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CFL DFS Week 16: No Mess-ing Around
benyamen
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I’m an INTJ personality type, and so I never like to settle for anything other than the ideal. Imagine Sheldon Cooper, but with an increased interest in sports over string theory. I do my research, I believe I’m right, and then I tell everyone just how right I think I am. As I’ve worked on these rankings throughout the season though, I’ve developed an increasing discomfort with what I’ve had to offer in these articles at times. I’m glad so many of our readers have enjoyed a lot of success this season on DraftKings, but I CAN BE BETTER! Like the Six-Million Dollar Man, “We can rebuild it. We have the technology!

As I’ve continued to work out how to best provide information for CFL games on DraftKings, I’ve struggled to figure out how best to portray it. Rankings are usually something you see in seasonal formats, not DFS content. Just because someone may have more expected points in a week, doesn’t make them a better play, or certainly a better value. So I’m changing things up a bit this week. In each section you’ll see a list of cash game plays – some of which may be denoted as GPP eligible as well – and GPP only plays. In general, cash game plays will be more likely to produce 2-3x value with less volatility, whereas the GPP plays should be capable of higher total scores, but with more volatility and risk involved. Players in bold are my preferred plays. Hopefully this helps you narrow down your player pool as you create lineups.

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EXPECTED TEAM TOTALS
Calgary – 30.75
Ottawa – 29.75
Winnipeg – 28.25
Edmonton – 27.25
BC – 26.75
Montreal – 24.25
Saskatchewan – 23.25
Toronto – 21.75

PACE PROJECTION NOTES

Toronto
69 plays (+3.46) – Somewhat surprisingly the vaunted Calgary defence gives up the most plays per game in the league. Toronto’s is an offence in transition, with a new quarterback and minus three starting receivers, but the uptick in pace may create some value for players in garbage time.

BC
67 plays (+2.83) – The Winnipeg defence came unraveled last week giving up almost 80 plays to Edmonton including a lot of points allowed. The Bombers defence will give up lots of yards and if teams don’t give up redzone turnovers they will score in bunches.

Edmonton
72 plays (+2.46) – This is a tricky one to project as Montreal has a great passing defence and last week slowed down their offence to a dreadfully slow pace well below 60 plays in the game which is almost unheard of in the CFL. Despite their slowed pace they increased their efficiency exponentially. On the other hand, Montreal is terrible against the run and John White was a monster last week. White or Bell may be a great play with a projected 20 running plays this week second only to BC.

Winnipeg
64 plays (-2.89) – BC runs more than anyone and tends to slow the game down a bit. That being said, Ottawa passed at will against BC and their banged up secondary last week to the tune of nearly 500 yards. The projection is for a slow down for Winnipeg, but their efficiency could be high.

Calgary
63 plays (-2.1) - Calgary is expected to have a slower pace against the Toronto defence which may explain the low O/U, but Toronto’s defence is bad and the Stamps efficiency will likely make up for it.

Quarterback

Bo Levi Mitchell $10900 ($)
Matt Nichols $7600 ($)

Mike Reilly $11500 ($ or GPP)
Trevor Harris $9900 (GPP)
Jonathan Jennings $9200 (GPP)
Darian Durant $8400 ($ or GPP)
Rakeem Cato $6500 (GPP) 

Bo Levi Mitchell is as safe and consistent a QB as there is in the CFL. He’s rarely been below 25 fantasy points, and his legitimate floor is about 20. He doesn’t have the upside of Reilly or Harris, but he will never be a bust either. This week he gets to face a Toronto pass defence that is average and best and the Stampeders sport the highest team total of the week.

Most weeks I’d prefer Matt Nichols and the $3300 savings over Mitchell in cash games. I like his matchup against a banged up and vulnerable BC secondary as well. I only have preference for Bo as there aren’t any really high priced receivers I’m excited about this week and thus have the money to spend. BC got beat like a rented mule up and down the field to the tune of nearly 500 yards through the air last week by Harris and an Ottawa offence that had previously been dormant. Now, Matt Nichols gets to face them having been good for 20+ fantasy points in each of the past 5 weeks. He’s almost guaranteed 3x value and is certainly the best cash game value this week at QB.

Mike Reilly is projected to pass more times than anyone this week, but faces one of the best pass defences around in Montreal. The Allouettes are 2nd in yards per attempt allowed and 3rd in passing yards per game allowed. At this price, Reilly only worth it in GPP’s having the highest ceiling of anyone at his position. At $11500 even 3x would make it his 3rd best game of the season in one of his toughest matchups.

The Saskatchewan defence is improving and will be even better with the additions of DL Willie Mitchell and LB Henoc Muamba this week. They’ve had better results of late but still give up a lot of yards through the air. After a month of scuffling, it’s hard to say if Trevor Harris is BACK after overwhelming the Lions last week, but it’s a good matchup in which to continue his resurgence. 3x value is a likely expectation.

Jonathan Jennings put up good yards against a subpar Ottawa passing defence last week, and now gets a matchup with the team that gives up the most passing yards per game by a wide margin. After giving up over 29 points only twice in the first 11 weeks (both v Calgary), the Bombers have now given up 29+ points in each of past 3 weeks. Regression is here friends.

The aforementioned Ottawa passing defence is 7th in yards per attempt allowed, and the Riders expected to pass a higher percentage of times than anyone this week and with 2nd most total projected attempts. Darian Durant has played synced up well with the duo of Edwards and Holley since Roosevelt went down, and the arrival of Jeff Fuller this week can only help.

Rakeem Cato had the best game of his career last week throwing for 4 TD and amassing 27.4 fantasy points. A lot of the underlying numbers seem to suggest he won’t do it again (highest total of his career, only passed for 210 yards on season low 18 completions, offence slowed to a snail pace under 60 plays), but against an Eskimos secondary that still gives up the 2nd most yards per attempt in the CFL he’s worth taking a shot on in multi-entry GPP’s in a game he’s likely to have to pass a lot.

RUNNING BACK

Jerome Messam $8200 ($)
Jeremiah Johnson $7000 ($ and GPP)

Andrew Harris $7700 (GPP)
John White $7100/Shakir Bell $7600 (GPP)
Mossis Madu $4900 (GPP)
Brandon Rutley 4000 (GPP)

It’s a mighty steep price to pay up for at RB, but Toronto is league’s 2nd worst rushing defence giving up 5.4 yards per carry. With Calgary having the highest projected team total, and the largest spread at -9, Messam may be worth it as Calgary may just feed him the ball as they wind down the clock. He’s likely the safest and most consistent weekly contributor of any RB in the CFL, and in a week with multiple value options at WR, he’s likely worth paying up for in cash games to secure a high floor.

BC is projected to run over 21 times this week at an increased offensive pace versus a Bombers defence that has shown cracks in the past few weeks. They give up nearly 5 yards per carry and BC loves to run. Johnson has shown 38 fantasy point upside, and although that’s not expected, he certainly holds a lot of value in GPP’s and cash games. If by some chance Anthony Allen remains the starter this week, I’d be less interested in him at $6600 due to his propensity to fumble against a defence that thrives on creating turnovers.

Tim Flanders showed flashes of potential for production for the Bombers at the RB position in the past few weeks, averaging 23.5 fantasy points per game. With the return of Andrew Harris to the starting lineup this week, it remains to be seen how he’ll produce coming off injury. Flanders has averaged 6.2 yards per carry to Harris 4.5. There’s no question who’ll be starting weekly when Harris is healthy, but his matchup with BC isn’t anything to get excited about.

The Eskimos offence is fairly pass heavy, but this week face a Montreal defence that just begs you to run as they are the worst in the league in terms of yards per carry. After John White’s breakout last week, he could make for a cash game target at his price, however his early season matchup against this same defence resulted in only 11.3 fantasy points. That is enough to make him a better tournament play than a cash game selection. It’s still a little uncertain as to whether White or Bell will get the start, but late week practice reports should hopefully provide some direction.

It’s frankly not a great matchup for Madu, even though the Riders still rank 7th in yards per carry allowed. With the Riders acquiring Willie Jefferson and Henoc Muamba, their improving rush defence will be that much stiffer. Add to that the return of Travon Van, who’d I’d expect to get some work, and Madu becomes a somewhat risky play. 

Montreal is a below average rushing offence and is projected to run the 2nd fewest run plays of anyone this week. This makes for a really low ceiling for Brandon Rutley who is starting for the injured Tyrell Sutton. That being said, Montreal does get a decent matchup against the Eskimos and as such, makes for a punt option at RB in GPP’s.

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WIDE RECEIVER

DaVaris Daniels $7300 ($ or GPP)
Caleb Holley $6500 ($)
Kamar Jorden $5800 ($ or GPP)
Kenny Shaw $5300 ($ or GPP)
Armanti Edwards $4500 ($ or GPP)
Terrell Sinkfield $3500 ($ or GPP)

Adarius Bowman $11100 (GPP)
Derel Walker $10100 (GPP)
Chris Williams $9700 (GPP)
Weston Dressler $8100 (GPP)
Ernest Jackson $7500 (GPP)
Brad Sinopoli $6100 ($ or GPP)

DaVaris Daniels has had between 4-6 receptions per game, averages 80 yards per game, and nearly 1 TD. That’s the good news. The bad news is, he only averages about 6 targets per game. His price per target puts him in similar company to Bowman, Walker, and Williams at the top of the food chain, but he sees half their targets. As such, he carries much more risk. There is no margin for regression here if he’s going to stay productive. He still sports an 11 target efficiency score which is better than any of the aforementioned big three. At some point this will likely catch up with him and his efficiency will decrease, it’s just unlikely it will be against Toronto.

With the departure of Naaman Roosevelt for the rest of the season to IR, Caleb Holley took over a number of his targets, as he now averages 9.2 per game. $6500 is about the ceiling for him to be a solid cash game play, but against a weak Ottawa secondary, he should be in for a good day. The big concern for him isn’t so much his efficiency with a 12.23 target efficiency score, but more so the signing of Jeff Fuller this week. Fuller is a big, fast, prove commodity in the CFL who just returned from the NFL. It’s impossible to project what impact he might have in his first week with the team and only a couple practices under his belt, but he does likely hurt the upside of Holley. 

Kamar Jorden does not likely have the flashy upside that his teammate Daniels does, but his solid 8 targets per game make him a much safer play along with his 12.86 TES which puts him top 5 at the position. He’s a safe play with a solid matchup.

With the release of Tori Gurley, Vidal Hazelton, and Kevin Elliott this week, a ton of targets just became available in Toronto. When the Argos receiving core was injured earlier this season, Shaw saw double digit targets and made for excellent value. We’re there again.

Armanti Edwards boasts the top target efficiency score of the week at 16.44. He is seeing 8.5 targets per week since the loss of Roosevelt and has a good matchup against Ottawa. The Riders are projected to throw the second most passes of any team this week. He may not have as high a ceiling as some, but he’s almost seemingly a lock for 3-4x value and could certainly be good for 5x. He’s a virtual lock for cash lineups.

After a really disappointing debut in which he didn’t catch a single pass, Sinkfield showed a bit of life in his new surroundings in BC catching four passes last week including one for a TD. He has a successful track record in the league in his previous stop in Hamilton, so there’s reason to believe his role will continue to increase. At this price tag, he’s a great bet for 4-5x value. His ceiling is a little low given BC’s penchant for running the ball, but he’s the Lions receiver to own this week in a great matchup against Winnipeg.

Adarius Bowman is the most reliable fantasy receiver in the league at this point, and has had some success against Montreal and their vaunted pass defence. At this price point though he is priced too high for the matchup. 3x value is an unlikely ceiling, and 2x value is most likely which makes for poor value.

Derel Walker showed up again last week against the porous Winnipeg secondary, but is unlikely to repeat that success against a much stronger opponent this week. Priced over $10k, he’s a fade for me this Thanksgiving Monday.

Against BC, Chris Williams had his best game since week 3 and gets a great matchup against Saskatchewan. He’s been quite inconsistent, as Ottawa has developed a propensity to spread the ball around, but he’s worth a shot in GPP’s.

Weston Dressler finally scored a TD last week, and his price tag has gone up accordingly. An injured BC secondary got lit up by Ottawa last week, and it seems like it may be a good opportunity for Dressler to continue his success. At $8100 though he’s primarily multi-entry GPP material with all the value options around for cash games.

As I’ve mentioned, it’s really hard to predict which Ottawa receiver will be the top target on any given week. Ernest Jackson though has a solid matchup against the Riders and has been good for 20+ fantasy points in 4 of his past 6 games. This week he may be as good a bet as any in the RedBlacks receiving core. On a points per dollar basis, maybe the top option for the Red Blacks.

Brad Sinopoli has been over 20 points each of the past two weeks. It’s hard to call any Ottawa receiver one that you can play with confidence, as Sinopoli has had 7 games of 12 points or fewer, but with recent his success and solid production versus Saskatchewan earlier this season, he’s worthy of consideration.

DEFENCE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Calgary Stampeders $5400 ($)
Montreal Allouettes $4500 (GPP)

The Stampeders are an extremely expensive option in a position that it’s rarely wise to pay up for, but they offer a fairly safe floor as a cash game option. Calgary is third in the league in sacks and faces a Toronto offence in transition that gives up the third most sacks in the league. With the added upside of a Roy Finch returning kicks, they are as safe an option as there is.

Coming in with a much more reasonable price tag is the Allouettes defence. They have a little more blow up potential against a high powered Edmonton offence, but they also have the upside of more created turnovers. With how much they slowed their offensive pace last week under new head coach Jacques Chapdelaine, they may also take away some of the explosiveness of the Eskimos.

Good luck this week folks and enjoy the Monday football double-header! Be sure to keep checking twitter and the CFL DFS Week 16 thread in The Forum for updates and information.

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