Grey Expectations: Predicting Labour Day fireworks

Entering Week 13 of Grey Expectations, CFL fantasy users still have time to either hold on atop the standings or use the OK Tire Labour Day Weekend as a launching point toward a strong finish. Scoring throughout the league remains steady at 50.0 points per game, yet this weekend’s four matchups offer strong potential of high scoring, especially if play at the pivot takes another step forward.

Running back, which has been peppered with injuries the past few weeks, will have a sleeper or two who can change this week’s fantasy landscape, while the receiver position will have a number of new faces cracking the top 12.


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Jake Maier comes at a reasonable price and has the potential of putting up big numbers against an Elks defence that’s had trouble against the pass (Dave Chidley/CFL.ca)

Quarterbacks

Jake Maier, Calgary ($8,080 salary) — Maier pushed the ball downfield (10.5 yards per attempt) with two of his top three receivers from Week 12 averaging better than 17 yards per catch. Labour Day Classics aren’t Labour Day Classics without a Stampeders’ pivot putting up big numbers, and an Elks’ pass defence that’s allowed a league-high 18 passing majors looks set to help Maier become an LDC legend.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Toronto ($8,826) — Few are counting on the Argos to run the ball effectively. It also feels like Bethel-Thompson is heading toward a hot streak that began with last week’s 258-yard, three-TD effort against the same Tiger-Cats’ defence he will face on Labour Day. Week 12 was the first multiple major outing from McBeth since Week 7. Here’s saying he makes it two straight.

Zach Collaros, Winnipeg ($9,529) — Five of his 10 interceptions thrown have come in the past three games, but the reason we like Collaros is that you mostly know what you’re getting: 260 yards and a couple of touchdown passes, and if he can avoid throwing to others that are not his teammates, his fantasy production will be stronger. Saskatchewan is eighth with 18 completions of better than 30 yards allowed, and half of Collaros’ 20 TD passes have come from better than 20 yards in depth. Sounds like a formula for success.

Trevor Harris, Montreal ($8,685) — Harris comes off a season-best 26 fantasy points in the wild Week 11 win over Hamilton. The last time he faced Ottawa, he torched his old squad for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns during one of only three games this season where he’s averaged better than 10 yards per attempt. Only the Elks have a worse opponents’ average pass rate than the REDBLACKS, and if Harris can utilize his young receivers the way he did in Week 11, look out.

Cody Fajardo, Saskatchewan ($9,403) — The Roughriders are a couple of weeks away from having a potentially scary good receiving corps now that Shaq Evans ($5,575) and Duke Williams ($7,777) should be back from the injured list and Brayden Lenius ($3,484) is back in Regina. However, this week is this week, and that means Fajardo faces a Winnipeg defence that he’s thrown just one touchdown against in his last three starts.

And Then There’s…

Dane Evans, Hamilton ($7,736) — Yardage? Yes, but four straight games with either one or no touchdown passes. Ouch.

Taylor Cornelius, Edmonton ($9,310) — It won’t happen this week, but Cornelius’ dual-threat skills will lead to a 30+ point fantasy week by season’s end.

Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa ($6,286)

Caleb Evans, Ottawa ($8,428) — Hey, eight rushing majors count for something….

Dominique Davis, Montreal ($6,306) — ….just like nine rushing majors count for something.

Running Backs

Brady Oliveira faces a tough task against the Riders’ run defence, but has a solid five-game stretch of hitting at least 60 yards on the ground (Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca)

Ka’Deem Carey, Calgary ($8,471) — In two games this season against the Elks, Carey has rushed for 195 yards and a major on 31 carries (6.2 yards per tote) along with four catches for 45 yards. He’s definitely an anchor to build around this week.

Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg ($6,971) — The league’s leading rusher will have his hands full against a Roughriders’ run defence that is second in yards allowed per game. He’s rushed for at least 60 yards in five straight games; if Oliveira adds a major to his numbers, fantasy users will benefit greatly.

Frankie Hickson, Saskatchewan ($4,148) — The Blue Bombers will be tested by the explosive speed of Hickson, especially if the Roughriders use him in a similar manner to last week’s win over BC. Hickson’s 7.3 yards per carry tops all running backs, and his receiving skills are underrated.

Devonte Williams, Ottawa ($4,000) — Only Edmonton is more run-friendly than Montreal’s defence, which puts Williams in a position to not only deliver as a solid sleeper pick, but perhaps drop the hammer upon his status as the REDBLACKS’ lead back.

Peyton Logan, Calgary ($6,355) — He’s third in the league with 1,320 all-purpose yards and has two returns of at least 40 yards and two runs of at least 20 yards. He makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball.

Don Jackson, Hamilton ($7,208) — Jackson’s not going to offer great rushing numbers. In order for him to be effective, the Tiger-Cats have to use him in the passing game, and it sure wouldn’t hurt if Hamilton’s huge pivots would share goal line touches with him.

And Then There’s…

A.J. Ouellette, Toronto ($4,216) — When, oh, when will we see Daniel Adeboboye ($3,500)?

Walter Fletcher, Montreal ($3,666)

Ante Litre, Edmonton ($2,766)

Johnny Augustine, Winnipeg ($4,000)

Jeshrun Antwi, Montreal ($5,289)

Javon Leake, Toronto ($3,500)

Sean Thomas-Erlington, Hamilton ($3,348)

Receivers

Could this be the week that the touchdowns arrive to go with Eugene Lewis‘ gaudy receiving numbers? (Chris Tanouye/CFL.ca)

Eugene Lewis, Montreal ($10,351) — Stiff price but money well spent. Lewis has had three games of better than 20 fantasy points in his past four games, with two of those seeing him eclipse 100 yards. His three majors are modest, but if he and Trevor Harris continue their assault on opposing secondaries, Lewis could see his first game of multiple touchdowns at the expense of the REDBLACKS.

Tim White, Hamilton ($8,659) — Perhaps the hottest receiver outside of Lewis, White has recorded three straight games of at least 17.7 fantasy points. He’s caught 25 of his last 29 targets (86.2 per cent catch rate).

Nic Demski, Winnipeg ($7,686) — Just as it appears Dalton Schoen ($6,220) might be running into the rookie wall, along comes Demski to remind everyone just how dangerous he can be when given extensive touches. Look for him to become the Alpha Dog of the Blue Bombers’ receiving corps.

Reggie Begelton, Calgary ($8,289) — Begelton has caught 12 of his last 13 targets. However, the time has come for the Stampeders to allow him to stretch defences the way he did in 2019, when he lit Edmonton for 10 catches for 138 yards and a major in the Labour Day Classic.

Malik Henry, Calgary ($8,094) — It’s too much to expect Henry to duplicate his 37.2 fantasy points from Week 12, but he does face an Edmonton secondary that has allowed a league-high 18 passing majors. He and Jake Maier had a solid rapport last week, one that could be lethal on Monday.

Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg ($6,220) — Keep in mind the last time Schoen had a bad outing (Week 6), he followed that with four straight games of at least 13.7 fantasy points while scoring five touchdowns in that span. Having Nic Demski step takes pressure off him, so look for a solid rebound effort.

Jaelon Acklin, Ottawa ($7,811) — Shaky play at pivot has hampered Acklin, who has just 117 receiving yards in his past three games. Another week of Arbuckle should bring his numbers back to more consistent levels.

Kian Schaffer-Baker, Saskatchewan ($6,377) — He’s coming off a season-best 28 fantasy points after having his best outing since Week 6. The Riders are adding more faces to the receiving corps, yet Schaffer-Baker is the best fantasy bet versus a Blue Bombers’ defence that leads the league in opponents’ completion percentage.

Nate Behar, Ottawa ($5,486) — Let’s give some love to the underrated Behar, who had the first 100-yard game of his career last week. He’s also put up double digit fantasy points in five of his past seven games and appears to have established a groove with Nick Arbuckle.

Tyson Philpot, Montreal ($2,684) — A roll of the dice here, as Philpot should be back in the lineup after going down in Week 11. He’s explosive nearly every time he touches the ball, and now is a good time for the Alouettes to see if he’s ready for a heavy load of targets.

Kurleigh Gittens Jr., Toronto ($7,626) — The Argos spread the ball around at will, yet it’s Gittens who seems to show up when McLeod Bethel-Thompson needs a big completion. He’s due for a big week of targets, and Monday afternoon is a great time for it.

Derel Walker, Edmonton ($5,229) — We may be starting a Walker revival as Kenny Lawler ($9,383) could be heading to the injured list with an ankle injury. Don’t expect a return of Peak Walker (2015-2016) but if fantasy users can get the 2019 version of D-Dub, then he’s definitely worth a flier for an Elks team that will likely spend much of Labour Day playing catchup.

And Then There’s…

DaVaris Daniels, Toronto ($7,340)

Reggie White, Jr., Montreal ($5,285)

Darvin Adams, Ottawa ($5,340)

Kamar Jorden, Calgary ($5,263)

Markeith Ambles, Toronto ($5,964)

Kyran Moore, Saskatchewan ($7,222)

Steven Dunbar Jr., Hamilton ($7,677)

Mario Alford, Saskatchewan ($3,910)

Jake Wieneke, Montreal ($5,662)

Rasheed Bailey, Winnipeg ($5,384)

Devonte Dedmon, Ottawa ($5,710)

Papi White, Hamilton ($3,502)

Kai Locksley, Edmonton ($3,591)

Greg McCrae, Winnipeg ($3,500)

Tevin Jones, Saskatchewan ($3,010)

Kaion Julien-Grant, Montreal ($3,070)

Defences

Toronto ($3,880) — Turnover-prone Hamilton gave the Argos’ D a season-high 19 fantasy points in both Weeks 9 and 12, recording a combined three defensive majors in the process.

Calgary ($3,850) — The Stamps had one of the season’s best fantasy defensive outings when they produced 26 points at the expense of the Elks in Week 5. Along come the Elks and their -10 turnover ratio for Labour Day.

Winnipeg ($3,200) — They’ve made life miserable for Cody Fajardo and the Roughriders offence in recent meetings, holding Fajardo to just one major with five interceptions the last three times they’ve met.

Montreal ($3,200) — Nick Arbuckle didn’t throw an interception in Week 12. We think it’s unlikely he can make it two straight games.

And Then There’s…

Ottawa ($3,258)

Saskatchewan ($3,200)

Edmonton ($3,200)

Hamilton ($3,200)

Stacktastic Voyage

Winnipeg — Nic Demski ($7,686), Dalton Schoen ($6,220), Greg McCrae ($3,500). McCrae looked impressive in his first start in the slot. Both he and Demski are good for carries, as well, so build off this $17,406 stack.

Montreal — Eugene Lewis ($10,351) Tyson Philpot ($2,684), Reggie White Jr. ($5,285). Equally as good as the Bombers’ stack. Lewis obviously carries it, but Philpot can make this $18,320 stack into gold if he gets 10-12 touches.

Calgary — Ka’Deem Carey ($8,471), Peyton Logan ($6,355), Shawn Bane ($3,290). Bane put up a combined 34.3 fantasy points in Weeks 10-11, so he’s capable of lighting it up. We know Carey and Logan will amass touches, so celebrate Labour Day by investing $18,116 in this stack.

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