November 9, 2018

Start vs. Sit: Trust in Mike Jones

The Canadian Press

Four teams. Six hours. Two trips on the line. One day. Welcome to Semi-Final Sunday, an afternoon that has turned many an obscure player into a national legend while carrying many a game-tested warrior into an off-season of heartache and despair.

The day also means an extension of the TSN CFL Fantasy football game that will provide a second chance at redemption for those who failed to see much prosperity during the previous 21 weeks of the regular season. BC visits Hamilton and Winnipeg travels to Saskatchewan for the chance to punch tickets to Ottawa and Calgary for next weekend’s Division Finals. That also means an extension of start/sit, and with high stakes, knowing who to plug into the lineup has added meaning.

Why waste time? Let’s go.

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BC (9-9-0) at Hamilton (8-10-0)

Sunday | 1:00 p.m. ET

Start: Mike Jones, WR, Tiger-Cats, $5,360 Salary

Sometimes, a hunch must be played. Jones is that hunch on Sunday and there are reasons behind it. For starters, Jones has been more involved in the Hamilton passing game since the loss of Brandon Banks ($12,721), catching 11 passes in the two games the Ticats have been without their primary game-altering presence. There’s also the memory of what Jones did against the Lions in a wild Week 15 slugfest when he caught three passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, finishing with an impressive 28.8 Fantasy points. For what it’s worth, he’s shown a tendency to step his game up against West teams, as three of his four 100-yard games this season have come against the Lions, Eskimos (Week 11) and Stampeders (Week 1).

Sit: Travis Lulay, QB, Lions, $5,966 Salary

Lulay’s four-TD performance in a Week 19 win over the Eskimos feels like Week 3 in the minds of Lions fans, as he comes into Sunday in a three-game skid that has seen him throw two interceptions in each contest. BC has shown quick-strike potential this season (36 completions of 30-plus yards) but in a Semi-Final week where production at the pivot will be a challenge, Lulay will be a tough call for Fantasy users. Aside from his game against Edmonton, Lulay has thrown for multiple majors just one other time (REDBLACKS, Week 6) in the regular season and has been held without a touchdown pass in three of his last five games. Running back Tyrell Sutton ($6,181) must get off to a strong start against the Ticats’ middle of the road run defence for Lulay to effectively get downfield shots to Bryan Burnham ($6,165) and DeVier Posey ($5,790). If not, those rolling the dice on Lulay could find themselves regretting the choice.

Winnipeg (10-8-0) at Saskatchewan (12-6-0)

Sunday | 4:30 p.m. ET

Start: Darvin Adams, WR, Blue Bombers, $7,176 Salary

Along with BC’s Burnham, Adams is the most consistent big-play threat available this week, tying for fifth in the league with nine receptions of better than 30 yards. Two of those came at the expense of the Riders, including a 72-yard touchdown catch in Winnipeg’s Week 19 win over Saskatchewan. In three games against them this season, Adams has eight catches for 187 yards and two majors, impressive numbers considering the Roughriders lead the league in fewest passing yards allowed per game (245.8). If there is a flaw in Saskatchewan’s defence, it’s an inability to stop deep shots downfield. The Riders allowed a league-high 48 completions on passes thrown 20-plus yards and are middle of the pack in passing majors allowed (25). Winnipeg pivot Matt Nichols ($6,811) has not been effective against Saskatchewan this season, but Fantasy users of Adams would only need Nichols to get the ball deep completed 2-3 times for the investment to pay off.

Sit: Zach Collaros, QB, Roughriders, $5,523 Salary

Nearly two months have passed since Collaros last threw a touchdown pass. That’s way too long, which is why banking on Collaros isn’t advised. The Roughriders managed only a league-low 11 passing touchdowns in the regular season – the same number of touchdowns scored by their defence. The offence was also eighth in the league with 100 two-and-outs a number that only adds more pressure to the D and a Saskatchewan running game that is second in the league. Winnipeg’s pass defence is second in pass efficiency to opposing quarterbacks and allowed only 15 passing majors in the regular season, so it’s difficult to envision Collaros — who exceeded 250 passing yards just four times — stepping up in a big way. Then again, the potential for him to do is what makes Semi-Final Sunday so special.