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October 27, 2021

Start vs Sit: Trusting in the league’s top rusher

Photo: The Canadian Press

Week 13 marks the final stretch to the playoffs and with all but Ottawa still in position to chase a berth in the Grey Cup, this week has a feel of explosive play that will leave CFL Fantasy users awash in joy and genius with their picks.

We live for awash in joy, so let’s offer some genius (and not so genius) picks for this pivotal week.


PLAY CFL FANTASY 
» Set your lineup for Week 13
» CFL Fantasy: Who won Week 12?
» Power Rankings: Bombers setting dates


Calgary (5-6-0) at Ottawa (2-9-0)
Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Line: Calgary (-10.5)
Over/Under: 42.5

Start: Bo Levi Mitchell, QB, Stampeders, $8,661 salary

There’s not much to like from either team, but considering the Stampeders lead the league in passing (282.7 yards per game) and the REDBLACKS allow a league-high 28.8 points per contest, the dart throw lands on Mitchell, despite the fact he sports a 7:13 touchdown-to-interception margin. Still, Mitchell does have three straight games with at least 20 completions and he’s well overdue for a monster fantasy outing.

Opposing pivots average a whopping 109.5 QBR against the Ottawa defence this season, and with every game a must-win from here out, why not take a chance to see if vintage Mitchell shows up and hangs 25-30 fantasy points?

Sit: Any Calgary receiver not named Kamar Jorden

Caring is sharing, something the Stamps’ pivots have excelled on this season. Nine players have caught at least 10 passes and that’s not counting the likes of Malik Henry ($3,035), Luther Hakunavanhu ($2,500) and Shawn Bane ($2,500), each of whom have shown flashes of brilliance.

Rather than pointing out the obvious about Ottawa’s offence, let’s not play “Who Will Bo Throw To?” and simply look in the direction of Jorden (a bit steep at $10,211 but worth the gamble), who came back from the IL and managed seven targets in last week’s loss to the Roughriders. He’s also overdue for a huge week, and facing the REDBLACKS translates into a high-reward stack of he and Mitchell.

Hamilton (5-5-0) at Edmonton (2-7-0)
Friday, 9:45 p.m. ET

Line: Hamilton (-4.5)
Over/Under: 43

Start: Hamilton Defence, $3,797 salary

Despite his recent stretch, we’re just not quite ready to start singing the praises of Jeremiah Masoli ($10,414). Instead, focus your money and take the Tiger-Cats’ defence, which has produced at least nine fantasy points in four of its last five games.

In this span, Hamilton has been a turnover machine, creating 12 sacks, eight interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and two defensive majors. That plays perfectly when going against an Elks team that has lost five straight games while averaging just 16.2 points per game in that stretch.

The Tiger-Cats won’t get Edmonton’s new acquisition, quarterback Nick Arbuckle ($7,185), who was traded to the Elks from the Argos on Tuesday, so they’ll get their chances to harass Taylor Cornelius ($5,208), who comes in with a modest 4:6 touchdown-interception margin.

Sit: Derel Walker, WR, Elks, $6,626 salary

The TV show “Being Erica” centered around a beautiful and talented young woman who received a second chance to change things. When it comes this season, Walker probably feels like actress Erin Karpluk, hoping he could make amends to what has been a disastrous run for the former all-star. Entering Week 13, Walker has yet to score a touchdown and has just one game of at least 10 fantasy points over the last games, numbers no one expected from one of the most prolific receivers over the past five-to-seven years.

Taylor Cornelius has yet to build a rapport with anyone and while Walker would be an excellent choice to start with, the rookie pivot has looked in the direction of a handful of receivers. Edmonton’s offence is James Wilder ($8,847) and a grab bag of options these days, so let’s not focus our attention there, shall we?

Argos receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. has pulled in 15 of his last 17 targets, causing his fantasy price to deservedly climb these last few weeks (Geoff Robins/CFL.ca)

BC (4-6-0) at Toronto (6-4-0)
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET

Line: Toronto (-3.5)
Over/Under: 45.5

Start: Kurleigh Gittens, Jr., WR, Argonauts, $4,481 salary

The hottest receiver in the league, Gittens has caught 15 of his 17 targets for 211 yards over the past two games. While he has yet to find the end zone since Week 8, Gittens has become the go-to target for McLeod Bethel-Thompson ($9,366). Oddly enough, Gittens’ surge coincides with the decision to make Bethel-Thompson the starter. Since then, Gittens has caught 21 passes in that span.

Toronto’s bid to at least claim a share of first in the East Division looks good as they face a Lions’ pass defence that is last in the league with 289.2 yards allowed per game. Once a solid unit, BC’s secondary is a huge reason for the team’s current four-game losing streak, as only Ottawa has allowed a worse opposing QBR than the Lions. The skies will be very friendly for Gittens, a strong value play.

Sit: Bryan Burnham, WR, Lions, $9,643 salary

The reality of BC’s offensive struggles makes playing Burnham too risky, even with the prospects of this game becoming a high-scoring affair. Burnham had just seven fantasy points last week and is in a stretch of five games without a touchdown pass. Considering that the Lions have scored 43 points in their four-game skid, Burnham’s high price is too steep to justify.

BC’s season is on the line here. While a sense of optimism of Michael Reilly ($9,782) reverting to his peak form and spreading the ball downfield lies eternal, the reality is that the Lions’ league-worst running game only allows opposing defences to pressure Reilly at will. If so, no one — including Burnham — will benefit.

Saskatchewan (6-4-0) at Montreal (6-4-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Line: Saskatchewan (-1.5)
Over/Under: 46.5

Start: William Stanback, RB, Alouettes, $9,686 salary

The Roughriders know what’s coming. The question is, can they stop Stanback, who comes off a career-tying 203-yard performance in last week’s win over Toronto. Sitting a mere 120 yards from the 1,000-yard mark, Stanback has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of his past five games and has shown no ill effects from a rib injury and food poisoning that cost him a pair of contests.

Saskatchewan leads the league in rushing defence at a paltry 73.8 yards per game, but they have yet to face Stanback this season. The Alouettes’ offence is too diverse for the Riders to lock in on stopping the run, and if fantasy users are going to go big this week, then go all-in with Stanback.

Sit: Kian Schaffer-Baker, WR, Roughriders, $4,612 salary

This is no fault of Schaffer-Baker, who has been targeted just seven times in the past two weeks. The addition of Duke Williams ($8,885) and the return of all-star Shaq Evans ($7,266) means pivot Cody Fajardo ($11,547) has more mouths to feed among his receiving corps.

Schaffer-Baker could easily prove us wrong this week, yet there’s not much reason to feel confident about it. The Riders will also give running back William Powell ($8,535) his share of touches and in a matchup with a lot of importance like this, count on Fajardo to rely on his tried-and-true vets instead of his talented young pass catcher.

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