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October 9, 2019

Fantasy Strategy: Take a chance on Harris, REDBLACKS’ attack

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

With Toronto and Ottawa both out of playoff contention for 2019, most eyes will be turned elsewhere in Week 18. However, the matchup between two of the more exploitable defences in the league could provide production from unexpected places for Fantasy players willing to take a risk.

QUARTERBACK

Vernon Adams Jr., MTL – $11,345

Chris Streveler, WPG – $9,276

Mcleod Bethel-Thompson, TOR – $8,353

Punt Single:

Will Arndt, OTT – $5,000

Three weeks ago, in Montreal, Vernon Adams had a gargantuan second half which led to the Alouettes’ biggest comeback in franchise history. He finished that game with 488 yards and four TDs passing along with 38 yards and one TD rushing. It’s pretty unlikely he reaches those heights again in Week 18, but he’ll have to do something similar to pay off an enormous price tag over $11K. The Als project for the third-fewest plays this week (55.5) but face an increasingly generous Winnipeg secondary that now allows 8.15 yards per pass attempt while surrendering the most pass plays of 30+ yards this season (25). His rushing ability only further helps his scoring baselines.


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Adams’ opponent in Winnipeg, Chris Streveler, will also be hoping to show some of the form he did in their last meeting as his past two outings combined have only produced two-thirds of his Fantasy production from Week 15 alone. Since his 35.6 Fantasy point outing – including three rushing TDs – opposing defences seem content to hold contain on the edges rather than rushing him outright, forcing him to become a pocket passer. It has resulted in decreased efficiency as a runner, double the attempts as a passer, and an increase in turnovers. Winnipeg projects for the third most offensive plays this week (56.9) and faces a Montreal secondary allowing the second-most yards per pass attempt (9.1) and third most yards per rush attempt (5.45) but Streveler’s value likely hangs on his ability to complete passes downfield which has been a major struggle to this point.

Toronto’s starting quarterback is still somewhat of a mystery going into their Friday matchup with Ottawa, but if McBeth gets the nod, he may be the best value at the position this week. Toronto’s struggles this season make it easy to forget that they are still second in the CFL with 23 passing TDs. In fact, McBeth has averaged nearly 350 yards and two TDs per game in contests he’s played the full 60 minutes. The matchup with Ottawa may not have much interest as far as the standings go, but the Argos project to run the second-most offensive plays this week (60.6) in a matchup which projects for the most yards per attempt (8.59) and second-most TDs per pass attempt. At a salary well below most other starting QBs, McBeth could be a great option while most eyes are looking elsewhere.

If Fantasy players are looking to completely punt the position, Will Arndt will get his first career CFL start priced at just $5000 versus a Toronto defence that is the worst in the league in nearly every category. Ottawa projects to run the most offensive plays on the slate (60.7) and even Jon Jennings passed for over 300 yards versus the Argos earlier this season, but that’s where the good news for him ends. The REDBLACKS’ offence averages the fewest yards (6.9) and TDs per pass attempt this season. In 36 pass attempts this season, he has thrown two interceptions already and his projection for 36.5 pass attempts this week means turnovers are again likely. The matchup is great and the salary is low but so is the likelihood of Fantasy success for him in Week 18.

RUNNING BACK

Andrew Harris, WPG – $9,435

Shaq Cooper, EDM – $4,807

William Stanback, MTL – $7,275

John White, BC – $7,988

The price tag on Andrew Harris continues to fall as his production has declined significantly over the past couple of weeks that Chris Streveler has been forced to become a pocket passer. The Bombers are still the top rushing team in the league and face a Montreal defence allowing the third-most yards (5.45) and TDs per carry, but if Winnipeg can’t find ways so sustain drives it will difficult to imagine Harris paying off his $9K tag. His last big game was versus these same Alouettes three weeks ago though, so he’s still worthy of consideration.

With CJ Gable exiting the Week 17 game versus Hamilton due to injury, it’s expected that Shaq Cooper will get his second start of the season for the Eskimos on Saturday. In his first start this season, he had 128 yards and a TD rushing along with five receptions for 48 yards for 28.6 Fantasy points. The matchup with BC isn’t quite as inviting as that contest with Toronto but the Lions still allow an above-average 5.24 yards per carry and the third most total rushing TDs this season (16). Even at an average price, he’d be an interesting option, but as a salary below some pure kick returners, he’s the top value of the week regardless of position.

The good news for William Stanback is that he averages over 6.3 yards per carry and is just 46 yards short of his first 1000 yard season. The bad news for William Stanback is that half his rushing yards came in just three games and he’s scored just one TD since Week 4. Winnipeg also allows the second-fewest yards per carry (4.74) and Vernon Adams tends to take all the carries inside the 10-yard line himself, limiting Stanback’s scoring upside. He’s one of the most talented ball carriers in the league, but his role in the offence and the matchup he faces make him an unlikely source for Fantasy production in Week 18.

John White, on the other hand, has become one of the most consistent sources of Fantasy production in the league over the past month, averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game. The Lions have feasted on three of the worst defences in the league in their past four games but will face a much tougher test in Edmonton on Saturday. The Lions project for the fewest offensive plays this week (53.4) versus an Eskimos defence allowing the fewest rushing TDs this season (7). If there’s any bright spot for White, it’s that Edmonton allows the second-most yards per carry (5.46) and will likely struggle to sustain drives with Logan Kilgore at QB.

RECEIVER

Bryan Burnham, BC – $10,890

Reggie Begelton, CGY – $11,121

Derel Walker, TOR – $8,949

Eric Rogers, CGY – $7,970

Shaq Evans, SSK – $7,831

Greg Ellingson, EDM – $6,821

Eugene Lewis, MTL – $7,990

DaVaris Daniels, EDM – $7,402

Lucky Whitehead, WPG – $4,237

RJ Harris, OTT – $4,914

Punt Single(s):

Josh Huff, CGY – $3,565

Like his teammate John White, Bryan Burnham has been one of the most consistent sources of fantasy production in the league over the past month. He’s always been one of the most talented receivers the CFL has to offer, but Fantasy players need look no further than the schedule to see why his production has spiked in the past month. Four consecutive matchups versus the three worst pass defences in the league will have a tendency to do that for a player. Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa are first, second, and third in terms of yards allowed per target and all three are in the top five of TDs allowed per target. Add to that that they are three of the four lowest teams in the sack department, and the recipe for the Lions resurgence becomes clear. Edmonton, however, allows the fewest plays per game to opposing offences (50.9), the third-fewest yards per target on the slate (7.71) and leads the league in sacks (46). Burnham is still a fine option, but in two games versus Edmonton earlier this season, he combined for just 102 yards on five receptions. BC may still win the game, but this one has the makings of a 16-13 fantasy graveyard.

Reggie Begelton and the Stampeders will look to keep their hopes for first place in the West alive versus the Roughriders, Friday night in Calgary. Both he and Eric Rogers had unexpectedly down weeks versus a porous Montreal secondary, as tertiary targets like Josh Huff and Hergy Mayala stole the show. Huff should see a heavy dose of Nick Marshall and field-side WRs like Mayala are notoriously volatile sources of production, so if the Calgary passing game is going to stay on track, one of Begelton or Rogers are likely to emerge as the top producer. Calgary projects for the second-fewest offensive snaps this week (54.9), however, and the Riders allow the second-fewest yards per target to opposing receivers (7.55), so it is a suboptimal matchup to face for the most expensive receiver on the slate. Rogers is a slightly more enticing option sub-$8K however and worthy of consideration with Mitchell at QB.

Fantasy players looking to go the McBeth route at QB versus Ottawa would be wise to look at his most explosive target at the WR position. Despite Toronto’s woes, Walker still has over 1000 yards receiving and six TDs this season and gets to face a REDBLACKS defence that allows the third most yards per target (8.93) and an above-average rate of TDs per target as well. There are rumours that Walker could be traded at the deadline, however, so Fantasy players will have to keep their eyes open for news this week. Walker has as high a ceiling as any player at the position and the matchup gives him the opportunity to reach it.

Shaq Evans has the best Fantasy scoring rates of any player at the position, but his low number of targets – relative to other top WRs – make him a more volatile option. Evans had 32.3 points versus Winnipeg in Week 17, but he also has four games in single-digit points this season. The matchup versus Calgary isn’t particularly appealing either as they allow the fewest yards (7.36) and TDs per target on the slate. He’s also likely to see a lot of coverage from Roberson who had two INTs versus the Riders in Week 4. Evans is reasonably priced, but his limited market share of targets leaves him as a more boom or bust option than other top receivers this week.

With Logan Kilgore at QB, no Eskimos receiver has managed more than 72 yards receiving or 14 Fantasy points in any game. With salaries still around the $7K mark, this generally leaves the whole Edmonton receiving corps out of Fantasy consideration. Their floors are very low and their ceilings not much higher against a Lions defence that allows below average rates of yards per target. If not for monster games from Ellingson and Daniels earlier this season from Trevor Harris, no Eskimos receiver would crack the top 10 in the projections.

Lucky Whitehead has huge big-play ability, but 32% of his Fantasy production this season came in his Week 2 game versus Edmonton. That was also the only game he has scored an offensive touchdown. The good news for him is that he’s averaged over six targets a game in his past three contests and he now faces a Montreal defence allowing 9.1 yards per target to opposing receivers – second-most in the league. He also gets the added bonus of a handful of kick return opportunities each game and the Als allow a league-high 25.1 yards per kick return in 2019. He’s kind of a shot in the dark, but there are worse options for salary relief out there.

If Fantasy players Arndt scared of some risk, someone from the REDBLACKS’ receiving corps is likely to have a big game versus Toronto as their struggles continue. Rhymes is the top receiver in the projections but near $7K is a steep investment given the uncertainty. RJ Harris has been Arndt’s top targeted receiver in limited action this season, and he comes in with a much more affordable salary under $5K. All Ottawa WRs carry the risk of low single-digit scoring, but also carry significant upside in a matchup versus the most generous defence in the CFL.

DEFENCE

BC Lions – $4,295

Toronto Argonauts – $3,200

Keep picking on turnover-prone QBs with cheap defences, folks.

The salary has gone up on the Lions defence after four straight games versus turnover-prone QBs, but they are still priced well below many of the top options and this week get another turnover prone QB. Logan Kilgore has thrown seven interceptions in four games and will now face a BC defence that has created nine turnovers in their past four games. It may also be a low scoring affair, making this unit a solid option.

The Argos defence, on the other hand, has provided negative scoring in both of their past two contests, but get to face a Redblacks offence that is last in the league in most categories, which is giving Will Arndt his first career start, and which they scored 18 Fantasy points against just a month ago. Those 18 Fantasy points are more than they have scored in their other 13 games combined. It goes without saying that makes this unit a risky choice, but also one with significant upside for the minimum salary.

STACKS

Mcleod Bethel-Thompson > Derel Walker

Walker has two games of over 39 Fantasy points with McBeth under centre this season and only a couple games of single-digit scoring. The salary relief McBeth provides makes this an interesting option.

Will Arndt > RJ Harris, Mossis Madu

Arndt has targeted RBs with 8 of his 36 pass attempts this season and Madu has games with over 10 targets this year. They’re all cheap and face Toronto. YOLO.

Week 18 Projections

QUARTERBACKS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries
Vernon ADAMS JR QB $11,345.00 MTL WPG 24.9 2.19 30.6 6.1
Chris STREVELER QB $9,276.00 WPG MTL 24.21 2.61 27.4 10.5
Cody FAJARDO QB $10,268.00 SSK CGY 22.37 2.18 30.8 6.8
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $8,353.00 TOR OTT 21.88 2.62 39 1.6
Bo Levi MITCHELL QB $9,285.00 CGY SSK 18.6 2 35.9 0.3
Mike REILLY QB $10,247.00 BC EDM 18.31 1.79 29.9 3.7
Logan KILGORE QB $6,099.00 EDM BC 17.29 2.83 35.2 4.3
Will ARNDT QB $5,000.00 OTT TOR 11.57 2.31 36.5 3.1
Nick ARBUCKLE QB $5,259.00 CGY SSK 2.06 0.39 0 1.5
James FRANKLIN QB $4,905.00 TOR OTT 1.47 0.3 0 1.4

RUNNING BACKS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Andrew HARRIS RB $9,435.00 WPG MTL 23.14 2.45 13.4 5.4
Shaq Cooper RB $4,807.00 EDM BC 16.77 3.49 13.8 4
William STANBACK RB $7,275.00 MTL WPG 16.15 2.22 12.8 3.2
John WHITE RB $7,988.00 BC EDM 16.11 2.02 14.2 3.2
William POWELL RB $7,575.00 SSK CGY 14.71 1.94 12.7 2.8
James WILDER JR RB $8,086.00 TOR OTT 14.14 1.75 6.7 5.5
Mossis MADU RB $6,351.00 OTT TOR 11.35 1.79 14.1 5.5
Chris RAINEY RB $5,429.00 TOR OTT 11.2 2.06 4.3 2.4 5 3
Don JACKSON RB $6,417.00 CGY SSK 10.9 1.7 10.2 3.2
Terry WILLIAMS RB $4,358.00 CGY SSK 10.45 2.4 3.5 1.1 5 3
Jeremiah JOHNSON RB $5,595.00 MTL WPG 7.77 1.39 2.8 1.4 3
Christion JONES RB $3,625.00 EDM BC 7.3 2.01 0.3 1.5 5 3
Marcus THIGPEN RB $3,270.00 SSK CGY 6.41 1.96 3.2 2 3
Brendan GILLANDERS RB $2,500.00 OTT TOR 2.29 0.91 1 1
Jamel LYLES RB $2,500.00 BC EDM 1.87 0.75 1.3 1

RECEIVERS

Name Position Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Rush Carries Receiving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Bryan BURNHAM WR $10,890.00 BC EDM 20.37 1.87 0 8.7
Reginald BEGELTON WR $11,121.00 CGY SSK 18.95 1.7 0.3 8.6
Derel WALKER WR $8,949.00 TOR OTT 16.78 1.88 0.2 8.3
Eric ROGERS WR $7,970.00 CGY SSK 14.73 1.85 0 7.8
Shaquelle EVANS WR $7,831.00 SSK CGY 14.15 1.81 0.2 6.5
Greg ELLINGSON WR $6,821.00 EDM BC 13.45 1.97 0 7.6
Eugene LEWIS WR $7,990.00 MTL WPG 13.13 1.64 0 6.8
DaVaris DANIELS WR $7,402.00 EDM BC 12.64 1.71 0 7.7
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $4,237.00 WPG MTL 12.38 2.92 0.6 4.6 0 3
Armanti EDWARDS WR $5,670.00 TOR OTT 12.24 2.16 0.2 5.9
Dominique RHYMES WR $6,863.00 OTT TOR 12.23 1.78 0 7.3
S.J. GREEN WR $6,195.00 TOR OTT 12.18 1.97 0.07 7.9
Kyran MOORE WR $5,722.00 SSK CGY 11.69 2.04 0.3 5.6 2
Ricky COLLINS WR $4,973.00 EDM BC 11.67 2.35 0.1 6.5
Lemar DURANT WR $5,315.00 BC EDM 11.57 2.18 0 5.8
DeVier POSEY WR $6,628.00 MTL WPG 11.24 1.7 0 6.8
Quan BRAY WR $4,867.00 MTL WPG 11.23 2.31 0.09 6 0
Darvin ADAMS WR $6,852.00 WPG MTL 11.12 1.62 0 5.1
Josh HUFF WR $3,565.00 CGY SSK 10.62 2.98 0 6.3 0 0
Rodney SMITH WR $4,398.00 TOR OTT 10.21 2.32 0 5.7
RJ HARRIS WR $4,914.00 OTT TOR 10.2 2.07 0.1 7
Naaman ROOSEVELT WR $5,919.00 SSK CGY 9.31 1.57 0 6.7
Duron CARTER WR $5,444.00 BC EDM 9.07 1.67 0 6.1
Brad SINOPOLI WR $5,580.00 OTT TOR 9.05 1.62 0 6.7
Nic DEMSKI WR $4,532.00 WPG MTL 8.9 1.96 1.5 3.9
Kenny LAWLER WR $3,621.00 WPG MTL 8.74 2.41 0 4.3
Jake WIENEKE WR $3,973.00 MTL WPG 8.26 2.08 0 3.8
Cory WATSON WR $3,939.00 SSK CGY 7.19 1.82 0 4
Natey ADJEI WR $3,622.00 EDM BC 6.95 1.92 0 3.9
Tevaun SMITH WR $4,085.00 EDM BC 6.86 1.68 0 4
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $3,914.00 BC EDM 6.78 1.73 0 3
Caleb HOLLEY WR $3,033.00 OTT TOR 6.68 2.2 0 5.7
Jordan WILLIAMS-LAMBERT WR $4,682.00 SSK CGY 6.66 1.42 0 3.2
Hergy MAYALA WR $2,500.00 CGY SSK 6.47 2.59 0 3.4
Janarion GRANT WR $2,500.00 WPG MTL 6.16 2.46 0 1 5 1
Daniel PETERMANN WR $2,500.00 WPG MTL 5.71 2.28 0 3.1
Jimmy RALPH WR $2,500.00 TOR OTT 5.65 2.26 0 3.3
Ryan LANKFORD WR $3,013.00 BC EDM 5.62 1.86 0 0 5 3
Richard SINDANI WR $2,500.00 CGY SSK 4.82 1.93 0 2.9
Colton HUNCHAK WR $2,500.00 CGY SSK 4.46 1.78 0 2.6
Nathaniel BEHAR WR $2,500.00 OTT TOR 3.74 1.5 0 3.3
Chris MATTHEWS WR $3,290.00 MTL WPG 2.88 0.88 0 1.5
Rashaun SIMONISE WR $2,500.00 BC EDM 2.49 1 0 2.1
Felix FAUBERT-LUSSIER WR $2,500.00 MTL WPG 1.49 0.59 0 1.1