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CFL Daily Fantasy DraftKings Week 12 – Choosing Brawny Over Brains
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Daily Fantasy Sports is increasingly a strategy game of attempting to get leverage on the opposition through projecting ownership levels and trying to avoid highly owned expensive players then quietly hoping to watch the world burn. It’s the nature of speculating on volatile assets. Sometimes the most likely bets fail and people who shorted them reap the rewards. Some weeks though, especially in CFL Daily Fantasy contests DraftKings, you’re best off to just try to have more of the top projected players in your lineups than the rest of the field and rely on pure brawn and force of will over brains and game theory. The RedBlacks lumberjack like attire and passing attack facing the anemic Als secondary is one such instance in which it’s likely wise to choose Brawny over brains.

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GAME NOTES

Implied Team Totals

Ottawa – 33.75

Calgary – 30

Hamilton – 29.5

Saskatchewan – 28.5

Winnipeg – 25.5

Edmonton – 23

Toronto – 22

Montreal – 17.25

The implied team totals generally seem to check out alright but it’s worth noting that if Johnny Manziel returns to the starting lineup this week for the Als than it’s possible that the spread could increase in that Ottawa versus Montreal matchup on Friday night. The offence has certainly seemed much more reliable with Antonio Pipkin at the helm.

On the weather front, three of the four games look clear but Calgary for the holiday Monday is forecast to be cool with a 70% chance of rain (0.5″) and winds from 10-20mph. That’s not a deal breaker but for two offences primarily relying on the pass to move the ball at this point, it could put a potential dent in production.

 

QUARTERBACK

Mike Reilly, EDM – $11200

Trevor Harris, OTT – $11600

Bo Levi Mitchell, CGY – $10800

Punt Single:

Antonio Pipkin, MTL – $8000

Mike Reilly tops the quarterback projections still but it’s again with an asterisk. Last week the hesitation was due to a terrible pace matchup versus the TiCats – a matchup between the two defences allowing the fewest plays per game in the league. If not for a ridiculously efficient second quarter that game would have been a disaster for Reilly. The matchup versus the Stampeders this week is still tough on the pace side but the even more prohibitive aspect is that Calgary allows the fewest passing yards per attempt (6.42) and the lowest rate of passing TDs per attempt – nearly one third of the league average – having allowed only five total touchdowns through the air in nine games.

Trevor Harris comes in at an interesting salary as Ottawa has passed for only half the number of touchdowns Edmonton has this season, having settled for field goals far too often, but the matchup with the Alouettes is the most enticing one possible for opposing QBs. Montreal allows the second most yards per pass attempt (9.11) and the second highest rate of passing TDs per attempt having allowed 23 passing touchdowns so far. That’s a 62% higher rate than league average. Montreal also allows the most plays per game to opposing offences and that projects Ottawa to run over 70 offensive plays on Friday. If Harris and the RedBlacks offence can create even a marginal increase in redzone scoring rates he should be the top fantasy QB this week.

Bo Levi Mitchell had his best game of the season last week, as the Bombers allowed over 360 passing yards for a second straight week. The matchup with the Eskimos this week is somewhat surprisingly easier as the Esks allow nearly a yard more per pass to opposing offences while also allowing a 67% higher rate of touchdowns per pass attempt than the Bombers. The Edmonton secondary is the third most generous in the season to this point while allowing the most plays of 30+ yards (21). Calgary has created the most plays of 30+ yards (26). Mitchell may be the play again.

Antonio Pipkin was quietly the second highest scoring quarterback on DK last week putting up over 300 passing yards while rushing for 29 yards and two scores. He’s a difficult player to stack with as it seems the Als are apt to let him run the ball in for TDs over passing it so be careful with lineup construction. Naked Pipkin could be a real option though. The other knock on Pipkin is that in his two starts, he has faced the two defences that give up the most yards per pass in the league outside of his own defence. Ottawa is a more difficult matchup and given that Johnny Manziel has passed concussion protocol, Pipkin isn’t even guaranteed to start.

One last player I’ll mention is Jeremiah Masoli. He doesn’t project that well – especially at over $11K as the second highest priced QB on the slate – but he does merit some consideration as a contrarian play. The TiCats are scoring their TDs on the ground versus the pass at a 4:3 rate compared to a 5:7 rate from a year ago. Alex Green won’t continue to score multiple touchdowns a game. At some point there has to be some regression to the mean for Masoli and the passing game and Toronto allows the most yards per pass in the league. If Masoli manages to throw multiple TDs this week – for only the third time this season – he could certainly be the top scoring QB on the slate in a week most folks will be on Trevor Harris.

 

RUNNING BACK

Andrew Harris, WPG – $8700

William Powell, OTT – $7900

James Wilder Jr., TOR – $8400

Punt Single:

Ryder Stone, MTL – $3000

Andrew Harris is still atop the RB projections but, like Mike Reilly, he faces a second straight extremely difficult matchup. The projection of nearly 20 points is propped up by his early season touchdown rates but those will be difficult to come by in a matchup with the Riders that allow the fewest yards per carry and the second lowest rate of rushing TDs per carry. The Bombers usually struggle in the Labour Day Classic in Regina and this season their recent downward trend isn’t encouraging for those considering Andrew Harris in their lineups.

Like Trevor Harris, William Powell is the beneficiary of a significant increase in workload this week given the Als allowing over 70 plays per game to opposing offences. Powell projects for the most carries of any RB this week (18.5) by a fairly wide margin. The Als rush defence is actually better than league average in terms of yards per rush and rushing touchdown rates but their Week 9 matchup in Ottawa saw Powell rack up rushing yards down the stretch, including a late touchdown, and the Week 12 rematch isn’t projected to be any different.

Wilder’s Week 11 performance was disappointing to fantasy owners as the Argos’ offence could never really get on track in a game in which they were heavily favoured to beat the struggling Als. This week’s matchup is a little bit of a conundrum. Working in Wilder’s favour is the TiCats rush defence that allows a league high 6.3 yards per carry but working against him is his own team’s league worst 4.51 yards per carry average coupled with a below average rate of TDs per rush attempt allowed by Hamilton. Also working against him is an implied team total of only 22 points which is second lowest on the slate. It’s a risky week to consider Wilder at this price point.

The biggest bargain at the position this week is Ryder Stone who is expected to get the start for the Als in the backfield with both Tyrell Sutton and William Stanback lost to injury. The price tag is extremely cheap but Ottawa allows the third fewest yards per carry and a below average rate of touchdowns per carry. Given that Pipkin’s legs appear to be the redzone weapon of choice for Montreal right now, the chances of Stone scoring are even lower. Frankly, if Manziel does get the start at QB this week over Pipkin, Stone’s value may decrease even further as the whole offence’s projections take a hit. Stone doesn’t need to do much to meet value but he very well may not be able to do much.

 

RECEIVER

Kamar Jorden, CGY – $10200

Diontae Spencer, OTT – $9400

Brad Sinopoli, OTT – $9700

Greg Ellingson, OTT – $8800

Brandon Banks, HAM – $9200

Jalen Saunders, HAM – $8600

Duke Williams, EDM – $9600

Luke Tasker, HAM – $7500

Punt Single(s):

Dominique Rhymes, OTT – $4600

R.J. Harris, OTT – $4700

Coming off a record setting Week 11 performance versus Winnipeg, it’s not too surprising to see Jorden atop the receiver projections again in a matchup versus Edmonton. Since the loss of Eric Rogers to injury, Jorden has been cemented as the top option in the Stampeders receiving corps. As mentioned earlier, Edmonton allows the third most receiving yards per attempt and has allowed the most plays of 30+ yards to this point so it may be another big day for Kamar Jorden.

The next three receivers in the projections are all RedBlacks that wind up being the beneficiaries of a matchup with the Alouettes. This presents difficult choices to be made as it’s nearly impossible for all three top projected receivers on the team to have big games, especially given the top two value plays at WR are also RedBlacks – R.J. Harris and Dominique Rhymes. Montreal allows the most plays per game to opposing offences (63.5), second most yards per reception (9.1), and the highest rate of touchdowns per reception with 23 total given up so far. Spencer gets the benefit of having return duties while Ellingson has been the most recently productive with 19 catches for 210 yards in his past two games. Sinopoli has been trending downward on the other hand, as he hasn’t cracked 100 yards receiving since July 20 versus BC. Players will certainly want some Ottawa receivers in their lineup but choosing which ones will be difficult.

The Hamilton receiving corps makes up the next chunk of receivers in the projections as they get to face a Toronto secondary allowing the most yards per reception (9.4) and the third highest rate of touchdowns per pass attempt in 2018. All of Banks, Saunders, and Tasker seem to have a good shot to go over the 100 yard receiving mark but the lack of receiving TDs holds their projections back from the Ottawa group. Hamilton continues to score their TDs on the ground this season at a 4:3 mark versus a 5:7 mark in 2017. If Masoli can throw more than two touchdown passes this week, which he’s managed only twice this season, Banks, Saunders and Tasker could certainly exceed their projections.

Duke Williams is the only other member of the top projected players not facing either Toronto or Montreal. His matchup with Calgary really brings his projection down. If not for a 95 yard, second quarter touchdown versus Hamilton, he would have had a very disappointing week as he compiled a mere two catches for 21 yards beyond that. He has looked more mortal in his past five games with his only two big showings coming versus Montreal. Coverage seems to have shifted from taking away Derel Walker to playing them both straight. A matchup versus Calgary seems an unlikely place to have an enormous game.

The two best lower priced options both come from the Ottawa RedBlacks as both R.J. Harris and Dominique Rhymes project for a significant number of targets in the projected high paced matchup with Montreal. The price on both of them continues to rise following productive outings over the past few weeks. Neither of them are $3K steals anymore but mid $4K prices still make them prime targets for salary relief on the slate.

 

DEFENCE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Ottawa RedBlacks – $5200

Saskatchewan Roughriders – $4700

The RedBlacks are priced way up this week as they get to face an Alouettes offence averaging a league low 16.9 points per game while allowing the most sacks (31), most two and outs (62), and third most turnovers (21). The Ottawa defence isn’t particularly noteworthy in any of these counting stats but the matchup makes them an interesting play.

The Winnipeg offence has struggled quite a bit over the past two weeks and are third in turnovers allowed (21) and two and outs (50) to this point. Those are troubling trends going into a matchup with the Riders defence that has forced the third most turnovers (23) and lead the league in sacks (23). The Riders appear to be trending up as the Bombers are trending down just in time for the Labour Day Classic in Regina. It’s really quite amazing that they continue to be priced in the mid to low tier of options despite their continued production.

Enjoy the holiday weekend and good luck in all your contests!

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