Photo: The Canadian Press
Week 15 of the CFL Fantasy season should be subtitled, “In Which Pivot Should We Trust?”
Outside of Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli ($11,202), going all-in on a quarterback presents fantasy users with an investment as volatile as penny stocks and with just two weeks left in the regular-season, those seeking to win fantasy pools need stability.
Week 15 offers little comfort when it comes to surefire production at quarterback. Friday’s Calgary-BC game could evolve into a classic, featuring Bo Levi Mitchell ($8,364) and Michael Reilly ($9,639), while Saturday’s matchup of Edmonton at Saskatchewan has some tease with Elks’ pivot Taylor Cornelius ($7,370) taking on Cody Fajardo ($11,059).
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Hamilton (7-5-0) at Toronto (8-4-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Start: Don Jackson, RB, Tiger-Cats, $6,388 salary
Good things come to those who wait and Jackson has been well worth waiting for in a Hamilton offence that has lacked a solid ground game for much of this season. Since returning from the injured list, Jackson has ground out 200 yards and a major on 28 carries along with four receptions for 56 yards, giving the Ticats’ offence much-needed balance.
Salary-wise, Jackson holds substantial value facing an Argonauts’ defence ranked seventh in yards allowed per game at 109.8 and comes off a Week 14 win over the REDBLACKS in which Ottawa rolled up 143 yards on the ground. Take advantage of the value and opportunity as Jackson’s late-season surge continues to benefit fantasy users.
Sit: McLeod Bethel-Thompson, QB, Argonauts, $9,433 salary
Toronto sits atop the East Division due in no part to Bethel-Thompson’s recent trend of gift-giving. Over his past three starts, he’s scored a combined 24.6 fantasy points while amassing a 2:8 TD: INT margin. An average of 8.2 FP per game isn’t going to cut it at all.
A closer look at Bethel-Thompson’s numbers shows a streaky pivot who has recorded four games of two touchdown passes and just two games of better than 300 yards. With first place on the line, there’s every reason for Toronto fans to feel uneasy about Friday as much as any fantasy user who still has faith in the Argos’ gunslinger.
Calgary (6-6-0) at BC (4-8-0)
Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Line: Calgary (-2.5)
Start: Bo Levi Mitchell, QB, Stampeders, $8,364 salary
This season cannot end without Mitchell delivering a vintage performance. Calgary is still within range of the final playoff spot in the West and the BC defence hands Mitchell a blue plate special of opportunity. The Lions are last in passing yards allowed per game (276.5), while the Stampeders lead the league in yardage through the skies at 280.6, despite Mitchell (7:13 TD: INT margin) enduring the worst year of his Hall of Fame career.
Calgary’s receiving corps adds former All-Star Reggie Begelton ($11,775) to the lineup on Friday, giving Mitchell more familiar firepower. The reunion of Begelton and Kamar Jorden ($10,890) just might be the jolt the Stampeders (and fantasy users) need to bring its offence to life.
Sit: Any Stampeders Receiver Not Named Reggie Begelton or Kamar Jorden
To an extent, you could add Markeith Ambles ($5,681) to the list. If Begelton is indeed in the starting lineup, the bet here is that he and Jorden will combine for at least 25 targets between the two of them. Ambles, who fits well as the complement to the duo, would be in line for about 6-9 targets in a game in which Mitchell could throw at will. Calgary’s young receivers will use Friday as a master class on how it’s done, so no matter the temptation of a Hergy Mayala ($4,384) or Shawn Bane ($2,500), load up on either Begelton or Jorden.
Winnipeg (11-1-0) at Montreal (6-6-0)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Winnipeg (-2.5)
Start: Kenny Lawler, WR, Blue Bombers, $9,868 salary
Why not? Lawler is third in receptions (57) and leads the league with 915 yards and catches of better than 30 yards (nine). He’s also fresh off tagging the Alouettes’ secondary with 111 yards on seven catches in last week’s win over Montreal.
The 18.1 fantasy points Lawler racked up in Week 14 marked the fourth straight week (and five of the past six) he has put up double-digit FP. He’s failed to reach that plateau just twice this season, impressive considering the Winnipeg offence doesn’t exactly echo visions of quick-strike capabilities.
However, Lawler is Option 1 when pivot Zach Collaros ($9,776) chooses to dial up matters. The duo has established themselves as the league’s best pitch-catch pairing, one that the Alouettes won’t have much of a chance to contain.
Sit: Trevor Harris, QB, Alouettes, $9,969 salary
How much was Harris’s mild 177-yard outing against the Blue Bombers last Saturday on him and how much was on the Winnipeg defence? Answer: A little of both, which is why Harris is best off sitting in Week 15. Although he did help us remember that Jake Wieneke ($8,480) still exists and his presence forced the Bombers to not concentrate on stopping William Stanback ($10,931), Harris did throw two interceptions while leading the Montreal offence to just 302 total yards.
The Als are in the postseason, yet positioning for the Semi-Final remains in play. Harris has just one game of better than 20 fantasy points through his passing and four of his nine majors came back in Week 5. It’s asking way too much of him to look like his 2018 form, especially with how the Bombers defence has performed.
Edmonton (2-9-0) at Saskatchewan (8-4-0)
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET
Line: Saskatchewan (-10.5)
Start: Danny Vandervoort, WR, Elks, $2,500 salary
This is a platinum dart throw, as Saskatchewan’s offence doesn’t offer an eye-opening option and throwing the ball frequently appears to be the route Edmonton will take in its last three games. Enter Vandervoort, the third overall pick in the 2017 CFL Draft who failed to live up to expectations in BC and found his way to Edmonton as nothing more than an afterthought in the Elks receiving corps.
Lo and behold, Vandervoort, who had just one catch before Week 14, pulled in three receptions for 54 yards and his first two CFL majors in the loss to Winnipeg. Depending on the status of regulars Greg Ellingson ($8,222) and Derel Walker ($5,816), Vandervoort could be in line for another start on Saturday and further establish himself as part of the team’s long-term plans. If he indeed is in the lineup, he’s a low-risk, high-reward play worth taking for those who love living fantasy football life on the edge.
Sit: Cody Fajardo, QB, Roughriders, $11,059 salary
Fajardo enters Week 15 third in passing yardage, but his 7.3 yards per attempt and 11:10 TD: INT margin are huge turn-offs, especially with that salary. One of the underlying themes of this season has been when will the Roughriders’ offence finally come to life and let Fajardo and his receivers run through opposing defences. Despite flashes of hope, that moment hasn’t arrived and it’s unlikely to happen against an Edmonton defence ranked second with the fewest passing yards allowed.
Fajardo has thrown just four touchdown passes in the second half of the regular season and while the Riders have improved their production, the passing game still ranks second only to Ottawa in yards per game. Even though the Elks allow nearly 28 points per game, this doesn’t look like a matchup that Fajardo could exploit.