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October 28, 2021

Fantasy Projections: Finding your QB in Week 13

Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca

If the story of Week 12 in CFL Fantasy contests was “looking for consistency,” the story of Week 13 is “looking for someone noteworthy.” The projections at most positions are remarkably bunched together at the top. Whether due to low volume or low-efficiency situations, it’s difficult to find any player or team that stands out this week, leading to difficult decisions across the board, especially at quarterback.

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Fantasy players may flock to Bo Levi Mitchell this week, hoping that an offensive breakthrough comes in Ottawa against the REDBLACKS (Photo: The Canadian Press)

QUARTERBACK
Michael Reilly, BC – $9,782
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, TOR – $9,366
Matthew Shiltz, MTL – $9,069
Bo Levi Mitchell, CGY – $8,661

Punt Single:

Taylor Cornelius, EDM – $5,208

The projections at the quarterback position for Week 13 are an interesting microcosm of the position through 12 weeks of the 2021 season. Quarterbacks have struggled overall in 2021, playing with some of the lowest average fantasy points per attempts rates for starting quarterbacks tracked through the last seven years. It’s quite something to lack a single quarterback projected for more than 20 fantasy points and to have six of the top-eight options projecting within less than two points of each other.

Michael Reilly leads the projections for quarterbacks this week by 0.08 points over the next closest option. Those kinds of razor-thin margins make it tough to decide which way to lean, but it’s more than likely at least one QB has a week that vastly outperforms his competitors. The case for Reilly is that the Lions have passed for the third-most yards per attempt this season (8.24) and face a Toronto defence that has allowed an average of 322 passing yards per game over their past four contests.

The Argos have also allowed the second-most passing touchdowns per attempt in 2021 and BC doesn’t believe in running the football. If there were an excellent bounce-back spot for Reilly following the demoralizing Week 12 loss in Winnipeg, this would be it.

On the other side of the field, McLeod Bethel-Thompson is also coming off a profoundly disappointing outing versus the Alouettes. He passed for 291 yards and four interceptions while having two touchdowns vultured by Antonio Pipkin in the red zone. Unfortunately, the Lions’ defence has been relatively serviceable against the pass outside of two games versus Winnipeg.

McBeth will likely have to grind out his value based on volume rather than efficiency. The scary part for fantasy players is that he has three games with more than 37 pass attempts this season but four with 21 or fewer attempts. There is no middle ground for him and the Argos’ game plan won’t become apparent until the decisions have already been made. McBeth is a risky play in Week 13 in Toronto.

Matt Shiltz’s price has risen substantially this week following two weeks as the starting pivot for the Als and it’s a lot tougher to get excited about paying him as a $9,000 QB instead of a $6,000 one. Shiltz has been an adequate starter, completing around two-thirds of his passes for a couple of hundred yards and a touchdown in both starts while mainly avoiding the turnover proclivities he’d shown in the past. That said, 13 to 16 fantasy points isn’t what players are hoping for with a $9,000 investment.

The possibility of Trevor Harris being ready to play this week is also worth noting. It’s difficult to say whether a $9,000 Shiltz or unproven $10,000 Harris would be a better call in Week 13 versus an increasingly shaky Riders’ defence that has allowed the third-highest rate off passing touchdowns per attempt this season, along with the second-most yards per pass attempt (8.85) and the most completions of 30-plus yards (19). It’s a matchup worth attacking with one of the league’s best receiving corps, but it’s difficult to know what to do with their QB.

There’s no question that Bo Levi Mitchell has had MOP seasons in the CFL, but his 2021 campaign is not one of them. Calgary’s backup Jake Maier has been statistically better in each of his starts than Bo has been at any point this season. Six of his eight starts have had him above 10 fantasy points, but he has yet to crack even 15 fantasy points in any game this season while having passed for more than 300 yards just once.

Matchups with Ottawa have been fantasy gold mines for opposing QBs all season, with even David Watford posting 14 fantasy points in the matchup in Week 8. It’s likely to make Bo the most used quarterback this week, but it’s fair to question whether he’s capable of flipping the fantasy production switch at this point. Ottawa has allowed a league-high 9.16 yards per pass attempt, along with the most passing TDs per attempt in 2021, so to some extent, it’s now or never for Bo and the Stamps passing attack.

Suppose fantasy players want to go the low-ball route at QB and just avoid the huddled masses of unexciting plays in the $8,000-$10,000 range. In that case, Taylor Cornelius is likely the best punt option at the quarterback position, with a salary of just over $5,000. The Elks’ offence has been inexplicably uninspiring through nine games and their matchup with a stifling Tiger-Cats defence won’t do them any favours, as Hamilton has allowed just 7.27 yards per pass attempt along with below-average rates of touchdowns per attempt this season. It’s a bad passing attack versus a good defence and likely never a spot that fantasy players would look at outside of the massive price discount on Cornelius over the rest of the position.


D.J. Foster could find some fantasy success against the Lions this week, working as a dual-threat RB, despite sharing the backfield with John White (Peter Power/CFL.ca)

RUNNING BACK
William Stanback, MTL – $9,686
Ka’Deem Carey, CGY – $7,033
William Powell, SSK – $8,538

Punt Single:
D.J. Foster, TOR – $5,067

William Stanback was much of the reason Matt Shiltz’s production was held in check versus the Argos in Week 12, as he rushed for 203 yards on 24 carries and had a touchdown to boot. The Als will likely remain as run heavy as game scripts will allow them to be while they wait for Trevor Harris to be ready to take over as their starter and that will be a boon to Stanback’s value in the meantime.

The Riders are a difficult matchup to run against, however, as they have allowed a league-low 4.39 yards per carry to this point. If Stanback is going to have another ceiling game to justify his near $10,000 salary, it will likely have to come on enormous volume again rather than efficiency. On the bright side for him the Riders, despite their stinginess on yardage, have allowed nearly double the league-average rate of rushing touchdowns per attempt, making Stanback a solid bet to score in Week 13.

Fantasy expectations are up across the board for Stamps players versus Ottawa in Week 13, but Carey’s price hasn’t risen to meet those expectations. Calgary has the highest implied team total on the slate (27.5) and that should lead to a run-heavy game script for the Stamps as 11.5-point favourites. Carey’s rates per attempt have been among the best at the position all season. Still, his relative lack of volume due to a shared backfield with Ante Milanovic-Litre and a pass-heavy scheme has often made him a suboptimal fantasy play. That may not be the case this week against Ottawa.

Like Bo Levi Mitchell, Powell has been highly consistent in 2021 with all but one game over eight fantasy points. Unfortunately, he’s also been frustratingly consistent, with only two games scoring more than 15 fantasy points. There has been very little shown this season to justify an over $8,000 investment, even in an enticing matchup versus an Als’ defence that has allowed 5.24 yards per carry along with the second-highest rate of rushing TDs per carry in 2021. For Mitchell, it’s now or never for a ceiling game for Powell.

Suppose fantasy players are looking for cheaper options at the running back position. In that case, D.J. Foster continues to offer a relatively safe floor and high ceiling combination despite the timeshare situation in the Argos’ backfield. The return of John White in Week 12 certainly hurt Foster’s production, but his role as a receiver for Toronto continues to keep him a viable option. The matchup with BC is a little complicated to decipher given he’s technically a RB and BC is an above-average rush defence. His role is as more of a receiver and the Lions are a below-average pass defence. Either way, Foster is more viable due to his salary than his production, but he’s still a reasonable consideration in Week 13.


After a big showing in Week 12, Eugene Lewis will look to repeat the feat this week against the Riders (Photo: The Canadian Press)

RECEIVER
Eugene Lewis, MTL – $10,764
Jake Wieneke, MTL – $8,987
Kamar Jorden, CGY – $10,211
Brandon Banks, HAM – $10,162
Chandler Worthy, TOR – $5,542
Bryan Burnham, BC – $9,643
Ricky Collins Jr., TOR – $7,471
Kurleigh Gittens, TOR – $4,481
Markeith Ambles, CGY – $5,983
Shaq Evans, SSK – $7,266

Punt Single(s):
Keon Hatcher, BC – $3,150
Reggie White Jr., MTL – $2,500
Malik Henry, CGY – $3,035
Shawn Bane, CGY – $2,500

As mentioned above, it’s difficult to know how exactly to project the Montreal passing attack with Shiltz under centre, a potential switch to Trevor Harris at quarterback, the potential run-heavy attack with Stanback and a matchup just begging to be exploited versus the Roughriders. Eugene Lewis had a massive Week 12 with a 7-156-2 stat line, but before that, he had outings of just 6.5 and 10.5 fantasy points as Jake Wieneke had been the producer of note. In Week 12, Wieneke saw just three targets which he parlayed into a zero for fantasy players.

The Riders’ secondary has been very beatable this season. If Montreal continues to pass just 20 times a game to protect Shiltz from potential turnovers, then it’s difficult to expect more than one Als receiver to have a solid outing. If players are looking for cheap exposure to the Riders’ defence, Reggie White Jr. had a solid but unspectacular showing with two receptions for 26 yards on four targets. He has the big-play potential to score a touchdown at any time against Saskatchewan Saturday if Cunningham remains out of the lineup.

That brings us to the conundrum that is the Stamps versus REDBLACKS match-up Friday evening. All season, fantasy players have simply looked for what team is playing against Ottawa, stacked against them and reaped the rewards. Calgary’s offence may provide the most difficult to discern option for that strategy so far in 2021. Kamar Jorden is clearly the Stampeder’s most talented receiver, but the Stamps have been true to their pre-season word and spread the targets around very evenly this season. Jorden has just two games with double-digit targets while having three with five or fewer. Overall, he has averaged nearly eight targets a game, but his production has been much less consistent. The $10,000 salary he carries also makes him a less exciting option than he should be in the matchup.

Other Calgary receivers like Ambles, Bane, Henry, Mayala, Sindani or Hakunavanhu all have the potential to break one big play versus Ottawa and be great fantasy plays at bargain prices. However, the fact they each receive two-to-four targets each per game gives them the potential for low single-digit outcomes. As a result, it’s hard to get excited about any Stampeders receivers despite the matchup.

Like Calgary, the Toronto offence has primarily spread out targets in a broad swath this season, with often eight or more players receiving targets on a given night. That’s difficult to deal with for fantasy purposes. Early in the season, Rogers, Daniels and Collins led the team in target share. Since Rogers left due to injury, Worthy and Gittens have seen significant increases in target shares and Worthy receives points from return yardage. Gittens, in particular, has seen eight or more targets in each of his past two games and put up 100-plus yards for nearly 20 fantasy points. That’s tough to ignore for a receiver with a sub $5,000 salary. The Lions’ defence is an above-average matchup for fantasy receivers as well, so at least one Argos’ pass-catcher likely has a solid Week 13 outing.

Toronto’s opponents, the Lions, also have a favourable matchup for their receivers to look forwards to as the Argos’ defence has allowed above average rates of receiving yards (8.24) and TDs per attempt this season and have been trending further down over the past month. Bryan Burnham should be the lead receiver in their corps, but his $10,000 salary is high for a guy receiving – somewhat inexplicably – only 6.7 targets per game in 2021 after seeing almost nine per game in 2019.

With both Durant and Cottoy unable to practice to this point in Week 13 due to injury, that leaves a lot of targets to go around and Keon Hatcher may be the biggest beneficiary of that volume with a salary just over $3,000. Hatcher has been very productive with the targets he has received this season, and a significant uptick in volume could make him the best play at WR on the Week 13 slate.

Brandon Banks leads all Hamilton receivers in fantasy projections this week, but that’s primarily due to the expected absence of Bralon Addison and Banks’ return to special teams duties as a return man. The big-play potential of Banks seems to have evaporated this season as even on five targets in Week 12, Banks had just 1 YAC. A salary of $10,000 is far too much to invest in essentially return duty potential points.

The rest of the Tiger-Cats receiving corps come in much more affordably as the trio of Acklin, Dunbar and White come in between $4,000 to $6,000 and should see five-to-seven targets each with Addison out. The difficulty for all of them is an Elks’ defence that continues to play very well despite their team’s record. They have allowed just 52 plays per game to opposing offences while giving up the third-fewest yards per target (7.55) and the second-fewest receiving touchdowns this season (11). None of the Hamilton receivers project well in the matchup, but their salaries still leave them as options.

Shaq Evans barely sneaks into the top in the projections at receiver. It’s difficult to have much confidence that either he or Duke Williams can produce. They would need to justify $7,000 to $8,000 salaries in a Riders’ offence that averages the second-fewest yards per target (7.39) and third-fewest TDs per target in the league. There’s hope that this dynamic duo can eventually turn the tide for the Riders passing attack, but it’s unlikely to happen while they are still working their way into form in 2021.

The Als’ defence is an excellent opportunity to grow. They allow above-average rates of yards and TDs per target, but they are priced out of consideration until either Evans or Williams can garner over seven targets a game. Kian Schaffer-Baker is an acceptable lower-priced option, but his role will likely diminish as the roles of Evans and Williams increase over time.


Simoni Lawrence leads an opportunistic Ticats’ defence that will be looking to capitalize against rookie QB Taylor Cornelius in Edmonton (Photo: The Canadian Press)

DEFENCE

Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $3,797
Montreal Alouettes – $3,718
Calgary Stampeders – $3,688

It’s rare fantasy players get a defence as talented as Hamilton’s at a sub-$4,000 price tag. They are second in the league in forced turnovers (27) and face an Elks defence that has seemed discombobulated for months. The Elks have allowed above-average sacks (26) and turnovers (24), and Cornelius has thrown six interceptions in his last four appearances. Hamilton’s defence may be in for a big day again.

The Als’ defence may still be too generous on the scoreboard to be noteworthy, but they have posted 22 sacks and forced 12 turnovers over their past four games, which is a remarkable feat. Their matchup with a leaky Riders’ offensive line begs to be attacked again and it makes the Als’ defence a good option again in Week 13.

The Stampeders haven’t put up nearly the gaudy fantasy stats that the Als have during the past month, but they have seemed to right the ship following a shaky start to their 2021 season. Ottawa’s offence has allowed league highs in sacks (41) and turnovers (34) and begs fantasy players to pick on them again this week.

STACKS

Michael Reilly > Keon Hatcher

If both Durant and Cottoy miss this week’s game due to injury, Hatcher is likely the best value at receiver this week and he makes a good stacking option with the top-projected passer on the slate against a very vulnerable Argos’ secondary.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson > Chandler Worthy, Kurleigh Gittens

While there is some uncertainty around the kind of volume the Toronto passing attack may provide, Worthy and Gittens provide a formidable double stack with McBeth if they hit their ceilings.

Ka’deem Carey > Stampeders Defence

If the Stampeders do indeed blow out the REDBLACKS in Week 13 as BetRegal predicts and as most teams have this season, Carey may be in line for his biggest workload of the year, and he’s a fine correlation play along with the Calgary defence.


WEEK 13 PROJECTIONS

Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Recieving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Michael REILLY QB $9,782.00 BC TOR 19.36 1.98 35.2 2.4
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $9,366.00 TOR BC 19.28 2.06 35.8 1
Matt SHILTZ QB $9,069.00 MTL SSK 18.8 2.07 28.5 2.8
Cody FAJARDO QB $11,547.00 SSK MTL 18.45 1.6 31.1 6.3
Bo Levi MITCHELL QB $8,661.00 CGY OTT 18.29 2.11 35.8 0.5
Jeremiah MASOLI QB $10,414.00 HAM EDM 17.77 1.71 30.5 4
Taylor CORNELIUS QB $5,208.00 EDM HAM 13.58 2.61 32.7 3.5
Devlin HODGES QB $5,000.00 OTT CGY 12.4 2.48 31.8 6.5
Jake MAIER QB $5,391.00 CGY OTT 3.42 0.63 1.6
Nathan ROURKE QB $5,000.00 BC TOR 2.09 0.42 2
Taryn CHRISTION QB $5,000.00 OTT CGY 1.36 0.27 1.5
William STANBACK RB $9,686.00 MTL SSK 16.36 1.69 17.9 2.1
Ka’Deem CAREY RB $7,033.00 CGY OTT 13.82 1.97 12.1 3.7
William POWELL RB $8,538.00 SSK MTL 13.01 1.52 12.4 4
James WILDER RB $8,847.00 EDM HAM 12.72 1.44 14.9 4
DJ FOSTER RB $5,067.00 TOR BC 11.68 2.31 7.2 4.1
James BUTLER RB $4,715.00 BC TOR 9.13 1.94 7.5 4
Chris RAINEY RB $3,763.00 BC TOR 7.67 2.04 2.2 0.8 5 3
Terry WILLIAMS RB $4,041.00 EDM HAM 6.83 1.69 2 1.5 5 3
John WHITE RB $5,856.00 TOR BC 6.07 1.04 6.6 2.2
Anthony COOMBS RB $4,214.00 OTT CGY 5.89 1.4 0.6 5.6
Jackson BENNETT RB $3,000.00 HAM EDM 5.31 1.77 8 1.3
De’Lance TURNER RB $4,000.00 OTT CGY 5.23 1.31 7.7 1.9
Maleek IRONS RB $2,720.00 HAM EDM 3.5 1.29 3.3 1.3
Kienan LAFRANCE RB $2,500.00 SSK MTL 2.6 1.04 0.5 1.5
Jeshrun ANTWI RB $2,500.00 MTL SSK 2.46 0.99 3.7 0.5
Declan CROSS RB $2,500.00 TOR BC 0.85 0.34 0.5
Brendan GILLANDERS RB $3,000.00 OTT CGY 0.76 0.25 0.5 0.3
Anthony GOSSELIN RB $2,500.00 OTT CGY 0.48 0.19 0.5
Eugene LEWIS WR $10,764.00 MTL SSK 17.83 1.66 8.1
Jake WIENEKE WR $8,987.00 MTL SSK 17.67 1.97 7.1
Kamar JORDEN WR $10,211.00 CGY OTT 16.83 1.65 7.8
Brandon BANKS WR $10,162.00 HAM EDM 15.52 1.53 1.2 6.6 5 3
Chandler WORTHY WR $5,542.00 TOR BC 14.91 2.69 5 5 3
Bryan BURNHAM WR $9,643.00 BC TOR 14.01 1.45 6.7
Ricky COLLINS JR WR $7,471.00 TOR BC 13.93 1.86 8.1
Kurleigh GITTENS JR. WR $4,481.00 TOR BC 13 2.9 6.3
Markeith AMBLES WR $5,983.00 CGY OTT 12.65 2.11 7
Shaq EVANS WR $7,266.00 SSK MTL 12.45 1.71 6.3
Jaelon ACKLIN WR $6,557.00 HAM EDM 10.75 1.64 5.8
Jevon COTTOY WR $5,762.00 BC TOR 10.65 1.85 5.3
Steven DUNBAR WR $4,542.00 HAM EDM 10.52 2.32 5.8
Greg ELLINGSON WR $7,911.00 EDM HAM 10.51 1.33 6.6
Lemar DURANT WR $5,392.00 BC TOR 10.22 1.9 6.1
Kian SCHAFFER-BAKER WR $4,612.00 SSK MTL 10.18 2.21 0.1 5.6
DaVaris DANIELS WR $5,797.00 TOR BC 10.15 1.75 6.6
Tim WHITE WR $4,105.00 HAM EDM 10.07 2.45 1.1 5.4
Derel WALKER WR $6,626.00 EDM HAM 9.88 1.49 7.8
Quan BRAY WR $5,884.00 MTL SSK 9.75 1.66 4.4 2
Kyran MOORE WR $8,127.00 SSK MTL 9.41 1.16 0.3 5.6
D’haquille WILLIAMS WR $8,885.00 SSK MTL 9.25 1.04 4.5
Ryan DAVIS WR $5,447.00 OTT CGY 9.19 1.69 0.7 6.8 1
Keon HATCHER WR $3,150.00 BC TOR 8.97 2.85 4.8
Reggie WHITE JR. WR $2,500.00 MTL SSK 8.71 3.48 4.4
DeVier POSEY WR $6,995.00 BC TOR 8.53 1.22 5
Brayden LENIUS WR $3,843.00 SSK MTL 8.33 2.17 4.3
Hergy MAYALA WR $4,414.00 CGY OTT 7.36 1.67 4.8
Malik HENRY WR $3,035.00 CGY OTT 7.31 2.41 2.8 2 1
Shawn BANE WR $2,500.00 CGY OTT 7.28 2.91 2.4 2 1
Mike JONES WR $4,213.00 EDM HAM 6.94 1.65 3.8
RJ HARRIS WR $5,296.00 OTT CGY 6.33 1.19 5.6
Jalen TOLLIVER WR $2,500.00 EDM HAM 6.25 2.5 4.4
Damion JEANPIERE WR $2,500.00 TOR BC 6.1 2.44 3
Richard SINDANI WR $3,980.00 CGY OTT 5.79 1.46 3.7
Nathaniel BEHAR WR $3,415.00 OTT CGY 5.12 1.5 0.2 5.3
Tevaun SMITH WR $4,790.00 EDM HAM 4.98 1.04 4.4
Kenny STAFFORD WR $5,459.00 OTT CGY 4.96 0.91 3.6
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $3,108.00 BC TOR 4.19 1.35 2.5
Colton HUNCHAK WR $2,500.00 CGY OTT 3.66 1.46 2.1
Dante ABSHER WR $2,500.00 MTL SSK 3.04 1.22 0.5 2 1
David UNGERER WR $2,500.00 HAM EDM 2.9 1.16 1.5
Kaion JULIEN-GRANT WR $2,500.00 MTL SSK 2.35 0.94 1.4
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 OTT CGY 2.03 0.81 2.2
Armanti EDWARDS WR $8,088.00 EDM HAM 0.27 0.03 0.2

 

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