July 10, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Anticipating a breakout

Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca

Week 4 brought a number of upsets in the CFL, including floor games from highly projected players in Hamilton and BC, and some explosive performances from unlikely candidates.

Week 5 projects for some similarly explosive results from unexpected places.


Top Projected:

Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $12,234

Mike Reilly, BC – $12,287

Trevor Harris, EDM – $11,737

Punt Single:

Dominique Davis, OTT – $6,073

Despite Calgary’s defence icing the red-hot Cody Fajardo in Week 4, Jeremiah Masoli sits atop the projections in Week 5. Masoli and the Ticats’ passing attack lead the league in terms of passing yards per attempt by nearly a full yard over Saskatchewan and by almost two full yards over the league average (10.1). They also lead the league in total passing TDs (8) and are second in passing TDs per attempt. Calgary allowed 32 points in each of their first two games of the season, but their yardage rates were still almost identical to their dominant defence from 2018. Their rates allowed have come down even further following Week 4 and will provide the stiffest test the Tiger-Cats have faced this season.

The difference maker for Masoli will be his volume, as much of his stats bump comes from the Stampeders allowing 67 plays per game to opposing offences this season, but that is down from an average of 72 before Week 4. If that comes down closer to the league average of 61 in Week 5, Masoli’s projection would come down to Reilly and Harris levels.

Mike Reilly’s projections are still largely buoyed by his historic rates at this point as his passing rates this season have been much closer to what Travis Lulay and Jonathon Jennings offered rather than what Reilly accomplished in the past. The Lions passed for 7.5 yards per attempt in 2018 and are passing for 7.7 yards per attempt this year – far lower than the 8.9 Reilly put up in 2018 in Edmonton. The Lions are passing for the third fewest yards per attempt this year.

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The passing TD rates are also lower for BC so far this season than they were a year ago. The matchup versus Edmonton isn’t one to pick on either as they are allowing the third fewest yards per pass attempt this season (7). In their Week 2 matchup, the Eskimos sacked Reilly seven times as the Lions’ offence sputtered, making Reilly a difficult spend to justify this week.

Reilly’s replacement in Edmonton however has bloomed this season as Trevor Harris is averaging 8.5 yards per pass attempt while also passing for the second highest rate of passing TDs per attempt in the league. The Achilles heel of a Harris-led REDBLACKS offence in 2018 was bogging down in the red zone and settling for field goals at the highest rate in the CFL, and that curse showed up for the first time this season in Edmonton in Week 3 as the Eskimos settled for seven field goals despite compiling over 400 yards on offence. Their matchup with BC should prove to be a little bit easier than the one with Winnipeg, as the Lions have allowed the highest rate of passing TDs per attempt this season. Playing under the dome in BC out of the rain forecast everywhere else is also a boost to Harris’ value.

If Fantasy players are looking to go cheap at quarterback, Dominique Davis actually projects for the second highest score at the position this week in his matchup versus the Alouettes that are allowing 10.8 yards per pass attempt and an above average rate of passing TDs per attempt to opposing offences. Davis has been erratic this season with three rushing TDs and four interceptions in his first start, three passing TDs and no interceptions in his second, and no TDs with two interceptions last week versus Winnipeg. The Als are significantly more attractive matchup though and Davis projects for the most passing attempts of any QB this week. He’s a much more volatile option than the other top projected passers, but a nearly 50 per cent discount may make him worth the gamble for those with a higher appetite for risk.


Top Projected:

Andrew Harris, WPG – $9,427

William Stanback, MTL – $9,087

CJ Gable, EDM – $9,243

John White, BC – $6,951

Punt Single(s):

Ka’Deem Carey, CGY – $4,500

Andrew Harris has yet to have a game changing Fantasy performance this season, but he continues to be one of the most consistent investments in CFL Fantasy. The Bombers average the second most yards per carry this season (5.6) but the touchdowns haven’t come for Harris yet this season, as he has just one TD so far after compiling 11 a year ago. That may change this week in the matchup versus the Argos as they have allowed above average rates of TDs per attempt on the ground and through the air along with allowing the second most yards per carry to opposing offences (5.4). The price is still prohibitive but the matchup along with the values available elsewhere make him an interesting consideration.

William Stanback had been the most efficient RB in the league over the past season but rarely received enough volume to put up huge Fantasy performances. That all changed in Week 4 versus Hamilton when he received a career high 22 carries on his way to putting up 203 rushing yards and three TDs. The REDBLACKS however are allowing the third fewest rushing yards per attempt this season (4.3) and will make it difficult for Stanback to continue that kind of success. Working in Stanback’s favour though is the REDBLACKS’ league high rate of rushing touchdowns per attempt allowed to opposing offences. If Montreal intends to switch their offence to feature Stanback as they did in Week 4, he could certainly be the top scoring RB for a second week in a row.

CJ Gable has continued to receive elite levels of volume this season, leading the league with 60 carries in only three games compared to Powell’s 60 carries through four games. He should continue to get consistent work this week despite missing some practice time to injury, and the matchup with a league average rush defence in BC is nothing to be scared of. A price tag over $9,000 feels exorbitant with some of the values available at the position, but he’s still worthy of consideration given his consistent workload.


In the first two weeks of the season, John White received 16 total touches, but in the following two weeks his involvement in the offence tripled to 49 touches – one week is an anomaly but two weeks is the beginning of a trend. White is unlikely to get 20 carries again this week given Edmonton has allowed a league low 46.6 plays per game, but White should still be the focal point of the Lions offensive attack and provide decent value versus an Eskimos defence that allows the second most yards per carry to opposing offences (5.6).

The injury bug has brought on a slew of cheap RBs to the forefront this week as Don Jackson and Sean Thomas Erlington are expected to miss significant time. Carey showed some real elusiveness in his first CFL start versus Saskatchewan in Week 4, while Coombs filled in admirably in spot duty for Erlington versus Montreal. Coombs is still listed a WR in the player pool but is easily used as a flex as well for those slotting him as an RB.

Don Jackson had averaged just 2.8 yards per carry this season, but the combo of Carey and Williams managed to average nearly 6.8 yards per carry versus Saskatchewan, while adding a rushing TD as well. This week’s matchup versus Hamilton should prove to be quite beatable as well as they are coming off allowing over 200 yards rushing to Montreal in Week 4, bumping their season high rush yards allowed rate to 6.1 yards per carry. They have also allowed a league high six touchdowns on the ground this year making Carey an excellent value in Week 5.


Top Projected:

Brandon Banks, HAM – $14,000

RJ Harris, OTT – $6,453

Eric Rogers, CGY – $7,867

Greg Ellingson, EDM – $9,495

Bryan Burnham, BC – $7,768

Dominique Rhymes, OTT – $4,895

Luke Tasker, HAM – $9,377

Ricky Collins Jr., EDM – $5,617

Punt Single(s):

Anthony Coombs, HAM – $3,890

Lucky Whitehead, WPG – $3,500

Quan Bray, MTL – $2,500

Charles Nelson, WPG – $2,500

The Hamilton passing attack has been prolific in 2019 and that lands Banks on top of the WR projections again this week, but the matchup with Calgary isn’t one to take lightly. The Ticats lead the league with 10.1 yards per target in the passing game, while Banks himself is averaging 12.4 yards per target. The Stampeders however have allowed just 6.9 yards per target to opposing offences thus far. If players haven’t paid up for Banks to this point, this probably isn’t the week to start.

This same matchup makes Tasker an unlikely spend at the third highest salary at the position. Bralon Addison is also expected to return to action this week at a lower price point, but in his lone start this season with both Tasker and Banks in the lineup, he received only one target versus an average of seven targets per game without Tasker. This makes him a risky spend for different reasons. Jaelon Acklin had a breakout game in Week 4 with 26 Fantasy points, but the return of Addison will also likely hurt his potential volume of targets. As mentioned earlier, Anthony Coombs is expected to get the majority of touches at RB for Hamilton this week but is listed at WR in the player pool and is an excellent value despite the matchup.

At first glance, the REDBLACKS’ passing attack seems like an odd unit to target given its volatility this season, but the matchup versus Montreal makes it difficult to discount. RJ Harris has averaged 8.7 targets per game to this point and is third in the league in air yards per game (88) while being only twelfth in receiving yards (220) – the breakout game is probably coming. The Alouettes have allowed the second most yards per target this season (10.8) and have allowed an above average rate of receiving TDs per attempt as well. At this price, Harris is an excellent upside play as well as a value. Rhymes is even cheaper yet, while averaging the same 8.7 targets per game. His production has been more volatile however with one game over 33 Fantasy points but also one under two. Both receivers are excellent options this week while Brad Sinopoli seems to be the forgotten man in the passing game this season and is an overpriced contrarian option in Week 5.

Dominique Davis and the REDBLACKS are poised to break out against the Alouette defence (Patrick Doyle/CFL.ca)

Eric Rogers has four TDs over his past two games, but this week faces a Hamilton defence that has allowed just two receiving TDs this season. Hamilton has given up just 7.2 yards per target this season but has yet to face a dangerous passing attack as their four games are versus Saskatchewan, Toronto, and Montreal twice. Nick Arbuckle looked more than serviceable last week versus Saskatchewan, passing for 262 yards and a pair of scores, and that keeps Rogers worthy of consideration. Other Stampeders receivers such as Begelton and Ambles are likely overpriced given their relative upside.

The Eskimos passing game continued to rack up large amounts of yardage versus Winnipeg in Week 3 but failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 2019 after passing for three scores in each of their first two games. Edmonton has averaged 8.5 yards per target this season and the passing attack has been highly concentrated with all of Ellingson, Collins, and Stafford averaging near nine targets per game. The return of DaVaris Daniels this week will likely shake things up a bit as Natey Adjei will go to the bench and Stafford will shift to the field WR position. Daniels should likely soak up a large share of Stafford’s previous workload while Stafford is relegated to a complementary role in the attack. Ellingson is a difficult spend with a price tag over $9K but both Collins and Daniels should be great plays at significantly lower price points. The Lions defence has allowed about a league average level of yards per target but their 10 total receiving TDs allowed this season mean that Eskimos receivers should expect to get back in the end zone this week.

Fantasy players looking for cheap options at WR this week have a number of low-priced options with the potential for big games. Winnipeg has passed for the most TDs this season (8) despite having the fewest pass attempts in the league (82). Their matchup versus Toronto this week makes all the Bombers receivers worthy of consideration, but Lucky Whitehead’s combination of big play ability and a low price tag make him difficult to ignore. Charles Nelson may also get some opportunity in the passing attack this week along with his kick return duties due to the loss of Chris Matthews to injury, making him an interesting option at minimum price. Finally, Quan Bray was the unexpected recipient of 11 targets last week versus Hamilton. It’s unlikely that kind of workload continues, but at minimum price, he’s certainly worthy of consideration as well versus a REDBLACKS defence that is allowing 9.3 yards per target this season to opposing receivers.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $6,251

Ottawa REDBLACKS – $4,215

Montreal Alouettes – $3,843

Picking a Fantasy defence is a little more difficult this week than it has been at any other point this season as the Bombers would appear to be the best choice for success but are priced through the stratosphere at over $6K essentially keeping them out of consideration altogether. The Bombers have allowed just one TD this season while forcing a league high 10 turnovers. Toronto on the other hand has scored only three TDs this season and have given up a league high nine turnovers along with 11 sacks. The fact that Toronto averages just 12.7 points per game this season makes them that much more of a target if players can afford it.

The other two defences worth looking at face each other in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon. The REDBLACKS’ defence has allowed the third most points per game this season (32.7) but has managed to force eight turnovers as well, which keeps them interesting for Fantasy purposes. Montreal however has given up a league low four turnover to this point though and may limit the REDBLACKS’ upside. Montreal on the other hand has allowed a similar 34 points per game to opposing offences but may get the edge for Fantasy purposes as they have created the same eight turnovers this season, but Ottawa has also given up eight turnovers. Neither carry the upside of Winnipeg but both are much more affordable.


Jeremiah Masoli > Anthony Coombs, Jaelon Acklin

The return of Bralon Addison this week may dilute what has been a very condensed passing attack for the Ticats this season and makes stacking with Masoli a difficult task in their most difficult matchup so far this season. If players are going the Masoli route at QB, though, it may be wise to invest in the less expensive options and hope for a cheap touchdown.

Dominique Davis > RJ Harris, Dominique Rhymes

Dominique Davis is an inexpensive risk at QB and is easily paired in a double stack with Harris and Rhymes while still leaving plenty of salary for higher projected RBs. The matchup with the Als provides solid value as well as upside.

Trevor Harris > Ricky Collins

Collins has been Harris’s top targeted receiver so far this season and the matchup with BC should hopefully bring his first trip to the end zone this year. Collins is much more affordable as a stacking option than either Ellingson or Daniels.



Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Jeremiah MASOLI QB $12,234.00 HAM CGY 22.19 1.81 35.3 3
Dominique DAVIS QB $6,073.00 OTT MTL 21.6 3.56 38 3.9
Mike REILLY QB $12,287.00 BC EDM 20.83 1.7 32.6 5
Trevor HARRIS QB $11,737.00 EDM BC 20.79 1.77 35.8 4.7
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $5,729.00 CGY HAM 19.75 3.45 34.4 2
Matt NICHOLS QB $8,831.00 WPG TOR 18.37 2.08 28.6 1.05
Vernon ADAMS JR QB $7,000.00 MTL OTT 17.13 2.45 29 6.3
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $5,765.00 TOR WPG 14.15 2.46 36.6 2.2
Chris STREVELER QB $6,722.00 WPG TOR 7.48 1.11 1.1 4.3
Montell COZART QB $5,000.00 CGY HAM 1.21 0.24 0.8


Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Andrew HARRIS RB $9,427.00 WPG TOR 21.21 2.25 15.7 4.5
William STANBACK RB $9,087.00 MTL OTT 19.22 2.11 14.1 3.8
CJ GABLE RB $9,243.00 EDM BC 18.08 1.96 16 3.5
John WHITE RB $6,951.00 BC EDM 15.14 2.18 13 4.5
James WILDER JR RB $9,083.00 TOR WPG 14.93 1.64 10.8 6
Mossis MADU RB $6,370.00 OTT MTL 14.62 2.3 15.8 3.7
Ka’Deem CAREY RB $4,500.00 CGY HAM 12.13 2.7 11.3 3.2 0 0
Terry WILLIAMS RB $5,176.00 CGY HAM 11.2 2.16 3.8 0.8 5 3
Chris RAINEY RB $6,769.00 TOR WPG 10.87 1.61 3.5 2 5 3
Brandon RUTLEY RB $5,649.00 BC EDM 6.83 1.21 1.5 1.4 5 3
Martese JACKSON RB $3,600.00 EDM BC 6.11 1.7 0 0 5 3
Stefan LOGAN RB $2,722.00 MTL OTT 5.33 1.96 0 0 5 3
Jackson BENNETT RB $2,500.00 HAM CGY 1.28 0.51 2 0.5
Maleek IRONS RB $3,000.00 HAM CGY 1.15 0.38 2 0.5


Brandon BANKS WR $14,000.00 HAM CGY 20.88 1.49 0.5 9.2
RJ HARRIS WR $6,453.00 OTT MTL 16.64 2.58 0.15 8.7
Eric ROGERS WR $7,867.00 CGY HAM 16.23 2.06 0 8
Greg ELLINGSON WR $9,495.00 EDM BC 15.66 1.65 0 8.3
Bryan BURNHAM WR $7,768.00 BC EDM 15.18 1.95 0 8.1
Anthony COOMBS WR $3,890.00 HAM CGY 15 3.86 12.2 4.3
Dominique RHYMES WR $4,895.00 OTT MTL 14.94 3.05 0 8.6
Luke TASKER WR $9,377.00 HAM CGY 14.44 1.54 0 7
Ricky COLLINS WR $5,617.00 EDM BC 14.12 2.51 0 8.9
Darvin ADAMS WR $7,971.00 WPG TOR 14.02 1.76 0 6.1
Reginald BEGELTON WR $6,307.00 CGY HAM 13.37 2.12 0 6.4
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $3,500.00 WPG TOR 13.35 3.81 0.7 5.5 0 0
Lemar DURANT WR $6,620.00 BC EDM 13.04 1.97 0 6.8
Markeith AMBLES WR $5,716.00 CGY HAM 12.97 2.27 0 7.5
BJ CUNNINGHAM WR $5,894.00 MTL OTT 12.38 2.1 0.2 7.3
Quan BRAY WR $2,500.00 MTL OTT 12.36 4.94 0 7.9
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $5,619.00 WPG TOR 12.35 2.2 0 4.5
Bralon ADDISON WR $5,295.00 HAM CGY 12.34 2.33 0 5.9
Nic DEMSKI WR $6,353.00 WPG TOR 12.14 1.91 2.1 4.9
Llevi NOEL WR $5,772.00 TOR WPG 11.46 1.99 0 7
Duron CARTER WR $4,117.00 BC EDM 11.34 2.76 0 7.3
Charles NELSON WR $2,500.00 WPG TOR 10.94 4.37 0 2.4 5 3
Armanti EDWARDS WR $7,371.00 TOR WPG 10.67 1.45 0.2 6.3
Brad SINOPOLI WR $8,130.00 OTT MTL 10.66 1.31 0 6.3
DaVaris DANIELS WR $7,811.00 EDM BC 10.23 1.31 0 7.1
DeVier POSEY WR $6,365.00 MTL OTT 9.44 1.48 0 6.5
S.J. GREEN WR $6,356.00 TOR WPG 8.71 1.37 0 7.7
Derel WALKER WR $6,805.00 TOR WPG 8.64 1.27 0.2 4.3
Kenny STAFFORD WR $5,807.00 EDM BC 8.32 1.43 0 4.7
Caleb HOLLEY WR $3,106.00 OTT MTL 7.8 2.51 0 6.7
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 CGY HAM 6.93 2.77 0 3.9
Julian FEOLI GUDINO WR $3,612.00 OTT MTL 6.57 1.82 0 4
Richard SINDANI WR $2,500.00 CGY HAM 6.38 2.55 0 3.8
Tevaun SMITH WR $2,500.00 EDM BC 5.59 2.24 0 3.3
Mike JONES WR $4,369.00 HAM CGY 5.45 1.25 0.04 3.3
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,500.00 TOR WPG 3.98 1.59 0 3.3
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $2,658.00 BC EDM 3.4 1.28 0 2.2
Kenny LAWLER WR $2,500.00 WPG TOR 3 1.2 0 1.8
Jake WIENEKE WR $2,500.00 MTL OTT 2.88 1.15 0 2.5
Jevon COTTOY WR $2,500.00 BC EDM 2.73 1.09 0 2.3
Malcolm CARTER WR $2,500.00 MTL OTT 1.15 0.46 0 1