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September 28, 2021

CFL Fantasy: Projections to guide you through Week 9

Photo: The Canadian Press

With Week 9 in the CFL kicking off early on Tuesday night in Edmonton, there will be many uncertainties for CFL Fantasy players to contend with while setting their lineups for the week. If players haven’t taken advantage of it before, using the ability to adjust rosters even after the games have started for the week will be pretty essential. There is a lot of injury news and starting lineup information that won’t be available until Thursday or Friday this week, so the old strategy of “set it and forget it” will likely be a recipe for disaster in Week 9 of CFL Fantasy.

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Could Saturday’s game against the Stampeders mark the return of the long ball for Cody Fajardo? (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

QUARTERBACK
Vernon Adams Jr., MTL – $13,172
Cody Fajardo, SSK – $12,213

Punt Single:
Taylor Cornelius, EDM – $5,000
Caleb Evans, OTT – $5,000

Coming off a 23.1 Fantasy point performance versus Toronto, which included 420 total yards for him, Vernon Adams is again the top projected QB this week in his matchup with Hamilton. The Toronto defence has been a pretty solid unit this season but being without their entire starting linebacker corps in Week 8 left them pretty vulnerable.

This week’s game versus the Ticats should prove to be a bit more challenging, as they have allowed a league-low 6.75 yards per pass attempt this season, along with the third-fewest yards per rush (4.71).Hamilton has also allowed over 19 points to their opponents only once this season and that was all the way back in Week 2 versus Saskatchewan. Montreal leads the league in terms of points (26.3) and yards (413.2) per game but will undoubtedly face their stiffest test this season this week in Hamilton. With other less expensive options in much more enticing matchups, Adams is a tough spend in Week 9.

Cody Fajardo didn’t put up spectacular raw numbers in Week 8, but the Riders’ late-game theatrics certainly made it the game of the week. Minus his two games versus Winnipeg, Fajardo has put up over 20 Fantasy points in each game this season and thankfully, he won’t have to face Winnipeg again until the playoffs. The Riders’ passing attack has been relatively pedestrian this season, averaging just 7.67 yards per attempt and below average rates of passing TDs per attempt. That being said, their matchup with Calgary may help bump those averages as the Stampeders allow the third most yards per pass attempt (8.75) along with the second-most completions of 30-plus yards this season (11).

For as much as many people have complained about the Riders’ obsession with short passes, Fajardo’s aDOT is 9.1 yards, right in line with Collaros, Reilly, Mitchell, and Trevor Harris. This may be the week the deep balls start to hit.

When Trevor Harris landed on the six-game injured list only two weeks ago, many thought he might be done for the season. Now Harris has practiced in full twice going into the Elks’ Week 9 rematch, but it appears Taylor Cornelius will get his second straight start for Edmonton versus Ottawa on Tuesday night. The REDBLACKS are now allowing 9.06 yards per pass attempt along with the second-highest rate of TDs per pass attempt and the most completions of 30-plus yards this season (12). Edmonton is only six-point favourites on BetRegal, but it’s hard to believe they win by less than two scores. The salary relief over other starters only makes Cornelius more appealing.

With both Matt Nichols and Dominique Davis lost to injury, it appears that Caleb Evans will get his first start in the CFL versus the Elks. He’s a mobile QB and Paul LaPolice has a history of knowing how to adapt his game plans for more run-heavy QB attacks, as evidenced by the relative success of Chris Streveler during his time in the league.

Evans could provide an interesting punt option at QB in Week 9 if he gets 8-10 carries at only $5K. Unfortunately, whoever starts for the REDBLACKS will be leading the leagues’ worst offence versus an Edmonton defence that allows the third-fewest yards per pass attempt (7.11) and the second-lowest rate of passing TDs per attempt in 2021.


While the wins haven’t been piling up for the Als the way they want them to, the yardage is there for William Stanback (Walter Tychnowicz/CFL.ca)

RUNNING BACK

James Wilder Jr., EDM – $9,632
William Stanback, MTL – $8,701
Andrew Harris, WPG – $10,065

As projected, Wilder broke out of his rushing TD slump in Week 7 versus the Bombers and got into the end zone twice to go along with 101 total yards for 25.1 Fantasy points. His dual-threat abilities make him a top consideration every week in CFL Fantasy contests and the matchup with the REDBLACKS this week vaults him to the top of the list again. To this point, Ottawa has allowed league average rates of yards and TDs per rush attempt this season. Still, Wilder’s volume should be unmatched this week. Wilder’s salary has become quite bloated in recent weeks, but he’s still difficult to ignore versus Ottawa.

Like Wilder, some of Stanback’s outlier stats have started to regress to the mean in the past couple of weeks. He’s seen multiple targets as a receiver in the past two games and finally got back into the end zone in Week 8 versus Toronto. With rushing performances over 15 carries and 100 yards in each of his past three games, he’s as reliable an option as there is at the RB position. This week’s matchup with Hamilton will be a difficult one, though, as the Ticats allow just 4.71 yards per carry while giving up just three rushing TDs this season. The salary relief over Wilder keeps him in the conversation for RB1 in Week 9.

Andrew Harris has seen one of the heaviest workloads of his career as a ball carrier in Winnipeg with 18 carries a game this season. He still has just one TD this season and now faces a BC defence that isn’t exactly generous in that category. The Lions have allowed the second-fewest yards per carry this season (4.65) along with the lowest rate of rushing TDs per attempt this season, so unless Harris begins to get more looks in the passing game, spending up over $10K in this matchup probably isn’t the best option.


In his first season with the Lions, Lucky Whitehead has given CFL fans plenty of opportunity to watch him celebrate (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

RECEIVER

Lucky Whitehead, BC – $9,881
Derel Walker, EDM – $7,632
Eugene Lewis, MTL – $9,588
Jake Wieneke, MTL – $8,981
Kamar Jorden, CGY – $9,817
Bryan Burnham, BC – $9,612
Kenny Lawler, WPG – $7,434
Nic Demski, WPG – $7,805
Tim White, HAM – $4,093
Greg Ellingson, EDM – $7,119

Punt Single(s):

Kian Schaffer-Baker, SSK – $3,590
Jalen Tolliver, EDM – $2,500
Ricardo Louis, SSK – $2,500
Keon Hatcher, BC – $2,500

Even before the injury to Bryan Burnham, there were indications that Lucky Whitehead may be the top target in the Lions’ passing attack but over the past two weeks, Whitehead has emerged as the top target in the CFL. He has gone over 20 Fantasy points in each of his past three games and his combined work as a receiver and kick returner keeps his Fantasy value alive even if Burnham begins to take a larger target share back as he returns to full strength.

The matchup wit the Bombers will be his most challenging test to date, though, as they allow just 6.86 yards per target along with the lowest rate of receiving TDs per target this season. To this point, Whitehead has averaged 14.8 yards per target and four times the rate of TDs per target than the Bombers have allowed, so something has to give in Week 9. Given Burnham’s recent struggles, he’s pretty difficult to justify spending up to nearly $10K for in this matchup.

Keon Hatcher could be an interesting punt play in Reilly stacks as he has averaged the fifth most air yards per game this season at 74.

The Edmonton passing attack has a similar air yards option in Derel Walker (67 per game), who will get a much more enticing matchup than Hatcher as the Elks face the REDBLACKS on Tuesday night in Edmonton. Despite having just 367 yards without a score this season, Walker is sixth in the CFL in WOPR (opportunity rating) and in the top-10 in air yards per game. This could be Walker’s breakout week, given Ottawa’s penchant to give up receiving yards and TDs in bunches.

Ellingson is similarly priced but saw only four targets to Walker’s nine in Cornelius’s first start. Mike Jones is an attractive WR2 double stack option with upside at a significantly lower salary in the $5K range.

In Week 8, Als players littered the score sheets with over 500 yards of total offence and multiple TDs in a loss to Toronto. Fantasy production doesn’t always equal winning football. This week the Als’ receiving corps will have a much more difficult test versus a Ticats secondary that has allowed just 6.75 yards per target to opposing receivers so far.

Both Lewis and Wieneke may be priced out of consideration in the matchup, given their salaries are around $9K. Cunningham or Bray may be less expensive stacking options with Adams around $6,000, but even those salaries are high versus Hamilton. Montreal WRs will have to keep up their unreasonable efficiency in converting targets into TDs if they are going to be worth the spend in Week 9.

Last time we saw the Stampeders’ passing attack, Mitchell was replaced by Maier late in their game against Hamilton due to his ineffectiveness. The leading receiver for Calgary was Luther Hakunavanhu, with 88 yards on five targets. Kamar Jorden also left the game injured and his status is still unknown going into Week 9.

With so many uncertainties around the Calgary passing attack going into a matchup with the Riders on Saturday evening, it’s likely best just to fade this spot altogether. Jorden is priced out of consideration over $9,000 while Ambles and Huff are similarly priced in the $6-7K range. The Riders have been susceptible to some big plays this season, having allowed a league-high 12 receptions of 30-plus yards, but a return to health for their secondary will likely start to bring those numbers back into league average ranges.

The Winnipeg passing game can be a frustrating one for CFL Fantasy purposes as all of Lawler, Adams, Demski, and Bailey have 15-plus Fantasy point potential each week, but all also have a single-digit scoring floor. Their mean target rates are all similarly in the 5-7 range, but who will get the red zone looks on a given week determines which ones will succeed and which ones will be Fantasy flops.

Lawler was an early-season target hog while Adams and Demski were out injured, but his target share has regressed to 2019 levels since their return. Bailey is the best value of the bunch, priced under $5,000 while all of Adams, Demski, and Lawler are priced over $7,000 and are tough spends versus a Lions’ defence that has still only allowed five touchdowns through the air this season.

Going into their Week 9 matchup with Montreal, the Ticats’ passing attack presents far more questions than answers. If it’s the same starting lineup as in their Week 8 win over Ottawa, Tim White is likely the only usable Hamilton WR with a salary of just over $4,000. Even then, it’s not a great option, as the offence continues to sputter with Watford under centre. However, there is an outside chance that any or all of Jeremiah Masoli, Brandon Banks, Bralon Addison, and DeVier Posey could return to the starting lineup, which would totally change the Fantasy landscape.

The Als have allowed the most yards per target (9.61) and TDs per target to opposing receivers this season and it may be an opportunity to buy low on the Hamilton offence while most players wait to see if they can turn it around.

For those looking for stacking options with Cody Fajardo in their matchup versus a porous Stampeders’ secondary, there are a couple of low-salaried options to choose from in Ricardo Louis and Kian Schaffer-Baker. Given the Stampeders are allowing 8.74 yards per target and above-average rates of TDs per target in 2021, double stacking Fajardo on Saturday in Calgary is a fine option.

Kyran Moore is largely priced out of consideration given the Riders’ current penchant to target him primarily behind the line of scrimmage. Moore’s 5.3-yard aDOT puts him 60th in the league in that category, which makes him pretty difficult to justify spending up near $8K for.


The Edmonton Elks’ defence has a ferocious defensive line and a secondary that’s finding its groove as the season progresses (Photo: The Canadian Press)

DEFENCE

Edmonton Elks – $3,626

Until Ottawa proves they can score points, just plugging in the defence versus the REDBLACKS every week will continue to be the savvy play. The Elks haven’t produced a ton in the sack (12) or turnover (four) department this season, but facing a rookie QB in his first start behind a shaky offensive line (20 sacks allowed) should give them plenty of opportunities to rack up stats while keeping the points allowed low.


STACKS

Taylor Cornelius > Derel Walker

All the underlying metrics point to this being the breakout week for Derel Walker. It wouldn’t even be crazy to double-stack Cornelius with Wilder and cover off all the Edmonton scoring in what could be another blowout loss for the REDBLACKS.

Cody Fajardo > Kian Schaffer-Baker, Ricardo Louis

The Stampeders’ secondary has given up yards in bunches to their opponents this season. Despite the accusations from some that the Riders only attempt short passes, Fajardo’s aDOT is right in line with most other top passers – he just hasn’t been completing the long balls since the loss of Shaq Evans. This may be the week that can change, given the Stamps’ penchant to give up big plays. The fact this double-stack comes on the cheap only makes it better.


WEEK 9 PROJECTIONS

Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Recieving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Vernon ADAMS QB $13,172.00 MTL HAM 24.37 1.85 31.2 6.5
Cody FAJARDO QB $12,213.00 SSK CGY 20.87 1.71 31.3 6.4
Michael REILLY QB $11,838.00 BC WPG 20.65 1.74 33.6 2.7
Taylor CORNELIUS QB $5,000.00 EDM OTT 19.72 3.94 33.4 5
Zach COLLAROS QB $8,017.00 WPG BC 16.22 2.02 30.7 1.4
Bo Levi MITCHELL QB $8,626.00 CGY SSK 14.89 1.73 36.8 0.3
Caleb EVANS QB $5,000.00 OTT EDM 14.18 2.84 28.3 7
David WATFORD QB $6,926.00 HAM MTL 12.67 1.83 29.5 7
Sean MCGUIRE QB $5,028.00 WPG BC 4.84 0.96 3
James WILDER RB $9,632.00 EDM OTT 17.59 1.83 14.8 4.8
William STANBACK RB $8,701.00 MTL HAM 14.96 1.72 16.2 1.9
Andrew HARRIS RB $10,065.00 WPG BC 14.44 1.44 17 2.2
William POWELL RB $7,809.00 SSK CGY 12.47 1.6 13.6 3
Ka’Deem CAREY RB $6,154.00 CGY SSK 11.82 1.92 10 3.1
Shaquille COOPER RB $5,130.00 BC WPG 10.03 1.96 7.9 3.7
Sean THOMAS ERLINGTON RB $5,252.00 HAM MTL 8.57 1.63 6.2 2.1
Timothy FLANDERS RB $5,067.00 OTT EDM 7.09 1.4 10 3.3
Terry WILLIAMS RB $3,753.00 EDM OTT 5.7 1.52 1 4 3
James BUTLER RB $3,724.00 BC WPG 5.45 1.46 6 1.5 2
Anthony COOMBS RB $4,699.00 OTT EDM 4.69 1 1 4
Maleek IRONS RB $2,500.00 HAM MTL 2.89 1.16 2 1.5
Jamal MORROW RB $2,500.00 SSK CGY 2.2 0.88 3 3
Kienan LAFRANCE RB $2,500.00 SSK CGY 1.99 0.8 1 1
Jeshrun ANTWI RB $2,500.00 MTL HAM 1.88 0.75 3 0.2
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $9,881.00 BC WPG 18.49 1.87 7.1 4 1
Derel WALKER WR $7,632.00 EDM OTT 16.48 2.16 7.8
Eugene LEWIS WR $9,588.00 MTL HAM 16.48 1.72 8.7
Jake WIENEKE WR $8,981.00 MTL HAM 16.48 1.84 7
Kamar JORDEN WR $9,817.00 CGY SSK 14.92 1.52 7.5
Bryan BURNHAM WR $9,612.00 BC WPG 14.21 1.48 6.1
Kenny LAWLER WR $7,434.00 WPG BC 13.97 1.88 0.1 6.8
Nic DEMSKI WR $7,805.00 WPG BC 13.77 1.76 0.6 6.4
Tim WHITE WR $4,093.00 HAM MTL 12.19 2.98 1.2 6.5
Greg ELLINGSON WR $7,119.00 EDM OTT 12.01 1.69 6.2
Markeith AMBLES WR $7,278.00 CGY SSK 11.97 1.65 8
BJ CUNNINGHAM WR $6,723.00 MTL HAM 11.66 1.73 6.7
Kyran MOORE WR $7,851.00 SSK CGY 11.5 1.47 0.3 7.1
Devonte DEDMON WR $5,589.00 OTT EDM 11.41 2.04 1 1.5 6 4
Steven DUNBAR WR $3,068.00 HAM MTL 11.37 3.71 0.1 5.9
Darvin ADAMS WR $7,208.00 WPG BC 11.36 1.58 5.6
Jaelon ACKLIN WR $4,829.00 HAM MTL 10.76 2.23 5.9
Jevon COTTOY WR $5,302.00 BC WPG 10.36 1.95 5.5
Rasheed BAILEY WR $4,836.00 WPG BC 10.25 2.12 0.3 5.7
Josh HUFF WR $6,172.00 CGY SSK 10.14 1.64 6.4
Mike JONES WR $4,890.00 EDM OTT 9.8 2 4.5
Brayden LENIUS WR $3,570.00 SSK CGY 9.78 2.74 5
Quan BRAY WR $6,780.00 MTL HAM 9.58 1.41 5.2
Kian SCHAFFER-BAKER WR $3,590.00 SSK CGY 9.4 2.62 0.2 5
Keon HATCHER WR $2,500.00 BC WPG 8.6 3.44 4.5
Ricardo LOUIS WR $2,500.00 SSK CGY 8.34 3.34 5
Papi WHITE WR $2,500.00 HAM MTL 7.98 3.19 2.8 4.5
Tevaun SMITH WR $6,021.00 EDM OTT 7.39 1.23 4.3
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $3,456.00 BC WPG 7.06 2.04 4.5
Ryan DAVIS WR $4,447.00 OTT EDM 6.78 1.53 1.2 5.2
RJ HARRIS WR $5,932.00 OTT EDM 6.53 1.1 5.1
Jalen TOLLIVER WR $2,500.00 EDM OTT 6.38 2.55 2.9
Hergy MAYALA WR $3,963.00 CGY SSK 6.23 1.57 4.3
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $3,314.00 WPG BC 6.21 1.87 3.6
Shai ROSS WR $2,500.00 EDM OTT 5.84 2.34 2.9
Mitchell PICTON WR $2,500.00 SSK CGY 5.38 2.15 3.3
Nathaniel BEHAR WR $3,349.00 OTT EDM 5.13 1.53 5.2
Charles NELSON WR $2,500.00 WPG BC 4.49 1.8 4 3
David UNGERER WR $2,500.00 HAM MTL 4.35 1.74 2.5
Kenny STAFFORD WR $4,970.00 OTT EDM 3.99 0.8 3
Richard SINDANI WR $2,850.00 CGY SSK 3.45 1.21 2.5
Colton HUNCHAK WR $2,500.00 CGY SSK 3.07 1.23 2
Kaion JULIEN-GRANT WR $2,500.00 MTL HAM 2 0.8 1.5
Daniel PETERMANN WR $3,978.00 OTT EDM 1.43 0.36 1
Cordell HASTINGS WR $2,500.00 BC WPG 1.11 0.44 0.7

 

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