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August 14, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Dawn of the Dane

Shannon Vizniowski/CFL.ca

Apart from the potential salary relief at QB with Dane Evans, pricing is tight in Week 10 with few clear value options that jump of the page. Fantasy players will have to pick and choose their spots to pay up for, as cheap options are limited.

QUARTERBACK

Trevor Harris, EDM – $10,034

Dane Evans, HAM – $5,897

Vernon Adams, MTL – $7,315

Trevor Harris and the Eskimos offence had an underwhelming showing versus the REDBLACKS in Week 9, with all the scoring coming on the ground for the first time this season. With the salaries for Harris and the Eskimos receivers, multiple scoring TDs are a must each week. The Eskimos still pass for the fourth-most yards per attempt (8.22), but their scoring rates have plummeted since their early-season explosions. Their Week 10 matchup with Toronto may be the cure for what ails them though as Toronto allows the most yards per pass attempt (8.92) and the second-highest rate of passing TDs per attempt in the CFL. With the second-highest implied team total on the slate (29), Harris is a solid option even with his inflated price tag.


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Dane Evans struggled in his first start versus Saskatchewan but engineered a late-game comeback for the Ticats versus BC in Week 9 that should give Hamilton fans hope that their season didn’t end with the injury to Jeremiah Masoli. The Tiger-Cats’ offence still passes for the second-most yards per attempt (8.31) and the second-highest rate of TDs per pass attempt, so the opportunity is there for Evans to emerge as a Fantasy force at a bargain salary. The matchup with Ottawa will be a little more difficult on the scoring front, as they allow the fourth-lowest rate of passing TDs per attempt. Given that they allow the second-most yards per pass attempt through (8.66), those rates are likely due for some regression.

Vernon Adams Jr. returned to practice this week and is expected to return to the starting lineup versus Calgary on Saturday. His relatively low salary keeps him interesting, as does his rushing yards, but the numbers don’t look appealing apart from that. Montreal passes for the second-fewest yards per attempt in the league (7.4) and the Stampeders allow the second-fewest passing yards per attempt to opposing offences as well (7.36). Given the injury risks, the matchup, and the added loss of BJ Cunningham for the season, it’s probably a good time to pass on this Als passer in Week 10.

RUNNING BACK

Andrew Harris, WPG – $10,980

CJ Gable, EDM – $8,051

John White, BC – $8,154

Punt Single(s):

John Crockett, OTT – $4,642

Andrew Harris took on the toughest rush defence in CFL in Week 9 and still managed 100 yards on the ground along with eight receptions on eight targets for 44 yards. He’s pretty much matchup-proof at this point given his involvement in all facets of the game plan. The salary sounds difficult to swallow but he and Brandon Banks have really been the only two consistent performers in all of CFL Fantasy in 2019. His Week 10 matchup with BC only makes him more appealing as they allow the third-highest rate of rushing TDs per carry along with the highest rate of receiving TDs per target. Harris hasn’t found the endzone as consistently this season but that’s likely to change in Week 10.

Going into Week 9, CJ Gable had yet to score a rushing touchdown, as most of the Eskimos TDs had come through the air or on goal-line carries from Trevor Harris. However, Gable hit paydirt twice versus the REDBLACKS on his way to his best Fantasy performance of the season. Gable is only averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season and the addition of Shaq Cooper to the active roster adds some risk to his projections, but the matchup with Toronto is just too good to ignore. The Argos are allowing the most yards per carry this season (6.13) along with the most yards per target (8.92), making any Eskimos offensive player worthy of consideration.

One of the most important factors in any players Fantasy success is a consistent workload. With Brandon Rutley out of the picture in BC in Week 9, John White had the backfield all to himself versus one of the weakest rush defences in the CFL and put up one of his best games of the year with 124 rush yards on 15 carries along with two TDs. This week’s matchup should prove to be a lot more difficult though as Winnipeg allows the second-fewest yards per carry this season (4.82) along with the third-lowest rate of rushing TDs per attempt on the slate. With his salary right up with other top options, he’s more of a contrarian play than a top target.

If players are looking for cheaper options at RB in Week 10, they will be tougher to pinpoint as James Wilder Jr. and Don Jackson are expected to return from injury. Making things even more complicated are the odd timeshare in the Hamilton backfield between Cameron Marshall and receiver Bralon Addison, along with the potential loss of John Crockett to injury. Crockett has been limited at practice this week, so that situation bears watching. If he’s able to start versus Hamilton, he would be a solid option as they allow the second-most yards per rush attempt (5.58) and the highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt this season. Given his struggles in 2019, Mossis Madu wouldn’t be nearly as appealing an option if he’s given the starting nod.

The only true bargain-basement options at RB this week are kick returners such as Christion Jones ($2820) or Shakeir Ryan ($2500). Both are true punt plays as a return TD would make them one of the best values of the week but just a handful of kick return yards would lead to a pretty disappointing day.

WIDE RECEIVER

Brandon Banks, HAM – $14,000

Bralon Addison, HAM – $6,192

Bryan Burnham, BC – $8,568

Ricky Collins Jr., EDM – $6,723

Greg Ellingson, EDM – $7,924

Eric Rogers, CGY – $7,205

Reggie Begelton, CGY – $7,111

RJ Harris, OTT – $6,263

DaVaris Daniels, EDM – $6,712

Derel Walker, TOR – $7,822

Punt Single(s):

Lucky Whitehead, WPG – $3,880

Kenny Lawler, WPG – $2,500

Rafael Araujo-Lopes, OTT – $2,500

Brandon Banks is the MOP in the CFL and in CFL Fantasy. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is or what the matchup is, he finds ways to contribute and excel on offence and as a kick returner. This week’s matchup versus an Ottawa defence allowing the second most yards per target this season (8.66) leads to a projection that is 25% higher than anyone else at this position and the second player in the projections is his own teammate Bralon Addison. Without cheap options at RB, he’ll be difficult to fit into lineups without punting a couple of other positions but he has the highest ceiling in CFL Fantasy. Bralon Addison continues to rack up targets from Dane Evans – nine a week since he got the starting job – and he appears to have a significant role to play as a ball carrier as well with nine carries in the past two games. That’s a workload that few receivers ever see. The yardage should certainly be there this week versus Ottawa, it will just be a matter of those TD rates regressing for the REDBLACKS.

Bryan Burnham had his best game of 2019 last week versus Hamilton with seven receptions for 149 yards and two TDs. His catch and yards per target rates finally started to rebound back to pre-2019 levels. His matchup with Winnipeg isn’t as bad as the numbers may look – as I mentioned last week – and he is clearly the top receiver for the Lions with Carter and Durant having faded into relative obscurity. The Lions are 11 point underdogs and seem destined to have to pass most of the evening, so Burnham could again have a big week.

Throughout much of the Eskimos early-season receiving success, the offence was highly concentrated with just three receivers getting the vast majority of targets. However, over the past month, Harris has started to spread the ball out much more to Adjei and Smith as well leaving the top-priced trio of Collins, Ellingson, and Daniels all overpriced for their market share of targets. They each still get just over seven targets per game, but that isn’t near the 9-10 targets per game that Ellingson and Collins averaged early in the season. All three are options versus and Argos defence that allows the most yards per target (8.92) and the fourth most TDs per target in the CFL, but Collins is certainly the best value of the bunch.

The Stampeders passing game has a few unknowns in the mix this week as it’s yet to be determined whether it will be Mitchell or Arbuckle under centre versus the Alouettes on Saturday. Unfortunately for Fantasy players, that may not be known until the week’s games have already begun. As it stands right now though, Arbuckle actually carries a better Fantasy projection than Mitchell would so it’s hard to say what players should be hoping for. Eric Rogers continues to be the most targeted receiver in the endzone for Calgary and much of his value hinges on him finding the endzone again in Week 10 versus Montreal. Begelton is more yardage and reception dependant as he has scored only once this season. The matchup with the Alouettes is still appealing despite their recent success, as they allow the third most yards per target (8.47) this season and seem bound to have their scoring rates increase as a result.

For the third straight week, it’s hoped that RJ Harris can return from injury and provide some much-needed energy for the REDBLACKS’ passing attack. Harris has averaged just under nine targets per game in four games of action this season and was the most consistent option at WR in CFL Fantasy before leaving the lineup after Week 5. The matchup with Hamilton isn’t ideal, as they allow league average rates of yards per target and have given up a league-low five TDs through the air this season. At a mid-tier price, and coming off weeks spent on IR, it may be wise to wait another week before adding Harris back into Fantasy lineups.

The Argos offence is the most pass-heavy in the CFL with over 70% of their plays called going through the air. This is in part due to playing from behind all season, but also due to the scheme. That volume is helpful to receivers but their efficiency has been quite bad as they average just 7.73 yards per target – well below league average. Teams can’t afford to be inefficient versus the Eskimos, as they allow a league-low 48.5 plays per game to opposing offences – also well below the league average of 56.5. They also allow the second-fewest yards per target to opposing receivers (7.09), meaning that Walker will have to find the endzone to meet value. The other unknown for Walker this week is who may be throwing him the ball, as the newly acquired Zach Collaros is waiting in the wings if McBeth falters.

The bargain bin options at WR from Winnipeg get most of their statistical bumps from the matchup with BC that allows the highest rate of receiving TDs per target in the league. Whitehead has received under four targets per game over the past month and appears to have ceded his return opportunities to Janarion Grant. Lawler has been slightly more involved in the passing attack with just over five targets per game in that stretch, but it’s clear that Andrew Harris is the top receiving option for the Bombers right now. The unexpected addition of Rafel Araujo-Lopes to the starting lineup in Week 9 led to an even more unexpected eight targets for him. It’s unlikely he receives that kind of workload if RJ Harris returns to the lineup versus Hamilton though.

DEFENCE

Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $3848

Edmonton Eskimos – $4693

Turnovers and sacks lead to Fantasy glory and the top two team to pick on weekly for those are Ottawa and Toronto. Thankfully, the salaries of the Hamilton and Edmonton defences wind up affordably in the middle of the pack. The Ticats have created 24 sacks and 22 turnovers to this point – both third in the league. Their matchup with an Ottawa offence that has given up 23 turnovers to this point makes the Tiger-Cats the top option on defence in Week 10.

The Eskimos have similarly created 26 sacks and 19 turnovers and face a Toronto offence that has given up 20 sacks and a league-high 28 turnovers so far. There’s really no reason they should be the top-priced defence in Week 10, but the salary savings are much appreciated. Zach Collaros may not be as turnover prone as McBeth, but he’ll likely only enter the game if the damage has already been done.

STACKS

Dane Evans > Brandon Banks, Bralon Addison

Evans salary is so cheap that it makes stacking him with Banks an option. Bralon Addison is a much cheaper option that would bring this Hamilton stack into lineups at nearly the same price as Trevor Harris alone.

WEEK 10 PROJECTIONS

QUARTERBACKS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Trevor HARRIS QB $10,034.00 EDM TOR 22.5 2.24 37.3 4
Dane EVANS QB $5,897.00 HAM OTT 20.15 3.42 35.4 3.7
Vernon ADAMS JR QB $7,315.00 MTL CGY 19.21 2.63 29.4 6.5
Matt NICHOLS QB $7,791.00 WPG BC 17.35 2.23 29.2 0.9
Bo Levi MITCHELL QB $9,069.00 CGY MTL 16.97 1.87 35.8 1
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $6,665.00 TOR EDM 16.59 2.49 35.8 1.4
Mike REILLY QB $10,155.00 BC WPG 16.54 1.63 32.7 3.9
Dominique DAVIS QB $6,257.00 OTT HAM 16.22 2.59 34.6 3.5
Chris STREVELER QB $4,093.00 WPG BC 8.06 1.97 1.1 5
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $6,054.00 CGY MTL 0.94 0.15 0 1.2
Dakota PRUKOP QB $5,000.00 TOR EDM 0.07 0.01 0.4

RUNNING BACKS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Andrew HARRIS RB $10,980.00 WPG BC 24.74 2.25 14.1 6.7
CJ GABLE RB $8,051.00 EDM TOR 17.96 2.23 16.3 4.1
John WHITE RB $8,154.00 BC WPG 17.04 2.09 14.8 3.7
William STANBACK RB $8,275.00 MTL CGY 16.61 2.01 12.2 3.5
James WILDER JR RB $8,781.00 TOR EDM 13.85 1.58 7.6 6.1
Don JACKSON RB $5,514.00 CGY MTL 10.35 1.88 10.6 2.6
John CROCKETT RB $4,642.00 OTT HAM 10.09 2.17 14.6 1.6 0 0
Chris RAINEY RB $5,353.00 TOR EDM 8.36 1.56 1 1.5 5 3
Cameron MARSHALL RB $4,922.00 HAM OTT 7.9 1.61 7.6 2
Christion JONES RB $2,820.00 EDM TOR 6.87 2.44 0 0 5 3
Jeremiah JOHNSON RB $5,422.00 MTL CGY 5.64 1.04 4 1.9
Terry WILLIAMS RB $5,553.00 CGY MTL 4.31 0.78 4.3 1.3 0 0
Shaquille COOPER RB $5,253.00 EDM TOR 2.99 0.57 0 1.7 0 0
Branden BURKS RB $2,805.00 TOR EDM 2.8 1 3.3 1
Brendan GILLANDERS RB $2,500.00 OTT HAM 1.32 0.53 1 1
Ryder STONE RB $2,500.00 MTL CGY 1.03 0.41 0 0 1 1

RECEIVERS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Brandon BANKS WR $14,000.00 HAM OTT 22.78 1.63 0 10.3 0
Bralon ADDISON WR $6,192.00 HAM OTT 17.28 2.79 6 7.4
Bryan BURNHAM WR $8,568.00 BC WPG 16.22 1.89 0 9
Eric ROGERS WR $7,205.00 CGY MTL 15.73 2.18 0 7.8
Ricky COLLINS WR $6,723.00 EDM TOR 15.43 2.29 0 7.6
Greg ELLINGSON WR $7,924.00 EDM TOR 15.42 1.95 0 7.8
Reginald BEGELTON WR $7,111.00 CGY MTL 14.65 2.06 0.3 7.1
RJ HARRIS WR $6,263.00 OTT HAM 14.46 2.31 0 8.8
Derel WALKER WR $7,822.00 TOR EDM 14.28 1.83 0.4 7.6
DaVaris DANIELS WR $6,712.00 EDM TOR 13.37 1.99 0 6.8
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $3,880.00 WPG BC 13.06 3.37 0.8 5.1 0 1
Quan BRAY WR $4,132.00 MTL CGY 12.02 2.91 0 7.9
Armanti EDWARDS WR $7,136.00 TOR EDM 11.79 1.65 0 5.5
Lemar DURANT WR $5,176.00 BC WPG 11.6 2.24 0 6.6
Markeith AMBLES WR $4,361.00 CGY MTL 10.68 2.45 0 7
Nic DEMSKI WR $5,245.00 WPG BC 10.46 1.99 1.8 4.1
Dominique RHYMES WR $4,493.00 OTT HAM 10.45 2.32 0 6.3
DeVier POSEY WR $5,785.00 MTL CGY 10.24 1.77 0 6.9
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $4,146.00 WPG BC 9.81 2.37 0 4.6
S.J. GREEN WR $6,394.00 TOR EDM 9.6 1.5 0.11 7.6
Brad SINOPOLI WR $6,051.00 OTT HAM 9.24 1.53 0 6.1
Kenny LAWLER WR $2,500.00 WPG BC 9.14 3.66 0 5.3
Natey ADJEI WR $3,948.00 EDM TOR 9.13 2.31 0 4.7
Luke TASKER WR $6,267.00 HAM OTT 8.76 1.4 0 5.5
Chris MATTHEWS WR $3,961.00 WPG BC 8.55 2.16 0 4.5
Duron CARTER WR $3,464.00 BC WPG 8.21 2.37 0 7.1
Eugene LEWIS WR $4,683.00 MTL CGY 7.88 1.68 0 5
Rafael ARAUJO-LOPES WR $2,500.00 OTT HAM 7.29 2.91 0 6.5
Jaelon ACKLIN WR $2,500.00 HAM OTT 7.23 2.89 0 3.8
Tevaun SMITH WR $2,500.00 EDM TOR 7.16 2.86 0 4.6
Janarion GRANT WR $2,500.00 WPG BC 6.61 2.65 0 0 5 3
Julian FEOLI GUDINO WR $2,520.00 OTT HAM 6.57 2.61 0 3.7
Marcus TUCKER WR $2,500.00 HAM OTT 5.4 2.16 0 3.5
Jevon COTTOY WR $2,500.00 BC WPG 5.36 2.14 0 2.9
Richard SINDANI WR $2,500.00 CGY MTL 5.33 2.13 0 3.2
Rodney SMITH WR $2,500.00 TOR EDM 5.28 2.11 0 3.5
Jake WIENEKE WR $2,500.00 MTL CGY 5.03 2.01 0 2.8
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $2,714.00 BC WPG 4.84 1.78 0 3.4
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 CGY MTL 4.81 1.92 0 3.3
Ryan LANKFORD WR $4,387.00 BC WPG 4.67 1.07 0 0 5 3
Josh HUFF WR $2,500.00 CGY MTL 4.02 1.61 0 1 5 3
Mike JONES WR $2,982.00 HAM OTT 3.98 1.33 0.01 2.9
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,500.00 TOR EDM 3.89 1.56 0 3
Hergy MAYALA WR $2,500.00 CGY MTL 3.72 1.49 0 2.5
Felix FAUBERT-LUSSIER WR $2,500.00 MTL CGY 0.31 0.12 0 1.5