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CFL DFS Week 15: At Whit’s End
benyamen
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I miss rock music. The days of the rock star are dead and gone, and pop and EDM have danced right in and taken their place. Now when the world needs a good protest band like System of a Down or Rage Against The Machine, we’re instead entrusted to the hapless beeps and refrains of Justin Timberlake and Pitbull. I’M OLD! GET OFF MY LAWN! Alas, the world keeps changing, and it’s no different in the world of the CFL. Players and tendencies that used to be reliable have all changed, and everything you know is wrong. So here are your weekly CFL DFS Week 15 rankings to get you up to date with where things are at this week in Canada:

PROJECTED TEAM TOTALS

  • BC – 29.25
  • Calgary – 29
  • Winnipeg – 28.5
  • Hamilton – 26
  • Toronto – 26
  • Edmonton – 25.5
  • Ottawa – 23.75
  • Montreal – 23

PROJECTED PACE NOTES

Hamilton +3.33

The Calgary Stampeders have one of the best defences in the league and make for a tough matchup for a Hamilton team that comes limping back home this week. Zach Collaros seemed like a sure MOP candidate a month ago, and now leads an offence potentially devoid of its top three targets. With all this against them, the Ti-Cats make for some interesting contrarian plays with extremely high prices on some of their players and potentially great values to be found at receiver.

Edmonton +2.13

Edmonton gets a great matchup this week versus a highly touted Winnipeg defence that creates turnovers, but gives up a ton of yards. With some people being scared off of the Bombers matchup based on reputation over numbers, it may be a good chance to take advantage of the matchup and bump in pace.


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QUARTERBACKS

  1. Mike Reilly, EDM – $11400 (GPP)
  2. Matt Nichols, WPG – $7000 ($ or GPP)
  3. Zach Collaros, HAM – $11300 (GPP)

The Eskimos have the 2nd highest projected pace of the week and the best passing defence matchup available. Reilly’s price is certainly exorbitant, but he’s worth consideration for his upside. I don’t like paying that much in cash games with some of the other options out there, but no other quarterback has as high a ceiling as Reilly this week.

I’m not saying Nichols will be the 2nd highest scoring quarterback this week, but his value is unmatched. He’ll likely put up 3x value in a great matchup. Winnipeg has the 3rd highest projected team total, faces the defence giving up the highest yards per reception this week, and he has the second lowest price of any starting quarterback on the slate. He has been extremely consistent scoring between 20-25 fantasy points each of the past four weeks. I see no reason that should stop now. He’s my favourite cash game quarterback this week.

For all the reasons stated earlier in the pace section, I like Collaros as a sneaky tournament target this week. He’s coming off a few poor outings, he has a seemingly difficult matchup, and his price has not gone down to compensate for it. You can play it one of two ways: total fade or trot him out as a contrarian play in a game with an expected inflated pace for his team while recency bias keeps his ownership levels extremely low.

RUNNING BACKS

  1. Brandon Whitaker, TOR – $6900 ($ or GPP)
  2. Tim Flanders, WPG – $6000 ($ or GPP)
  3. Shakir Bell/John White, EDM – $7600/$5800 ($ or GPP)
  4. Tyrell Sutton, MTL – $5600 (GPP)

Montreal gives up a league high 5.27 yards per carry and Whitaker has gets about 15 touches per game which is about as consistent as it gets in the CFL. With Drew Willy starting for Toronto this week, Whitaker’s receptions are likely to go up substantially. Willy LOVES to check down to his running backs. In the first four weeks of the season when Willy was starting quarterback in Winnipeg, Andrew Harris had 26 receptions for 256 yards. Last week alone, Whitaker had 9 receptions for 46 yards: 6 of those receptions came in the 2nd half once Drew Willy entered the game. He could easily reach value with his receiving role alone. He’s my favourite RB play of the week.

As of publication, it looks like Flanders will be the starting running back in Winnipeg again this week. Normal starter Andrew Harris hasn’t practiced in three weeks and seems unlikely to suit up against Edmonton. In his absence, Flanders has gone for over 26 fantasy points each of the past two weeks. That’s the kind of pace that would make him the most valuable running back in the league. The Eskimos are a pretty average matchup, but with his usage and price tag, he’s a great option.

Winnipeg and Edmonton are both in the bottom half of the league in terms of yards per carry allowed on defence, Shakir Bell makes for a decent play along with Homer Simpson’s least favourite neighbor, filthy old Flanders. At a significantly higher price tag than a few of the other top options though, he’s not a great cash game value. In his weeks with a full workload, Bell has provided great production, averaging about 111 yards rushing, with a consistent usage rate in the passing game as well. This being said, John White is currently listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart. Bell took all the first team reps at practice, but is the backup on paper. It’s hard to say for sure what’s going on here and we likely won’t know until the game has started. Either one would make for a decent GPP option if we get some clarity, but if it’s a time share neither are worth playing.

Toronto is the only other team as bad as Montreal at stopping the run. It’s a solid matchup for Sutton at a price tag that is very affordable. The caveat to this is the coaching change in Montreal. Jacques Chapdelaine – you’d never guess he speaks with a heavy Texas drawl – hates running the ball almost as much as Kent Austin in Hamilton. Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant once referred to Chapdelaine’s offence as “basketball on grass” during his stint in Regina. His offences tend to lean on bubble screens AS the running game. I expect a lot more trips formations and bunch packages, which may limit the workload of Sutton. He’s a GPP play only.

RB FADE OF THE WEEK

Jerome Messam, CGY – $8500

It’s hard to fade a guy who’s arguably the best RB in the league, but his matchup is as tough as it gets. He is also currently questionable for the week as he’s going through the concussion protocol. Add to that that Calgary is expected to run a little slower pace than usual this week and it’s a good week to fade this high priced back.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  1. Adarius Bowman, EDM – $10900 ($ or GPP)
  2. Clarence Denmark, WPG – $6800 (GPP)
  3. Andy Fantuz, HAM – $6300 ($ or GPP)
  4. Emmanuel Arceneaux, BC – $9000 ($ or GPP)
  5. Weston Dressler, WPG – $7800 ($)
  6. Duron Carter, MTL – $7900 (GPP)
  7. Derel Walker, EDM – $10000 (GPP)

Adarius Bowman sports a 9.88 target efficiency score while averaging over 10.3 yards per target. In the past month, he’s clearly taken over the role as the WR1 in Edmonton with Derel Walker being relegated to a supporting role. Bowman is expensive, but it’s a good week to pay up in a matchup against one of the worst defences in the league in terms of yards per pass attempt allowed.

In GPP’s I prefer the ceiling of Denmark to the floor of Dressler. With a 13.95 target efficiency score to go along with collecting almost a TD a game, he’s got a lot of what I look for in a tournament play. He’s got a solid matchup against an improving but still very beatable Edmonton defence in a game with a high expected team total.

It remains to be seen who will be starting at WR for Hamilton as last week it came down to game time decisions. With Chad Owens on IR, and Luke Tasker and Terrence Toliver missing out on last week’s game, Andy Fantuz saw a major uptick in targets. In an up pace game versus Calgary this week, Hamilton is projected to throw over forty times. Fantuz was good for a full third of Hamilton’s receptions in that spot last week. At this price, in a high volume offence, he’s pretty much a must play if Tasker and Toliver remain out. If either or both of them return to action this week, you can drop Fantuz off the bottom of the list and roll out Tasker and Toliver in GPP’s instead. Stay tuned in to the Forum and Twitter for updates.

An 8.85 target efficiency score makes Arceneaux a questionable play at this price, but the matchup is decent. In his eight games since the week five bye, he’s had only one really poor game and two over 30 fantasy points. He’s consistently a high target receiver, averaging nearly 9 per game, and has 7 touchdowns on the year. You pay a premium for his relatively high floor, but with the value options available elsewhere, he’s likely worth the certainty.

$7800 is a bit more than I’d like to pay for a guy with a 9.83 target efficiency score who doesn’t score touchdowns: Dressler has only 1 in 9 games this year. Compare that to Bowman’s 7 TD’s or Denmark’s 5 in only 6 games, and you can see Dressler’s upside is limited. That being said, he’s the most targeted receiver in the Winnipeg offence and does have the speed to make a long play if called upon.

At this point, it seems Walker is clearly playing second fiddle in the Edmonton offence after being receiver 1A/B through much of the first half of the season. $10k is an awfully steep price for a guy who’s been under 15 fantasy points in five of his past eight games. He has shown 30+ point upside in a number of games though, and in this prime matchup with Winnipeg, he may be worth the cost in a GPP.

Duron Carter and his quarterback Rakeem Cato HATE each other. Between arguments on the sidelines and fights on the practice field, it’s somewhat surprising that Cato has kept his job. With his recent struggles, his price has dropped drastically all the way down to $7800 from a high of $10000 only a few weeks ago. Carter is clearly the top talent on their offence, and I expect new HC Captain Jack to find ways to get him the ball early and often. As I noted earlier, Chapdelaine’s schemes emphasize short quick passes as a substitute for the running game, and Carter may get set up on a lot of screen plays and given the opportunity to create with his size and speed. He’s a risky play with all the uncertainty, but I’ll certainly put him in a few tournament lineups.

It’s worth noting that I haven’t ranked any receivers out of Ottawa or Toronto. Ottawa and Toronto spread the ball around so much that it’s nearly impossible to project which receiver will be of value on any given week. As I noted earlier, I think there’s a good chance that Brandon Whitaker may well be the top targeted Argonaut this week anyways. I admit there may be some value to found here in these team’s receivers, but I think there are far more predictable plays available and I’d rather let someone else deal with those messes.

VALUE PLAYS

Tory Harrison, RB – CGY – $3800 ($ or GPP)

It’s a bad matchup against the best run defence in the league. Calgary is projected to have a slower than average expected pace. If Messam were starting, I’d call him a full fade at $8300. If Harrison starts though this week at only $3800, he’s worth a look if you want to punt RB and load up on Edmonton and Winnipeg WR’s.

Kamar Jorden, WR – CGY – $5100 ($ or GPP)

Jorden spent a lot of time on ER this season, but now that he’s back and healthy, he has stepped back into a significant role in the potent Calgary offence. I wouldn’t expect another 30 point outburst again this week, but it led to an exceptional 14.8 target efficiency score through three games this season. At this price, Jorden gives excellent cash game value, but may even hold enough upside to make a great tournament play as well.

Bryan Burnham, WR – BC – $5700 ($)

His efficiency score is still great at 12.68, but his targets have never increased. He gets only 5.5 targets per game, but what he does with them is great. If he catches a few balls at this price, at a slightly elevated pace this week, and with the 3rd best matchup going, he’ll be a decent value in GPP formats. He doesn’t have the upside you’d like, but if you’re looking for roster differentiation over Jorden, he’s an option.

Brandon Zylstra, WR – EDM – $3000 (GPP)

Zylstra made his unheralded debut last week, and put up an otherwise unexciting 4/48/0 night. That being said, that he had a reception on each of his targets and averaged twelve yards a target making for a really high target efficiency score of 16. He’s new to the offence, but seemed to be carving out a role as the 3rd receiving option. Walker and Bowman are clearly the top options, likely accounting for 20 of the teams projected 39 targets, but you could do worse than this matchup at minimum price.

DEFENCE/SPECIAL TEAMS

  1. Montreal Alouettes – $4700
  2. Toronto Argonauts – $5000
  3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $5200

Frankly, there aren’t any of these defences that I like a great deal this week. BUT we all have to roster one of them so these are the ones that I dislike the least:

The Alouettes face a somewhat punchless Toronto offence, starting a QB with only 2 weeks experience in the offence. They are actually a pretty good defence, that is regularly let down by an utterly inept offence going through transitions of its own. They create a few turnovers and rack up a few sacks, and they aren’t too expensive. Check 3 out of 3 boxes for DST in CFL DFS.

The Argonauts on the other hand are not a great defence, but their matchup is great. Rakeem Cato is the worst starting quarterback in the CFL and any defence matching up against him is worth consideration. I’m uncomfortable with the high price tag for what is the third lowest scoring fantasy defence in the CFL, but the matchup makes them a reasonable option. Given that both Montreal and Toronto are the participants in the game with the lowest projected total of the week, they make for the best options.

Winnipeg has a tough matchup with a pretty potent offence in Edmonton. As I wrote a few weeks back, the Blue Bombers recipe for success has been giving up a ton of yards and then creating turnovers just at the right time. I still don’t think it seems sustainable, but I can’t deny the fact that they keep doing it. I don’t like paying up for the highest priced defence out there, but if they keep creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns as they have, they’re always going to be an option.

Well that’s it for week 15. Stay tuned into the updates in the Forum and on Twitter (@benyamen & @realestchriskay) as rosters and injury news rolls out. Good luck and stick it to the man!

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