July 24, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Multiple Eskies poised for bounce-back week

Jason Halstead/CFL.ca

The top projected players at each position are priced through the ceiling but thankfully there are more than enough value plays at RB to let Fantasy players fit the stars they want into their lineups in Week 7.


Top Projected:

Trevor Harris, EDM – $11,503

Cody Fajardo, SSK – $6,815

Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $11,126

Punt Single:

Nick Arbuckle, CGY – $6,798

Trevor Harris had his worst game of the 2019 season versus Montreal in Week 6 in a road game, travelling west to east, that was played in 40C+ heat. There are enough excuses there for Fantasy players to talk themselves into going the Harris route again at QB this week versus a Toronto defence that allows the most yards per pass attempt (9.91) along with the highest rate of passing TDs per attempt in 2019. Unfortunately, after a blazing hot start, the Eskimos passing attack has largely disappointed in its last three games. It’s the best matchup a QB can hope for though, so hopefully, Harris and the Eskimos make the most of it, even on a short week.

In three of his four starts for the Roughriders, Fajardo has eclipsed 26 fantasy points. Hopefully, his bounce-back game versus the Lions has cemented him as the starting QB for Saskatchewan so that Fantasy players don’t have to fear fourth quarter Harker again this season. After being the second least efficient passing offence in the CFL in 2018 with only 7.2 yards per pass attempt, the Riders have shot to the top of the league with Fajardo under centre, averaging 9.68 yards per pass attempt. Last season’s East MOP candidate, Jeremiah Masoli led the league in 2018 with 9.1 yards per attempt. That at least in part screams that Fajardo’s rates aren’t likely to be sustainable, but a rematch with the Lions defence that allows the third most yards per attempt on the slate (8.66) isn’t a reason to believe regression hits in Week 7. The Lions have allowed the most total passing TDs (14) along with the second-highest rate of passing TDs per attempt this season, making Fajardo a pretty difficult play to ignore from a raw total and value standpoint.

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Jeremiah Masoli and the Ticats` offence get what initially appears to be the unenviable task of facing a Bombers defence that has allowed the second-fewest yards per pass attempt this season (7.1). However, a closer look at the numbers reveals they’ve allowed over 300 passing yards to opposing QBs in three of their five games – allowing near the league average 8.1 yards per attempt in those contests. Much of their statistical supremacy lies in facing a poor Ottawa passing attack twice already this season. Masoli has averaged 9.02 yards per attempt this season while scoring TDs at the second-highest rate per attempt in 2019. He’s certainly a contrarian play at this price, but the matchup isn’t as insurmountable as it may seem.

If Fantasy players are looking for a different cheap alternative to Fajardo, Nick Arbuckle comes in priced similarly and may have an easier road yet. The Stampeders have been a below-average passing offence this season regardless of who has started at QB, but the REDBLACKS are allowing the second-most yards per pass attempt in 2019 (9.62). With no ability to sustain offensive drives, Arbuckle and the Stamps passing game should also get one of the biggest bumps in pace this week due to t the matchup. He doesn’t project nearly as well as Fajardo and all his rushing upside, but Arbuckle is certainly worthy of consideration again this week after a disappointing outing versus Toronto in Week 6.


Top Projected:

Andrew Harris, WPG – $10,013

James Wilder Jr., TOR – $9,117

Punt Single(s):

Shaq Cooper, EDM – $4,500

Ka’deem Carey, CGY – $5,500

Maleek Irons, HAM – $4,000

John Crockett, OTT – $4,500

With all the changes at the RB position over the past couple of weeks, there`s a slew of value plays available that make it possible to build just about any kind of roster Fantasy players want making the opportunity cost of rostering high priced players like Harris and Wilder that much higher. Andrew Harris leads the projections at RB by a sizable margin versus a Hamilton rush defence that allowed over 200 yards rushing to William Stanback just a couple weeks ago. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry this season and Hamilton has allowed the second-most yards per carry to this point (5.85). He has yet to score a TD on the ground this season but that may change this week as Hamilton has allowed the highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt this season – nearly 60% higher than the league average. If that’s not enough reason to roll out Harris this week, his involvement in the passing game should push him over the top as he is receiving over five targets per game this season which has already led him to three receiving TDs.

Conversely, it’s difficult to image paying over $9K for an RB in that receives single-digit carries per game while playing on the leagues lowest-scoring offence by a wide margin. Wilder’s 6.5 targets per game keep him in consideration but he’s a contrarian option at best versus an Edmonton offence that allows the fewest plays per game to opposing offences (47) and the third-fewest rushing TDs per attempt. It’s within the realm of possibilities that Wilder gets eight targets in the passing game and turns one into a TD but there are much more reliable options at much cheaper prices this week at the position.

CJ Gable is expected to miss the Week 7 matchup versus Toronto, giving Shaq Cooper his first start of the season, and he actually projects as the second-highest scoring option at the position. Edmonton projects to run the most plays of any offence this week (61) and are expected to play from ahead as 12 point favourites, putting Cooper in a positive game script to get a lot of work. He has also shown great talent as a receiver out of the backfield, with an 86% catch rate last season with one TD through the air. Cooper may be the best lock for value on the slate.

Calgary Stampeders running back Ka’Deem Carey rushing the ball against the Toronto Argonauts (Larry MacDougal CFL.ca)

After a disappointing 8.7 Fantasy point performance versus Hamilton in Week 5, Carey bounced back with a nice 13.5 point outing versus Toronto in Week 6. The workload is still clearly a timeshare situation with Terry Williams, but it appears that Carey should be in line for the vast majority of the workload. The REDBLACKS are a league-average rush defence in terms of yards and TDs allowed but the expected positive game script for Carey and the Stampeders offence with Jon Jennings getting the start again for Ottawa gives Carey significant upside.

Going into the Tiger-Cats last game before the bye, it was expected that Maleek Irons and Anthony Coombs would split the workload vacated by the injured Sean Thomas Erlington. However, Irons took over the job completely with 14 carries and three receptions versus Calgary, totalling 11.1 Fantasy points. The matchup with Winnipeg is equally daunting as they allow the second-fewest yards per rush (4.48) and have yet to concede a TD on the ground this season. Irons projects as the second-best value at the position this week with a minuscule salary, but his ceiling is likely a fair bit lower than Cooper’s.

Finally, there is John Crockett. He somewhat unexpectedly was able to compile 88 rushing yards and 12.8 Fantasy points for an offence that scored only one point versus Winnipeg. The Calgary defence is the only possible worse matchup for him, as they have allowed just 3.86 yards per carry this season. With all the other values available at RB, there’s really no reason to roster Crockett in Week 7.


Top Projected:

Brandon Banks, HAM – $14,000

Greg Ellingson, EDM – $8,625

Derel Walker, TOR – $7,827

Bralon Addison, HAM – $5,500

Eric Rogers, CGY – $7,532

Bryan Burnham, BC – $7,773

Reggie Begelton, CGY – $6,241

Shaq Evans, SSK – $6,044

Ricky Collins, EDM – $5,719

Kyran Moore, SSK – $6,203

Kenny Stafford, EDM – $5,786

Punt Single(s):

Lucky Whitehead, WPG – $3,945

Noel Thomas, OTT – $2,500

On most weeks, playing $14K Brandon Banks isn’t a real possibility. However, with the value options at QB and RB in Week 7, Banks and his sky-high ceiling becomes a real consideration. Banks is the most dangerous offensive weapon in the league, averaging over nine targets per game, 11 yards per target, and with the added upside of special teams scoring. As mentioned earlier, the matchup with Winnipeg may not be as daunting as it looks initially and shouldn’t scare Fantasy players away from Banks any more than his salary does. The Tiger-Cats receivers average the second-most yards per target (9.27), making supporting cast members like Bralon Addison also worthy of consideration at a much lower price-point. Luke Tasker at $8632 is a contrarian play at best, as his role in the offence has diminished significantly in 2019.

A matchup versus the Argos will naturally bump the projections for opposing WRs, so Greg Ellingson comes in second in the projections despite a very disappointing Week 6 outing versus Montreal. Ellingson leads the Eskimos in targets with over eight per game, and now gets the benefit of a Toronto defence allowing league-high rates of receiving yards and TDs per target. The price on Ellingson is prohibitive given the volatility in his production, so his teammates Kenny Stafford and Ricky Collins – both priced affordably around $5700 – may be better options this week.

As was the story with James Wilder Jr., the salary seems much too high for Derel Walker given the overall state of the Argos offence. The Argos averaged just 15 points per game and now face an Edmonton defence allowing a league-low 47 plays per game to opposing offences. Walker’s targets have thankfully come up significantly in the past two games – 11 targets per game versus four per game through his first four games – keeping him in Fantasy consideration despite the overall bleak prospects for the Argos offence overall. Edmonton allows the third-fewest yards per target to opposing receivers (7.33) but the third-highest rate of receiving TDs per attempt, so there is some hope for Walker to compile garbage time stats in the second half of an expected blowout.

Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder will miss Thursday’s contest vs. the Eskimos (Geoff Robins CFL.ca)

Players choosing to avoid the high price tag of Trevor Harris or looking for an alternative cheap QB to Fajardo may look at stacking either Eric Rogers or Reggie Begelton with Nick Arbuckle versus a struggling Ottawa pass defence. Rogers is averaging just 6.92 yards per target this season, with much of his fantasy value coming through TDs so he is the more volatile option of the two. Begelton, on the other hand, is getting 10.2 yards per target, making him a much more reliable option. Both of these top Stamps receivers were dwarfed by Juwan Brescacin’s two TD performance in Week 6 but getting just four targets per game makes him a risky fantasy option. The REDBLACKS are allowing the second-most yards per target to opposing receivers this season (9.62), making them a defence worth picking on through the air.

Despite being sacked another four times in Week 6, for a league-high total of 21 times already this season, Mike Reilly and the Lions passing game managed to compile 346 yards through the air and Bryan Burnham was the main beneficiary with eight receptions for 106 yards. The Riders pass defence allows about league average rates of yards and TDs per target, keeping Burnham in consideration again this week in a home rematch with the Riders. Burnham’s efficiency remains down this season despite increased usage, so he may be in line for positive regression if the Lions can figure out a scheme to keep Reilly on his feet at some point.

The entire Roughriders receiving corps had very low points per target scoring rates in 2018 due to poor quarterback play but the arrival of Cody Fajardo this season has seen the rates for Kyran Moore and Shaq Evans improve by nearly 60%. Both project as moderate values but Fantasy players should keep in mind that if both players were projected with just 2019 rates they’d both be top 3 receivers on the slate. The Lions defence has allowed around league average rates of yards per target (8.66) but their league-high 14 receiving TDs allowed this season makes them worth picking on weekly with opposing passing attacks.

If players are looking to pass on the values available at RB, there are a couple of cheaper WRs worthy of consideration as well. Lucky Whitehead continues to be underpriced given his 5.2 targets per game, involvement in the return game, and big playability. The matchup with Hamilton isn’t ideal as they allow a league-low rate of receiving TDs per attempt – with only two scores through the air this season – but Whitehead is priced low enough to be worth considering. It’s similarly risky to consider any part of the Ottawa passing game in lineups this week with Jennings getting his second start for the REDBLACKS, but Thomas did get nine targets versus Winnipeg in Week 6, keeping him worth looking at with a minimum salary of just $2500.


Calgary Stampeders – $5,281

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $5,207

Saskatchewan Roughriders – $4,637

Edmonton Eskimos – $3,531

As is the story with $14K Brandon Banks, it’s generally difficult to consider rostering one of the top-priced defences on a weekly basis, but the values available at RB make it an option worth considering. The Stampeders had 20 Fantasy points versus the Argos a week ago and the Redblacks may be the only offence worse than Toronto right now. Winnipeg compiled 20 Fantasy points on three sacks, two turnovers, and a defensive TD versus Ottawa in Week 6, making both Calgary and Winnipeg great options again in Week 7.

The Roughriders have yet to score a defensive TD this season after getting 11 a year ago, so they may be due versus a BC Lions offence that has allowed a league-high 21 sacks to go with 11 turnovers. The Riders don’t project as well as Calgary or Winnipeg but also come with a lower price point.

The Eskimos’ defence, however, may be in the sweet spot of low salary with high upside as they have produced a league-high 19 sacks this season and face an Argos offence scoring a league-low 15 points per game while giving up a league-high 21 turnovers. Edmonton also has yet to score on defence this season but should get the opportunity to change that on Thursday night.


Cody Fajardo > Shaq Evans/Kyran Moore

With all three players priced around $6K, this Riders double stack could certainly pay off versus a Lions defence allowing nearly three passing TDs per game this season.

Trevor Harris > Ricky Collins Jr., Kenny Stafford

With DaVaris Daniels back out of the lineup due to injury, stacking Harris with either Stafford or Collins is very affordable move versus the top matchup for opposing offences to pick.



Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Trevor HARRIS QB $11,503.00 EDM TOR 23.39 2.03 36.2 4.6
Cody FAJARDO QB $6,815.00 SSK BC 22.8 3.35 29.8 6
Jeremiah MASOLI QB $11,126.00 HAM WPG 21.96 1.97 34.6 3
Mike REILLY QB $11,053.00 BC SSK 18.8 1.7 32.9 4.2
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $6,798.00 CGY OTT 18.54 2.73 35.6 1.8
Matt NICHOLS QB $9,076.00 WPG HAM 17.54 1.93 28.1 0.8
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $5,670.00 TOR EDM 15.5 2.73 35 1.2
Jonathon JENNINGS QB $6,158.00 OTT CGY 14.18 2.3 36.7 4
Chris STREVELER QB $5,895.00 WPG HAM 9.02 1.53 1.1 5.5
Montell COZART QB $5,000.00 CGY OTT 0.93 0.19 0.6


Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Andrew HARRIS RB $10,013.00 WPG HAM 20.2 2.02 14.5 5.2
Shaquille COOPER RB $4,500.00 EDM TOR 17.2 3.82 15.9 3.8 0 0
James WILDER JR RB $9,117.00 TOR EDM 15.14 1.66 7.6 6.4
William POWELL RB $8,232.00 SSK BC 14.44 1.75 13.7 3.4
Ka’Deem CAREY RB $5,500.00 CGY OTT 12.94 2.35 10.8 3.5 0 0
Maleek IRONS RB $4,000.00 HAM WPG 12.1 3.03 13.7 2.8
Brandon RUTLEY RB $4,998.00 BC SSK 10.84 2.17 10.5 3.5 0 0
John CROCKETT RB $4,500.00 OTT CGY 10.49 2.33 13.6 2.7 0 0
Chris RAINEY RB $5,422.00 TOR EDM 9.47 1.75 2.2 2.9 5 3
Terry WILLIAMS RB $4,624.00 CGY OTT 9 1.95 3.8 1 5 3
Marcus THIGPEN RB $5,677.00 SSK BC 6.58 1.16 3.2 1.8
John WHITE RB $7,832.00 BC SSK 6.16 0.79 3.7 2.5
Christion JONES RB $2,837.00 SSK BC 4.6 1.62 0 0 3 3
Martese JACKSON RB $3,071.00 EDM TOR 2.96 0.96 0 0 5 3
Branden BURKS RB $2,981.00 TOR EDM 1.91 0.64 3.5 0
Brendan GILLANDERS RB $2,500.00 OTT CGY 0.37 0.15 2 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 WPG 23.04 1.65 0.6 10 1
Greg ELLINGSON WR $8,625.00 EDM TOR 17.68 2.05 0 8.4
Derel WALKER WR $7,827.00 TOR EDM 16.14 2.06 0.4 7.2
Bralon ADDISON WR $5,500.00 HAM WPG 15.82 2.88 0.3 7.5
Eric ROGERS WR $7,532.00 CGY OTT 15.47 2.05 0 7.8
Bryan BURNHAM WR $7,773.00 BC SSK 14.85 1.91 0 8.3
Reginald BEGELTON WR $6,241.00 CGY OTT 14.82 2.37 0.2 7
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $3,945.00 WPG HAM 14.3 3.62 1 5.6 0 1
Shaquelle EVANS WR $6,044.00 SSK BC 13.76 2.28 0 6.5
Ricky COLLINS WR $5,719.00 EDM TOR 13.58 2.37 0 8.2
Kyran MOORE WR $6,203.00 SSK BC 13.11 2.11 0.2 6.1
Kenny STAFFORD WR $5,786.00 EDM TOR 13.1 2.26 0 6.8
Armanti EDWARDS WR $7,506.00 TOR EDM 12.23 1.63 0.4 5.8
Luke TASKER WR $8,632.00 HAM WPG 12.05 1.4 0 6.5
Juwan BRESCACIN WR $4,362.00 CGY OTT 11.89 2.73 0 4.4
Lemar DURANT WR $5,914.00 BC SSK 11.37 1.92 0 6
Markeith AMBLES WR $4,550.00 CGY OTT 11.2 2.46 0 7
Darvin ADAMS WR $7,160.00 WPG HAM 11.09 1.55 0 5.3
Nic DEMSKI WR $5,889.00 WPG HAM 10.92 1.85 2 4.2
Natey ADJEI WR $3,745.00 EDM TOR 10.34 2.76 0 4.8
Noel THOMAS WR $2,500.00 OTT CGY 10.32 4.13 0 8
Dominique RHYMES WR $4,762.00 OTT CGY 10.28 2.16 0 6.7
Duron CARTER WR $4,232.00 BC SSK 9.31 2.2 0 7
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $4,653.00 WPG HAM 9.13 1.96 0 4
Brad SINOPOLI WR $6,977.00 OTT CGY 8.96 1.28 0 6.5
S.J. GREEN WR $6,633.00 TOR EDM 8.76 1.32 0 6.7
Julian FEOLI GUDINO WR $3,764.00 OTT CGY 8.59 2.28 0 4.5
Naaman ROOSEVELT WR $5,030.00 SSK BC 8.44 1.68 0 5.9
Kenny LAWLER WR $2,500.00 WPG HAM 8 3.2 0 4.7
Caleb HOLLEY WR $3,238.00 OTT CGY 7.38 2.28 0 6.5
Tevaun SMITH WR $2,500.00 EDM TOR 6.45 2.58 0 3.8
Hergy MAYALA WR $2,500.00 CGY OTT 5.85 2.34 0 3.3
Emmanuel ARCENEAUX WR $5,516.00 SSK BC 5.41 0.98 0 3.2
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $3,114.00 BC SSK 5.33 1.71 0 3.3
Cory WATSON WR $3,076.00 SSK BC 5.17 1.68 0 2.9
Rodney SMITH WR $2,500.00 TOR EDM 5.08 2.03 0 3
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,500.00 TOR EDM 4.17 1.67 0 3
Mike JONES WR $4,203.00 HAM WPG 3.84 0.91 0.03 2.5
Jevon COTTOY WR $2,500.00 BC SSK 3.82 1.53 0 2.3
Anthony COOMBS WR $3,733.00 HAM WPG 2.31 0.62 1.5 0.8
Ryan LANKFORD WR $4,341.00 BC SSK 1.63 0.38 0 0 5 3