July 18, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Can Carter finally break out?

Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca

With most of the week’s top options at QB priced well below average, Fantasy players should have plenty of salary to spend up for some of the other top options at RB and WR.

Playing the best players and avoiding the allure of riskier, inexpensive options may be the key to success in Week 6.

QUARTERBACK

Top Projected:

Trevor Harris, EDM – $11,761

Nick Arbuckle, CGY – $6,145

Cody Fajardo, SSK – $5,747

The top spot in the weekly Fantasy projections has been a neck and neck battle between Masoli and Harris all season, and with Masoli on bye, Harris is far and away the top projected passer on the slate. Harris doesn’t look to be affected by a lower body injury sustained in Week 5 and leads an Eskimos passing attack that is second in the league in passing yards (1,362), fourth in yards per attempt (8.77), and third in passing TDs per attempt.

The Alouettes have been quite beatable through the air all season, allowing the most total passing yards along with the second most yards per pass attempt (9.95). Volume should also be very reliable this week as the Eskimos run the most offensive plays per game (65.8) while Montreal allows the second most plays per game (62.5). Harris’s price tag is prohibitive given the salaries of the rest of the top projected passers this week, but he is far and away the most reliable option at QB in Week 6.

After Harris, things get a little dicier as the next quarterbacks in the projections are much less proven commodities and inherently carry more risk. Nick Arbuckle has looked more than adequate as a replacement for Bo Levi Mitchell in his two starts versus Saskatchewan and Hamilton, passing for 630 yards, two TDs, and zero interceptions. The bonus for him this week is a matchup with the Argos pass defence that has allowed a league high 10.7 yards per pass attempt along with the highest rate of passing TDs per attempt this season – nearly 60 per cent higher than the league average. Calgary is also running the second highest percentage of pass plays per game so far (68%), so Arbuckle should get plenty of opportunities to gash the boatmen’s sails.


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Although they have a similar number of starts, and he has shown a higher ceiling to this point, Cody Fajardo carries a fair bit more risk than Arbuckle, as he is playing on a much shorter leash. No one is worried that Montell Cozart will enter the game if Arbuckle starts slow, but Fajardo has already been replaced by Isaac Harker twice in four games this season. Despite this, the Riders have averaged the second most yards per pass attempt this season (9.23) and face a Lions defence that has given up the second most total passing yards this season (1,402) despite allowing a lower than average rate of yards per attempt (8.19).

What really bumps up Fajardo’s projections are his goal line carries, and BC’s allowing a league high 12 TDs through the air this season – the second highest rate of passing TDs per attempt in the CFL. Fajardo’s points total could fall anywhere between four and 40 Fantasy points this week within the realm of realistic expectations.

RUNNING BACK

Top Projected:

Andrew Harris, WPG – $9,674

C.J. Gable, EDM – $8,435

William Stanback, MTL – $8,691

Punt Single:

Terry Williams, CGY – $5,009

Ka’Deem Carey, CGY – $4,500

John Crockett, OTT – $3,500

The Blue Bombers are again double digit favourites this week, meaning that Andrew Harris should expect to get a large workload in the second half, taking the air out of the ball and grinding down the clock. Rise and grind and play nearly $10K Andrew Harris. Harris is averaging 6.5 yards per carry this season – well above his 2018 level of 5.8 – but faces a REDBLACKS defence that is allowing just 4.66 yards per carry this season. Harris’s points may not come by efficiency, but he should get more than enough volume to make up for it. What really boosts Harris’s projection is that Ottawa is allowing the highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt this season, at nearly one TD per 10 carries. The issue for Harris will be if Streveler vultures one or more of those opportunities at the goal line.

CJ Gable is still priced up in the elite tier of RBs but savings of more than $1,200 versus in salary versus Andrew Harris is nothing to scoff at. After a relatively low usage rate in 2018, Gable leads the league with 79 carries this season – nearly 20 per game. The Alouettes have allowed the third most yards per carry this season (5.49) along with the highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt, so Gable may finally get in the end zone on the ground this week in Montreal. Edmonton’s league high 65.8 plays per game versus an Alouettes defence allowing the second most plays per game to opposing offences only further goes to make Gable the safest play at the position in Week 6.

It’s hard to believe that a player getting over 100 yards rushing in a game could be a Fantasy disappointment, but that’s exactly what happened with William Stanback in Week 5. Stanback carried the ball 18 times for 100 yards and amassed only 10 Fantasy points as he didn’t garner a single reception in the game and QB Vernon Adams took all the carries in the red zone. Stanback has seen an uptick in volume the past couple weeks versus Hamilton and Ottawa but that is likely to be severely diminished versus an Eskimos defence allowing a league low 45.5 plays per game to opposing offences – well below the league average of 57.6. Stanback has the speed to take any play for a TD but he will need a big play or two, while keeping Adams from taking his red zone carries, if he’s to reach value at nearly $9K.

Volume could be an issue for Als running back William Stanback against Edmonton (The Canadian Press)

There are a few cheaper RBs worth noting this week – two of them due to their matchup and one of them expected to get his first CFL start. Carey and Williams have been in a pretty unpredictable time share in the Stampeders backfield since Don Jackson was put on the six game injured list. Versus Saskatchewan, Carey had 13 carries and two receptions, while Williams had five carries without a catch in the passing game. In Week 5, however, the Stamps abandoned the run almost completely, limiting Carey to just four touches, while Williams had five carries and a reception. It’s wise to have a lot of exposure to the Calgary offence this week through the air and on the ground as Toronto is giving up the most yards per carry this season (6.07). Williams is likely the safer play as he has the added bonus of return yards to shore up his floor. Toronto has allowed the most yards per kick return this season (33.8), the most big play returns (6), and has already given up two kick return TDs in four games.

John Crockett on the other hand is expected to start over Mossis Madu this week for Ottawa but finds himself in a much less enviable position than the Calgary platoon. The REDBLACKS are averaging just 4.6 yards per carry this season and face a Winnipeg defence allowing the second fewest yards per carry to opposing teams (4.02). They also have yet to allow a rushing TD this season while giving up just four total TDs in four games. Ottawa is also expected to make a change at QB this week, moving to Jonathon Jennings behind centre, making Crockett’s prospects that much murkier. Crockett will likely be highly used this week by Fantasy players due to his salary, but he is also a high risk to bust even at his low tag. His predecessor, Madu, managed just six carries for 18 yards and 1.8 Fantasy points in Week 4 versus Winnipeg.

WIDE RECEIVER

Top Projected:

Eric Rogers, CGY – $7,823

Reggie Begelton, CGY – $6,834

Derel Walker, TOR – $7,977

Greg Ellingson, EDM – $9,083

Lucky Whitehead, WPG – $4,357

RJ Harris, OTT – $6,469

Bryan Burnham, BC – $7,409

DaVaris Daniels, EDM – $7,902

Ricky Collins, EDM – $5,302

Darvin Adams, WPG – $7,516

Punt Single(s):

Quan Bray, MTL – $3,500

Duron Carter, BC – $3,975

Juwan Brescacin, CGY – $3,127

Michael Klukas, CGY – $2,500

As mentioned earlier, it’s wise to get a lot of exposure to the Stampeders offence this week both through the air and on the ground. Accordingly, Eric Rogers and Reggie Begelton sit atop the WR projections in Week 6. Rogers gets the highest market share of targets in Calgary, but Begelton has been more efficient with the looks that he’s been given. Rogers, though, has a higher percentage of red zone targets. The Stampeders offence has averaged the third most yards per target this season (8.77) and faces a Toronto defence allowing the highest rate of any team in that regard (10.7). After Rogers and Begelton, Ambles is more of a contrarian option as he has averaged just over four targets per game apart for a Week 3 explosion in which he garnered 12.

Derel Walker was indeed let loose in Week 5. After receiving just 13 targets through his first four games with the double blue, he got another 13 targets in Week 5 alone. Walker exploded or nine receptions, 188 yards, and two TDs versus one of the top defences in the CFL. Walker has the highest average depth of target (aDOT) among active WRs this season (14.9) and the third most air yards per game. Unfortunately for him, his Week 6 matchup is versus one of the few defences even better than Winnipeg, as Calgary allows a league low 6.64 yards per target and the third lowest rate of TDs per pass attempt this year, making Walker more of a contrarian option at near $8K. His teammate, Armanti Edwards, has similar underlying numbers but is also a very contrarian option over $7K. The one thing working in both receivers favour is that Toronto will likely be playing from behind and having to air out the ball most of the game versus a Stampeders defence allowing the most plays per game to opposing offences in 2019 (65).

Greg Ellingson leads an Edmonton receiving corps that went for 447 yards receiving in Week 1 versus Montreal. That game was primarily the Stafford/Collins show, but targets have normalized somewhat since then. Ellingson has averaged 8.5 targets per game this season and faces an Alouettes defence allowing the second most yards per target to opposing offences (9.95). Ricky Collins still leads the team in targets per game, though at a much lower price point as he has yet to find the end zone in 2019. DaVaris Daniels had a serviceable performance in his first start for the Eskimos this season, compiling 15.3 Fantasy points on four receptions for 53 yards and a TD. All three of these WRs are worthy of consideration this week but Ellingson is tougher to justify given his salary over $9K. Players hoping Kenny Stafford repeats his Week 1 outburst of 28.8 Fantasy points should note he’s been exiled to the field WR position and his targets will likely be cut in half from his early season workload.

Greg Ellingson continues to be a top target for Trevor Harris this season (Esks.com)

Lucky Whitehead had another huge game in Week 5, amassing six receptions, 65 yards from scrimmage, and 134 return yards including a touchdown. He missed practice on Tuesday however, so Fantasy players will have to keep an eye on his status. Whitehead’s early season breakout has left Darvin Adams a somewhat forgotten man in Winnipeg, but he’s likely to still lead the team in targets versus the REDBLACKS, who have allowed the third most yards per target this season (9.67). Whitehead is still priced well below his value, but Adams’ salary continues to be buoyed by historical rates as he has yet to crack 75 receiving yards in any game this season. If Whitehead is out this week, Adams could be the main beneficiary.

RJ Harris came up just short of the end zone twice versus Montreal in Week 5 and as such, turned in another reliable but not game breaking performance. Harris is among the league leaders in targets per game (9) but the REDBLACKS’ move to Jonathon Jennings under centre adds a layer of uncertainty to Harris’s prospects that hasn’t been there in other weeks this season. The matchup versus Winnipeg is also somewhat daunting as they allow the third fewest yards per target (7.68) along with the second lowest rate of receiving TDs per target this season. Harris has been the most consistent Fantasy WR this season but is probably worth passing on this week.

Bryan Burnham’s 2019 season has been somewhat of an enigma, as he has received the expected increase in targets per game (6-8.5) with Reilly as his QB but hasn’t seen an increase in production as his catch rate has dropped from a career 72 per cent to just over 60 per cent in 2019. His aDOT has also increased from 11.2 in 2018 to 13.2 this season, while his yards per target has increased only marginally from 9.9 in 2018 to 10.6 this year. Overall, it appears he is getting more targets, but they have tended to be lower percentage downfield routes that have hurt his efficiency significantly. The Lions are actually passing for fewer yards per target this season with Reilly as QB than they did in 2018 with the combo of Jennings and Lulay (7.46 vs 7.48) and as such, it makes Burnham a difficult spend to justify versus a Roughriders defence allowing about league average rates of receiving yards and TDs per attempt.

If Fantasy players are looking for a dive into the bargain bin, it’s not as deep as it has been some weeks but there are still certainly some values to be found. Quan Bray has received 8.5 targets per game since he entered the starting lineup, but this week faces an Eskimos defence allowing the second fewest yards per target this season (6.9). He could still more than exceed value at just $3,500 but his floor is much lower than either of the past two weeks. Duron Carter doesn’t have a lot working in his favour in terms of the math but the low price along with the revenge narrative in his return to Regina will keep him on the radar. Finally, neither Juwan Brescacin or Michael Klukas will be high volume plays for Calgary, but the matchup versus Toronto coupled with respective 18.3 and 13.8 yard aDOTs make them interesting boom or bust options.

DEFENCE

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $5,029

Calgary Stampeders – $5,289

Edmonton Eskimos – $4,024

Last week was one for the Fantasy defences as each of Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton topped double digit Fantasy points. Both of Winnipeg and Calgary are solid options again this week versus turnover prone Ottawa (11) and Toronto (14) respectively, but both are also likely priced out of consideration for most Fantasy players. The Eskimos defence is much more affordable, although Montreal has largely kept their turnovers in check this season with a league low of five. The upside for the Eskimos defence comes through their 16 sacks and an expected low total of points allowed, having forced 24 two and outs already this season while maintaining a league high 33:33 time of possession.

STACKS

Trevor Harris > Greg Ellingson/DaVaris Daniels, Ricky Collins Jr.

Given the high price tags on Harris, Ellingson, and Daniels, it’s impossible to imagine a double stack involving those three. Collins is cheap enough to double stack Ellingson or Daniels, or to leave enough room for a top priced RB if just single stacking him with Harris.

Nick Arbuckle > Eric Rogers, Reggie Begelton

The low price tag on Arbuckle make double stacking the top Calgary receivers with him versus Toronto a possibility. Rogers has a high likelihood of scoring a TD while Begelton is a better candidate to lead the team receiving yards.

WEEK 6 PROJECTIONS

QUARTERBACKS

Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Trevor HARRIS QB $11,761.00 EDM MTL 22.79 1.94 36.9 5
Cody FAJARDO QB $5,747.00 SSK BC 20.04 3.49 30.5 5
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $6,145.00 CGY TOR 19.95 3.25 35.7 2
Vernon ADAMS JR QB $7,775.00 MTL EDM 18.48 2.38 27.1 6
Matt NICHOLS QB $8,589.00 WPG OTT 18.34 2.14 28.5 0.8
Mike REILLY QB $10,708.00 BC SSK 18.21 1.7 32.1 4
Jonathon JENNINGS QB $6,993.00 OTT WPG 16.7 2.39 36.5 3.6
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $6,338.00 TOR CGY 16.06 2.53 37.8 2.2
Chris STREVELER QB $6,556.00 WPG OTT 7.76 1.18 1.1 4.5
Montell COZART QB $5,000.00 CGY TOR 1.82 0.36 1.1

RUNNING BACKS

Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Andrew HARRIS RB $9,674.00 WPG OTT 21.93 2.27 15.5 5.3
CJ GABLE RB $8,435.00 EDM MTL 18.47 2.19 17.2 3.5
William STANBACK RB $8,691.00 MTL EDM 14.8 1.7 13.5 2.4
William POWELL RB $8,152.00 SSK BC 14.1 1.73 13.8 3.5
John WHITE RB $7,892.00 BC SSK 13.99 1.77 12.5 4.1
Terry WILLIAMS RB $5,009.00 CGY TOR 12.95 2.58 3.8 1.3 5 3
Ka’Deem CAREY RB $4,500.00 CGY TOR 11.2 2.49 10.1 3
John CROCKETT RB $3,500.00 OTT WPG 11.03 3.15 12.4 3.2
James WILDER JR RB $8,780.00 TOR CGY 10.43 1.19 10.5 6
Chris RAINEY RB $6,406.00 TOR CGY 9.77 1.53 3.5 2 5 3
Marcus THIGPEN RB $5,404.00 SSK BC 8.35 1.54 4.2 2.3
Martese JACKSON RB $3,429.00 EDM MTL 5.72 1.67 0 0 5 3
Christion JONES RB $2,837.00 SSK BC 5.2 1.83 0 0 3 3
Brandon RUTLEY RB $5,342.00 BC SSK 3.08 0.58 1.7 1.5
Mossis MADU RB $5,995.00 OTT WPG 1.88 0.31 3.2 0.2

RECEIVERS

Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Eric ROGERS WR $7,823.00 CGY TOR 19.36 2.47 0 9.2
Reginald BEGELTON WR $6,834.00 CGY TOR 17.19 2.51 0.1 7.3
Derel WALKER WR $7,977.00 TOR CGY 16.43 2.06 0.2 7.5
Greg ELLINGSON WR $9,083.00 EDM MTL 16.33 1.8 0 8.5
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $4,357.00 WPG OTT 15.74 3.61 1 5.3 0 2
RJ HARRIS WR $6,469.00 OTT WPG 14.97 2.31 0.14 8.7
Quan BRAY WR $3,500.00 MTL EDM 14.93 4.27 0 8.2
Bryan BURNHAM WR $7,409.00 BC SSK 14.7 1.98 0 8.1
DaVaris DANIELS WR $7,902.00 EDM MTL 14.18 1.79 0 7
Ricky COLLINS WR $5,302.00 EDM MTL 13.26 2.5 0 8.3
Darvin ADAMS WR $7,516.00 WPG OTT 13.14 1.75 0 5.8
Lemar DURANT WR $5,948.00 BC SSK 12.66 2.13 0 6.8
Markeith AMBLES WR $4,950.00 CGY TOR 12.56 2.54 0 6.8
Nic DEMSKI WR $6,708.00 WPG OTT 12.51 1.87 2.3 4.5
BJ CUNNINGHAM WR $6,091.00 MTL EDM 12.49 2.05 0.2 7.1
Eugene LEWIS WR $5,105.00 MTL EDM 11.52 2.26 0.17 5.8
Dominique RHYMES WR $4,716.00 OTT WPG 11.26 2.39 0 7.3
Armanti EDWARDS WR $7,206.00 TOR CGY 10.67 1.48 0.2 6
Kyran MOORE WR $5,702.00 SSK BC 10.61 1.86 0.2 5.5
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $5,164.00 WPG OTT 10.29 1.99 0 4
Duron CARTER WR $3,975.00 BC SSK 10.16 2.56 0 6.7
Llevi NOEL WR $5,538.00 TOR CGY 10.15 1.83 0 6.3
Juwan BRESCACIN WR $3,127.00 CGY TOR 10.07 3.22 0 4.4
Brad SINOPOLI WR $7,611.00 OTT WPG 9.44 1.24 0 6.4
Shaquelle EVANS WR $5,124.00 SSK BC 9.05 1.77 0 5.5
Naaman ROOSEVELT WR $5,481.00 SSK BC 8.8 1.61 0 6.3
Kenny STAFFORD WR $5,393.00 EDM MTL 8.48 1.57 0 4.7
S.J. GREEN WR $6,154.00 TOR CGY 7.91 1.29 0 7.2
Caleb HOLLEY WR $3,323.00 OTT WPG 7.28 2.19 0 6.7
Emmanuel ARCENEAUX WR $6,009.00 SSK BC 7.15 1.19 0 4.4
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 CGY TOR 7.04 2.82 0 3.7
Charles NELSON WR $2,500.00 WPG OTT 7.01 2.8 0 1.5 5 2
Natey ADJEI WR $3,320.00 EDM MTL 6.12 1.84 0 2.9
Julian FEOLI GUDINO WR $3,896.00 OTT WPG 6.01 1.54 0 4
Kenny LAWLER WR $2,500.00 WPG OTT 5.68 2.27 0 3.5
Ryan LANKFORD WR $4,500.00 BC SSK 4.7 1.05 0 0 5 3
Cory WATSON WR $2,927.00 SSK BC 4.4 1.5 0 2
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $2,687.00 BC SSK 3.93 1.46 0 2.6
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,500.00 TOR CGY 3.42 1.37 0 2.8
Tevaun SMITH WR $2,500.00 EDM MTL 3.35 1.34 0 2
Jake WIENEKE WR $2,500.00 MTL EDM 3.06 1.22 0 2.3
Jevon COTTOY WR $2,500.00 BC SSK 2.67 1.07 0 2.3
Malcolm CARTER WR $2,500.00 MTL EDM 1.54 0.61 0 1.3