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November 4, 2021

Week 14 projections: Nothing easy

Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca

In Week 14, there are some great players in questionable spots and some questionable players in great spots, but not many great players in great spots, which makes for some uneasy decisions. Most weeks, it’s easy to stack against Ottawa, but the Argos’ offence struggled to produce much against them in Week 10.

It’s easy to expect the league leader in rushing to have a good day versus a bottom-three rush defence as William Stanback gets the Bombers, but their measly implied team total questions how much work he’ll get if Montreal gets down early. It’s easy to want to play prolific receivers like Kenny Lawler versus Montreal, but it’s hard to expect that the game stays close enough to keep Winnipeg receivers involved. Nothing is that easy in Week 14 of CFL Fantasy.

PLAY CFL FANTASY 
» Set your lineup for Week 14!
» Start vs. Sit: Getting comfortable with Masoli
» Weekly Predictor: Betting on the Alouettes

Zach Collaros remains one of the cheaper fantasy QB options, but if the Als give them a close game this week, he could pay off richly (Photo: The Canadian Press)

QUARTERBACK
Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $11,158
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, TOR – $9,490
Zach Collaros, WPG – $9,531

Punt Single:
Taylor Cornelius, EDM – $5,982

The claims of Jeremiah Masoli’s demise have been vastly overstated. He missed most of the 2019 season after starting that year at a MOP clip and he looked rusty in two starts against the Bombers and Riders to begin 2021. His slow start had many clamouring for Dane Evans.

Over the past month, Masoli has taken his passing rates from career lows at only about 60 per cent of his standard efficiency back to career norm levels. He seems to have rounded back into form, with three straight games over 24 fantasy points. Hamilton has gone from averaging just 6.2 yards per pass attempt to 7.95 per attempt in the past month. In a season just begging for true standout performances, Masoli has finally arrived.

This week’s matchup with BC shows a defence that has allowed average rates of yards and TDs per pass attempt in 2021, but that has also given up over 30 points in five straight games. While Masoli seems to be peaking, the Lions’ defence appears to be in decline.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson is the Argos’ starter after trading Nick Arbuckle to Edmonton, and it may have given their offence some stability in theory. Still, McBeth’s play has been wildly erratic in 2021. After leading the league in passing attempts and TDs in 2019, he’s had just two games over 300 yards this season with two games over 20 fantasy points and four games below 10.

A matchup with Ottawa should be a ceiling game opportunity for him, but in Week 10 versus the REDBLACKS, he had just 21 pass attempts for 181 yards and 13.3 fantasy points. Those 181 passing yards were the fewest by any quarterback that played a full game versus Ottawa outside of the infamous David Watford downpour game in Week 8. The math says McBeth should project to pass 35 times at 8.82 yards per attempt for 308.7 yards and 2.03 TDs, but history says that output is less than a sure thing.

Winnipeg has thoroughly dominated their opponents almost every week in 2021 and there’s nothing about the current Als’ trends that would make fantasy players believe that will change in Week 14.

Collaros comes in cheaper than a number of other starters because his stats aren’t particularly overwhelming. He projects for the fewest pass attempts of any QB on the slate at just 27.2 as the Bombers tend to be run-heavy in their attack while blowing out teams in the second half. He projects for a whopping 9.5 yards per attempt and the second-highest rate of passing TDs per attempt on the slate, but the lack of volume keeps his overall projection down.

If Montreal can find some way to stay competitive in the game, Collaros could be the top QB on the slate, but if it’s another blowout, he likely won’t get enough volume to make that projected efficiency shine as the Als’ defence has given up near league highs in rushing yards and rushing TDs per attempt this season.

If players are looking for a cheap quarterback in Week 14, there really aren’t any good options. Taylor Cornelius looks like the best of the $5K crew. Despite their strong reputation, the Riders’ defence has been quite susceptible to giving up the deep ball as they allow the second-most yards per pass attempt (8.79) and the third-most total passing TDs (15) this season.


William Stanback could be a difference maker against the Bombers this week, but their defence is a very difficult one to read, both for those on the field and those choosing fantasy rosters (Peter McCabe/CFL.ca)

RUNNING BACK
William Stanback, MTL – $9,528
William Powell, SSK – $8,546
Brady Oliveira, WPG – $5,200

Punt Single(s):
D.J. Foster, TOR – $5,155
James Butler, BC – $4,956

From a football standpoint, William Stanback had a great outing in Week 13 against Saskatchewan, totaling 105 total yards and four receptions. The problem from a fantasy perspective is that it isn’t nearly enough to justify a near $10K salary.

His Week 14 matchup versus Winnipeg is an interesting problem as Montreal has just a 16.25 implied team total on BetRegal, which looks bad for his overall prospects for success. Still, Winnipeg has allowed the third-most yards per rush attempt so far (5.31) along with above-average rates of rushing TDs per attempt. In Week 7, James Wilder Jr. put up 25 fantasy points versus Winnipeg, so it is possible to beat them on the ground, but the overall state of the Montreal offence seems to show it’s a long shot for Stanback this week in Winnipeg.

William Powell is potentially the most consistent and unexciting option at RB every week in CFL Fantasy. He has averaged just 4.5 yards per carry this season – the lowest among the top-10 rushers in the CFL in 2021 – and has just three touchdowns thus far. However, he continues to average 4.4 targets per game as a receiver, which keeps his fantasy totals afloat.

Edmonton has allowed the most rushing yards per attempt to this point (5.55) and above-average rates of rushing TDs per carry as well, so if there were a week that Powell could roll back the clock and have a ceiling game like it’s 2018 or 2019 again, this would be his chance.

The signing of Shaq Cooper following his release from BC creates a little uncertainty as to who will start at RB for the Bombers on Saturday versus Montreal, but if it continues to be Oliveira behind Collaros in the Bombers’ backfield, then he’s the top value at the position. Oliveira projects for the second-most carries on the slate – and there’s reason to believe he could get the most work of all – and it will be versus a Montreal defence that has allowed 5.25 yards per carry along with the second-highest rate of rushing TDs per carry in 2021. Maybe the only thing that could ruin Oliveira’s production is the ever-looming ominous presence of Sean McGuire at the goal line. Nothing does more to kill running backs for fantasy purposes than backup QB goal line dives.

If fantasy players are looking to go cheap at both RB slots in their lineup, Foster and Butler also come in around the $5K mark, but both have significantly more caveats to keep in mind. Foster continues to share time with John White in Toronto, which limits his appeal, but a matchup with the REDBLACKS could undoubtedly allow him to maximize his potential on his limited touches.

Unlike Foster, Butler may have the Lions’ backfield to himself, but BC’s lowest-paced offence in the league runs just 50.5 plays per game and now has to face a Hamilton defence that allows a league-low 4.38 yards per carry. If either Foster or Butler are solid plays in Week 14, it will likely be on their receiving work rather than their ball-carrying abilities.


He’s been a fantasy giant this season, but in just his second game back from a broken hand, there’s reason to be cautious with Lucky Whitehead this week (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

RECEIVER
Kenny Lawler, WPG – $9,158
Nic Demski, WPG – $7,558
Kurleigh Gittens Jr., TOR – $4,860
Bryan Burnham, BC – $9,716
Ricky Collins Jr., TOR – $6,480
Eugene Lewis, MTL – $10,872
Lucky Whitehead, BC – $8,846
Shaq Evans, SSK – $6,911
Rasheed Bailey, WPG – $6,615

Punt Single(s):
Reggie White Jr., MTL – $2,500
Jalen Tolliver, EDM – $2,500

The receiver position is a little tricky this week, as the top projected players have a lot of questions around the volume they’ll receive, while the players with the most reliable volume are in terrible matchups. There are reasons to both love and hate every play available in Week 14.

The Bombers’ duo of Lawler and Demski has been among the most efficient players at the position this season, averaging well over two fantasy points per target. Their running mate, Rasheed Bailey isn’t far behind them either. The issue for the Bombers’ receivers isn’t the matchup per se, as Montreal has allowed around league average rates of yards and TDs per target to opposing receivers so far. The issue is the matchup, in the sense that blowouts tend to skew towards run-heavy game scripts.

The Bombers are again 12.5-point favourites over the Als on BetRegal. The efficiency of Lawler or Demski could have them reach their potential in the first half alone – and they’ve each done that in games this season. However, it also leaves them in a spot that McGuire could score three TDs in the first half, Oliveira grinds out the clock in the second and Lawler, Demski, and Bailey get veteran rest in the second half, with a playoff spot already assured.

Kurleigh Gittens Jr. was no one’s fantasy consideration going into Week 1, or even Week 10 for that matter. Still, he has averaged nearly eight targets a game in his past three contests and there doesn’t seem to be a reason to believe he’ll disappear in Week 14 against Ottawa.

His teammate Ricky Collins Jr. hasn’t been nearly as productive over that span, but he’s had seven targets a game and both players make fine mid-tier considerations in an enticing matchup on Saturday in Ottawa. The REDBLACKS continue to allow the most receiving yards (9.11) and TDs per target this season and it’s hard to imagine building a lineup this week without at least one Argos’ pass catcher in it. The biggest potential obstacle to Gittens’ and Collins’ success would be if Eric Rogers returned to the lineup and reclaimed his seven to eight targets per game.

The loss of Lucky Whitehead dealt a major blow to the Lions’ passing attack, but it did give Bryan Burnham a slight bump in target share over the past few weeks. With Whitehead returning to the lineup in some capacity now, it remains to be seen how much of that increased workload Burnham can retain. A nearly $10K tag has to be reserved for players getting eight-plus targets a game, but Burnham has generally seen just over six with Whitehead in the lineup.

Whitehead is slightly less expensive at just under $9K, but he still has a lot to prove regarding his health before it’s wise to invest heavily in him again. The matchup with Hamilton doesn’t bode that well for either receiver as they have allowed the second-fewest yards per target this season (7.3). The Lions’ air attack is likely worth passing on in Week 14.

While Eugene Lewis and Jake Wieneke have had two of the best seasons of any receiver in the CFL in 2021, it’s difficult to imagine playing either of them with the uncertainty at QB for Montreal. A matchup with a Bombers’ defence that has allowed a minuscule 6.33 yards per target and just three total receiving touchdowns thus far should also scare some off. It would be difficult to justify even $5K salaries versus Winnipeg but Lewis and Wieneke being priced around the $9-10K mark are pretty much unfathomable. Their running mate, Reggie White Jr., may be in play at minimum salary this week, but that’s more of a desperation play for salary relief than it is a play with any expectations.

In 2019, Shaq Evans was every bit an $8-9K fantasy play. In 2021 however, the entire Riders’ passing attack has seemed discombobulated and without much direction or drive. It was hoped that the return of Shaq Evans and the addition of Duke Williams would change that, but those results haven’t materialized yet. With Kyran Moore likely out for a while with a knee injury and Williams having pulled a hamstring in practice on Tuesday, there is the potential to see Evans get eight or more targets, as he had in 2019, but with a thrifty $6K salary. The Elks have been a sneaky good pass defence throughout most of 2021, but after allowing over 357 yards to Masoli and the Ticats in Week 13, they may be showing their will is ebbing away along with their season. The Riders’ passing attack isn’t scaring anyone, but at only $6K, Evans may be ready for his 2021 breakout.

On the other side of that field on Saturday night, the Edmonton passing attack will be without their best weapons as Greg Ellingson and Derel Walker have landed on the one-game injured list. Jalen Tolliver would likely get more work if Ellingson is out, and he’s a much more interesting option, given his $2,500 salary versus a Riders’ defence that has allowed the second-most yards per target (8.79) and the third most total receiving TDs this season.

All four of Hamilton’s major contributors at receiver are bunched together with projections between 11 and 12 fantasy points. Any one of Dunbar, White, Acklin, or Banks has the potential for a big game on any given week, but none of them receives a dominant enough target share to leap out in the projections.

At their current salaries, Dunbar and White seem the best options around $5K, while Banks is essentially unplayable near $10K. At least one of them is likely to have a big day versus a regressing BC defence and make solid stacking options with Masoli but none of the four are likely to pop as one-off uncorrelated plays with other QBs.


DEFENCE
Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $5,300
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $3,645
Toronto Argonauts – $3,201

When it comes to picking a fantasy defence in 2021, it’s the matter of whether to pay up for the Bombers, which at nearly 15 fantasy points per game is a fine option at $5K or to play against the REDBLACKS. Not many options at $5K at any position have been as consistent producers as the Bombers’ unit and the Montreal offence is somewhat adrift since losing Adams to injury.

The Hamilton Ticats’ defence is the cheaper stunt double for the Bombers D, as they have consistently kept allowed yards and points relatively low and can create some sacks and turnovers. Their matchup with BC might not be a glaringly obvious spot to target, but they are a fine value option at only a mid $3K salary.

The Argos have not been nearly as good a defence as Winnipeg or Hamilton, but any team facing Ottawa is an option on D for fantasy purposes. Ottawa has scored a league-low 12.9 offensive points per game while allowing a league-high 46 sacks and 36 turnovers to this point. Toronto scored a wildly high 29 fantasy points against them in Week 10. Toronto is a real option at the near-minimum salary.


STACKS

Jeremiah Masoli > Tim White, Steven Dunbar Jr.

Jeremiah Masoli is pretty expensive for a guy in a neutral matchup, but his two top receivers of late are both affordably priced around $5K and make for a relatively inexpensive double stack.

Brady Oliveira > Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence

Both Oliveira and the Bombers’ defence are priced around $5K with a possibility of scoring 20 points each in a matchup where they are favoured by nearly two full touchdowns. This game script correlation play is affordable and with upside.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson > Kurleigh Gittens, Ricky Collins Jr.

This week, McBeth comes in a little cheaper than most of the other top starting QBs due to his inconsistency, but matchups with Ottawa are pretty hard to ignore. Gittens and Collins are relatively affordable while averaging around seven targets a game, making this double-stack appealing.


WEEK 14 PROJECTIONS

Name Postion Salary Team Opp Projection Points Per Dollar Pass Attempts Rush Carries Recieving Targets Punt Returns Kick Returns
Jeremiah MASOLI QB $11,158.00 HAM BC 19.84 1.78 31.9 3.5
Mcleod BETHEL-THOMPSON QB $9,490.00 TOR OTT 19.14 2.02 35 1.3
Cody FAJARDO QB $11,644.00 SSK EDM 18.38 1.58 30.9 6.2
Zach COLLAROS QB $9,531.00 WPG MTL 18.33 1.92 27.2 0.9
Michael REILLY QB $9,834.00 BC HAM 17.91 1.82 35 2.5
Taylor CORNELIUS QB $5,982.00 EDM SSK 13.75 2.3 31.9 3
Devlin HODGES QB $5,000.00 OTT TOR 12.24 2.45 32.1 5
Trevor HARRIS QB $10,567.00 MTL WPG 11.71 1.11 29.3 3
Sean MCGUIRE QB $5,000.00 WPG MTL 9.92 1.98 3
Antonio PIPKIN QB $5,845.00 TOR OTT 5.28 0.9 3
Matt SHILTZ QB $8,886.00 MTL WPG 1.62 0.18 2
Caleb EVANS QB $6,696.00 OTT TOR 1.37 0.2 1.6
Dane EVANS QB $8,500.00 HAM BC 0.93 0.11 1.5
William STANBACK RB $9,528.00 MTL WPG 14.55 1.53 17.1 2.3
William POWELL RB $8,546.00 SSK EDM 13.48 1.58 12.7 4
Brady OLIVEIRA RB $5,200.00 WPG MTL 13.12 2.52 16.5 1.7
James WILDER RB $7,848.00 EDM SSK 12.98 1.65 14.2 3.7
DJ FOSTER RB $5,155.00 TOR OTT 11.62 2.25 6 4.1
James BUTLER RB $4,956.00 BC HAM 9.89 1.99 9.8 4.4
Don JACKSON RB $6,075.00 HAM BC 9 1.48 10.1 1.7
Terry WILLIAMS RB $3,867.00 EDM SSK 6.88 1.78 1.5 1.5 5 3
Chris RAINEY RB $3,589.00 BC HAM 6.72 1.87 1.2 0.8 5 3
John WHITE RB $5,709.00 TOR OTT 6.31 1.1 7.3 1.9
De’Lance TURNER RB $4,000.00 OTT TOR 5.81 1.45 9 2
Anthony COOMBS RB $4,114.00 OTT TOR 5.77 1.4 0.5 5.5
Sean THOMAS ERLINGTON RB $5,771.00 HAM BC 4.68 0.81 3 1.7
Kienan LAFRANCE RB $2,500.00 SSK EDM 2.13 0.85 0.5 1.2
Jeshrun ANTWI RB $2,500.00 MTL WPG 2.09 0.84 3.2 0.5
Declan CROSS RB $2,500.00 TOR OTT 0.93 0.37 0.5
Brendan GILLANDERS RB $3,000.00 OTT TOR 0.55 0.18 1.3 0.3
Anthony GOSSELIN RB $2,500.00 OTT TOR 0.5 0.2 0.5
Kenny LAWLER WR $9,158.00 WPG MTL 17.74 1.94 0.1 7.2
Nic DEMSKI WR $7,558.00 WPG MTL 15.05 1.99 1 5.4
Kurleigh GITTENS JR. WR $4,860.00 TOR OTT 14.64 3.01 6.6
Bryan BURNHAM WR $9,716.00 BC HAM 13.76 1.42 7
Ricky COLLINS JR WR $6,480.00 TOR OTT 13.5 2.08 7.3
Eugene LEWIS WR $10,872.00 MTL WPG 13.48 1.24 8.2
Lucky WHITEHEAD WR $8,846.00 BC HAM 13.14 1.49 6.3
Shaq EVANS WR $6,911.00 SSK EDM 12.55 1.82 6.5
Greg ELLINGSON WR $8,222.00 EDM SSK 12.14 1.48 0.1 6.9
Rasheed BAILEY WR $6,615.00 WPG MTL 11.95 1.81 0.6 5
Jake WIENEKE WR $8,650.00 MTL WPG 11.9 1.38 6.7
Steven DUNBAR WR $5,284.00 HAM BC 11.71 2.22 5.7
Tim WHITE WR $5,055.00 HAM BC 11.68 2.31 1.1 5.8
Brandon BANKS WR $9,538.00 HAM BC 11.65 1.22 1 6.8 1 1
Jaelon ACKLIN WR $6,716.00 HAM BC 11.16 1.66 5.6
DaVaris DANIELS WR $6,291.00 TOR OTT 11.16 1.77 0.1 6.2
Derel WALKER WR $5,816.00 EDM SSK 11.08 1.91 7.5
Chandler WORTHY WR $5,924.00 TOR OTT 11.01 1.86 0.3 2 5 3
D’haquille WILLIAMS WR $9,058.00 SSK EDM 9.75 1.08 5
Ryan DAVIS WR $5,456.00 OTT TOR 9.68 1.77 0.7 6.6 1
Darvin ADAMS WR $6,075.00 WPG MTL 9.5 1.56 4.6
Kian SCHAFFER-BAKER WR $4,129.00 SSK EDM 9.47 2.29 0.1 5.1
Dominique RHYMES WR $5,925.00 BC HAM 8.46 1.43 5.5
Quan BRAY WR $5,642.00 MTL WPG 8.23 1.46 5 2
Brayden LENIUS WR $3,671.00 SSK EDM 8 2.18 4.1
Dres ANDERSON WR $2,500.00 TOR OTT 7.76 3.1 4.3
Terry WILLIAMS WR $2,500.00 EDM SSK 7.73 3.09 1.5 1.5 5 3
RJ HARRIS WR $5,570.00 OTT TOR 7.4 1.33 5.9
Reggie WHITE JR. WR $2,500.00 MTL WPG 7.39 2.96 5
Shaquille JOHNSON WR $3,594.00 BC HAM 7.19 2 4.7
Janarion GRANT WR $3,419.00 WPG MTL 7.16 2.1 5 3
Mike JONES WR $3,345.00 EDM SSK 7.08 2.12 0.1 3.7
David UNGERER WR $2,500.00 HAM BC 6.83 2.73 2.6 2 1
Nathaniel BEHAR WR $3,761.00 OTT TOR 6.23 1.66 0.2 5.7
Jalen TOLLIVER WR $2,500.00 EDM SSK 6.21 2.48 4.2
Drew WOLITARSKY WR $3,827.00 WPG MTL 6.1 1.59 3.3
Jacob SCARFONE WR $2,500.00 BC HAM 5.51 2.2 4.5
Tyler TERNOWSKI WR $2,500.00 HAM BC 5.23 2.09 2
Mitchell PICTON WR $2,500.00 SSK EDM 5.06 2.02 3.2
Kenny STAFFORD WR $5,571.00 OTT TOR 4.91 0.88 3.3
Tevaun SMITH WR $4,524.00 EDM SSK 4.22 0.93 3.2
Tommy NIELD WR $2,500.00 TOR OTT 3.29 1.32 2.1
Ricardo LOUIS WR $2,737.00 SSK EDM 2.92 1.07 1.8
Michael KLUKAS WR $2,500.00 OTT TOR 2.29 0.91 2.3
Shai ROSS WR $3,308.00 EDM SSK 2.18 0.66 1.2
Kaion JULIEN-GRANT WR $2,500.00 MTL WPG 2.01 0.8 1.6
Jevon COTTOY WR $5,762.00 BC HAM 1.65 0.29 0.9
Cordell HASTINGS WR $2,500.00 BC HAM 1.39 0.56 0.9

 

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