the season. Also, how many of the targets in the Ottawa offence condensed to this group as the REDBLACKS spent much of the past game in three or four-receiver sets to give Harris a clean pocket to work from versus the Riders pass rush. With the Edmonton rush only a little behind Saskatchewan in the sacks, Ottawa may use a similar approach which kept Rhymes off the field for much of the game. Edmonton allows the second most yards per target to opposing receivers on the slate and has allowed the most 30-plus yard plays in the league to this point (26), so the yardage totals should certainly be there for this group.
If players are planning to go the value route at QB with Nichols, then it makes sense to take some shots with Winnipeg receivers as well. Adams has been the most consistent target for Nichols during his Bombers tenure and he has an inviting matchup with Montreal that allows the third most yards per target and second most receiving touchdowns per target in the league. Dressler may also be a mid-tier option but, coming off injury, he carries a lot more risk than Adams.
Another mid-tier option that carries quite a bit of risk is Posey. His size makes him an excellent red zone option for a team that badly needs scoring threats in the passing game, but having Jonathon Jennings under centre holds down the projections for much of the offence. In three starts for the Lions this season, Jennings could not crack even 200 passing yards, making all the Lions receivers high-risk options. Posey’s price tag relative to his scoring ability makes him a consideration but certainly a volatile one, especially in a matchup with a Hamilton defence that allows the fewest yards per target on the slate.
Three of the four top options in the receiver bargain bin this week are essentially matchup plays. None of Thompkins, Moore or Evans have shown great consistency as receiving threats this season but they all get to face off against bottom three pass defences this week in Montreal and Toronto. Moore does have the added appeal of his kick return work with two return TDs in just three games. The other bargain receiver option is maybe the most unexpected member of the bargain bin this season as Carter has fallen all the way to the $3K range. Carter has the talent to be a $8,000 Fantasy receiver so his upside is immense if he gets a full workload versus his old team, the Roughriders. It’s a difficult matchup but when Carter is motivated he’s nearly matchup proof.
Saskatchewan Roughriders – $6,224
Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $5,076
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $3,575
The Riders defence had a down week versus the max-protect scheme of the REDBLACKS that had up to seven blockers on each play, slowing the pass rush to a standstill. Toronto has allowed the third fewest sacks in the league this season (20) which doesn’t seem like an appealing matchup, but they have given up a league high 29 turnovers which should give the Riders defence ample opportunities to turn in some big plays.
The Blue Bombers defence gets a bump this week as they face an Als offence that has allowed a league high 43 sacks and a similarly high 27 turnovers. The Bombers should be healthier across the board coming off the bye and will look to take advantage of Johnny Manziel’s turnover propensity on Saturday.
The Ticats come off a losing effort, but one in which they created two defensive touchdowns, will look to continue that effectiveness versus another turnover prone quarterback in Jennings. In Jennings’ three previous starts this season, he has a 3:2 interception to TD ratio making the Tiger-Cats a reasonable cheap defence option.
Reilly > Williams, Mitchell
It’s difficult to fit all three in a lineup but stacking either of these players with Reilly is a great base to work from in lineup construction this week. Mitchell especially leaves a lot of room to load up other positions.
Nichols > Adams, Harris
If Winnipeg is going to turn it around, this is the game to do it in and these are likely the three players to make it happen. With Nichols coming in so cheap there’s room to invest for another top WR or RB.
Zach Collaros > Moore, Shaq Evans
Collaros and the Riders offence have shown almost no signs of life to this point, but Toronto allows the most yards per pass attempt and the highest rate of touchdowns per pass attempt in the CFL. Going with a single stack of Collaros with either Moore or Evans at minimum price can create some intimidating lineups with the remaining salary.
|Name||Postion||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Pts/$||Pass Attempts||Rush Carries|
|Name||Postion||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Pts/$||Rush Carries||Receiving Targets||Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
|James WILDER JR.||RB||$8,172.00||TOR||SSK||14.88||1.82||12.70||4.50|
|John White IV||RB||$4,000.00||HAM||BC||13.05||3.26||11.80||2.90|
|Name||Postion||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Pts/$||Rush Carries||Receiving Targets||Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
|Ricky Collins Jr.||WR||$5,299.00||BC||HAM||8.80||1.66||0.00||6.10|