September 8, 2021

Start Vs. Sit: Say hello to some offence

Geoff Robins/

It took five weeks, but it appears offences have begun to catch up to defences. Mark’s Labour Day Weekend saw four teams score at least 29 points and each of the four winners tallied at least 23 points.

That translates to good times ahead in CFL Fantasy, especially in a Week 6 that will see rematches in three of the four games, highlighted by the first Saturday triple-header that could include the return of Bo Levi Mitchell ($9,938 salary) into the Calgary lineup.

The on-field fireworks on Saturday will provide needed solace as the nation, along with most of the world, will take time to remember the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. Twenty-four Canadians were lost that tragic Tuesday morning and their memories, along with the over 2,700 other victims, will be honoured.

» Set your lineup for Week 6
» Landry’s 5 takeaways from Mark’s LD Weekend
» Power Rankings: The Bombers are coming for the top spot

Hamilton (2-2-0) at Toronto (2-2-0)
Friday | 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Line: Hamilton (-3.5)
O/U: 43.5

Start: Brandon Banks, WR, Tiger-Cats $13,466 salary

He’s due. Long overdue. Yes, Banks hasn’t delivered for fantasy users thus far, but Monday’s win over the Argos offered a small glimpse of hope that Speedy B is going to light up someone’s defence. Banks had 11 total touches on Labour Day and while his 10.1 fantasy points from scrimmage remain paltry, the commitment to getting him more involved in the offence is noticed here.

The Argos would prefer that it doesn’t happen on Friday, but Banks’ 2019 fantasy numbers suggest a breakout can happen here. Getting the ball quickly to Banks is paramount to pivot Dane Evans ($10,030), who must contend with an Argos’ pass rush that came to life against Hamilton, doubling its season total, going from three to six on the season. Expect at least 15 touches from Banks, and if he gets a high volume, the Argos could pay dearly.

Sit: Don Jackson, RB, Tiger-Cats $6,321 salary

OK, it might be a wee bit unfair to tag Jackson here. After all, he’s fresh off the injured list and has just four carries for 11 yards in Monday’s win over Toronto. Jackson probably needs a game or two to shake the rust off, yet Monday also gave us an indication that the Ticats might be leaning toward a…sigh, running back by committee.

Hamilton will continue to utilize Sean Thomas Erlington ($6,075), and with Banks expected to get a jet sweep or three, Jackson is going to be part of a rotation that will not be beneficial for anyone in the Ticats’ backfield, nor fantasy users.

Saskatchewan (3-1-0) at Winnipeg (4-1-0)
Saturday | 4:00 p.m. ET
Line: Winnipeg (-2.5)
O/U: 38.5

Start: Winnipeg Defence, $4,267 salary

It’s not often a defence gets this kind of love, but the Blue Bombers’ D has been playing at a Grey Cup level thus far, allowing a league-low 70 points. There’s a reason why opponents average a CFL-high 38.2 pass attempts per game: They’re usually playing catch up. Winnipeg has recorded nine sacks and is tied for second with six interceptions, three of which came from Cody Fajardo ($13,076) last week.

Opponents have fared slightly better on the ground, yet Winnipeg has hammered down on opposing runners, allowing a modest 94.6 yards per game.

The Roughriders will look to make the Banjo Bowl a long afternoon for the Blue Bombers. However, count on the Winnipeg defence to keep the score low and contribute to fantasy lineups.

Sit: Cody Fajardo, QB, Roughriders $13,076 salary

The Bombers proved that if Fajardo can’t produce solid rushing numbers, his passing totals can be lacking. Fajardo managed only 2.4 fantasy points from his passing in the Labour Day Classic, while producing only 2.1 fantasy points on the ground.

Fantasy users should also keep in mind that Fajardo has not produced more than 16.9 fantasy points from his passing this season. He’s also failed to throw a major in two straight games despite a combined 74 pass attempts in that span. Fajardo had several stretches in 2019 in which he was unable to airlift Saskatchewan into the end zone and tends to be more rushing major-reliant than any of the league’s other dual-threat pivots. In short, Saturday isn’t the time to bank on Fajardo to rebound and look like the MOP candidate he was in the first two games.

Trevor Harris and the Elks’ offence are hitting their stride, coming off of a big win in Calgary over the Stamps on Labour Day (Photo: Edmonton Elks)

Calgary (1-4-0) at Edmonton (2-2-0)
Saturday | 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Edmonton (-0.5)
O/U: 40.5

Start: Trevor Harris, QB, Elks $9,571 salary

Oh, he’s back. Monday was vintage Harris, as he lit up the Calgary skies for 398 yards and four majors, putting up a season-best 33.3 fantasy points. The scary part of Harris’ first win over the Stampeders was the diversity in his passing, evidenced by the fact he connected with seven different receivers, including touchdown passes to newcomers Ernest Edwards ($2,500) and Jalen Tolliver ($2,500).

That doesn’t include the reality that Derrel Walker ($7,070) hasn’t scored this season, along with the fact that (oh, yeah!) Greg Ellingson ($8,547) has quietly caught 17 of his last 19 targets.

Harris is holding a hot hand, and with the Calgary defence continuing to struggle against the pass, all signs point to investing in Harris and grabbing one of his wideouts and letting the points commence.

Sit: Hergy Mayala, WR, Stampeders $5,588 salary

Kamar Jorden ($9,499), Markeith Ambles ($6,053) and Josh Huff ($5,039) combined for 36 of Jake Maier’s ($7,000) 46 targets on Labour Day. The trio has established itself as the top option in Calgary’s passing game, so no matter if Maier or Mitchell starts on Saturday, expect them to gobble up a vast majority of targets.

Someone has to be the odd man out. Right now, that appears to be Mayala, who had just two catches on three targets on Monday. The Stampeders will attempt north of 30 passes once again, so unless Jorden, Ambles or Huff are your fantasy choices, it’s best to shy away from the rest of the Calgary receiving corps this week.

Ottawa (1-3-0) at BC (2-2-0)
Saturday | 10:00pm
Line: BC (-6.5)
O/U: 41.5

Start: Shaq Cooper, RB, Lions $4,535 salary

Cooper’s salary makes him an ideal candidate to start in your lineup, more so considering the REDBLACKS have yielded a league-worst 117.8 yards per game on the ground. Coop put up 71 yards on 14 carries in Week 4 and comes into Saturday fresh off an open week. Ottawa has given up 14 runs of at least 10 yards, and with pivot Michael Reilly ($10,187) coming off a 301-yard outing the previous game against the REDBLACKS, the running lanes will be wide open for Cooper to exploit.

Sit: Ottawa’s RB Corp

Then there’s the REDBLACKS ground attack, which has produced a mere 71 rushing yards per game and has yet to record a run of better than 20 yards. Justin Davis ($3,500) has shown hints of production in two starts since replacing the injured Timothy Flanders ($4,172). Ottawa’s touches on the ground will get carved even more should Dominique Davis ($5,269) get the start over struggling Matt Nichols ($6,537). If Flanders misses a third straight game, Ottawa may resort to using receivers DeVonte Dedmon ($4,695) and Ryan Davis ($2,500) in a similar manner they did in last week’s loss to Montreal.

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