July 31, 2019

Start vs. Sit: Injury bug gives secondary options chance to shine

Geoff Robins/CFL.ca

The surge of player cards with red crosses attached to them means Week 8 of TSN CFL Fantasy Football Presented by Leo Vegas will require creativity and closer attention to depth charts. For certain, Argos running back James Wilder Jr. ($9,512) is out for a second straight game and the promising season of Stampeders receiver Juwan Brescacin ($4,681) will take a significant hit once he’s officially placed on the six-game Injured List.

A host of other solid performers, notably Tiger-Cats receiver/return specialist Brandon Banks ($14,000) could be facing a trip to the one-game IL, but RedBlacks pivot Dominique Davis ($6,692) and Alouettes receiver B.J. Cunningham ($6,380) are expected back.

Opportunity knocks for some, but this week’s Start/Sit also has a player or two who won’t be worth the risk despite the chance to step up.

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Winnipeg at Toronto

Thursday | 7:00 p.m. ET

LeoVegas Odds

Line: Winnipeg (-14)
O/U: T-48,5

Start: Nic Demski, WR, Blue Bombers, $6,199 Salary

Demski’s value increases sharply if Darvin Adams ($7,267) is unavailable. He had just two receptions in the first meeting against Toronto, but one of those was a 67-yard touchdown catch from Matt Nichols ($9,135). Demski’s major was just one of 17 big plays the Argonauts defence has allowed this season, with 12 of those coming from the air. Winnipeg loves to give Demski a carry or two, and if he can get one in the red zone, touchdown potential is strongly in his favour. After all, Toronto is last in defensive red zone percentage and have allowed opponents in that area of the field a league-high 24 times, while the Bombers are tops in the league with a 72% touchdown rate in the red zone.

Sit: Branden Burks, RB, Argonauts, $2,640 Salary

On the surface, Burks looks like a sleeper, yet it’s best to let him doze off here. Toronto is last in rushing yards per game (56.3), yards per carry (4.3) and attempts (78). The Argos remain the only team in the league to have not recorded a rushing touchdown this season, not shocking when one considers the offence is last in rushing percentage (24%) and have had to play from behind in each contest. Unlike Wilder, Burks isn’t going to help as a receiver since the next catch he records will be his first of 2019. Notice we didn’t mention that Winnipeg leads the league in rushing defence (63 yards allowed per game).

Hamilton at Saskatchewan

Thursday | 9:30 p.m. ET

LeoVegas Odds

Line: Saskatchewan (-2.5)
O/U: 49.5

Start: Bralon Addison WR, Tiger-Cats, $6,087 Salary

Should the East Division leaders find themselves without Banks, then Addison will make for a solid Plan B. Addison’s breakout performance came with the assistance of Dane Evans ($5,000) when the duo combined for seven receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Alouettes in the 2018 regular-season finale. Quiet of late (10 catches, 67 yards in the last two games), Addison faces a Saskatchewan pass defence that has been exploited at times this season. The Riders have allowed five touchdowns on passes of at least 20 yards and their 44.4% completion rate ranks seventh in that category. Addison also ranks in the top 10 in efficiency (118.6), makes him a solid Plan B.

Sit: Marcus Thigpen, RB/RS, Roughriders, $5,860 Salary

The arrival of William Powell ($10,031) was expected to reduce Thigpen’s touches, but no one imagined it would be this drastic. The explosive playmaker is averaging just under seven all-purpose touches per game and while he has scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning this season, Thigpen’s salary isn’t the bargain it was last year. One of the few players who can legitimately score from any part of the field anytime the ball is in his hands, it’s been somewhat frustrating to install Thigpen only to get modest totals.

Ottawa at Montreal

Friday | 7:00 p.m. ET

LeoVegas Odds

Line: Montreal (-7.5)
O/U: T-53.5

Start: Vernon Adams, Jr., QB, Alouettes, $7,359 Salary

Why the heck not? Adams gets a great opportunity to put up big numbers at the expense of a reeling RedBlacks defence that is seventh in both yards allowed (429.7 YPG) and yards allowed per play (7.1). Montreal is a surprising second with 6.6 yards per play as Adams’ dual-threat skills pairs well with running back William Stanback ($8,879), who averages 8.4 yards per play from scrimmage. The Als are also expected to get receiver B.J. Cunningham ($6,380) from the 1-game Injured List, giving Adams his most reliable downfield threat. Receiver Eugene Lewis ($5,745) is starting to become more involved in the offence and should take advantage of an Ottawa secondary that has allowed 11 completions of better than 30 yards and nine passing majors.

Sit: All REDBLACKS Receivers

Ottawa is last in passing yards per game at 226.5 and has just four touchdown passes this season. Dominique Davis ($6,692) is expected to return to the offence after missing the last two games, yet wasn’t setting the Fantasy world ablaze when he was healthy. The status of receiver R.J. Harris ($6,812) is uncertain as he’s missed the past two contests. Brad Sinopoli ($7,348) caught his first touchdown in last week’s loss but still averages less than 10 yards per catch. With an overall pass efficiency of 66.8, the team will be stuck in the mud until something snaps them out of their season-long funk.

Edmonton at Calgary 

Saturday | 7:00 p.m. ET

LeoVegas Odds

Line: Edmonton (-1)
O/U: T-46.5

Start: Terry Williams, RB/RS, Stampeders, $4,911 Salary

In a game featuring the two best defences in the league, finding a difference-maker was a challenge. Williams is the choice because this feels like one of those games where a return or two will alter the outcome. With Ka’Deem Carey ($5,743) expected to be sidelined, the running game falls on Williams, who must contend with Edmonton’s second-ranked run defence (84 YPG. However, Williams is also averaging 18 yards per reception and may have broken out of his season-long punt return slump with a 49-yard return last week. Give Williams 15-20 all-purpose touches and he’ll reward loyal Fantasy users.

Sit: Trevor Harris, QB, Eskimos, $11,815 Salary

The Eskimos are hoping a change of scenery is the cure for Harris when it comes to facing the Stampeders. In three games against Calgary last season — including the Grey Cup — Harris managed a combined 12.6 Fantasy points with his passing, completing just one touchdown and six interceptions. Harris doesn’t come into Saturday with momentum, having failed to throw a touchdown in three of his last four games. It also doesn’t help that the Stamps have yet to allow a completion of more than 30 yards, which will present a huge challenge to an offence that loves the deep ball. At his salary, the risk is too great.