July 3, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Carter leads intriguing pride of Lions

Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca

Each week in this young season has brought about unexpected explosive performances from players like Ricky Collins, Kenny Stafford, Dominique Rhymes, and Lucky Whitehead.

This week provides Fantasy players with some enticing matchups to exploit as well with big names in big spots.


Top Projected:

Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $11,743

Mike Reilly, BC – $12,268

Punt Single(s):

Dominique Davis, OTT – $8,016

Cody Fajardo, SSK – $7,793

Jeremiah Masoli threw for over 300 yards while scoring multiple touchdowns, leading to a second straight week of 30 Fantasy point production. The only downside for his Fantasy owners was that this made him just the third highest scoring QB on the week as both Fajardo and Reilly surpassed his numbers. To this point, Masoli leads the CFL’s most powerful passing attack, averaging 10.6 yards per pass attempt with the highest rate of passing TDs per attempt by a wide margin. Consecutive matchups with Toronto and Montreal would help pad any QBs stats, but the road won’t be any more difficult this week as he draws Montreal again on the back end of a home and home series.

A stroll down narrative street has billboards up showing that it’s notoriously difficult to win both ends of a home and home series, but there’s no good mathematical reason to believe Masoli and the Ticats should struggle this week versus an Alouettes defence that has allowed 11.8 yards per pass attempt to opposing quarterbacks this season. The Tiger-Cats have the highest implied team total in Vegas odds this week at 34.5, making Masoli worthy of consideration even at this price point.

The other high priced QB worthy of consideration this week finally showed some semblance of the Fantasy star that he’d been for the past half a decade as Mike Reilly scored over 30 Fantasy points while getting his first rushing touchdown of the season. The big boon for Reilly and the Lions passing attack this week is a matchup versus the Toronto Argonauts, who have surrendered a whopping 12.8 yards per pass attempt this season along with the highest rate of passing TDs per attempt – nearly one in 10 pass plays versus the Argos goes for a touchdown at this point. The Lions’ passing game hasn’t made the massive strides forward this season that many expected from a Reilly led offence, averaging just 7.7 yards per pass attempt with a below average rate of passing TDs per attempt, but the Argos defence will likely be the elixir that returns his statistics to MOP form. The Lions have the only other implied team total over 30 this week, making Reilly’s lofty salary still worth the investment.

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If players aren’t paying up for the top two projected passers, their best option is likely to just drop down to two of the lower priced quarterbacks on the slate in either Dominique Davis or Cody Fajardo. Davis’s fantasy production has been consistently solid this season with games of 22 and 30 Fantasy points, but his play has been less consistent than his point totals as he averaged just 6.3 yards per pass attempt in Week 1 versus Calgary while throwing four interceptions. His Fantasy day was saved though with three scores on the ground. Week 2 brought a jump to 9.1 yards per pass attempt while throwing for three TDs, but the rushing TDs dried up. His Week 4 matchup with Winnipeg will be the stiffest test of his starting career to this point as they allow the second fewest yards per pass attempt to opposing QBs (7.19) and have allowed only one touchdown so far this season. This may be the week that neither passing nor rushing TDs materialize for Davis.

At first glance, Cody Fajardo’s matchup isn’t much more tantalizing as he faces the Calgary Stampeders, which have consistently been the top defence in the league over the past five years. 2019’s off-season changes haven’t changed their rates much – they’re giving up yards and TDs per pass attempt at nearly identical rates to 2018 – but they have struggled getting off the field, allowing a league high 72 plays per game to opposing offences. That coupled with the Riders’ increased volume on offence this season – up over eight plays per game from 2018 – makes Fajardo and the rest of the Riders passing attack reasonable options versus a defence still looking to find its identity this season. He may not put up 300 yards and multiple score for a third straight week, but at this price point, Fajardo is still a solid value.


Top Projected:

Sean Thomas Erlington, HAM – $6,589

Andrew Harris, WPG – $8,872

William Stanback, MTL – $6,488

Punt Single:

Terry Williams, CGY – $4,563

The pricing on many of the top backs this week keeps them out of consideration for Fantasy purposes, but thankfully there are a number of less expensive options for players that project for similar production. Sean Thomas Erlington didn’t have near the rushing production that many expected from him in last week’s matchup versus the Als, but his five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown more than made up for it. Montreal has allowed the most yards per carry so far this season (5.69), along with the third highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt, so Erlington should be able to find traction on the ground this week. His price is rising but he’s still one of the top values on the slate regardless of position.

Andrew Harris’s Week 3 was pretty disastrous as he rushed for just 34 yards on 10 carries with just two receptions for 17 yards versus an Eskimos defence that had allowed 5.84 yards per carry going into the game. Nic Demski’s rushing TD and two Harris fumbles only increased the frustrations for Harris owners. The Bombers are still averaging 6.49 yards per carry as a team (7.0 for Harris) but Ottawa is allowing just 4.1 yards per carry this season – third lowest in the CFL. With the added mouths to feed in the Winnipeg offence this season (Matthews and Whitehead), Harris’s elite volume in the passing attack has been down as well, making his price tag pretty difficult to justify.

Despite his high usage, Andrew Harris faces a difficult matchup against Ottawa (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

It’s rarely a good idea to roll out a running back from a team with the lowest implied team total on the slate (22), facing a defence allowing under five yards per carry, and that has given up the third fewest rushing TDs per attempt this season, yet, here we are. William Stanback has displayed elite efficiency this season, rushing for seven yards per carry with multiple carries over 20 yards already this year. That elite efficiency will have to continue though if he’s going to pay off his near $7K price tag in a return matchup with Hamilton. There are not many outs for him if things go poorly, so he’s still a risky play at this salary level.

Terry Williams is best known for his work in the return game, or for those with long memories, his lone start at RB in late 2017 in which he rushed for 156 yards on 16 carries versus Montreal. With Don Jackson out of the fold this week, Williams may be in line for the starting role but would likely surrender his kick return duties in that eventuality. The Stamps are averaging a CFL worst 3.04 yards per carry this season and face a Riders rushing defence that has allowed just 4.96 yards per carry so far, so it’s not as though Williams is a sure-fire fantasy dynamo even with his deflated salary. The potential loss of Bo Levi Mitchell would also hurt Williams’ value, as the entire offence would take a hit without him under centre. That said, a starting RB with pass catching ability on the road with a young QB getting the start is still a pretty interesting Fantasy prospect priced under $5K.


Top Projected:

Brandon Banks, HAM – $14,000

Bryan Burnham, BC – $7,385

Duron Carter, BC – $3,987

Eric Rogers, CGY – $7,366

BJ Cunningham, MTL – $5,903

RJ Harris, OTT – $5,584

Markeith Ambles, CGY – $5,682

Punt Single(s):

Lucky Whitehead, WPG – $3,500

Caleb Holley, OTT – $2,897

Marcus Tucker, HAM – $2,500

Jaelon Acklin, HAM – $2,500

Not much changes at the top of the receiver projections this week, as Hamilton again faces Montreal, and Brandon Banks continues to be the most outstanding player in the CFL even if receivers will never get their due. Banks projection dwarfs anyone else’s at the position – a full 30 per cent higher than even second place Bryan Burnham – but unfortunately his exorbitant salary generally keeps him outside of Fantasy consideration. Hamilton is the league’s most dangerous passing attack to this point and faces a Montreal defence again that is allowing 11.9 yards per target to opposing receivers. Banks is the player that Fantasy players want, but Tasker may be the player that Fantasy players have, as he comes in at a significant discount to Banks’ salary. It’s always risky using an expensive player in their first matchup following injury though so stacking the Hamilton passing game in this matchup just became a fair bit more complicated for Fantasy players.

Burnham and Carter were second and fourth in the receiver projections last week and both had reasonable weeks given their salaries, with each producing around three times their value. Last week’s matchup with Calgary though was significantly more challenging than their Week 4 track meet with Toronto is expected to be, as the Argos have allowed 12.8 yards per target and the highest rate of receiving TDs per target in the CFL to this point – both records they held in 2018 as well. Lemar Durant is worthy of some consideration as well as he continues his breakout season in BC after escaping from exile in the Stampeders field side WR spot the past number of years, but his fewer targets and increased salary over Carter make him a riskier option. The Lions’ passing game has yet to live up to expectations this season, but they may fulfill everyone’s pre-season dreams this week versus the Argos.

Eric Rogers broke the slate in Week 3, amassing 37 Fantasy points with nine receptions for 100 yards and three touchdowns while being the third most rostered WR on the slate – if you didn’t have Rogers, you were out of luck. His projection is certainly inflated due to that massive performance, but his situation this week should lead Fantasy players to proceed with caution. The Riders have allowed just 7.6 yards per target this season and the potential loss of Bo Levi Mitchell could put the whole offence back a bit. Nick Arbuckle looked solid in the Stamps’ late game comeback versus BC but starting a game on the road in Mosaic Stadium is a very different game environment. Rogers showed his potential upside last week, making him worthy of consideration, but the uncertainty surrounding the Calgary offence makes him a less than sure play. His teammate Markeith Ambles comes with a near $2K salary difference while still averaging 8.5 targets per game this season. Both receivers project as moderate values at best though.

Eric Rogers is coming off a three-touchdown performance in a Week 3 win over BC (Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca)

BJ Cunningham has averaged nine targets per game through his first two games this season as he has been Vernon Adams’ favourite target through much of their Als tenure together. His sub $6K salary makes him quite affordable with one of the most consistent workloads in the league this season, even if his chances of scoring TDs are relatively low given the Als overall offensive struggles. Hamilton has allowed just 7.1 yards per target this season, but even at those rates he could easily get seven receptions for 65 yards and produce a reasonable 2.5x value. He still possesses big play ability as well that could break a long TD at any point making him a solid consideration in Week 4 despite the low implied team total of 22.

If players are looking to go the Dominique Davis route at QB, RJ Harris has quietly been the most reliable target in the REDBLACKS offence this season with games of 14 and 16 Fantasy points. Dominique Rhymes was the receiver that stole the show in Week 2 with 11 receptions for 168 yards and a touchdown, but this came after a Week 1 performance of just one catch for eight yards. As mentioned earlier, Davis’s play has been inconsistent so far this season and Ottawa now faces a Winnipeg defence that has allowed the second fewest yards per target this season (7.19) along with only one receiving TD to this point. Harris is likely the safest bet of the REDBLACKS’ receiving corps with upside he hasn’t flashed yet this season. Caleb Holley is a punt option in REDBLACKS stacks that could produce big value on just one big play as well given his low salary and a career 13.5 yards per catch average.

If Fantasy players are looking for cheap options to fill out their lineups, there are a few players available that have either already shown immense upside or that have the chance to realize it in the near future. Lucky Whitehead’s 34.5 Fantasy point performance in Week 3 is what players had been hoping for in Week 1 after his exciting pre-season performance. Ottawa has allowed the third most receiving yards per target this season (8.7) and as he showed last week, all Whitehead needs is one opportunity to return immense value on his low $3,500 salary. Teammates Tucker and Acklin both had disappointing Fantasy days in their Week 3 matchup with Montreal, but both get the benefit of the same enticing matchup again in Week 4.


Top Projected:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $4,471

Saskatchewan Roughriders – $5,317

BC Lions – $3,200

The Tiger-Cats’ defence continues to put up solid Fantasy totals versus bad offences as they’ve had double digit points in back to back weeks versus Toronto and Montreal. The Week 4 rematch with Montreal should provide more of the same as they compiled six sacks and an interception while allowing only 10 points to the Als in Week 3. At a very affordable mid-tier salary, Hamilton will again be a top option on defence versus Vernon Adams and the struggling Alouettes’ offence.

The Roughriders finally showed some of their Fantasy potential in Week 3 as well, producing 12 Fantasy points on four sacks and two interceptions while allowing just seven points to Toronto. Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps offence could provide a more difficult test for the Riders defence, but Mitchell may not play on Saturday either. Nick Arbuckle looked solid in his short relief stint versus BC, but his college stats show he averages over one INT per game at that level, making the Riders an interesting, albeit expensive, option on defence.

If Fantasy players are looking for a pure punt option on defence, the Lions unit has not looked at all good this season, allowing over 33 points per game each week while scoring -1 Fantasy points at this juncture. However, the Argos offence has been equally bad this year and may provide the opportunity for multiple sacks and turnovers at minimum salary.


Mike Reilly > Bryan Burnham, Duron Carter, Lemar Durant

It’s likely that Mike Reilly has a big day versus Toronto and that at least two or three of Burnham, Carter and Durant are the main beneficiaries. At their depressed price tags, a double stack with any of the three is a solid stacking option.

Cody Fajardo > Shaq Evans, Kyran Moore

Cody Fajardo has outperformed almost everyone’s expectations in his first two starts for the Riders, but the Stampeders will be his toughest test thus far. Shaq Evans has been his favourite target thus far, while Moore flashed his big play potential with a 98 yard TD in Week 3.



Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Jeremiah MASOLI QB $11,743.00 HAM MTL 25.81 2.2 35.5 3.6
Mike REILLY QB $12,268.00 BC TOR 25.62 2.09 35.1 6.1
Dominique DAVIS QB $8,016.00 OTT WPG 20.79 2.59 36.8 5
Bo Levi MITCHELL QB $9,311.00 CGY SSK 19.55 2.1 34.6 1.3
Cody FAJARDO QB $7,793.00 SSK CGY 19.13 2.45 31.4 5
Vernon ADAMS JR QB $6,096.00 MTL HAM 16.85 2.76 28.6 6.5
Matt NICHOLS QB $7,843.00 WPG OTT 15.83 2.02 29 1.06
McLeod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $5,249.00 TOR BC 14.23 2.71 36.4 2.4
Chris STREVELER QB $5,548.00 WPG OTT 7.61 1.37 1.1 5.1
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $5,000.00 CGY SSK 1.66 0.33 1.1
Brandon BRIDGE QB $5,612.00 TOR BC 0.4 0.07 0 1.2


Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Sean THOMAS ERLINGTON RB $6,589.00 HAM MTL 23.3 3.54 15 4.9
Andrew HARRIS RB $8,872.00 WPG OTT 19.82 2.23 15.9 4.6
William STANBACK RB $6,488.00 MTL HAM 15.94 2.46 11.7 4.5
William POWELL RB $8,940.00 SSK CGY 15.23 1.7 14 4.3
Mossis MADU RB $6,600.00 OTT WPG 14.82 2.25 14.9 4.5
James WILDER JR RB $8,300.00 TOR BC 14.78 1.78 12.2 5.5
John WHITE RB $5,800.00 BC TOR 14.59 2.52 11.1 4.8
Terry WILLIAMS RB $4,563.00 CGY SSK 13.85 3.03 11.8 4.5
Marcus THIGPEN RB $5,378.00 SSK CGY 7.35 1.37 4.1 1.7
Brandon RUTLEY RB $5,401.00 BC TOR 7.3 1.35 1.6 1.3 5 3
Christion JONES RB $2,806.00 SSK CGY 7.2 2.56 0 0 5 3
Chris RAINEY RB $6,438.00 TOR BC 6.78 1.05 0 0 5 3
Stefan LOGAN RB $2,729.00 MTL HAM 5.28 1.94 0 0 5 3
Ryder STONE RB $2,500.00 MTL HAM 0.8 0.32 0.5 0.3
Maleek IRONS RB $2,500.00 HAM MTL 0.71 0.28 1.1 0.3


Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Brandon BANKS WR $14,000.00 HAM MTL 25.03 1.79 0.5 9.5
Bryan BURNHAM WR $7,385.00 BC TOR 19.03 2.58 0 9.2
Duron CARTER WR $3,987.00 BC TOR 17.3 4.34 0 9.2
Luke TASKER WR $8,984.00 HAM MTL 17.26 1.92 0 7.5
Eric ROGERS WR $7,366.00 CGY SSK 16.14 2.19 0 8.3
BJ CUNNINGHAM WR $5,903.00 MTL HAM 15.12 2.56 0.2 9.5
RJ HARRIS WR $5,584.00 OTT WPG 14.89 2.67 0.15 8
Markeith AMBLES WR $5,682.00 CGY SSK 13.93 2.45 0 8.1
Brad SINOPOLI WR $8,438.00 OTT WPG 13.54 1.6 0 8.1
Darvin ADAMS WR $7,336.00 WPG OTT 13.24 1.8 0 6.3
Lemar DURANT WR $5,159.00 BC TOR 12.42 2.41 0 6.3
Derel WALKER WR $7,310.00 TOR BC 12.17 1.66 0.2 5.5
Dominique RHYMES WR $4,078.00 OTT WPG 11.94 2.93 0 7.2
Armanti EDWARDS WR $6,883.00 TOR BC 11.76 1.71 0.2 6.9
Reginald BEGELTON WR $5,202.00 CGY SSK 11.62 2.23 0 6.1
Llevi NOEL WR $4,911.00 TOR BC 11.57 2.36 0 6.8
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $3,500.00 WPG OTT 10.79 3.08 0.5 5.1
Shaquelle EVANS WR $5,482.00 SSK CGY 10.4 1.9 0 7.1
S.J. GREEN WR $6,763.00 TOR BC 9.88 1.46 0 7.9
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $4,837.00 WPG OTT 9.86 2.04 0 4.2
Kyran MOORE WR $5,500.00 SSK CGY 9.81 1.78 0.2 5.4
DeVier POSEY WR $6,033.00 MTL HAM 9.44 1.57 0 6.5
Chris MATTHEWS WR $3,500.00 WPG OTT 9.35 2.67 0 5.1
Naaman ROOSEVELT WR $5,139.00 SSK CGY 9.31 1.81 0 6.9
Mike JONES WR $3,979.00 HAM MTL 7.74 1.95 0.04 4.2
Nic DEMSKI WR $5,449.00 WPG OTT 7.59 1.39 0.5 4.8
KD CANNON WR $2,500.00 SSK CGY 7.58 3.03 0 4
Caleb HOLLEY WR $2,897.00 OTT WPG 7.19 2.48 0 6.5
Marcus TUCKER WR $2,500.00 HAM MTL 7.01 2.8 0 4.5
Eugene LEWIS WR $5,751.00 MTL HAM 6.94 1.21 0.22 3.5
Ryan LANKFORD WR $4,401.00 OTT WPG 6.43 1.46 0.1 0 5 3
Richard SINDANI WR $2,500.00 CGY SSK 6.23 2.49 0 3.8
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 CGY SSK 5.69 2.28 0 3.5
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,500.00 TOR BC 4.67 1.87 0 3.8
Charles NELSON WR $2,500.00 WPG OTT 4.27 1.71 0 0 5 3
Seth COATE WR $2,500.00 OTT WPG 4.02 1.61 0 2.5
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $2,500.00 BC TOR 3.73 1.49 0 2.3
Cory WATSON WR $3,158.00 SSK CGY 3.72 1.18 0 2
Jake WIENEKE WR $2,500.00 MTL HAM 3.41 1.36 0 3
Jevon COTTOY WR $2,500.00 BC TOR 2.55 1.02 0 2
Malcolm CARTER WR $2,500.00 MTL HAM 1.48 0.59 0 1.3