June 10, 2024

Start vs. Sit: Calgary’s defence a hot commodity?

Leah Hennel/CFL.ca

Week 1 is in the books, and while one week doesn’t tell a story, it did identify new faces that will be CFL Fantasy football factors. At the same time, fantasy staples who endured a bad Week 1 are far from washed up.

Week 2 opens with the 2024 debut of the REDBLACKS and new pivot Dru Brown hosting his old Blue Bombers teammates and includes a potential Saturday slugfest when the Stampeders meet the Lions in what could be Calgary’s chance to show the West Division won’t be a two-team race.

CFL.ca brings you this week’s Start vs. Sit:

» CFL Fantasy is Back! Draft your roster now
Set Your Roster: 5 reasons to play CFL Fantasy
Argos close out Week 1 with back-and-forth win over Lions
» Bane Jr. scores three times in comeback win over Elks
» Als win 110th Grey Cup rematch over Bombers

Winnipeg (0-1-0) at Ottawa (0-0-0), Thursday, 7:30 PM (Eastern)

Line: Winnipeg (-7)

O/U: 46.5 (1.95)

Start: Brady Oliveira, RB, Blue Bombers, $12,900 Salary

Thursday’s 27-12 loss to the defending Grey Cup champion Alouettes felt more like a preseason game for the Winnipeg offence, which was held to 284 total yards and averaged a mere 4.9 yards per play. Oliveira managed only 38 rushing yards on 11 carries and did not have a carry of more than seven yards as Week 1 was the first time much of the starting lineup hit the field in 2024.

That’s not Winnipeg, and that’s not Oliveira. With Week 1 in the distance, expect the real Blue Bombers offence to show up, and that means Oliveira is positioned for a strong rebound if the injury that kept him from practicing on Sunday doesn’t end up being a factor for the game on Thursday.

Sit: Dru Brown, QB, REDBLACKS, $9,000 Salary

One could make a case for Brown to be a sleeper, but fantasy players choosing to build their team around him in Week 2 stand an excellent chance for a rude awakening.

Winnipeg held Montreal to 324 yards in Week 1, and if you take the production of Als receiver Tyson Philpot ($7,500) out of the equation, the Bombers did an exceptional job of containing Montreal’s offence. The Blue Bombers also recorded three sacks and an interception, so let’s not get it twisted: Ottawa’s offence will run into a buzz saw on Thursday, so plan to keep Brown off your lineup.

Montreal (1-0-0) at Edmonton (0-1-0), Friday, 9:00 PM

Line: Montreal (-6)

O/U: 47.5 (1.91)

Start: Kurleigh Gittens Jr., WR, Elks, $8,900 Salary

Gittens Jr. delivered 15.2 fantasy points, exceeding his projection of 9.2 FP as he finished with nine receptions for 62 yards on a team-best 12 targets. That he led the Edmonton receiving corps is no surprise considering the rapport he and Elks pivot McLeod Bethel-Thompson ($10,000) had as East Division All-Stars during Toronto’s 2022 Grey Cup title run.

The level of comfort the duo has will carry over against a Montreal pass defence that allowed only one completion of more than 20 yards in the Week 1 win over Winnipeg, holding Zach Collaros ($12,900) to only 7.7 yards per pass. The Alouettes will be mindful of big-play threats Eugene Lewis ($12,300) and Dillon Mitchell ($6,000), allowing Gittens to have another week of getting a considerable amount of targets underneath.


Sit: Montreal Running Backs

The Alouettes averaged only 3.2 yards per carry in defeating the Blue Bombers, with Walter Fletcher ($7,800) getting 12 of the 23 rushing attempts. However, quarterback Cody Fajardo ($14,300) accounted for seven of those carries, and if Fajardo continues to be Montreal’s second option on the ground game, fantasy players will have a hard time making a firm commitment in the Alouettes backfield.

Sean Thomas Erlington ($2,500) had two carries in his Montreal debut. The hometown native will probably see an increased role as he gets comfortable in the offence. We expected the Alouettes would be a backfield by committee, and all signs point in that direction. If so, fantasy players should point in another direction when filling out the RB position.

Calgary (1-0-0) at BC (0-1-0), Saturday, 7:00 PM

Line: BC (-9.5)

O/U: 50.5 (1.91)

Start: Calgary Defence, $7,200 Salary

Why start a defence that finished with only three points in Week 1? Well, considering BC allowed quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. ($14,800) to be sacked six times and knocked down several other times in Sunday’s loss to the Argonauts, the game plan for the Stamps will be simple.

Calgary had only one sack of Hamilton’s Bo Levi Mitchell ($9,400) in his return to McMahon on Friday, but if the BC offensive line continues to leave Adams Jr. in peril, then the Stamps can turn their pressure on him into not only sacks but also giveaways, as the Lions committed five of those in Week 1.


Sit: Jevon Cottoy, WR, Lions, $6,500 Salary

Cottoy managed only two targets Sunday evening, and while he did catch both for 39 yards, he had to have felt like a forgotten man.

Alex Hollins ($13,600) and Justin McInnis combined ($7,900) for 23 of the 33 attempts from Adams Jr., finishing with a combined 15 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown. That high volume of production from the duo will make any other BC receiver a risky fantasy play. The target distribution should balance out on Saturday, but fantasy players should sit back and see how that plays out.

Saskatchewan (1-0-0) at Hamilton (0-1-0), Sunday, 7:00 PM

Line: Hamilton (-1.5)

O/U: 46.5 (1.87)

Start: Trevor Harris, QB, Roughriders, $12,800 Salary

So much for Saskatchewan’s ground-and-pound mentality. While the Riders had to pass more in Saturday’s rally over the Elks, Harris offered a reminder the 12-year former All-Star can still light up a defence by throwing for 305 yards and three majors while averaging 9.8 yards per pass.

Harris did throw two interceptions in his 31 attempts that tempered his fantasy production (20 points). The game showed the Roughriders can get the ball downfield to Shawn Bane Jr., ($13,300) Kian Schaffer-Baker ($7,000) and Jereth Sterns ($5,500) while also giving running back AJ Ouellette ($12,100, 19 total touches) his share of attention. That makes Harris a good option against a Hamilton defence that allowed 8.1 yards per play in their loss at Calgary.

Sit: Kiondre Smith, WR, Tiger-Cats, $8,000 Salary

Smith’s late receiving major helped save what might have been an eye-opening Week 1 for him. Entering the season as the Ticats’ WR2, Smith finished with three catches for 37 yards on five targets as newcomers Shemar Bridges ($2,500) and Brendan O’Leary-Orange ($3,400) combined for 11 receptions for 147 yards on 15 targets.

Again, one week does not a season make, but Bridges made a strong first impression, sharing the team lead of 11 targets with All-Star Tim White. Available targets were abundant as the team amended the receiving corps over the off-season and training camp, so the presence of Bridges and O’Leary-Orange might have knocked Smith down the pecking order.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the CFL.ca Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!