- FREE AGENCY
With all due respect to Ringling Brothers Circus, the CFL is the greatest show on earth and the Argonauts are unlikely to become lion tamers this week. CFL Fantasy players should prepare to roll out Lions with impunity in Week 17 and get ready to roar on Saturday night.
Vernon Adams Jr., MTL – $11,199
Cody Fajardo, SSK – $9,523
Chris Streveler, WPG – $8,718
Mike Reilly, BC – $9,008
Logan Kilgore, EDM – $5,874
Don’t look now, but Vernon Adams Jr. hasn’t had a game with fewer than 19 fantasy points since Week 8. In a season where QBs have been dropping like flies, he has become a source of reliable Fantasy production where once no QB could succeed. With him at the helm, the Als have quietly become a top-three passing offence (8.68 yards/attempt) with the third-highest rate of passing TDs per attempt. The matchup versus Calgary would normally be one to avoid as they allow the fewest yards per pass attempt (7.38) and the second-lowest rate of passing TDs per attempt, but that didn’t stop Adams from throwing for 389 yards and a pair of TDs while tacking on two more on the ground in a Week 10 shootout with the Stampeders. The price is prohibitive with most other QBs $2-3K cheaper, but Adams is certainly still worthy of consideration.
Cody Fajardo followed in the footsteps of nearly every other QB facing the Argos this season and was the top fantasy option in Week 16, compiling 37.1 Fantasy points in a rout. The road will get significantly more difficult this week in the third act of Riders versus Bombers for 2019. The Riders continue to lead the league in yards per pass attempt (8.84), and it was nice to see him throw for multiple TDs for the first time since Week 6, but the Bombers are still an above-average pass defence despite having given up 847 yards and seven TDs through the air in their past two games. The “bend but don’t break” defensive scheme in Winnipeg may be broken though, in which case, Fajardo makes for a pretty interesting Fantasy option with Jordan Williams-Lambert expected to make his return to the starting lineup this week.
In what was a “down week” for Chris Streveler, he still managed 16.8 fantasy points on the back of his first 300-yard passing game. His penchant for turnovers arose again though as Hamilton forced him to be a pocket passer, limiting him to just eight carries for 46 yards while being forced to pass twice as much as his usual workload. If the Riders and their 42 sacks to this point are able to contain Streveler on the edges as Hamilton did, it could be another difficult game for him and the Winnipeg offence. If the Riders are sloppy on assignments though, he could certainly have another 30+ point performance as he did in Week 13 versus Saskatchewan.
If nothing else, Mike Reilly and the Lions offence have proven over the past three weeks that they are capable of deploying an effective offence when given three steamboats before he is rushed. Their three victories are over Ottawa and Montreal – both bottom two in the league in sacks. The Argo pass rush is only slightly better and may well lead to a fourth straight solid game from Reilly as Toronto allows the most yards and TDs per pass attempt in the CFL by a fairly wide margin. As witnessed by those who rostered Fajardo in his resurgence in Week 16, a matchup with the Argos is always a boon for opposing Fantasy QBs and certainly worth picking on.
For those looking to completely punt the QB position, Logan Kilgore will remain the starting QB of the Eskimos for the foreseeable future. He’s thousands cheaper than any other starting QB, but at some point, he isn’t going to score a rushing touchdown – as he has done in all three of his games this season – and that house of cards will crumble. The matchup versus Hamilton is also troubling as they are third in the league in sacks (41), allow just 7.7 yards per pass attempt and allow the lowest rate of passing TDs per attempt this season. There are better places to save salary.
John White, BC – $7,285
Andrew Harris, WPG – $10,466
William Stanback, MTL – $7,435
Tyrell Sutton, HAM – $5,627
Since returning from injury two weeks ago, John White has averaged over 18 touches and 19 Fantasy points per game. As has been the case with him all season, when given 15+ touches, he is one of the most consistent sources of Fantasy production in the league. This week’s matchup provides no reason to think that trend will change, as the Argos allow the second-most plays per game to opposing offences (59.8) and the highest rates of yards (5.63) and TDs per rush attempt in the CFL. Really, the only things that could derail White this week are injury or vulture goal-line TDs for Mike Reilly.
Andrew Harris missed the first two of the Bombers matchups versus Saskatchewan this season due to suspension, but Johnny Augustine filled in admirably in those contests with games of 14.5 and 21.8 Fantasy points. Those were excellent performances for a RB with a $2.500 salary, but Harris will have to do much more than that to pay off his over $10K tag. In his first two games back in action, Harris has averaged just over 21 Fantasy points per game and those performances were versus two of the top 4 most generous rush defences in the league (MTL/HAM). The Riders, on the other hand, are an above-average rush defence that has allowed just seven rushing TDs all season. If Harris has any hope of paying off his lofty salary, it will likely have to come through work as a check down option for Streveler.
Despite his best efforts, the Alouettes came up just short versus the Lions in Week 16 while Stanback posted 157 total yards on just 16 touches. The return of Vernon Adams should boost the Als offence overall, but it may still be a difficult week for Stanback versus a Stampeders defence that allows the fewest yards per carry (4.47) and the third-fewest TDs per carry this season. Jeremiah Johnson managed to post 16.9 Fantasy points versus Calgary while Stanback was out in Week 10, but Stanback will have to do more than that to make his over $7K salary worthwhile. The Als are the most efficient rushing offence in the league and project for the second-most offensive snaps this week (57.7) but it’s still difficult to envision Calgary allowing a 100-yard rusher for Montreal a second time.
Despite being listed as a reserve behind Maleek Irons for the Ticats in Week 16, Tyrell Sutton started the game for the Tabbies and led all Hamilton RBs in touches. There is no way to roll him out with confidence in Week 17 no matter what the depth chart may show on Thursday, but players have to find salary relief somewhere and Sutton is one of the cheaper RBs on the slate. The Eskimos allow the third most yards per rush attempt (5.26) this season so he may find some room to run if given 10-12 touches.
Brandon Banks, HAM – $11,971
Bryan Burnham, BC – $9,535
Bralon Addison, HAM – $9,906
Reggie Begelton, CGY – $10,654
Eric Rogers, CGY – $8,095
Derel Walker, TOR – $8,993
Lemar Durant, BC – $5,851
Shaq Evans, SSK – $6,325
Greg Ellingson, EDM – $7,933
Quan Bray, MTL – $4,476
Colton Hunchak, CGY – $2,500
Josh Huff, CGY – $2,500
In each other their past two games, the TiCats have compiled nearly 300 first-half passing yards before slumping in the second half. Points are points no matter when they come for Fantasy players though and the duo of Banks and Addison have been excellent for raw production. From a value standpoint, they are a little more questionable however as both of their salaries are astronomical. They will have to be highly efficient again this week though if they are going to return value versus and Edmonton defence that allows the fewest plays per game to opposing offences (50.2) and the second-fewest yards per target to opposing receivers (7.63). They both had big-play TDs of over 40 yards in their Week 15 matchup versus the Eskimos but were held to just nine total receptions in the contest, as the Edmonton defence settled in after a very shaky start. Both Banks and Addison have 30+ point upside but both are also risky plays with exorbitant salaries versus a good pass defence.
Bryan Burnham may have a similar salary and ceiling to Addison but the matchup gives him a much higher floor. In his past three games, Burnham has averaged over 10 targets, 100 yards, and nearly a touchdown per contest while posting a league-leading 0.79 WOPR in that stretch. This is in part due to being allowed to feast on three matchups with two of the three most generous pass defences in the league – Ottawa and Montreal – but it only gets easier for him in Week 17 in a matchup versus a Toronto defence that allows the most yards (9.29) and TDs per target this season. Lemar Durant is a secondary option for the Lions with significant upside in the matchup that is well worth considering at a very reasonable mid-tier salary of just under $6K.
Reggie Begelton missed the Stampeders’ last game before the bye but is expected to return to action this week versus an Alouettes defence that allows the second-most yards per target (8.96) which he torched for 173 yards and four TDs in Week 10. At a significantly lower salary, Eric Rogers is also an option, with three straight games over 19 Fantasy points, but Begelton certainly has the higher ceiling. If there is any case to be made for Rogers over Begelton in a 1v1 scenario, it’s that since Mitchell returned to action as the starting QB, Rogers has averaged an extra 40 yards per game in air yards over Begelton. Both of them are worthy of consideration this week but players are likely better to pick one or the other rather than trying to jam them both in at these high price points.
It’s pretty difficult to make a case for Derel Walker at this point. He’s clearly one of the most talented receivers in the league, but the current revolving door at QB he has to deal with in Toronto makes his near $9K salary difficult to justify versus a BC defence that has allowed just three receiving TDs in their past six games. His talent keeps him in the top 10 in the projections, but his situation makes him nearly impossible to consider putting in lineups in Week 17.
The return of Jordan William-Lambert should be a boon to the Riders as a team, but it makes the entire receiving corps more risky Fantasy options while players wait to see how the market share of targets adjusts in his wake. The Riders still pass for the most yards per target in the league (8.84) but that rate is down almost a full yard per target from earlier this season. The Bombers’ defence has been beaten badly the past two weeks and has allowed the second-most passing plays of 30+ yards (22), so it may be a week in which Shaq Evans can find some space to excel at an affordable mid-tier price tag.
Since Logan Kilgore took over as the starting QB for the Eskimos, no receiver has had more than five receptions or 70 yards in a game. The price tags on all of Ellingson, Daniels, and Collins, are more affordable than they’ve been in a while, but it would be more than fair to deduct 10% from all their projected points with Kilgore under centre as their rates are still largely propped up by their games with Harris. Versus a Hamilton defence that allows just 7.7 yards per target and the lowest rate of receiving TDs per target in the league, Fantasy players are justified in ignoring the Eskimos receiving corps altogether this week.
None of the Alouettes talented stable of receivers project particularly well versus a Calgary defence that allows league low rates of yards (7.38) and TDs per target to opposing receivers and Bray really only gets the bump to the top of their list due to his work returning punts. Posey and Lewis project as two of the worst values at the position this week due to their inflated salaries, but if players are rolling out Adams at QB, it has to be with the expectation that at least one of these three Als pass-catchers has an unexpectedly big afternoon as Lewis and Posey did in Week 10.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $4,637
BC Lions – $3,729
There’s really no reason that the Tiger-Cats defence should be priced this low as they are third in the league in sacks (41) and forced turnovers (36) and face an Eskimos team that they had three sacks and three forced turnovers against just a couple weeks ago. Picking a defence versus the worst Fantasy QB on the slate is always a solid strategy and this week that probably leads to picking on Logan Kilgore and the Eskimos.
After a terrible start to the season that saw the Lions defence post negative points in four of their first eight games, they have averaged 11 points over their past three contests and now get to face an Argos offence that seems back on its heels. In this span, the Lions have compiled 10 sacks and six forced turnovers and now face a Toronto offence that has allowed the second-most sacks (44) and turnovers (41) this season. At the near-minimum price for a defence, they are worth rolling out for a fourth straight week.
Mike Reilly > Bryan Burnham, Lemar Durant
With Reilly’s dip in salary and Durant’s mid-tier tag, it’s quite possible to build around this double-stack versus the Argos if players are willing to punt RB.
The Argos are the worst defence in the league in nearly every category versus the pass or the run but it’s unlikely both parts of the offensive attack have ceiling games. While most folks go stack the Lions passing game, it could be an interesting contrarian option to stack the running game and defence in what could be a very positive game script for both.
Week 17 Projections
|Name||Position||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Points Per Dollar||Pass Attempts||Rush Carries|
|Vernon ADAMS JR||QB||$11,199.00||MTL||CGY||25.49||2.28||31.7||6.4|
|Bo Levi MITCHELL||QB||$8,930.00||CGY||MTL||20.34||2.28||36.8||0.3|
|Name||Position||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Points Per Dollar||Rush Carries||Receiving Targets||Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
|James WILDER JR||RB||$8,627.00||TOR||BC||13.47||1.56||7.1||5.5|
|Name||Position||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Points Per Dollar||Rush Carries||Receiving Targets||Punt Returns||Kick Returns|