September 25, 2023

Start vs. Sit: Lawler riding scoring streak

Kevin Sousa/

Week 17 kicks off with a potential Grey Cup preview as East Division champion Toronto travels to Winnipeg to face a Blue Bombers team currently in a tight race with the BC Lions for first place in the West Division.

CFL fantasy fans will also get to build their lineups around three other games that will each have playoff implications, making this week’s Start vs. Sit all the more intriguing.

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» Landry’s five takeaways from Week 16

Toronto (12-1-0) at Winnipeg (10-4-0), Friday, 8:00pm (Eastern)

Start: Kenny Lawler, WR, Blue Bombers, $9,500 Salary

The Argos may not allow a lot of deep plays (league-low 17 completions of more than 30 yards), but they have given up 24 passing touchdowns, second only to the REDBLACKS. Lawler is on a touchdown binge as he has scored a receiving major in each of his last four games despite catching a combined 11 passes in that span. He’s also averaging 15.9 fantasy points per game, a number that can quickly rise if QB Zach Collaros ($13,500) continues to at least give him the seven targets he’s had the past two games. We love Lawler this week, and so should you.

Sit: Argos’ Running Backs

With Andrew Harris ($7,100) on the six-game Injured List, along with AJ Ouellette ($12,000), the Argos’ backfield now consists of Deonta McMahon and special teams ace Daniel Adeboboye, who had a combined 57 yards on 15 carries in Saturday’s win over the Ticats. McMahon appears to be the featured back, having rushed 12 times in Week 16, yet that could easily change since the Argos are high on Adeboboye ($4,000), their 2022 second round pick. Right now, this is not the week to play “Guess Who?” with the Toronto backfield, which means fantasy users should sit back for at least another week to see how things play out.

Saskatchewan (6-8-0) at BC (10-4-0), Friday, 10:30pm

Start: Kian Schaffer-Baker, WR, Roughriders, $4,700 Salary

The Riders’ playoff chances increase significantly if they can get their best receiver to duplicate his 20.6 FP in last week’s loss against the REDBLACKS. Schaffer-Baker may finally have the rust off after making his regular season debut in Week 11, having been targeted eight times twice in the past two games. One of his two majors came against the Lions in Week 11, and if pivot Jake Dolegala ($11,000) can avoid the interception bug (three in the last two games), Schaffer-Baker makes for a strong value play who can deliver much more than he’s projected to score.

Sit: Frankie Hickson, RB, Roughriders, $4,000 Salary

Don’t press your luck into thinking you can find two value plays in the Saskatchewan lineup this week. Hickson scored 10.3 FP in relief of injured Jamal Morrow ($9,000) in Week 16 and is likely to be atop the Riders depth chart this week. Hickson rushed for 77 yards on nine carries and added a pair of receptions versus Ottawa, but faces a BC run defence that snuffed the lights out of Edmonton’s running attack in Week 16, holding them to 90 yards on 16 carries. There will be better running back options fantasy users can turn to this week, making Hickson (or a healthy Morrow for that matter), off limits.

Montreal (7-7-0) at Ottawa (4-10-0), Saturday, 4:00pm

Start: Tyson Philpot, WR, Alouettes, $6,000 Salary

The time has arrived for Philpot to assert himself atop the pecking order of the Als receiving corps. The second-year pro followed up his huge 25.5 FP performance in Week 15 with a solid 12.7 FP total in Montreal’s Week 16 win over Calgary. We’re betting Philpot’s fantasy total falls somewhere in the middle of his past two games, especially considering the Alouettes face the league’s worst pass defence in the REDBLACKS, who are last in completions of 30-plus yards allowed along with giving up a league-worst 26 passing majors. Philpot led the team in receiving yards for a second straight game, and there’s every chance to believe a third consecutive outing is coming. If you’re looking for a player capable of a late season surge, you’ve found him.

Sit: Devonte Williams, RB, REDBLACKS, $9,000 Salary

Williams has become one of the focal points of the Ottawa offence after recording a combined 65 touches in his last three games, capped off by a 22-carry, 136-yard rushing effort in Friday’s win over Saskatchewan. There is still a faint postseason pulse in the REDBLACKS, yet the Als defence will be locked in on slowing him down. Williams tallied 19.3 FP last week and while he will continue to see his share of touches, we’re projecting this to be a game where QB Dustin Crum’s ($11,000) arm dictates the pace of the offence.

Calgary (4-10-0) at Hamilton (6-8-0), Saturday, 7:00pm

Start: James Butler, RB, Tiger-Cats, $11,000 Salary

Toronto slowed down Butler, holding him to 8.2 FP in Hamilton’s Week 16 loss to the Argos. However, look for a strong rebound as Butler gets to run against a reeling Stampeders run defence that ranks eighth in rushing yards allowed per game. Calgary is allowing nearly six yards per carry, and if the Ticats passing game warms up early, the running lanes will be there for Butler, who has an excellent chance to record his sixth game this season with at least 20 fantasy points.

Sit: Jake Maier, QB Calgary, $11,000 Salary

Maier has a modest four-game stretch of at least one touchdown pass, but his Week 16 production was offset by throwing a pair of interceptions in the loss to the Alouettes. He has just two games of over 20 FP this season, and despite the fact the Ticats secondary has been vulnerable to the deep ball all season, there’s little to gain in playing Maier at this point.

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