The final week of the regular season has arrived for the CFL but much of the league’s stars are already on vacation for Week 21 of CFL daily fantasy contests on DraftKings. With only one team in action this week having playoff implications attached to their winning or losing, starters are resting across the board. Only Calgary has something to play for, but it appears that starters will get significant run for Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and maybe even BC as well. The reserves getting increased roles in Ottawa, Hamilton, and Winnipeg opens up a ton of value plays but certainly ones with unproven track records.
Implied Team Totals
Edmonton – 28.5
Calgary – 28.25
Hamilton – 27.5
Ottawa – 27
Winnipeg – 23.5
BC – 21.5
Toronto – 21
Montreal – 21
I don’t think CFL odds makers really have any idea what to do with this slate. The over/under totals would project this for just about the lowest scoring slate of the season. Edmonton and Calgary justifiably have the top team totals, but having Hamilton and Ottawa both with numbers over 27 is eye opening given they are resting nearly every starter on offence. Conversely, Toronto and Montreal are both bad offences, but versus teams that are resting nearly all their starters it surprising to see their totals this low.
Weather doesn’t appear to be a big factor anywhere this weekend so let’s get on to the projections.
Mike Reilly, EDM – $11100
Chris Streveler, WPG – $7600
Bo Levi Mitchell, CGY – $10400
Dane Evans, HAM – $6000
If someone had declared at mid-season that MOP candidate Mike Reilly and the Eskimos would have nothing to play for in Week 21, the only reasonable explanation would have been that they had clinched a playoff spot weeks ago. Week 21 is here though and that’s not the case. Head Coach Jason Maas has already announced Mike Reilly will start the game versus Winnipeg but there is significant speculation that Kevin Glenn or Danny O’Brien may see playing time as well. The projections reflect that. Still, even ceding some of the workload to others, Reilly is the top projected passer on the slate. Winnipeg has been a tough draw for Reilly this season, but they may be resting a significant number of starters in a game in which they also have nothing to play for. Despite a dreadful second half of the season, Edmonton is still second in passing yards per attempt and third in passing TDs per attempt so a matchup with Winnipeg’s backups could yield some great results.
Over the past few seasons, the Eskimos have been known for a leaky rush defence that was regularly exploited by opposing running backs. The pass defence always kept them in games though in a pass heavy league. This year though the flood gates were opened in the secondary as well, as Edmonton has allowed the second most passing yards per attempt and the third most passing TDs per attempt, making the starting quarterback for Winnipeg a valuable commodity this week. With Streveler getting the starting nod, he’s worth a look in single entry or cash lineups along with Reilly given the matchup and his ability to run with the football.
There is only one quarterback on this slate guaranteed a full workload with postseason implications giving him motivation to go all out. Unfortunately for fantasy football players, it’s the recently struggling Bo Levi Mitchell. To be certain, the injuries in the Stamps receiving corps haven’t helped, but Mitchell himself has looked uncertain and inaccurate for much of the past two months leading to an uncharacteristically low completion percentage, yards per attempt average, and declining TD numbers. The Lions playoff fate will be unaffected by either a win or loss, so some starters may rest in Vancouver on Saturday. Any other week, Mitchell wouldn’t really be in the conversation versus a BC defence that yields a below average number of yards and touchdowns per pass attempt, but given the importance of guaranteed playing time, he’s one of only a handful of QBs worth considering.
If there was any question as to whether Masoli or Brandon Banks should be the TiCats candidate for MOP, it was answered last week versus Ottawa. Without Banks in the lineup, the TiCats offence broke down and Masoli was generally ineffective. The matchup versus Montreal though is still appealing from a fantasy perspective as they are worth picking on despite two solid performances in a row versus a disheveled Argos offence. Montreal allows the third most pass yards per attempt and an above average rate of passing TDs per attempt. With Dane Evans getting the start in this matchup with the third highest implied team total on the slate, he’s certainly worth consideration at only $6K. Evans led a high scoring Tulsa offence in the NCAA averaging 257 yards per game with a nearly 3:1 TD to INT ratio. He can be dreadfully inaccurate at times, but he can certainly throw the deep ball.
Kienan LaFrance, WPG – $3600
William Stanback, MTL – $7200
Tyrell Sutton, BC – $6900
Mossis Madu Jr., OTT – $5200
Mercer Timmis, HAM – $3000
How bad is the Edmonton defence? A backup running back priced at $3600 in a meaningless game projects as the top player at the RB position this week by a wide margin. Edmonton allows the third most yards per carry and second most rushing touchdowns per carry so the starting running back for Winnipeg should be a hot commodity. Streveler can pass, but he showed a propensity for INTs in his short stint as starter. It will likely be a lot Streveler bootlegs and LaFrance runs versus Edmonton on Saturday.
When the week began, and I did an initial run of projections, Stanback was not in the top five for RBs. With all the depth chart chaos though, he slides in at number two. The Montreal offence is very bad but so is the TiCats rush defence. Given their decision to start a number of reserves, the Hamilton offence probably won’t eat up as much of the clock as usual either, giving more opportunities for Stanback to get touches. Hamilton allows the second most yards per carry to opposing running backs, so every carry counts. The price is a little prohibitive given Montreal is the lowest scoring offence in the league, but he won’t be hard to afford with value everywhere.
Tyrell Sutton’s first two starts for BC were solid fantasy performances primarily due to exceptional volume over stunning efficiency. His Week 20 matchup versus Saskatchewan was a major hit to both of those factors. Sutton got only 12 carries in what was largely a blowout loss. He had a great deal of success versus Calgary three weeks ago but given Calgary’s need to win this week it’s hard to imagine a repeat performance. Calgary still allows the fewest rush yards per attempt in the CFL despite recent struggles.
Mossis Madu had been a very effective player in previous seasons, rotating in and out of the starting lineup with William Powell throughout much of 2017 without any noticeable drop off in Ottawa’s offensive performance. His first start of 2018 though was pretty underwhelming despite a moderate price tag as he managed a mere 4.6 fantasy points on only 12 total touches in a game that saw the Redblacks post 30 points. This week’s matchup with Toronto is the best imaginable for opposing running backs, as they allow a league high 5.78 yards per rush attempt. With Trevor Harris and the entire Redblacks starting receiving corps sitting this one out, they could lean more heavily on Madu, making him a solid play at this salary level. He’s one of the few backs with guaranteed playing time this week.
Mercer Timmis had a miraculous game in his first taste of CFL action versus Edmonton in Week 2, taking 17 carries for 133 yards and two TDs. Don’t expect that again with a much more depleted offence around him and a much more difficult matchup with an Alouettes defence which allows the second fewest yards per carry on the slate (4.96) along with the second lowest rate of rushing TDs per carry. At only $3000, he’s a fine option for salary relief but probably not the best one given the context. It’s not a good matchup, and the TiCats offence is trending down minus Banks, so it’s wise to keep expectations low.
Armanti Edwards, TOR – $7600
Bryant Mitchell, EDM – $8300
Duke Williams, EDM – $8000
Markeith Ambles, CGY – $6600
Chris Matthews, CGY – $5800
Mike Jones, HAM – $5600
Nic Demski, WPG – $6200
Marquay McDaniel, HAM – $4700
Terrell Sinkfield, HAM – $3600
Dominique Rhymes, OTT – $3800
Julian Feoli-Gudino, OTT – $3500
Bakari Grant, CGY – $3500
Injuries have largely depleted the fantasy options at receiver in 2018 and the news that Ottawa, Winnipeg and Hamilton will be resting their starters this week doesn’t help. All that being said, it is still completely unforeseen that Armanti Edwards would be the top projected WR to end the season. The Toronto offence is the second lowest scoring in the CFL and Edwards was largely dormant this season, but since Franklin took over as starting QB late this season Edwards has averaged nine targets per game in that span. Given that he’s facing Ottawa’s reserves, and with the added points from being listed as the primary punt and kick returner, he turns into a poor man’s Diontae Spencer. The price is higher than I’d like, but the math adds up.
Bryant Mitchell is a similarly surprising, but completely justified, option atop the projections this week. Mitchell has averaged 7.14 receptions on 9.57 targets for 106.4 yards and three TDs in the seven games since getting a full-time role in the Eskimos offence. Winnipeg’s pass defence has been significantly improved this season over the past couple years but the prospect of resting starters means the path could be easier than their numbers to this point show. Duke Williams is a similarly interesting option at a cheaper price tag although his production has certainly slowed since sustaining significant injuries over the second half of the season. Again, their expected playing time makes them top options on the slate.
As projected last week, Luke Tasker’s production took a significant hit, not a step forward, with the loss of Brandon Banks and given the game context, he’s sitting out this week. In his absence, Terrell Sinkfield becomes the top option in the TiCats passing game. The Als allow a fair bit of yardage through the air (8.41 per target), but an already sagging Hamilton passing attack could go completely flat minus Masoli, Tasker, and Green. Marquay McDaniel and Mike Jones are other cheap options, but as mentioned, this whole offence is shaky this week.
The Stampeders receiving corps has finally found some measure of consistency, as the same starting group has played for the past month. Unfortunately for them, their QB has lost his consistency over that stretch. Eric Rogers hasn’t been himself since returning from injury and he’s getting the week off with Bakari Grant making his first start of the year priced near minimum salary. His teammates Markeith Ambles and Chris Matthews are still priced priced relatively low given their production and are the top mid-tier options at the position this week. BC is a pretty average matchup for opposing receivers but the combination of playing time, price, and motivation make them all solid options.
That brings us to the Ottawa situation, in which the starting five receivers in practice were Dominique Rhymes, Noel Thomas II, Julian Feoli-Gudino, Jacob Scarfone, and Seth Coate – not exactly a murder’s row of fantasy threats. Versus Toronto however, it’s likely at least one of these cheap receivers has a big day as the Argos allow the most receiving yards and touchdowns per attempt by a very wide margin. Rhymes appears to have the most reliable track record of production, and at historical rates, projects as one of the top values of Week 21.
Calgary Stampeders – $4900
Montreal Alouettes – $4300
The two best options on defence wind up there for completely different reasons. The Stampeders defence has largely struggled over the course of their three-game losing streak, allowing an average of 440.7 yards and 28 points over that span. They do, however, have home field advantage to play for versus a Lions squad with no such motivation. The BC offence was completely ineffective versus Saskatchewan on Saturday and the Stamps defence is still only two off the lead league in sacks while being second in forced turnovers. Whether the starters for the Lions play or not, Calgary is a solid option despite the higher price tag.
The Alouettes on the other hand remain a punt priced defence despite three straight weeks of double-digit fantasy production. The Hamilton offence is flat-lining at the wrong time and a starting lineup of reserves won’t offer a lot of resistance for an Als defence averaging 3.7 sacks and 2.3 forced turnovers over their past three games. The salary savings are just a bonus.
I hope you’ve enjoyed year three of the CFL on DraftKings and here on DailyRoto. We’ll continue to update projections weekly throughout the playoffs but the weekly articles will be back in June 2019. Good luck navigating the rosters this week and good luck in all your contests!