The Calgary Stampeders are far and away the class of the CFL having lost only three regular season games in the past two seasons. They’re 12-1-1 through 14 games this year and have rarely come close to losing a game in the past three months, despite their anemic offence. The Stampeders offensive players have been pretty unusable in CFL daily fantasy contests despite weekly implied team totals over 30 points. CALL IN THE CAVALRY! Like the the trumpet sound of the Riders of Rohan cresting the hill to slay the Orc hordes of Sauron, in come DaVaris Daniels and Kamar Jorden this week for the stretch run with the Stampeders. The sky is the limit in a prime matchup versus Hamilton.
It’s scary to think how good this team could be if they can score points on offence now to support all the TDs they score on defence and special teams. Hamilton has shown some signs of life lately, but this week could be a real downer for their faint playoff hopes. Welcome to the final leg of the 2017 CFL season!
As usual, our rankings here are based on projected fantasy points from our projections model – not preference or value. So far this season, we’ve been really encouraged with the success of the projections model at providing reasonable expectations each week. The issue comes in trying to determine the scoring ceiling in the range of outcomes for each player, as that’s what you’re looking for in tournament plays. Our model gives a good mean projection for each player, but determining upside requires a bit more nuance that we’ll try to provide in our writeups. Given that the CFL is primarily a GPP sport, we’ll keep working in that direction.
After weeks of tweaking and tinkering though, we are finally at a place where we are comfortable sharing our projections with you our loyal readers. I’ve had a number of GPP wins this season, along with other high finishes, that have given me confidence in our product. Other sites might offer you generic player rankings and statistics, but this is the only place you’ll get access to actual projections to work from in building your lineups. We are offering them to you for $5 per week or $15 for the rest of the season. Come find me on Twitter @benyamen for details. This isn’t a DailyRoto premium subscription at this point, just access to our projections, but coupled with our weekly slate breakdowns and twitter chat, we think it’s a pretty powerful edge to have in CFL contests.
PROJECTED TEAM TOTALS
Edmonton – 30.75
Calgary – 30.5
Winnipeg – 26.5
Saskatchewan – 26.5
BC – 25.5
Toronto – 23.75
Ottawa – 23.5
Hamilton – 20.5
As of yet, there’s still no line for the WPG v BC game on Saturday afternoon, so I’m just giving you my best guess there. The most surprising line of the ones released to this point has to be Edmonton posting the highest implied team total of the week versus an Argos defence that is actually pretty solid. Only a couple weeks back, Toronto basically held the Eskimos in check until a late game push. Since then, Edmonton hasn’t looked great and has only beaten Montreal which is nothing to brag about. I expect some good things from Edmonton, but nothing like the past couple weeks and certainly not as a clear favourite like this.
The Calgary offence has been quietly terrible the past two months despite regular team totals over 30 aided by defence and special teams scores. The last time Calgary faced Hamilton, they put up 60 points and no one on their offence was worth putting in a lineup as the scores came through DST and the offensive starters sat by halftime. This week may be a different story though as the Stamps get back DaVaris Daniels and Kamar Jorden giving them some offensive weapons again versus a significantly improved Hamilton squad. It’s likely to still be a Calgary romp, but will should stay close enough to keep the starters in for the duration. Calgary just got a lot better, which is frankly terrifying.
Winnipeg has probably the shakiest team total on the slate as Matt Nichols production will be impacted by his injured hand. He is expected to start, but play with a “modified throwing glove” to protect his digits. As Chris Kay, devoted Lions and Matthew Stafford fan explains, “When Matt Stafford hurt his middle finger on his throwing hand last season, he turned to a modified throwing glove. This glove was the talk of the town and soon after that was his turnover issues. He hurt his hand in the Bears game in week 14. During that game and in his final three contests he threw three touchdowns to five interceptions. Until that point in the season, he had thrown 21 touchdowns to just five interceptions. The finger was clearly an issue and it wasn’t going to matter if he wore a glove or not.” The glove is not a great option or a fix.
If Nichols plays, I expect an even shorter range passing attack than usual, and that’s saying something. Last time the Bombers played the Lions Andrew Harris had 12 targets in the passing game. That could certainly be the case again. The problem is if Dominique Davis comes in in relief, he brings a very different dynamic to the game. In his time playing versus Hamilton, it was clear his panic move was to run the ball himself under pressure rather than dump check downs to Harris as Nichols does. That could be a game changer.
Mike Reilly, EDM – $10900
Trevor Harris, OTT – $10000
Bo Levi Mitchell, CGY – $10400
Jonathan Jennings, BC – $9500
Kevin Glenn, SSK – $9200
Like I said earlier, I still expect good things from the Edmonton offence this week, but you have to temper your expectations a bit. Toronto is a much better defence than Montreal. Reilly’s projection is still tops on the slate, but down about 15% from a week ago bringing a few other QBs into the conversation. Reilly is universally recognized as the top fantasy QB in the league, despite the fact his own home town fans are calling to see more of their backup QB Jonathan Franklin during the losing streak. There’s certainly reasons to dislike Eskimos fans, and this kind of foolishness doesn’t help. CHECK YOUR PRIVELEGE! Toronto is the third most stingy defence in terms of yards passing per attempt allowed, and also in terms of passing TDs per attempt allowed. This is not a great matchup, especially given their expected pace also likely to be down about 4 plays from the usual. Reilly is always a worthy spend for his high ceiling, but this week doesn’t present his best opportunity to reach it.
Technically Matt Nichols checks in as the 2nd highest projected QB this week, but due to the injury situation I mentioned earlier, I have no interest in playing him this week and you likely shouldn’t either. He has a pretty low ceiling even when healthy that makes his $10,300 salary unreasonable. So in his place I offer you Trevor Harris in his second week back from injury. The Riders pass defence is not one you want to attack as they give up the second fewest yards per passing attempt in the CFL, but Harris’s bevy of talented receivers always make him an option when he’s healthy. I’d only suggest him as a GPP sprinkle, but he’s worth a shot or two as a low owned pivot to Reilly.
As the QB of the hands down best team in the CFL, you’d figure Bo Levi Mitchell would also have to be a fantasy superstar. Truth of the matter though is he’s been totally unusable this season. He carries a salary similar to all the top QBs but he’s had only 2 games all season in which he was reached 2.5x value and over 25 fantasy points. That’s dreadful. Jeremiah Masoli has accomplished this baseline and he’s only started for a few weeks on one of the worst teams in the league, let alone a 12-1-1 juggernaut. His ceiling production came in week 1 versus Ottawa and was still a pedestrian 26 points. HOWEVER, the matchup doesn’t get better than this, he has his top two receiving targets returning from injury, and he’s coming off a bye week. If BLM is ever going to have a prolific fantasy performance, this is the week. Hamilton allows the most plays per game of any team on the slate along with the highest rates of yards and TDs per passing attempt. I’m not comfortable with a lot of BLM in my lineups, but with Reilly and Harris in tough matchups, there’s a case to be made here.
I can’t believe I’m saying this after the atrocious stretch he had this season, Jonathan Jennings is one of my favourite plays this week.
Winnipeg’s passing defence is surpassed in futility by only Hamilton. Their DST may be valuable on occasion due to their aggressive nature that forces turnovers, but they’ve have been getting beat like a rented mule for much of the season. STATISTICAL REGRESSION RULES US ALL! Jennings has shown signs of life the past couple weeks and is certainly worth a few shots at nearly $1K savings over the other top passers. He still doesn’t project well due to his hideous midseason form, but I’m interested none the less.
Finally, there is the curious case of Kevin. Kevin Glenn has been pulled from action midway through the game each of the past three games, making him a very high risk option this week. Working in his favour though is the massive incongruity between his home/road splits. Road Kevin Glenn is abhorrent. On the road, Glenn has only two games of double digit fantasy points and has yet to reach even 2x value. Home Kevin Glenn though has only one game below 28 fantasy points and that was versus Calgary who eats the living souls of the forsaken on a weekly basis. Glenn is at home this week, is $1-2K cheaper than other starting QBs, and has a 4x ceiling. It’s the riskiest play of the week, but also has the highest risk/reward quotient on the slate.
Andrew Harris, WPG – $8400
Jeremiah Johnson, BC – $7100
C.J. Gable, EDM – $7400
Brandon Whitaker, TOR – $5900
Martese Jackson, TOR – $4600
Andrew Harris will top the projections for RB every week, just like Reilly does for QB. It’s like clockwork. His role in the passing game in PPR scoring makes him impossible to ignore. He’s averaging 7.5 targets per game on the season and last time versus BC he got 12. With the injury to Matt Nichols hand, and the injury to Tim Flanders keeping him out of practice all week, it’s likely that a lot of the offensive workload falls on Harris’s shoulders this week. BC is a neutral matchup for rushing yards, but allows the second highest rate of rushing TDs in the CFL. Add this all up, and he’s again pretty hard to avoid having high exposure to.
After Harris, there’s a very sizable drop to the second tier of RBs including Jeremiah Johnson, Jerome Messam, and C.J. Gable. I have a hard time paying up for Messam given that, like BLM, his consistency is great but his ceiling is relatively low. JJ is quite TD dependent given his limited touches in the offence, while Gable provides a much higher volume of touches in a more difficult matchup.
Jeremiah Johnson carries quite a bit of fragility in his projection. He has as many game with 6 carries or fewer than he has games with double digit carries. He has a 3x ceiling has reached it only once since week 4. He is worth a little exposure in GPPs due to the matchup, but there are much more consistent options available.
Edmonton has quietly run the second highest percentage of running plays in the league at 34.8% and Gable is now the beneficiary. Gable has always had talent, but rarely got enough work to be valuable in Hamilton. With a workload of 15-20 touches a week in Edmonton, his volume provides some security and his talent provides upside. You can’t expect him to keep up a 4x value every week, but Edmonton will give him all the work he can handle. Toronto is a positive matchup for rushing yards and TDs, so Gable is again a solid play this week despite his rising price tag.
James Wilder Jr. has come back down to earth somewhat and the past couple weeks and is now OUT with an injury. Brandon Whitaker is expected to return to the starting lineup in his absence and is priced fairly at $5900. I don’t expect he’ll get the full 15-20 touch Wilder workload however so he projects a fair bit lower than his counterpart would have. He’s still a decent value if you’re looking to spend up at QB and multiple WRs. His teammate Martese Jackson becomes likely the best punt play of the week. Jackson comes in with a floor of 4-5 points in return yards that is only helped out by an increasing role in the offence. I wouldn’t recommend putting them both in the same lineup, but both are reasonable options for their own unique reasons.
Naaman Roosevelt, SSK – $8000
Brandon Zylstra, EDM – $9600
Greg Ellingson, OTT – $9000
Derel Walker, EDM – $8700
Kamar Jorden, CGY – $5800
Duron Carter, SSK – $8300
Darvin Adams, WPG – $7700
Bryan Burnham, BC – $8200
Diontae Spencer, OTT – $8100
Emmanuel Arceneaux, BC – $7800
Shamawd Chambers, HAM – $3300
Naaman Roosevelt has been one of the most consistent receivers in the CFL this season regardless of who his QB has been over the past month. Just about every week he gets 7-10 targets, has the skills of a possession receiver and the big play ability to take simple passes for TDs as well. Ottawa represents a somewhat negative matchup in terms of efficiency, but his consistency in scoring TDs nearly every week bumps Rosie up the projections significantly. He may not have as high a ceiling as some others in the top 5, but he is as reliable an option as you’ll find. Somewhat surprisingly, his similarly targeted but more mercurial teammate Duron Carter is priced $300 higher. Carter is also worth a look in GPPs but carries a fair bit more risk for a lower projection and a higher price tag.
Brandon Zylstra had 34 fantasy points in the first half last week versus Montreal. IN THE FIRST HALF. Greg Ellingson is the only other receiver that can matchup his ceiling, but Zylstra is still 4 points per game better on average. His production is reflected in his price that is nearing 2016 Chris Williams territory near $10K, but we all paid up for him rightly as well then. Toronto is a slightly negative matchup in terms of yards and scoring efficiency, but both Zylstra and his teammate Derel Walker are worth of consideration with workloads around 10 targets per game. Duke Williams doesn’t project nearly as well, and in a tough matchup doesn’t warrant nearly the same consideration, but he could be worth a shot in double stacks as well at a much cheaper price tag of $6700. In other news, Adarius Bowman is a forgotten wasteland.
Greg Ellingon loves Trevor Harris, you guys. Ryan Lindley made him so thankful for Harris that he went off for nearly 37 points last week just to show his gratitude. This week will be much tougher versus a Riders pass defence that has improved drastically over their 2016 campaign and now gives up the 2nd fewest yards per pass attempt in the CFL. The big play rarely happens anymore versus Saskatchewan, but if anyone can do it, it is Ellingson. You pretty much have to have some exposure to him every week in GPPs or donate at your own risk.
It’s been 10 weeks since we’ve seen Kamar Jorden, but he’s scheduled to make his return this week versus Hamilton. During his near 3 month absence, his price has dropped from $8500 to $5800 …
Kamar Jorden is BLM’s clear favourite target when he’s healthy and you now get him for cheaper than the remains of Adarius Bowman. RIDICULOUS! It’s a rare occasion that anyone is worth completely locking into GPP lineups, but Jorden legitimately has a 2x floor with 5x upside. In the best possible matchup of the week for opposing receivers – Hamilton – Jorden is pretty much impossible to get around. Most likely, the GPP winners this week will have Jorden in their lineup.
Darvin Adams has not been practicing this week, but is expected to play normally this week versus BC. His second highest producing game of the season came in week 5 versus this same Lions squad back before we knew their defence was actually bad. Nichols hand injury likely hampers Adams ability to produce big plays unfortunately as the Lions allow the second most passing yards per attempt in the CFL. With all the injuries in Winnipeg between Nichols, Adams, Flanders, and Dressler, this is a much diminished offence on a team that is trending the wrong way at the end of the season. Adams will be the best option at receiver for the Bombers this week in a great matchup though, so he’s still worth some exposure in multi entry tournaments.
On the other side of the ball, Bryan Burnham and Emmanuel Arceneaux get a very positive matchup versus a porous Winnipeg defence that gives up the second highest rate of passing TDs per attempt in the league. Jonathan Jennings seems to be slowly remembering how to play football and that’s giving late season hope to BC receivers that languished with him for a couple months. Both Burnham and Arceneaux carry more risk than other top producers, but are both capable of 4x value in this matchup as well.
Finally, there’s Diontae Spencer. Having ceded his return duties to Quincy McDuffie, Spencer is now having to rely entirely on work as a receiver to hit value with hurts his floor. The Ryan Lindley era showed just how low the floor can be in that case, but the return of Trevor Harris showed he still has some value as a deep threat in this offence. Unfortunately for him, Saskatchewan represents a really difficult matchup on the road and his price tag over $8K is kind of egregious. He’s always a threat, but it’s not a good matchup to try to exploit his upside, especially at this price tag.
I can’t believe I’m going back to the Shamawd Chambers well of despair. ALL ABOARD THE SHAMAWD CHAMBERS DEATH TRAIN WITH STOPS IN SADNESS AND OBLIVION. In his first game in Hamilton, Chambers unexpectedly saw 6 targets his way. More than his season total to that point. Then he went without a look in week 15. So obviously, catching 7 of 7 targets in week 16 was to be expected…
Hamilton has developed a weird pattern of featuring a WR in the pass game one week only to have them go completely untargeted the next week since June Jones took over as HC. It’s happened to each of Brandon Banks, Jalen Saunders, and Shamawd Chambers in the past month. I’m not sure if it’s by design, out thinking the room, but it’s certainly a noticeable trend. At only $3300 even a “0” is survivable to min cash a lineup, and he has shown a ceiling of 4-5x in the past 3 weeks at the same price. I don’t want a lot of him in my lineups, especially versus Calgary, but he’s a worthy punt consideration if you’re looking for someone very cheap with upside.
Calgary Stampeders v Hamilton – $5300
Winnipeg Blue Bombers v BC – $5000
Saskatchewan Roughriders v Ottawa – $4500
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs Calgary – $4000
DST is a tough call this week beyond Calgary, which is pretty much always the top play. The price differentiation just isn’t big enough to warrant going a different direction for the most part. Calgary is the clear top unit in the CFL and get to face an improving, but still turnover prone Jeremiah Masoli. Roy Finch is OUT this week, which hurts their return game a bit, but his replacement Adeleke has returned a couple kicks for TDs this season as well. No other squad comes close to the consistency of the Stampeders.
If you’re set on differentiating a bit at the position for tournaments, you could speculate that Jonathan Jennings could regress to his INT prone ways versus a opportunistic Bombers secondary, or that Ed Gainey will continue his wild run of INTs at home versus Ottawa. If you really want to go contrarian, you could go with Hamilton versus Calgary. There’s certainly a chance for negative points there, but the savings is significant and no one will be on them otherwise. Hamilton has been generating a ton of pressure with 15 sacks over the past 4 weeks and Calgary has struggled to protect BLM at times this season.
Well, that does it for week 17. We’ll keep updating this article throughout the week as depth charts roll out and projections adjust. Be sure to join in the conversation in the DailyRoto Forum and hit us up on Twitter at @benyamen or @RealestChrisKay. Enjoy the games, and good luck in all your contests!