As usual, Saturday’s cutdown day presented its share of surprises as a host of talent was released. Let’s take a look at how the day will impact Fantasy users prior to Thursday’s regular season opener.
Two years ago, Brandon Bridge appeared to be on the verge of stardom. Now he’s looking for a new opportunity after the Argonauts chose rookie Michael O’Connor to serve as the third pivot behind James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Bridge is still one of the most gifted quarterbacks and there’s no reason to think he won’t find a new home at some point this season. As for Franklin, Fantasy users are banking on him to become a more efficient passer after he threw just eight majors and failed to record a 300-yard game last season.
We’re Just Talking About Practice (For Now)
Keep an eye on running back Jamal Morrow, who made the Roughriders’ practice roster. The rookie from Washington State ended the pre-season with three carries for 21 yards and added two receptions for 24 yards in the loss to the Blue Bombers on Friday. Morrow could emerge as one of the best pass-catching backs in the league, having reeled in 202 passes in his time with the Cougars. William Powell is the undisputed lead back in Riderville and will be a popular choice among Fantasy users, yet if Powell were to go down, Morrow might become an intriguing way to invest $2,500 on a weekly lineup.
A pair of surprise releases altered the Blue Bombers receiving corps. Promising wideouts Rashaun Simonise and Cory Washington were sent packing in due part to the play of former Dallas Cowboys receiver/return specialist Lucky Whitehead, who turned a short pass from Matt Nichols into an 86-yard major in Friday’s pre-season win at Saskatchewan. The same can also be said for Kenny Walker, who caught an 86-yard touchdown from Bryan Bennett. Whitehead could become a sleeper as a Flex option, especially if the Blue Bombers entrust him with full-time return duties. Walker won’t have a lot of Fantasy value, but his speed will make defences respect him, which opens the door for Darvin Adams, Chris Matthews and Drew Wolitarsky to see favorable matchups.
It Couldn’t Hurt to Try, Right?
Brandon Rutley will be the lead back in BC, but Wayne Moore used the pre-season to show that he could be more than just a special teams ace. Moore, who had just four carries last season, had five carries for 24 yards and a major and added a three-yard touchdown catch in Friday’s pre-season finale against the Stampeders. Rutley does have a checkered injury history, a factor that could lead the 220-pound Moore to snatch carries away from both Rutley and the equally injury-prone John White.
Juwan to Watch
Stamps receiver Juwan Brescacin is in position to do what former Eskimos receivers Brandon Zylstra and D’haquille Williams did in each of the past two seasons: breakout and become a West All-Star. Brescacin pulled in three passes for 69 yards and scored in Calgary’s pre-season finale against the Lions and is set to become Bo Levi Mitchell’s go-to target. With West All-Star Kamar Jorden out until mid-season, Brescacin will have ample opportunities to develop into the type of receiver that Fantasy users will flock to. At just $3,301 in TSN CFL Fantasy, Brescacin is going to be a heck of a bargain.
Juwan Brescacin is in a position to succeed for the Stamps in 2019 (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)
Caring is Sharing
The Tiger-Cats finally sorted out their jumbled running back situation and appear set to have Cameron Marshall as the lead runner in Thursday’s regular season opener against the Roughriders. However, expect to see a lot of Sean Thomas-Erlington as well, which could make Hamilton’s backfield a horrible (for Fantasy) running back by committee. Fantasy users should see how this plays out because there’s always the chance the Ticats could find another free agent back to make the backfield a mess.
Joshua Stangby made the Eskimos roster, giving him a chance to reset what was a promising career before failing to make an impact in 2018. Stangby caught 41 passes and four touchdowns with the REDBLACKS in 2017 and will provide Edmonton a much-needed big-play element to its return game after the Eskimos had league lows in both punt returns (7.1) and kickoff returns (18.1) last season. If Stangby can also work his way into into the receiving rotation, he could rank among the league’s top performers in all-purpose yards.
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