I have never watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. If you think that’s ridiculous and that it makes me a social outcast, just tell someone you didn’t play Andrew Harris this week on Monday morning. Your status as an out of touch social outcast will be similar. It’s not that Harris is overwhelmingly good, but the rest of the options at running back this week in CFL daily fantasy contests on DraftKings are that underwhelming. You have to start a running back and his price is still below where it should be. What do we think of Harris in CFL week three?
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IMPLIED TEAM TOTALS
Calgary – 32
Edmonton – 31
Hamilton – 31
Saskatchewan – 27.75
Ottawa – 25
Winnipeg – 27
BC – 24.5
Montreal – 17.75
Most of the implied team totals look about right, but the point spread and over/under for the Roughriders versus Alouettes game is noteworthy. Montreal has been absolutely egregious this season. Of that there is no doubt. They lack scoring on offence and the ability to inhibit any on defence. They’re a bad football team. That being said, any time a team is a 10 point favourite in professional football that’s a line worth looking at. The Riders only managed 20 offensive points in week one and now are down their best receiver in Duron Carter and are starting their backup QB Brandon Bridge. The projections love the value on Riders players because of the high team total, but this is an offence that lacks identity and as such carries a bit of fragility to their projections.
Most of the games this week forecast for good weather around game time, but there is a 60% chance of thunderstorms in Calgary Thursday night. If this turns into a sodden affair it likely hurts Ottawa more than Calgary as the Stamps can certainly rely on ground and pound and good defence for a win.
Mike Reilly, EDM – $11500
Jeremiah Masoli, HAM – $10400
Chris Streveler, WPG – $8900
Brandon Bridge, SSK – $7800
Mike Reilly is the top projected QB again this week in his matchup versus the BC Lions. His projection looks solid as the Lions were the second most vulnerable pass defence around in 2017, surrendering the third highest rate of passing yards per attempt at 8.4 and the second most fantasy points per pass attempt at 1.21. Week one showed slight improvement for the Lions, but that was versus Montreal. The Eskimos are a very different test.
The other high projected passer this week, Jeremiah Masoli, was a darling of the projections coming into 2018 after an excellent finish to his 2017 campaign. The Blue Bombers 2018 defence has given up the fewest yards per pass in the league at just 7.07, but a game versus the Als struggling offence will help any team’s defensive stats. The Bombers gave up the second most yards per pass in 2017 (8.49) and the most passing touchdowns per attempt, so Masoli most likely has a great matchup here despite what the small 2018 sample size may show. He may have the best receiving corps 1-4 in the league at his disposal and the Bombers can’t double team them all.
If looking to go cheaper at quarterback this week, there are two options for consideration that come in at a discount. Brandon Bridge is likely to start at quarterback for the Roughriders against the aforementioned struggling Alouettes, while a seeming rookie Reilly clone, Chris Streveler, will face off against the TiCats. Bridge is a riskier option given the instability in the Riders offence with Duron Carter likely to spend the game at defensive back again. Streveler has a much shorter track record, but his ceiling is extremely high given his abilities in both the running and passing game. It’s unlikely he repeats his week two performance of 37.6 fantasy points, but the Hamilton defence is still a good matchup to pick on until they’ve proven otherwise allowing 8.83 yards per pass attempt. The difficulty with Streveler in tournaments is that he has no clear top target in the WR corps. Andrew Harris is probably the most consistent receiver he has but it is an unusual move to stack a QB with their RB. Naked Streveler is an option.
Andrew Harris, WPG – $7800
Jeremiah Johnson, BC – $6300
C.J. Gable, EDM – $6900
Mercer Timmis, HAM – $5600
Positive regression was in the cards for running backs in week two as many scored the touchdowns they were denied in week one. However, week three shows a significant downturn in enticing projections at the position. There’s really only one elite option this week and that’s Andrew Harris. The TiCats have allowed the third most yards per carry this season (5.71) which is a good starting point for Harris, but what really drives his value is his versatility as a receiver which keeps him involved in the game plan regardless of game script. The Bombers project for the second most fantasy points per rushing attempt this week so Harris is a solid bet.
There is a large drop off in projections after Harris. Jeremiah Johnson has been a less than consistent fantasy play over the past season but he still checks in at number two. This week however he draws the Eskimos defence that has struggled to stop the run for over a year now. Edmonton allowed the most yards per carry in 2017 (5.89), nearly half a yard worse than their nearest competitor. The beginning of 2018 has been no better as evidenced by newcomer Mercer Timmis, leading to a yards per carry average of 6.6. Despite what people on message boards might tell you, Mercer Timmis is not a special player. No one expected that breakout. That’s just how bad the Edmonton rush defence is. Add to that a league high for most touchdowns allowed per rush attempt and there’s reason to believe in Jeremiah Johnson this week despite the inconsistencies. For these reasons, Chris Rainey is also worthy of consideration at a similar price. It’s tough to consider using the Lions defence versus the Eskimos, but with Edmonton allowing a near league high 26.4 yards per kick return, a Lions/Rainey stack is worth looking at in large field tournaments.
C.J. Gable has been a significant disappointment so far after being a stellar workhorse though the last half of 2017. Much of his struggles to produce are the result of negative game scripts stemming from the Eskimos playing from behind much of this year. The Eskimos run play percentage has dipped steeply from a league high 35.9% in 2017 to near league low at 30.9% this season and many of those carries have been Mike Reilly scrambles. The Eskimos are significant favourites this week and are likely to lean more heavily on the run game if they can manage to play from ahead. Gable has been a good play at times priced over 8K, so a sub-7K Gable is well worthy of consideration in GPPs.
The cheap option of the week is the aforementioned Mercer Timmis. The Bombers sit right on league average in terms of rushing yards per carry allowed but represent one of the best opportunities for opposing rushers to score. The TiCats project for the second most TDs per carry this week, so Timmis has a good chance to return positive value if the game is indeed as high scoring as projected.
Eric Rogers, CGY – $7300
Diontae Spencer, OTT – $8100
Derel Walker, EDM – $10100
Kamar Jorden, CGY – $8800
Luke Tasker, HAM – $8900
Greg Ellingson, OTT – $8600
Naaman Roosevelt, SSK – $7700
Duke Williams, EDM – $7600
Terrence Toliver, HAM – $5800
Kenny Stafford, EDM – $5300
Ricky Collins Jr., BC – $4600
Drew Wolitarsky, WPG – $4700
Jordan Williams-Lambert, SSK – $4200
Shaq Evans, SSK – $4300
For those who forgot about Eric Rogers during his long hiatus from professional football, he made a stunning entrance in week two going for 131 yards and two TDs on five receptions. He’s pretty good at football. The 2017 RedBlacks defence allowed a lot of yards through the air leading to the Stampeders projecting for the second highest yards per pass attempt on the slate (8.74). Add to this an implied team total of 32.5 points and there’s a lot of reasons to like Rogers and his teammate Kamar Jorden.
Attempting to match Rogers Thursday night in Calgary will be Diontae Spencer. He has just as much big play ability as evidenced last week versus the Riders, but he also has the added value that comes from his work as a returner. The Stampeders secondary present a more difficult matchup to face, as they were the toughest matchup in the league in terms of passing yards and TDs per attempt. This standard has continued into 2018 as well as they are the only team in the league yet to allow a passing touchdown. Spencer’s upside is similar to Rogers, but the likelihood of him realizing it is lower. The same goes for Spencer’s teammate Ellingson. Their mean projections will always be near the top, but the matchup makes them risky plays set only for contrarian GPP lineups.
Derel Walker had a quieter week two as Duke Williams 88-yard touchdown stole the show, but he still managed to have a solid outing with over 17 fantasy points. The Lions were quite susceptible to the big play in 2017 and gave up long receptions to Chris Williams in week one as well. Walker, and the rest of the receiving corps, are in a good spot for a bounce back game after a let down versus Hamilton in week two. The Eskimos project for the most offensive plays run this week at 60, so the opportunities should be plentiful for Walker to excel. The problem is a price tag over 10K – that’s 2016 Chris Williams territory. He was nearly impossible to fade, but 10K Derel Walker with Duke Williams garnering an identical number of targets (18) is a difficult spend. Walker will likely see lower ownership because of it, but Williams is probably the better play at a $2500 discount.
The Bombers have been an enticing fantasy matchup for opposing receivers for the past couple seasons, and Luke Tasker and the Hamilton receiving corps get their shot this week. Through 2017 the Bombers allowed the second most yards per pass attempt and the highest rate of touchdowns per pass attempt in the league. Their start to the 2018 season has looked better through two weeks, but much of that is on the back of a week two blowout win over Montreal. Hamilton’s receivers are difficult to project on a weekly basis due to the depth they have at the position. It’s impossible for each of Tasker, Banks, Saunders and Toliver to explode every week which keeps their mean projections lower than their actual potentials are. Tasker seems the most consistent option for Masoli, but he does carry a bit more risk than the rest of the elite options.
It’s hard to get excited about Naaman Roosevelt. Duron Carter’s move to defence should increase his role in the offence, but that hasn’t been the case so far. He’s averaged only six targets per game so far in 2018, while at his best in 2016-2017 he averaged over eight. The move to Brandon Bridge only muddies the waters further as Bridge has had a propensity to spread the ball around to secondary targets during his small body of work. Priced similarly to Duke Williams and Eric Rogers, he’s a secondary tournament option.
With the high prices on the top options, it’s good to know there are plenty of cheaper options at the position as well. The two mid-tier options worth consideration are Terrence Toliver and Kenny Stafford. Toliver looked healthy in his first game back in over a year, posting four receptions on six targets for 76 yards. It’s less than ideal to have him posted all the way out at field side WR, but if Shamawd Chambers can produce from there in Hamilton Toliver certainly can as well. At a steep discount over the other Hamilton WRs, he’s worth a look. Kenny Stafford on the other hand has a consistent workload in a prime lineup spot working with Mike Reilly and still comes in at a significant discount over his teammates. If Stafford had pulled in either of his endzone targets in the last five minutes versus Hamilton he would have been the best value of the week. So long as Mitchell and Criner remain out in Edmonton, Stafford is a weekly value play.
Other low-priced considrations are more boom or bust options due to their lower number of targets but Collins, Wolitarsky, Williams-Lambert, and Evans don’t have to do too much to return value at this price range. Of the group, Williams-Lambert and Evans seem to have the most stable offensive roles while Wolitarsky seems the most likely candidate for regression as he has received only six targets to this point while they have resulted in three touchdowns. Field side WRs rarely pan out long term.
Roughriders – $4800
Stampeders – $4900
The Roughriders defence is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde situation as they looked dominant in week one versus the Argos but were soundly beaten by the RedBlacks in week two. It’s likely that a home matchup versus the Alouettes should lead to a return to positive results. The Als haven’t shown a consistent ability to move the ball or score points through two games while allowing a league high eight sacks to go with four turnovers. The Riders are a relatively safe play.
As they were in 2017, the Stampeders defence continues to be the class of the league. The lead the league in sacks (6) and turnovers created (5) makes them a formidable fantasy force. The RedBlacks offence has shown the ability to put up points, but that’s no reason to avoid using a talented unit like this in week three.
Week two may have been one of real life blowouts, but it was solid from a DFS perspective. Hopefully week three keeps up the solid returns on DraftKings while providing a little more competitive football to watch. Good luck in all your contests!