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The 2021 CFL season ends the same way it began 18 weeks ago, with Hamilton out to prove itself against defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg. Only this time, it’s in front of its home fans and with championship aspirations on the line.
Sunday’s 108th Grey Cup presents a thrilling conclusion to a season filled with the usual twists and turns. CFL Fantasy fans get one more shot to put together a winning lineup before next June.
As has been our tradition, we provide fantasy users with a start and sit suggestion for both teams, so enough of the rambling and let’s get to it one last time.
Winnipeg (11-3-0) at Hamilton (8-6-0)
Sunday, 6:00 p.m. ET
Line: Winnipeg (-2.5)
Start: Darvin Adams, WR, Blue Bombers, $5,689 salary
Andrew Harris ($8,120) and Kenny Lawler ($8,520) are obvious picks, so let’s go contrarian here and look at Adams, who had just two receptions in last week’s Western Final win over Saskatchewan, yet is tailor-made to rise up in big games.
Injuries kept Adams from performing like the former All-Star he is, but the presence of Lawler and the emergence of Rasheed Bailey ($7,171) put Adams on the backburner. Still, he did produce six games of at least 10 fantasy points in the regular season, with a season-best 16.3 FP against Edmonton in Week 7.
While he didn’t record a 100-yard game in the regular season, Adams is still overdue to step up and deliver an elite-level performance. Keep in mind the rapport he and Zach Collaros ($8,743) established during Winnipeg’s title run in 2019 and in a game with everything riding on it, there’s a strong bet Adams is going to get more than the two targets he got on Sunday.
The Grey Cup is filled with out-of-nowhere performances, so while Harris, Lawler and Collaros come in with the lights upon them, there’s a feeling here that Adams is set to write his name into championship lore.
Sit: Nic Demski, WR, Blue Bombers, $7,155 salary
Hamilton allowed a league-low 4.2 yards per carry and just eight rushing majors during the regular season. Demski is obviously an unsung part of Winnipeg’s ground game, but the Tiger-Cats will be sitting on the West Division All-Star, who is always a threat to take a jet sweep if not occasionally lining up in the backfield.
Stopping Andrew Harris is priority No. 1 for the Ticats, who still remember how the future Hall of Famer carved them up for 134 yards and a major on 18 carries in the 2019 Grey Cup. Yet, if the Blue Bombers want to change the pace, it will likely turn to Demski, who thrives off of getting open underneath coverage. He was able to do so in the regular-season opener, catching five passes for 70 yards in the 19-6 win way back on August 5, but the bet here is that Hamilton will also focus on slowing Demski down.
The Tiger-Cats allowed just nine completions of better than 30 yards in the regular-season, so they will bet on their corners to keep big plays in check while the safeties focus on supporting the effort of containing Harris and to a lesser extent, Demski.
Start: Brandon Banks, WR/RS, Tiger-Cats, $7,272Salary
Quietly, Banks has produced at least 10 receiving fantasy points in five of his past seven games, hitting 9.3 and 9.1 FP in the other two. Ticats fans — and fantasy users of Banks — have not seen a Tour de Force performance from Banks in 2021 and there’s this feeling that Sunday is the evening Speedy B will not disappoint.
A Banks breakthrough means Evans will shatter expectations and make plays against a Winnipeg pass defence that ranks atop the league in almost every significant category, while also recording 39 sacks. Do keep in mind that Banks did have eight catches for 77 yards in the Week 1 loss to the Bombers, which was a 15.7 FP total that most fantasy users would take.
There’s always the potential of Banks getting a carry and while Papi White ($3,331) comes off an East Final that saw him deliver a game-altering 92-yard punt return for a major, the threat of Banks as a return specialist enhances his value.
Sit: Don Jackson, RB, Tiger-Cats, $8,338 salary
You’re not going to run on Winnipeg. I repeat: You’re not going to run on Winnipeg. Just to make it abundantly clear, let’s shout out to our French fans: Vous n’allez pas courir sur Winnipeg.
Jackson was able to run against Toronto, rolling up 95 yards in the Eastern Final victory. He has been a critical component of Hamilton’s journey to the Grey Cup, rushing for 375 yards in his past five games. Still, he runs into a granite-like wall in a Blue Bombers’ defence that made William Powell all but disappear in the final three quarters of the West Final victory. Winnipeg allowed just six rushing majors in the regular-season and topped the league with 5.1 yards allowed per play, which means Hamilton will be facing a host of second-and-longs if running Jackson on first down is their fancy.
The Tiger-Cats won’t be afraid to get Jackson established, but if they can’t — or if Winnipeg gets ahead early and forces Hamilton to abandon the run, they’ll learn firsthand that you don’t run…aw, you know the rest.