July 3, 2019

CFL Fantasy Podcast, Ep. 32: Better to be Lucky

Jason Halstead/CFL.ca

TORONTO — Sample size can be difficult to deal with when it comes to TSN CFL Fantasy.

A breakout star has the potential to provide significant return on investment before his price goes up, such as last season when Duke Williams provided salary relief as a productive, low-cost option before his salary eventually skyrocketed.

Other times, however, we are teased by one-off, ‘flash in the pan’ performances. A player goes off for 30 points, catches the attention of the Fantasy world and then isn’t heard from for weeks.

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This week, Fantasy players must consider whether Bombers speedster Lucky Whitehead is primed to repeat his seven-catch, 155-yard, two-touchdown performance in a win over the Edmonton Eskimos in Week 3.

“We’ve seen situations like this before, where a guy will pop and go off for a crazy week and then disappear again for four or five weeks,” said Pat Steinberg. “The thing with Whitehead is even though he’s gone up $1,000 from one week to the next, he’s still at $3,500 so you’re still getting insane value even if he doesn’t go off for two 40-plus yard touchdowns in a game.

“If you’re looking for bargain buys, I think Whitehead’s got to be in the conversation each and every week. I don’t think we’re talking about a flash in the pan. Talent like that, speed like that, he’s going to be a factor. The thing in Winnipeg is they’ve got a very deep group of receivers so we’ll see how that pans out.”

Hannah Nordman and Jeff Krever joined Pat to debate on this week’s CFL Fantasy Podcast presented by LeoVegas:

The Bombers opted to keep Whitehead in their lineup last week despite the return of Chris Matthews, who was a popular pick among fans in Week 3. The move paid off for Winnipeg, as the first-year pass-catcher hauled in two highlight-reel touchdowns, including a 41-yard dash on a screen to the flat.

Despite Whitehead having just two career games to his name, Fantasy players are buying in for this week’s matchup against the REDBLACKS. Whitehead is the second-most chosen receiver so far and the fourth overall heading into Week 4.

“He’s too talented for that to be a one-time thing,” said Nordman. “He made something out of nothing. That 41-yard touchdown probably wouldn’t have been a touchdown with many other people.”

While talent isn’t a concern, volume might be. Whitehead had a team-high seven targets in Week 3 despite the Bombers running just 41 offensive plays, including 21 passing attempts. That means the shifty receiver was targeted on a third of Nichols’ throws, a rate that isn’t likely sustainable.

“Are there enough footballs to go around for him to get those targets consistently? Because Matt Nichols has 54 passing attempts through two games, that’s 27 targets per game, and there are a lot of mouths to feed in Winnipeg,” said Krever. “That ball has got to get around to a lot of people. Does Lucky Whitehead suddenly become the top target in that offence?”

“Yeah, you don’t know how many times he’s going to get the ball,” said Nordman. “He was the most targeted guy, seven targets, and that’s not always going to be the case.

“That’s why I feel good about picking the lower-priced guys,” she added. “If he doesn’t pan out, you aren’t completely blowing your week. I don’t feel good about putting a Darvin Adams or a Wolitarsky or a Demski, but . . . I’ll roll the dice on a $3,500 guy with a massive ceiling. I have no problem with that.”

From the emergence of Cody Fajardo to Bo Levi Mitchell’s injury, the podcast trio debate all of the biggest topics in Fantasy going into Week 4.