No, this isn’t the CFL daily fantasy week one breakdown re-posted. This isn’t an alternate timeline acting as a temporal loop to help you deal with your emotional baggage and become a better person like Phil Connors. That’s a different conversation for a different medium that will cost you a lot more money in counseling fees. That being said, I can’t very well focus on anything else this week with Reilly returning as the clear most dominant play on the slate. Speaking of returns, news broke yesterday that Terrell Owens has been added to the Eskimos negotiating list just days after running a 4.4 40 yard dash. I would pay good money to see him come to the CFL and wear the 45 at age 44. It’s a week for Eskimos comebacks. Reilly is a solid play every week, but two weeks like this to start a season are something to behold.
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Implied Team Totals
Edmonton – 31.25
Calgary – 27.5
Ottawa – 26.75
Hamilton – 24.25
Saskatchewan – 24.25
Winnipeg – 24.25
Toronto – 24
Montreal – 22.25
Edmonton has the clear top implied team total on the slate in their matchup against the generous Hamilton pass defence. Reilly has drawn dream matchups for his first two games of the season making for a great opportunity to play him heavily while others still want to go the contrarian route. There is a risk of thunderstorms with some notable precipitation on Friday night in Edmonton, but that didn’t stop him from throwing for over 400 yards in Winnipeg in week one.
It’s also noteworthy that Ottawa opens as 2.5 point favourites over Saskatchewan in their first game of 2018. There will be more about this later, but Saskatchewan looked like a nightmare matchup in week one versus Toronto. Saskatchewan may not get the victory with Duron Carter relegated to defensive duty and the offence still trying to gel, but it’s hard to imagine Ottawa actually putting up 27 points Thursday night.
Mike Reilly, EDM – $11400
Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $9700
Trevor Harris, OTT – $10000
Chris Streveler, WPG – $7800
Mike Reilly had over 40 fantasy points last week and threw only one touchdown pass. Let that sink in for a minute, because he’s not likely to be limited to only one touchdown pass this week versus Hamilton which gave up 32 touchdown passes last season. That was the third highest rate of TDs per pass attempt in 2017. Reilly begins the season with the two best passing matchups he could hope for. The price tag is still quite affordable relative to his production and he projects as not only the top scorer, but the best value on the slate regardless of position.
Jeremiah Masoli may be the less heralded QB in Hamilton right now, but he’s deservedly the starter. The Stampeders defence surrendered over 300 yards only five times last season and Masoli hung 345 yards on them in week 1. The Eskimos pass defence is no slouch either, allowing the third lowest rate of touchdown passes per attempt in 2017, but Masoli has a wide array of weapons at his disposal in Banks, Saunders, and Tasker. Both Masoli and Reilly also add a lot to their scoring baselines through rushing yards which gives them both a solid floor to build from.
Trevor Harris lacks the rushing floor of Reilly and Masoli, but he still checks in as the third projected passer on the slate. The implied team total of 26.75 boosts all the Ottawa players up the projections a ways, so if you believe they will not reach that total you can dock their projections accordingly. Harris has a plethora of weapons to throw to in Spencer, Ellingson, Sinopoli, and Rhymes and they are likely to try to pick on Duron Carter with Spencer and Rhymes early on.
Speaking of running quarterbacks, Streveler had seven rush attempts in his first start which about falls in line with the 11 per game he averaged in college. The Montreal pass defence has tended to be more porous than Edmontons’, allowing the second highest rate of passing TDs per attempt in 2017. At his significant salary discount from the other starters, Steveler is a reasonable punt option at QB in this matchup if you want to load up elsewhere.
James Wilder, TOR – $7600
Andrew Harris, WPG – $7700
CJ Gable, EDM – $7200
Mercer Timmis, HAM – $3400
James Wilder had a superhuman 2017, but he seemed a mere mortal versus the stout run defence of the Roughriders in week one where he was held to only 16 yards rushing on five carries. His receiving work salvaged the day, but his week two prospects don’t look much better versus a Calgary defence that allowed the second lowest rate of rush yards per attempt in 2017, and the third lowest rate of rushing TDs per attempt. Wilder still checks in as the top projected back on the slate due to the high rates he scored at last season, but there is some fragility to this early 2018 projection because of it.
As was a common theme in week one, Andrew Harris had a solid workload and produced at decent rates but the lack of touchdowns kept his overall fantasy scoring down. It’s unlikely opposing defences will keep all the running backs out of the endzone for a second week in a row. Montreal allowed the second highest yards per carry to opposing runners last season which makes Harris an enticing play. It’s unlikely all of Winnipeg’s touchdowns come through the air again this week.
Gable was a little bit of a fantasy disappointment in week one, but if either of those Mike Reilly goal line touchdowns had come his way it would have been a different story. Gable was an active member of the passing game and will almost certainly get more than his nine carries from a week ago which was his lowest total as an Eskimo by a wide margin. Hamilton allowed the third highest rate of rushing TDs per attempt last season and gave up the second most rushing yards in week one (132).
There is not much to pick from in the running back bargain bin this week apart from pure return specialists like Christion Jones. John White may be activated to start for the TiCats this week but he’s not in the player pool. If, however he does not make the active roster, Mercer Timmis may see a similar role to week one with a handful of carries out of the backfield. At only $3400 he doesn’t have to do much to return value as a punt play.
Naaman Roosevelt, SSK – $7900
Diontae Spencer, OTT – $7500
Derel Walker, EDM – $9800
Greg Ellingson, OTT – $8500
Kamar Jorden, CGY – $8900
Brandon Banks, HAM – $7800
Darvin Adams, WPG – $8000
Caleb Holley, SSK – $5800
Kenny Stafford, EDM – $4500
Dominique Rhymes, OTT – $3800
Jordan Williams-Lambert, SSK – $3800
Drew Wolitarsky, WPG – $3600
Shaq Evans, SSK – $3000
With Duron Carter likely to be used exclusively at defensive back this week after the Riders lost rookie Nick Marshall to the six game injured list, Naaman Roosevelt is the clear top target for Saskatchewan. The Riders had the second highest passing yards per attempt last season and their matchup in Ottawa this week projects them to have the second highest passing yards per attempt on the slate to go along with the highest projection for passing touchdowns per attempt. Roosevelt had a touchdown in week one despite low overall numbers, and he’s a likely candidate to score again this week.
On the other side of the field in Ottawa on Thursday night, Diontae Spencer will try to put his all around skill set on display versus a Riders defence that looked dominant in week one. A good chunk of Spencer’s upside is dependant on his involvement in the return game, so it’s worth noting that if the return duties in Ottawa get spread around a bit more this season his projection would dip below the other top projected receivers. The Riders allowed the second fewest passing yards per attempt in 2017 at 7.65 and week one saw that number dip to a mere 6.18 yards per attempt versus Ricky Ray. The projections love Spencer, but there is some risk here if the improved pass rush of the Riders gets Trevor Harris off his spot.
Derel Walker started week the season off with a bang last Thursday with a 101 yard touchdown reception right off the hop. It’s not reasonable to expect that again this week, but the matchup with Hamilton makes it more likely than against any other opponent. The Eskimos project to pass at a ridiculous 9.4 yards per pass attempt this week which is a full yard and a half above the league average. Big plays could be in the cards and Walker has big play ability on every down.
Spencer’s teammate Greg Ellingson lacks the floor that Spencer has through return yardage but makes up for it through a much higher projection for targets. Ellingson is one of the few receivers that averages over 2 fantasy points per target in the league while also being one of the most targeted receivers around with 147 in 2017. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the RedBlacks season opener as the Riders project to give up the fewest passing yards per attempt on the slate.
Kamar Jorden had one of the better games by a receiver in week one with 17.7 fantasy points. The matchup with Toronto isn’t ideal as they allowed the second fewest passing yards per attempt in 2017 but he should continue to see a consistent workload as the top receiver in Calgary. His price tag is getting a little egregious though given the high percentage of running plays the Stampeders tend towards. The Calgary offence is not one I’d generally look for 8K+ receivers in.
Brandon Banks checks in at a significant savings over Walker, Ellingson, and Jorden and has elite scoring upside, but the matchup versus a stingy Eskimos defence which projects to allow the second fewest fantasy points per pass attempt this week coupled with his lack involvement in the return game in week one keeps his median projection low. As week one showed, with all the talent at receiver in Hamilton, the floor is low for Hamilton WRs. Banks could still be the top scoring receiver in week two, but there are more reasons for doubt here than with the other top options.
Darvin Adams had a solid but not stellar week one with 3 receptions on 5 targets for 46 yards and a touchdown. Which frankly is more than a lot of people expected out of the Streveler led Bombers offence. The matchup this week is quite a bit easier overall for the Winnipeg passing game, but if Adams lines up across from Tommie Campbell then his efficiency will suffer and targets may go elsewhere. If that is the case Weston Dressler may be the better Bombers option. If you’re really in the tank for the Bombers, Bowman will be a really low owned tournament option at $6500 coming off a performance in which he was held without a catch on three targets.
Caleb Holley is a pretty uncomfortable $5800 spend with a number of other reasonable options priced well below him. However, Holley has one of the highest fantasy points per attempt rates in the CFL at a ridiculous 2.45. With Carter on defence, he may get increased looks this week for the team with the highest points per pass attempt projection on the slate.
Given that Reilly is the clear top QB on the slate and the RB choices are all priced fully, players will likely have to find salary relief at WR. Thankfully, there are a number of options priced well below 5K. Kenny Stafford will continue to have a regular role in the Eskimos offence so long as Mitchell and Criner continue to be out. The matchup versus Hamilton only makes him more appealing. Riskier options appear sub-4K in Rhymes, Williams-Lambert, Evans, and Wolitarsky. They are all boom or bust options as their target are likely to be limited. If, however they get even a single big play or touchdown they are already meeting value at 2x. My lean is toward Stafford, but any of the sub-4K receivers are reasonable tournament options if you need the savings.
Roughriders – $4500
Blue Bombers – $4600
Stampeders – $4900
The Roughriders defence looked stifling versus the Argos in week one, holding Wilder to only three yards per carry, and Ricky Ray to a mere 6.75 yards per pass attempt while notching an interception return for a touchdown to go along with three sacks from 2018 addition Charleston Hughes. The Ottawa offence is good, but they still project for the fewest passing yards per attempt and fewest rushing fantasy points per attempt in their matchup this week.
The Blue Bombers looked more porous than similarly priced options, but their matchup against the Drew Willy led Alouettes makes them an option. They give up more yardage and points than the Riders, but their matchup keeps their projected points allowed down while their penchant for creating turnovers gives them upside. Until Montreal proves otherwise, it seems a good option every week to play the DST facing the Alouettes.
The Stampeders continue to be a reasonable fantasy option every week with their ability to pressure the quarterback and create turnovers. Terry Williams would make an interesting low owned stack option given his prowess in the return game and his role in the offence. Toronto still has the firepower to put up points against them but getting this unit sub-5K makes them interesting.
Enjoy week two in the CFL. I promise week three won’t be another Mike Reilly headline. Probably…
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