November 16, 2018

Semi-Final Fantasy Recap: Lions fall into a cat trap

Johany Jutras, CFL.ca

Semi-Final Sunday saw familiar names atop the TSN CFL Fantasy football standings while a surprise name or two also rewarded Fantasy users with solid performances. Of course, there were also a few solid regular season producers whose Sundays were as cold as the game-time weather.

The One and Only: Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli did not disappoint his 5,101 users, as the East All-Star put up 23.3 Fantasy points in the Ticats’ 48-8 win over BC in the East Semi-Final. Masoli did almost all his damage in the first half on his way to throwing for 259 yards and three touchdowns as Hamilton took a 28-0 lead at intermission and never looked back.

Fantasy Analysis: It shouldn’t have been a shock that Masoli was the most-used pivot in Semi-Final Sunday. Whether Fantasy users believe in him for Sunday’s East Final at Ottawa depends on how to view his stats against the REDBLACKS. In three regular season games this year, Masoli has averaged 312.3 yards while throwing four touchdown passes. He’s also thrown four interceptions, meaning his high salary could become an issue for those feeling uneasy about Masoli.

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Bus #33 Does Run on Sunday: Winnipeg ran its way to the West Final on the strength of Andrew Harris’ 153 yards in Sunday’s 23-18 win over Saskatchewan in the West Semi-Final. Harris, who was held to just 57 yards in his last two games against the Roughriders, averaged 8.1 yards per carry on his 19 attempts and scored what proved to be the game-clinching touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Fantasy Analysis: The most-used player on Semi-Final Sunday, Harris made true believers out of his 5,251 users (along with a few disappointed Riders fans) who had faith the two-time rushing champion would bring his game to another level. He will face an even tougher run defence in the form of the Stampeders in Sunday’s West Final. Those considering running with Harris again will need him to be more involved in the passing game, as he rushed for only 99 yards on 22 carries (4.5 yards per attempt) in two regular-season games against the West Division champs. However, he did record 11 catches for 95 yards versus the Stamps, a number to keep in mind.

A Failed Marshall Plan: Only Harris and Masoli garnered more users than Saskatchewan’s Cameron Marshall, who ran for only 14 yards on seven carries against a Blue Bombers defence that allowed a mere 232 yards of offence. Marshall could not change the game with his pass catching, either, as he managed only one catch for six yards.

Fantasy Analysis: That meant 4,729 Fantasy users had their hopes dashed. Take away the 86 rushing yards from quarterback Brandon Bridge and the Roughriders produced 47 yards on the ground, a big letdown from a team who had relied on its running game all season. With Bridge unable to generate a consistent passing game, Winnipeg was able to sit on the run, resulting in a frustrating afternoon for Marshall.

Anything but Beginners’ Luck: Only 675 users had Hamilton’s Bralon Addison in their lineups, who proceeded to make them look good as he caught five passes for 124 yards in the win over BC. His 17.4 Fantasy points ranked him fifth overall, not shabby totals for someone playing in only his fifth game in the league.

Fantasy Analysis: Expected to return to the practice roster after catching seven passes for 103 yards and a major in the regular season finale against Montreal, Addison’s surprise start caught some off-guard. He’s quickly gained the trust of Masoli and remains a bargain play worth pursuing against the REDBLACKS in the East Final.

Drew Of the End Zone: Ranked 22nd in usage (just three spots above Addison), Winnipeg’s Drew Wolitarsky delivered 17.8 Fantasy points in the win over Saskatchewan. Wolitarsky scored the go-ahead score when he caught a 20-yard major from Matt Nichols in the second quarter and finished with five catches for 68 yards.

Fantasy Analysis: The second-year receiver could be a name to consider for Fantasy users who like to gamble. In two games against the Stampeders, Wolitarsky has nine catches for 170 yards and a touchdown. If Nichols continues to feed him targets, Wolitarsky could be a difference-maker this Sunday.

Not How They Planned It: BC quarterback Travis Lulay produced only 2.1 Fantasy points in the loss to Hamilton, throwing his seventh interception in his last four games before being replaced by Jonathon Jennings in the third quarter. While receivers Ricky Collins (14.5 Fantasy points) and Shaquille Johnson (11.6) crossed double figures, the production was a hollow ending to the season and to the career of coach Wally Buono.

Fantasy Analysis: Once the floodgates opened in the second quarter, the Lions were forced to play into the hands of the league’s top pass defence in yards allowed per game. Even an in-his-prime Lulay wouldn’t have been able to achieve that heavy a lift required to get BC back into the game. With the run game all but abandoned, Tyrell Sutton (8.3 FP) was unable to be as involved in the game as originally planned.

Defenders Are People, Too: As was their theme throughout the regular season, the Roughriders relied on defence and special teams to keep themselves alive against the Bombers. Defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy put up 7.2 Fantasy points for his work as a return specialist, while defensive back/short yardage pivot Nick Marshall’s touchdown run gave him 6.2 FP.

Fantasy Analysis: Not much to analyze here. Consider it a fun fact.