September 11, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Adams ascends to top quarterback status

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

Mark’s Labour Day Weekend was one for the cheap options at QB and RB to shine, and Week 13 introduces more new names and faces with opportunities to shine. With the cheap options available, the most interesting decisions for Fantasy players will be regarding which of the high priced stars to pair them with.

QUARTERBACKS

Vernon Adams Jr., MTL – $10,066

Trevor Harris, EDM – $11,784

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, TOR – $9,334

Punt Single(s):

Chris Streveler, WPG – $7,463

Jonathan Jennings, OTT – $5,230

After a bye on Labour Day Weekend, Vernon Adams Jr. returns to action this week versus BC as the week’s top projected passer. The Als are an average passing offence and face a Lions defence that allows an average number of passing yards per attempt (8.3), but their having allowed the second-most TDs per attempt this season accompanied with Adams’ rushing ability makes him the top option by a wide margin. If there is any reason to shy away from Adams and the Alouettes passing attack, it’s that they haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer since McBeth accomplished the feat two months ago. In fact, they’ve allowed 300 passing yards only twice this season. Quite a solid accomplishment for a defence with a bad reputation.


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Following his worst performance of the season, Trevor Harris will get the opportunity for redemption in this week’s rematch with Calgary. The Eskimos project for the most offensive snaps this week (59.7), and Harris for the second-most pass attempts (38.9), at the helm of a passing attack that averages the third most yards per attempt in the CFL (8.48). The issue is going to be turning all those yards into touchdowns, as Harris has just one passing TD in his past three games versus non-Toronto opponents. The Eskimos have just one TD to 10 field goals in their past two games, leading them to the second-worst red-zone TD percentage in the CFL (44%). At this salary, he’s a tough spend to justify.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, on the other hand, is putting up MOP calibre passing numbers for the worst team in the CFL. He leads the league in passing TDs (17), is second in passing yards (2593), has 300+ yards in six of his last eight games, and multiple TD passes in six of his last seven. Toronto projects for the second-most offensive snaps this week (59.2), and the most pass attempts (40.7), versus an Ottawa defence allowing the third-most yards per pass attempt this season (8.36). Ottawa allows a below-average rate of passing TDs per attempt but that is largely due to their having allowed a league-high 17 scores on the ground. Toronto runs a league-low 25.5% of the time so it’s likely their scores still come through the air.

If players are looking for cheaper options at QB this week, there are two options below $8K with very different outlooks. Chris Streveler had double-digit rushing attempts again in Week 12 and there’s no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. Having that kind of rushing points floor to build from is great as a “safe” play, but with a projection for only 125.4 passing yards versus a Riders defence that allows below average rates of passing TDs per attempt, his ceiling is also fairly low.

The boom or bust option at QB this week priced below most RBs and WRs. Jon Jennings will get a shot at redemption versus an Argos defence that allows 34.8 points and 324 passing yards per game. Dane Evans had broken 260 yards just once this season going int Labour Day, but even he managed 442 yards and two TDs versus Toronto. This isn’t a matchup versus Calgary or Winnipeg as he had to endure earlier this season. It’s not crazy to consider Jennings this week versus Toronto.

RUNNING BACKS

William Powell, SSK – $9,571

CJ Gable, EDM – $8,103

Punt Single(s):

Johnny Augustine, WPG – $4,500

Ka’Deem Carey, CGY – $5,385

John Crockett, OTT – $5,005

Brandon Rutley, BC – $4,464

The top end of the players in the RB projections are again difficult spends to justify this week. William Powell proved to be very valuable in closing out the Bombers in Week 12, but his Fantasy production wasn’t nearly enough to justify his over $9K salary. A return matchup versus the Bombers this week and their defence that allows the third-fewest yards (5.01) and TDs per rush attempt (5.01), again makes him a poor play at his salary level.

Likewise, CJ Gable’s 8.7 Fantasy point production made him a terrible value in Week 12. He has averaged just 9.1 Fantasy points in two matchups versus Calgary this season and an over $8K salary keeps him largely out of consideration this week versus a Stampeders defence that allows the fewest yards per rush attempt (4.26) and a below-average rate of rushing TDs per attempt this season.

As was the story in Week 12, the most appealing backs on the slate are all low-priced options that present the opportunity for value. The Bombers lost to Saskatchewan, but no one could blame the absence of Andrew Harris for the outcome as Johnny Augustine ran for 98 yards on just 12 carries, while adding three receptions for 17 yards, for a total of 14.5 Fantasy points. The Riders are a league-average rush defence in terms of yards allowed per attempt (5.17) but have still given up just three rushing TDs this season – also the lowest rate in the league. If newly signed Larry Rose is added to the mix in the backfield this week, Augustine would see his projection decrease.

Ka’Deem Carey returned to the starting lineup for the Stamp last week and amassed 143 rushing yards on just 16 carries. The Eskimos have quietly allowed the most rushing yards per attempt again this season (5.81) but their having allowed a league-low 49 offensive snaps to opponents this season has kept the overall totals low. If Calgary manages to get into the mid-50s again this week it could be another huge week for Carey at a very affordable salary.

The Ottawa backfield is another one worth keeping an eye on this week. If John Crockett, who didn’t practice Tuesday, manages to get into the starting lineup, he would be one of the more interesting players on the slate in a run-heavy Joe PaoPao offensive scheme versus a Toronto defence that allows the second-most yards (5.58) and TDs per carry in the CFL. If however, it’s Mossis Madu getting the starting nod, he is much less interesting at a higher salary and with significantly reduced efficiency.

News from TSN’s Farhan Lalji is that John White will not get back into action this week. Brandon Rutley is likely to come off the injured list and start for the Lions, making him an interesting cheap option versus an Alouettes defence that allows 5.29 yards per carry and an average rate of rushing TDs per carry. If the Lions get down early again though, which the Vegas odds infer (MTL -7), Rutley’s opportunities could evaporate in a negative game script. Wayne Moore is also likely to take some touches both as a ball carrier and receiver, eating into Rutley’s workload as well.

RECEIVERS

Reggie Begelton, CGY – $9,896

Derel Walker, TOR – $9,029

Bryan Burnham, BC – $8,797

DaVaris Daniels, EDM -$8,430

Greg Ellingson, EDM – $8,289

Shaq Evans, SSK – $7,168

DeVier Posey, MTL – $6,338

Ricky Collins, EDM – $7,355

Quan Bray, MTL – $4,162

Kyran Moore, SSK – $6,513

Punt Single(s):

Janarion Grant, WPG – $2,500

A couple of seasons back I dubbed Reggie Begelton as “Bageltown” because he’s always open like a late-night coffee shop. In his past two games, he has totalled 18 receptions for 311 yards and five TDs. That’s pretty alright. The Eskimos were an unlikely opponent to blow the doors off of given then allow a league-low 7.26 yards per target, but if he’s going to continue to get 10 targets a game in an offence that passes for the second-most yards (8.6) and TDs per attempt, he’s pretty difficult to ignore. His salary has become Banks-ian in proportion, but he has the highest ceiling of any player on the slate. His teammates Eric Rogers and Markeith Ambles are contrarian options at best with Rogers being entirely TD dependent for scoring and Ambles targets having plummeted.

Derel Walker proved once again that if he gets adequate targets, he can provide excellent production, producing nine receptions for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns versus Hamilton in Week 12. Getting consistent targets is really the only thing that keeps him from being a reliable option week in and week out. The Argos project for the most pass attempts this week and the Redblacks allow the third most yards per target (8.36) this season. If Walker gets double-digit targets on the boundary WR side where Ottawa struggles, he could have another big week. If however, they decide to spread the ball out to Rodney Smith and Jimmy Ralph as they have done other weeks, the Walker could again be a single-digit Fantasy disappointment. Somewhat inexplicably, SJ Green continues to be the most targeted WR in the offence despite having a bottom five production rate for any WR over 20 targets this season. Despite all the positives for the Argos passing attack, Walker and Smith are the only real stacking options with McBeth.

The Lions passing attack will hope to get back on track and improve their blocking following a change at the line coach position over the bye week. Bryan Burnham leads the league in air yards per game (94) and is near the league lead in targets (68), making him worthy of consideration versus an Alouettes defence that still allows the second-most yards per target to opposing receivers (8.86) despite recent improvements. Burnham’s salary is prohibitive but potential value options at RB and QB make him a possibility. Lemar Durant comes in at nearly half of Burnham’s salary with nearly the same number of targets per game and is a solid mid-tier option.

The Eskimos top receiving trio of Daniels, Ellingson, and Collins all had subpar outings versus Calgary in Week 12, as Natey Adjei led the team in receptions and yards. If Edmonton hopes to win the rematch, one of their big three will have to emerge. Daniels leads the group in targets per game but will again get a heavy dose of Tre Roberson on the boundary corner, making Ellingson or Collins more likely prospects for a rebound. Ellingson’s salary still over $8K is likely too big a risk to take, making Collins the most reasonable Eskimos receiver to stack with Harris for those expecting Edmonton to win the second half of the home and home matchup. None of these receivers are worth consideration outside of stacks.

Shaq Evans had a big first half versus the Blue Bombers on Labour Day Weekend but was held fairly quiet in the second half as the Bombers controlled the clock. Those banking on Fajardo at QB would be wise to stack him with Evans, as he clearly has the highest ceiling of any of the Riders WRs with Kyran Moore’s workload continuing to diminish and Roosevelt being used largely as a possession receiver rather than a downfield target. The Bombers allow the third-fewest yards per target (7.41) and second-fewest TDs per target in the league, so Riders stacks are contrarian at best.

None of the Alouettes receivers really pop as top-end targets in the projections due to their more rush heavy offensive scheme – they project for the second-fewest pass attempts on the slate (30.2) – but the relatively low salaries on Posey and Bray make them solid values and stacking options with Vernon Adams. The Alouettes passing attack has been pretty highly concentrated to Posey, Bray and Lewis, so at least one of them is likely to corral a TD versus a Lions defence that allows the second-most receiving TDs per target in the league. Chris Matthews is not expected to make his Als debut this week so normal target distributions should carry on for at least one more week.

Maybe the most interesting bargain bin option at WR this week isn’t really a receiver at all but return specialist Janarion Grant. They Riders held him in check in Regina on Sunday, but they still allow the most yards per punt return (18.4), the most returns of 30+ yards (9), and the most return TDs (4) in the league. All he needs is one big return to be an excellent value.

DEFENCE

Montreal Alouettes – $3,665

Toronto Argonauts – $3,200

Those looking for a Fantasy defence in Week 13 are left with two somewhat unlikely candidates with affordable salaries. The Alouettes average just 4.8 points per game as a unit but face a BC Lions team that allows a league-high 4.3 sacks per game. The Als come in at a very affordable price versus a Lions team that has allowed almost any pass rush to flourish.

The other unlikely candidate at defence this week is an Argos unit that allows the most points (34.8) and yards (439.8) per game this season, but that somehow managed to pile up seven sacks and three turnovers versus Hamilton in Week 12. They now face an Ottawa offence that manages the second-fewest points (19.3) and yards (303.4) per game, while also giving up the second-most turnovers (31). If there is any week to roster the Argos minimum priced unit, it’s this one.

STACKS

Vernon Adams Jr > DeVier Posey, Quan Bray

The Als have the highest implied team total this week and have very affordably priced WRs to pair with Adams. Posey and Bray both average over seven targets per game.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson > Derel Walker

McBeth has been the most consistent QB in CFL Fantasy this season and Walker is his most dangerous weapon. Walker’s production has been inconsistent but if players are shooting for the moon, he’s the one to have.

Jonathan Jennings > Dominique Rhymes, Brad Sinopoli

The Ottawa offence has been very bad, and Jennings hasn’t shown much promise. That being said, the Argos defence hasn’t held an opposing QB under 330 yards passing in over a month. If Ottawa is to reach their 28.25 implied team total, at least one of these receivers is likely to have a big day.

Week 13 Projections

QUARTERBACKS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Vernon ADAMS JR QB $10,066.00 MTL BC 26.07 2.59 30.2 6.6
Trevor HARRIS QB $11,784.00 EDM CGY 21.88 1.86 39 4.3
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $9,334.00 TOR OTT 21.74 2.33 40.7 2
Cody FAJARDO QB $8,080.00 SSK WPG 21.15 2.62 30.6 6.1
Chris STREVELER QB $7,463.00 WPG SSK 21.08 2.82 21.5 12.5
Bo Levi MITCHELL QB $9,533.00 CGY EDM 17.38 1.82 32.2 0.7
Mike REILLY QB $9,193.00 BC MTL 16.06 1.75 33.4 3.8
Jonathon JENNINGS QB $5,230.00 OTT TOR 14.95 2.86 34.1 3.3
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $6,987.00 CGY EDM 2.2 0.31 0 1.5

RUNNING BACKS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
William POWELL RB $9,571.00 SSK WPG 16.89 1.77 13.6 3.2
CJ GABLE RB $8,103.00 EDM CGY 14.89 1.84 15.5 4.1
William STANBACK RB $8,279.00 MTL BC 13.88 1.68 10.9 1.7
James WILDER JR RB $8,941.00 TOR OTT 13.77 1.54 7.9 6.3
Johnny AUGUSTINE RB $4,500.00 WPG SSK 13.33 2.96 12.1 3.3
Ka’Deem CAREY RB $5,385.00 CGY EDM 12.82 2.38 10.9 2.6 0 0
John CROCKETT RB $5,005.00 OTT TOR 12.16 2.43 17.2 2.1 0 0
Chris RAINEY RB $5,584.00 TOR OTT 11.05 1.98 4.7 2 5 3
Terry WILLIAMS RB $5,240.00 CGY EDM 10.23 1.95 2.1 1.2 5 3
Brandon RUTLEY RB $4,464.00 BC MTL 10.08 2.26 11.1 2.2 0 0
Jeremiah JOHNSON RB $6,013.00 MTL BC 7.66 1.27 5 2.1
Christion JONES RB $3,007.00 EDM CGY 5.85 1.95 0 0 5 3
Marcus THIGPEN RB $3,815.00 SSK WPG 5.64 1.48 3.2 1.6 3
Wayne MOORE RB $2,500.00 BC MTL 5.29 2.12 3.6 2.2
Brendan GILLANDERS RB $2,500.00 OTT TOR 0.95 0.38 1.5 0.5

RECEIVERS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Reginald BEGELTON WR $9,896.00 CGY EDM 19.08 1.93 0.4 7.4
Derel WALKER WR $9,029.00 TOR OTT 16.18 1.79 0.2 8.1
Bryan BURNHAM WR $8,797.00 BC MTL 16.08 1.83 0 8.4
DaVaris DANIELS WR $8,430.00 EDM CGY 15.89 1.89 0 8.4
Greg ELLINGSON WR $8,289.00 EDM CGY 15.2 1.83 0 8.2
Shaquelle EVANS WR $7,168.00 SSK WPG 14.79 2.06 0.2 6.8
DeVier POSEY WR $6,338.00 MTL BC 14.42 2.28 0 8.4
Ricky COLLINS WR $7,355.00 EDM CGY 14 1.9 0.2 7.6
Quan BRAY WR $4,162.00 MTL BC 13.58 3.26 0.15 7.4
Kyran MOORE WR $6,513.00 SSK WPG 13.11 2.01 0.4 5.7 2
Eric ROGERS WR $6,795.00 CGY EDM 12.74 1.87 0 6.5
Lemar DURANT WR $4,611.00 BC MTL 12.74 2.76 0 6.9
Dominique RHYMES WR $5,869.00 OTT TOR 12.6 2.15 0 7
Armanti EDWARDS WR $6,700.00 TOR OTT 11.99 1.79 0.2 6.2
Eugene LEWIS WR $7,065.00 MTL BC 11.87 1.68 0 6.1
RJ HARRIS WR $6,355.00 OTT TOR 11.51 1.81 0 7.5
S.J. GREEN WR $7,023.00 TOR OTT 11.25 1.6 0.1 8.3
Rodney SMITH WR $4,254.00 TOR OTT 10.78 2.53 0 6.2
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $3,743.00 WPG SSK 9.93 2.65 1.5 3.9 0 1
Brad SINOPOLI WR $6,273.00 OTT TOR 9.81 1.56 0 7.1
Naaman ROOSEVELT WR $5,409.00 SSK WPG 9.64 1.78 0 7.1
Darvin ADAMS WR $6,245.00 WPG SSK 8.98 1.44 0 4
Markeith AMBLES WR $4,453.00 CGY EDM 8.61 1.93 0.3 6.2
Natey ADJEI WR $3,677.00 EDM CGY 8.3 2.26 0 4.9
Nic DEMSKI WR $4,333.00 WPG SSK 7.87 1.82 1.5 3.3
Tevaun SMITH WR $3,374.00 EDM CGY 7.16 2.12 0 4.8
Duron CARTER WR $3,486.00 BC MTL 7.05 2.02 0 6.4
Janarion GRANT WR $2,500.00 WPG SSK 6.86 2.74 0 0 5 3
Jake WIENEKE WR $2,885.00 MTL BC 6.85 2.37 0 3.4
Caleb HOLLEY WR $3,282.00 OTT TOR 6.73 2.05 0 5.4
Jevon COTTOY WR $2,500.00 BC MTL 6.61 2.65 0 3.7
Kenny LAWLER WR $2,500.00 WPG SSK 6.54 2.61 0 3.7
Shakeir RYAN WR $2,500.00 MTL BC 6.2 2.48 0 0 5 3
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $2,918.00 BC MTL 6.05 2.07 0 3.6
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $3,730.00 WPG SSK 5.71 1.53 0 3.3
Ryan LANKFORD WR $4,001.00 BC MTL 5.63 1.41 0 0 5 3
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,784.00 TOR OTT 5.33 1.91 0 3.3
Richard SINDANI WR $2,500.00 CGY EDM 4.89 1.95 0 2.7
Hergy MAYALA WR $2,500.00 CGY EDM 4.39 1.76 0 2.7
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 CGY EDM 4.12 1.65 0.29 2.9
Justin MCINNIS WR $2,500.00 SSK WPG 3.72 1.49 0 3.2
Nathaniel BEHAR WR $2,500.00 OTT TOR 3.64 1.46 0 2.9
Emmanuel ARCENEAUX WR $3,534.00 SSK WPG 3.57 1.01 0 3
Jacob SCARFONE WR $2,500.00 OTT TOR 1.71 0.68 0 1
Felix FAUBERT-LUSSIER WR $2,500.00 MTL BC 1.28 0.51 0 1.1