Oh, Happy Day (or Evening). The regular season has arrived, officially ending bragging rights for those who topped their 2018 pools in TSN CFL Fantasy Football Presented by Leo Vegas. A new campaign is here, so let’s move forward. After all, everyone is stuck with zero points until kickoff.
For a third straight season, Wednesday not only means the release of depth charts, but also the weekly Start/Sit column to help offer insight to help Fantasy users. There’s a surprise or two coming in the 2019 lid-lifter, a fact that shouldn’t come as news considering the number of new faces in new places that defined a memorable off-season.
Start: Marcus Thigpen, RB, Roughriders, $6,570 Salary
Saskatchewan’s best game-altering weapon led the league with 8.5 yards per carry last season and finished 15th in all-purpose yards (1,249) despite missing five games. Thigpen touched the ball a combined 105 times in 2018, but averaged 11.89 yards every time the ball was placed in his hands. He was his most dangerous as a kickoff return specialist, averaging 24.8 yards on 21 returns that included a 97-yard major at the expense of the REDBLACKS in Week 14.
William Powell ($8,916) will get the bulk of the offensive touches, yet Fantasy users can bank on the Riders finding a way to get Thigpen 6-8 touches as a change of pace back. Thigpen is a good RB2 option but may be best utilized as a Flex option.
No matter how bright the hazard lights flash, there will be those Fantasy users who will ignore them and invest more than a quarter of their salary cap on Masoli. Friendly word of advice: pay attention to the lights. The Roughriders defence clamped down on Masoli in consecutive games last season, holding the East All-Star to a combined 16.7 Fantasy points in Weeks 4 and 6. Masoli did not throw a touchdown in either game while throwing an interception in each.
Saskatchewan led the league in fewest passing yards per game (245.8) in 2018 and will also get a boost from their offence, which finished second in total possessions (259). That combination makes Masoli too risky to play and will have a ripple effect on his receiving corps. There obviously will be better days to start Masoli. Thursday just isn’t one of them.
Montreal at Edmonton
Friday | 9:00 p.m. ET
Start: Kenny Stafford, WR, Eskimos, $4,009 Salary
Stafford will be the third wheel behind DaVaris Daniels ($7,164) and Greg Ellingson ($6,718) yet will have favorable matchups that he and new pivot Trevor Harris ($8,689) can exploit. That Stafford can be a Fantasy-viable option was proven last season when he recorded double digit Fantasy points in four of his six games, including a 15.5 FP outing against the Alouettes in Week 7.
Montreal spent much of its off-season looking to revamp a defence that allowed a league-high 305 passing yards per game and 29 passing touchdowns, second only to the 35 allowed by the Argos. The Eskimos racked up 33 completions of better than 30 yards last season, second only to the Stamps’ 44, but look for Stafford to make a big play or two as a value play at WR2.
Sit: DeVier Posey, WR, Alouettes, $5,790 Salary
Yes, the Alouettes’ offence will be improved. Yes, Posey will be a contributor. However, it’s too early to go all-in on a new-look Montreal attack, so keep Posey on the sidelines. Expect Antonio Pipkin ($7,050) to test a suspect Edmonton run defence and entrust familiar faces like Eugene Lewis ($5,835) and William Stanback ($6,865). Posey was brought in to help take the top off the defence, but keep in mind that the Alouettes were eighth in completed passes of 20-plus yards in depth. Pipkin was just 7 for 23 (30.4 per cent) in that category. Long story short: Posey needs time to establish himself.
DeVier Posey could become a big factor in Montreal, but for now it’s best to wait (MontrealAlouettes.com)
Ottawa at Calgary
Saturday | 7:00 p.m. ET
Start: Juwan Brescacin, WR, Stampeders, $3,301
Brescacin is on the verge of becoming the next star receiver in the league, showing flashes of his potential in a three-game stretch late last season where he averaged 15.7 Fantasy points per game. He did a fourth game of double digit production at the expense of the REDBLACKS when he put up 13.6 FP in a Week 5 win. Brescacin had 35 receptions in the regular season but eight were for 30-plus yards. It can be argued that Reggie Begelton ($4,582) is also set for a breakout, but we like Brescacin against an Ottawa defence that was seventh in passing yards allowed (275.2).
Sit: Mossis Madu, RB, REDBLACKS, $5,984 Salary
Madu opens the season as the lead back in Ottawa, but don’t be the Fantasy user who starts Madu against all odds. The Stampeders allowed just 86.5 rushing yards per game last season and held opponents to just 4.8 yards per carry. Even with William Powell finishing second in the league in rushing in 2018, the REDBLACKS were last in rushing yards per game (94) and yards per carry (4.7). Can you see where this is heading? If not, just know there won’t be a happy ending if Madu is in your lineup.
Winnipeg at BC
Saturday | 10:00 p.m. ET
Start: Darvin Adams, WR, Blue Bombers, $7,176 Salary
Our top-rated receiver for Week 1 will benefit from the presence of newcomer Chris Matthews ($3,500) and (perhaps) a more aggressive Winnipeg passing attack. The Lions were second in the league in passing yards allowed (247.2) but were vulnerable to deep passes, allowing 45 completions on passes of 20-plus yards in depth. That plays right into Adams’ strength, as he finished second to Hamilton’s Brandon Banks in average depth per reception at 16.7 yards and recorded nine receptions of better than 30 yards. Should this game become high-scoring, Adams will have a hand or two in it.
Sit: Brandon Rutley, RB, Lions, $4,975 Salary
The BC backfield is a Running Back by Committee waiting to happen. John White ($4,686) started the pre-season finale, but Rutley had five carries for 25 yards and two receptions for 23 yards. It’s a coin toss as to who gets the start on Saturday night, yet regardless as to who gets the nod, the other back will see his share of touches. There’s also the prospect of Wayne Moore ($2,500) stealing a carry or two. The Lions, who finished eighth in rushing yards (94.4) last season, should improve that total, but if it takes a village to do so, Fantasy users will not benefit.
Fantasy analysis right to your inbox. Get advice on who to start, who to sit and more!