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CFL Daily Fantasy DraftKings Week 18 – Two Scoops of Zylstra in Eskies Raisin Bran-don
BENYAMEN
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Raisins are disgusting. There is no other food in the world widely praised for being a dried out husk of its former self. Raisins are an abominable deformity of the natural order. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise. It’s a lost cause. Whether on their own or in coleslaw, raisins have no legitimate place in the world. Abolish them.

This week in CFL daily fantasy contests, I will instead be asking for two scoops of Zylstra in my Eskies Raisin Bran-don.

It’s kind of stunning that through the breakout season he’s had that almost every other Eskimo has graced the cover here except Brandon Zylstra. He’s glorious. His ceiling is unmatched by any other player regardless of position. His workload is consistent. His efficiency is absurd. I’m sorry I failed you to this point Brandon. This one’s for you.

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.

 

PROJECTIONS OFFER

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 $10 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

Calgary – 30.75

Toronto – 28.75

BC – 28.25

Winnipeg – 27.25

Hamilton – 27

Edmonton – 26.25

Montreal – 24

Saskatchewan – 20.75

 

There are a few pretty weird lines on CFL games this week. I could certainly be wrong and have no idea what I’m talking about, or CFL Vegas still just has no idea what to do with these teams 17 weeks in. This is one of those weeks where I’ll certainly be relying on my own projections for scoring over the implied team totals.

I have no idea how the anemic BC Lions are 1.5 point favourites over Edmonton. After a rough stretch, Edmonton has won two games in a row with an offence that has its identity back with newly installed RB C.J. Gable. They are getting healthy on both sides of the ball and have maybe the best offensive talent of anyone in the CFL. BC on the other hand has lost four in a row and seven of eight. They seem to have no idea who they are as a team and turnover prone Jonathan Jennings appears to be one of the 2 worst QBs in the league on any given week. The line makes no sense and I will likely be making some adjustments to our numbers because of it. Roll out your Eskimos with confidence.

Also somewhat surprising is Winnipeg’s implied team total over 27 against a really solid Argos defence. Matt Nichols is hurt. He may be playing, but if you saw any of last week’s game it’s pretty obvious he’ll be ineffective so long as he continues to play with his “modified throwing glove”. If that continues to be the case this week I’d be surprised to see Winnipeg score over 20.

 

QUARTERBACK

Top Projected:

Mike Reilly, EDM – $10800

Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $10100

Ricky Ray, TOR – $10200

 

Mike Reilly just keeps on ticking. Every week it’s another 25-30 fantasy points in the bank and his price holds right steady. I think it’s a fair price, but in comparison to the rising salaries of everyone else at the position it looks like a relative bargain every week. He brings consistency that you’d want in cash games along with the highest ceiling of any player at the position as well. He’s dreamy.

On his own, he’s a great play, but when compared to Jeremiah Masoli or Ricky Ray at over $10K it feels silly to drop down to anyone else. It’s fair to differentiate a bit at QB because variance is everyone’s reptilian overlord, but I’d rather let others make the mistakes and stick with the best bet. Edmonton runs at the fastest pace in the league, passes for the most yards per attempt, and faces a BC secondary that allows the second most passing yards per attempt. There’s really not much NOT to like about this price, offence, and matchup. Reilly is the best play of the week and it’s not that close.

If you are going to differentiate at QB, there are a couple other options worth considering because of their matchups. Hamilton seems to continue to improve every week since June Jones took over as head coach and Jeremiah Masoli has continued to grow into a competent CFL passer after being mostly a gimmicky running through the first part of his career. The matchup with Montreal is certainly one you want to attack given they allow the most plays per game to opposing offences in the CFL and that they’ve only managed to hold opposing offences to under 30 points twice in the past ten games. There will be scoring. The problem is Masoli’s price skyrocketed $1500 this week to over $10K which is, frankly, ridiculous. His ceiling is lower than Reilly’s and his floor is MUCH lower for nearly the same price. He’s a fair pivot given the matchup, but the price makes him much less interesting without savings to make the risk worthwhile.

The other pivot with a juicy matchup is Ricky Ray versus a porous and increasingly injured Bombers defence. Again, the price makes him less interesting, but the loss of Mo Leggett in the Winnipeg secondary adds some appeal to facing a defence that already allows the third highest yards per pass attempt and second highest passing TD per attempts rates in the league. It’s been seven weeks since Ricky Ray cracked 30 fantasy points, but he’s certainly got a shot at it this week if James Wilder’s injury continues to make the offence more pass focused again.

In closing, and I say this with all conviction, I want nothing to do with any other QBs this week. QB is not the position to look for salary relief.

– fin –

**UPDATE**

  1. The return of James Wilder Jr. to the Argonauts lineup this week likely moves a little more a few more plays to the running game from the passing game. Ray is still an option, but likely gets a slight dock in production due to lower volume.

 

RUNNING BACK

Top projected:

Andrew Harris, WPG – $8400

Tyrell Sutton, MTL – $6900

C.J. Gable, EDM – $7600

**Jerome Messam, CGY – $7200

 

Punt Single:

Alex Green, HAM – $6500

Martese Jackson, TOR – $4600

 

It’s funny how circumstances change over time. Throughout most of last season, and coming into this year, it was fairly obvious that playing multiple RBs in a lineup was a significant hindrance on your upside in CFL contests. Then last week I openly opined the fact I could only play three RBs in my lineups. Life comes at you fast.

The truth of it is that WR pricing on DraftKings is drastically inflated this season while RB pricing appears to be depressed. I’m not sure if it’s intentional on the part of DK, but each week it’s pretty clear that the best values are at RB while most WRs are significantly overpriced compared to their production. Of the top 10 non-QB values in our projections this week, six are RBs and four are WRs. Six of the eight starting RBs in the league are top 10 values. That’s a little silly. There are certainly WRs that have higher ceilings, but when they miss your lineups are dead in the water. Building around a core of RBs and then sprinkling high end WRs in multi-entry GPPs seems pretty clearly the best building strategy so long as pricing remains the same.

Andrew Harris tops the projections for RB every week, just like Reilly does for QB. It doesn’t mean that he’s a lock to hit every week, as we’ve seen his past two games sub 20 points, but he has the highest upside of any player at the position. The matchup this week is not great, as Toronto has a middle of the road rush defence in terms of yards and TDs allowed. If Nichols injury continues to hurt the offences ability to push the ball down the field, coupled with the loss of Darvin Adams, it will leave very little room for Harris to work underneath coverage where he excels. Last week I figured the Nichols injury would lead to increased Harris usage, but if there’s no one to draw coverage downfield at all the Winnipeg offence could be pretty grim.

Technically Jeremiah Johnson projects as our second highest RB, but I just don’t believe the numbers here. The Edmonton rush defence is terrible. Their yards rushing allowed per attempt is the worst in the CFL and a full yard over the league average. Their rate of rush TDs allowed per attempt is a full 30% higher than league average and projections have them allowing 1 rush TD per 10 attempts in this matchups versus BC. According to these numbers JJ should be nearly a lock for a rushing TD with 10 carries or more. The problem is, he’s far from a lock for 10 carries or even 10 touches. His usage rates are really volatile making him a pretty uncomfortable play. There is the possibility of multiple TDs, but there’s also the possibility of 5 carries for 11 yards. He carries more risk than I’m generally interested in at a position with much more stable options.

Tyrell Sutton had a terrible start to the season. However, since Kavis Reed took over as HC in Montreal the run game certainly seems to be the focus of the offence. It may just be a natural effect of horrendous QB play, but Sutton has seen a consistent work load and production to match it, averaging nearly 20 touches a game in the past three weeks. He has scored TDs in three straight games and has a good chance to make it four versus the Ti-Cats that allow the second highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt in the CFL. If Montreal is going to come anywhere near their 24 point team total it’s fair to say at least one of those TDs will be Sutton’s. On the downside, Hamilton allows the fewest rush yards per attempt which will hurt Sutton’s efficiency, but the workload should still be there to grind out volume to make up for it.

C.J. Gable’s price has been rising according to his increased workload now that he’s in Edmonton, but there’s still room for growth. Edmonton runs the second highest percentage of run plays in the league (34.6%), giving Gable a solid volume of touches to work from each week. Their efficiency isn’t good, but it’s made up for through volume. BC is allows the second highest rate of rush TDs per attempt, so Gable’s ability to score is up this week as well which only adds to the value of a guy who has scored 5 TDs in the past three weeks. It’s always tricky to stack a RB and QB from the same offence in a lineup given the negative correlation there for scoring, but with Gables receiving ability it’s not completely unreasonable.

Jerome Messam absolutely laid an egg last week versus Hamilton with only 11 rushing yards on 6 carries. That’s yucky. In any other matchup I likely wouldn’t even mention him here. However, in two games versus the Riders this year Messam has had his only two games of the season over 20 carries (28/23), so it would seems reasonable to infer that the game plan versus Saskatchewan again this week will likely be run heavy. The Riders favour a three man front that can leave them vulnerable to the run as evidenced by William Powell’s 200 yd+ performance only a couple weeks ago. The last two games versus the Riders were two of Messam’s top three performances on the year, so there’s reason to have a little exposure in multi entry GPPs. His floor is very low, but he certainly holds 3x upside.

If you’re planning to try to save salary at the position this week Alex Green projects for the second best yards per rush attempt this week versus Montreal along with consistent volume. Cheaper yet is Martese Jackson who has a solid floor given his role as a returner. Last week saw him go without a single touch on offence for the first time since week 8 however which really limits his upside. The salary relief he allows though may be worth it if you want to fit in multiple elite WRs.

**UPDATE**

  1. James Wilder Jr. returns from injury this week sending Brandon Whitaker to the bench. Wilder become our 2nd highest projected RB on the slate.
  2. With C.J. Gable heading to the 1 game injured list, LaDarius Perkins returns to the starting lineup. He’s not in the player pool on DK this week.

 

RECEIVER

Top projected:

Brandon Zylstra, EDM – $9800

Derel Walker, EDM – $8600

S.J. Green, TOR – $8900

DeVier Posey, TOR – $8100

Kamar Jorden, CGY – $6800

Armanti Edwards, TOR – $6800

Bakari Grant, SSK – $6700

Weston Dressler, WPG – $6900

Brandon Banks, HAM – $7100

Clarence Denmark, WPG – $5800

 

Punt Single:

Shamawd Chambers, HAM – $3700

Anthony Parker, CGY – $4500

 

Two Edmonton receivers top the list for projections and it’s fairly easy to see why. Both Walker and Zylstra average over 10 targets per game and have top 3 matchups for the week in terms of yardage and TD rates allowed. Walker has not been converting opportunities into TDs or yards at near the rate of Zylstra, but that’s not likely to hold given his historic rates. Zylstra will likely come back down to earth at some point and Walker will improve. Both of them hold 3-4x upside and the highest floors of any receivers on the slate. It’s likely hard to double stack them with Reilly, but it’s certainly a reasonable strategy if you are willing to punt a few other spots.

The less dynamic duo of Green and Posey versus Winnipeg holds a similar price tag, but with a shakier floor. They have just as high a ceiling as Zylstra and Walker, but a much lower probability of hitting it accompanied by a much higher bust rate. Posey is either 30+ or single digits. There is virtually no in between for him. Green is similarly boom or bust, but with a slightly higher floor. Their significantly cheaper teammate Armanti Edwards comes with a slightly higher floor, but also a much lower ceiling. Betting on the Toronto receiving corps holds a lot more risk than the Edmonton one without significant savings, however their matchup versus the Bombers which allow very high passing yardage and scoring rates make them an option in multi-entry settings.

With Naaman Roosevelt out again with injury and Duron Carter coming off a 37 point performance in his absence Carter should have slotted in as our 4th highest projected WR, however he’s being moved to DB this week and not starting at WR.

I just … whatever.

The Riders have put together a gimmicky looking preseason style lineup for their game in Calgary this week that sees Cameron Marshall share a backfield with Trent Richardson, Chad Owens make his first appearance on offence, Kevin Glenn start on the road, and Duron Carter start at DB. Whatever.

Just burn it all and bet on Calgary by 20+. If you play a single Rider in a lineup this week just don’t let anyone know you read my articles.

Kamar Jorden salvaged what should have been a great week versus Hamilton with a late TD reception accompanied by a 2 point convert. His price has risen $1K this week to $6800 but he’s still a significant bargain. With Marquay McDaniel on the shelf this week, his role as the top receiving option on Calgary is only further solidified. It’s hard to know what’s going on with all the head games this week from Saskatchewan, but Jorden doesn’t need to do a ton to crush value this week. Saskatchewan is a middling defensive matchup in terms of yards and TDs allowed, so we’re basically just counting on volume here.

Bakari Grant projects well with Roosevelt out. However, if you read the paragraph on Duron Carter, you likely know well enough to just leave him out of your player pool and move along.

Weston Dressler is slated to return from injury this week to see at least 3 plays of action before leaving with injury again.

Seriously though, he has seen a significant price drop to below $7K and is the only real threat in the receiving corps if he’s even marginally healthy. It’s his first time ever being below $7K and he holds 5x upside at that price. I don’t believe he’ll hit it. I don’t believe he can stay on the field through halftime frankly. He is however cheap and the only real option his team has. If they get down early to Toronto he is the downfield threat they’ll take shots to. Along with his teammate Denmark, neither project well yardage wise, but they do have the best passing TD per attempt projection on the slate. There’s upside to be had at a cheap price, but the floor is also pretty low.

The early season 0-8 start for the Ti-Cats hurts the rates for all the Hamilton receivers. Their total ineptitude early on is tough to overcome in the projections, but Banks, Tasker, Saunders, and Chambers have all had really good games in the past month relative to their price. In a matchup versus the awful Als this week there’s good reason to have some of each of them sprinkled in your lineups even if they don’t project that well overall. Their efficiency has been improving but not enough to project very well yet. It’s hard to tell which of them will go completely missing this week, as one seemingly always does, but Banks has the best upside of the group. Chambers is still around the $3K mark, and although his ceiling is low he has been good for 3-5x value in three of four games since joining Hamilton. He’s one of the best values on the slate as a pure punt.

**UPDATE**

  1. L’Damian Washington gets another shot to start for the Blue Bombers this week at the boundary WR. He becomes a GPP option for salary relief.
  2. Nick Moore returns to the starting lineup for the Lions with Chris Williams being relegated to the bench. He’ll likely pick up a couple targets at Williams expense. He’s also a GPP option for salary relief.

DEFENCE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Calgary Stampeders v SSK – $5200

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs MTL – $4600

Toronto Argonauts vs WPG – $4300

 

With the laughable depth chart that Saskatchewan released on Thursday morning, it’s fair to say the Stampeders are again the top DST option versus Kevin Glenn on the road. They score TDs at a ridiculous rate and have had at least 5 sacks and 2 turnovers in each game versus the Riders this season. They have the highest floor and highest ceiling of any defence this week. Like the QB position, it’s hard to justify dipping down to any other option as the price savings are minimal and the volatility is much higher.

If you do however want to sprinkle some other options in there in GPPs, Hamilton’s improving defence can generate a lot of sacks versus a pretty inept Montreal offence and Toronto can do the same versus a very injured Winnipeg squad. Sacks are the most consistent defensive stat to project and often pressures lead to turnovers. I just don’t see either of these options being work the minimal salary relief they offer.

Well, that does it for week 18. 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!

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