I love Canada – don’t get me wrong – but America does have its advantages. The good old US of A has way more to choose from in regards to where to eat. You have culinary delights that we can’t even dream of up here in Canada because our imaginations have yet to be stretched to the gut busting, artery clogging, deliciousness of the American palate. My favourite part things about America, other than birthing CFL daily fantasy contests, are the restaurants.
I’m not making the ludicrous claim that Perkins is an American treasure worthy of international awards – it’s just another diner among the throng of thousands – but it holds a special place in my heart, lodged in the left ventricle, because it introduced breakfast delights previously unknown to me. I’m not proud of it, but it is a sad truth, that 90% of breakfast restaurants up here in Canada default to cubed hashbrowns on the breakfast platters. If you drown them in enough ketchup you can usually choke them down, but there’s no joy in it. The reality is they are just cheap carbs that fill up a plate.
It wasn’t until I ordered a three egg western omelet with brown toast and hashbrowns one morning somewhere south of the 49th parallel and received a crispy brown spread of shredded potato heaven that I realized there was more to breakfast than “misnamed home fries” as my friend Kent put it. I became a Perkins believer that morning. I’ve since realized that America even better to offer in the food department, but Perkins will always be special.
This week Perkins is pretty special north of the border too, not just because of the gargantuan muffins, but because he’s starting at running back in the most run heavy offence in the CFL and gets to face the worst rush defence in the CFL. Last week versus the third best rush defence in the league he got 19 carries for over 100 yards in his debut.
And he’s only $3000.
There’s your chalk lock of the week.
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.
PROJECTED TEAM TOTALS
Winnipeg – 31
Edmonton – 29
Hamilton – 28.5
BC – 28.25
Ottawa – 26.5
Saskatchewan – 26.5
Toronto – TBD
Montreal – TBD
As the season drags on, the injuries keep piling up making it more and more complicated for odds makers as well as DFS folks to get a handle on projections. So much so, that there aren’t even lines available yet for the game between the Argos and Alouettes. There are a number of significant injury situations that you need to keep an eye on this week as depth charts roll out.
Winnipeg carries the highest projected team total going into week 8, but the loss of Weston Dressler as well as the news that TJ Thorpe missed practice puts a lot of uncertainty on target projections or the Bombers. We have them pegged for nearly 40 pass attempts this week, but it’s really hard to say who will get the major uptick in looks against a terrible Ti-Cats defence. This mess is only exacerbated by the two back sets the Bombers rolled out last week against Ottawa, taking some of the heavy workload away from Andrew Harris.
Edmonton is next in line for projected scoring, but they also present a difficult environment to project due to injuries. Third string RB LaDarius Perkins got the start for the Esks last week and had 19 of the teams 31 carries in the game. It’s hard to believe that happens again. The Eskimos receiving corps also played without their top two targets in Adarius Bowman and Brandon Zylstra, leading to a whopping 11 targets for Bryant Mitchell. Both Bowman and Zylstra are confirmed OUT again this week making Perkins and Mitchell the two biggest values on the slate against a very beatable RedBlacks defence.
The final domino left to fall this week involves the Toronto QB situation. Ricky Ray left the game versus Calgary last week with a shoulder injury that was initially expected to have him out 4-6 weeks. His replacement, Cody Fajardo, did a fine Tim Tebow impersonation but would be completely incapable of leading a pass heavy attack that Trestman and Ray favour. With Ray now officially ruled out for this week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Als as double digit home favourites. As of now, there is still no starting QB named for the Argos.
Mike Reilly, EDM – $11000
Travis Lulay/Jonathan Jennings, BC – $9700/$9900
Matt Nichols, WPG – $10500
Darian Durant, MTL – $9300
Mike Reilly is the top projected passer again this week in a matchup against a pretty mediocre pass defence that gives up above average yards per pass and points per game. I can’t imagine any other offence in the league that could be down its top two receiving options and still produce a QB projection 15% higher than the next best player at the position. The Eskimos just seems to keep on rolling though now featuring Vidal Hazelton and Bryant Mitchell as the main targets in the scheme. Even when Reilly isn’t throwing the ball, his efficient carries in the run game, and corresponding rushing TDs, keep his projections higher than anyone else by a ways. There’s nothing to suggest Ottawa should be able to slow him down at this point. He’s clearly the best fantasy quarterback in the CFL.
Coming in a somewhat distant second in the projections this week, but still with one of the better projections of the season, is Lions QB Travis Lulay. He comes in at a significant $1400 discount to Reilly, but salary relief isn’t really going to be an issue this week with Perkins, Mitchell and Madu all available at other positions. BC has taken to passing the ball more with Lulay at the helm (64% from 60%) and he faces a Riders defence that has taken over the ignoble title of worst pass defence in the league from Hamilton, allowing 13.05 yards per completion. The Riders game up numerous big plays last week in a blowout versus the Lions. They will likely keep in closer this week playing at home in Regina, but this may just mean that Lulay passes for more yards as he won’t be lifted in a blowout. The return of Chris Williams last week just gives him one more target to pick apart defences with. Word out of practice is that Jonathan Jennings received first team reps with Lulay on the sidelines with the injured players, but it has yet to be determined if this will affect the actual lineup for BC this week. If it is indeed Jennings this week, you can drop him in behind Matt Nichols.
The third highest projected QB this week gets to face the aforementioned Ti-Cats in Hamilton. They are still bad. They are improving, and just fired their defensive co-oridnator Jeff Reinebold, but they are still a wonderful matchup to pick on for opposing QBs. Matt Nichols gets that honour this week and should be able to find quite a bit of room to pass against large cushions from the Hamilton secondary. The Ti-Cats still give up 12.91 YPC and Nichols projects to throw nearly 40 times given our pace projections. Nichols is price WAY up for the matchup, but he’s still worth a look as a pivot from Reilly in tournaments.
The final QB I’ll mention is Darian Durant. His mean projection still isn’t great, and he doesn’t come at much of a discount, AND you don’t really need any salary relief. All these negatives aside, he’ll be extremely low owned in tournaments and shows some reason for optimism as I wrote about last week in a look at the increased pace from the Als in recent weeks. If they continue down this road of up-tempo attack then Darian could have as high a ceiling as any player at the position with much lower ownership. He has shown the ability to pass for high yardage and has WRs with the big play ability to really put up points in a higher paced offence. Head Coach Jacques Chapdelaine has a history of doing exactly that. Durant shouldn’t account for much of your exposure this week, but there’s certainly good reasons to have some.
Andrew Harris, WPG – $7800
Mossis Madu, OTT – $5000
LaDarius Perkins, EDM – $3000
Brandon Rutley, MTL – $4900
Andrew Harris threw out an absolute stinker last week against Ottawa which may have been very little his fault. The Bombers unexpectedly introduced two RB sets into the mix with Harris and Tim Flanders sharing the backfield. Harris also saw a massive decrease in targets from averaging near 9 per game down to only 4 last week. All this coupled with a lack of TDs and he had a single digit fantasy point game for the first time all season in the best matchup he could have hoped for for a RB. All this points to it being an aberration for him which may just help to suppress ownership this week while others fall prey to recency bias. Hamilton is a difficult matchup versus the rush, but that said, LaDarius Perkins rushed for over 100 yards against them last week and most of Harris’ value comes through his involvement in the pass game anyways. He’s our top projected RB this week and hopefully sees a bounce back week.
The second and third projected RBs this week face off against each other on Thursday night in Ottawa. Edmonton gives up the most yards per carry in the league (5.53) and is followed closely by Ottawa (5.48). The early season battle between these two teams in Edmonton was a low scoring affair (23-21 for EDM), but the projected total for this tilt still sits at 55.5. Mossis Madu sees his return to the starting lineup in place of the injured William Powell and will likely get a solid workload in a great matchup. Edmonton doesn’t give up a lot of points but Madu figures to get most of his projection through yardage and receptions anyways, so a TD would just be icing on the cake. At only $5000 he’s only of a handful of great bargains this week.
Third in projections, but only half a point behind Madu, is LaDarius Perkins at only $3000 facing an Ottawa defence that is very succeptible to opposing RBs. Perkins had 19 carries for over a hundred yards coupled with a couple of receptions in the passing game in his debut for the Eskimos last week. This week he gets an easier matchup versus the RedBlacks in the most run heavy offence in the league. Did I mention he’s only $3000? Because he’s only $3000. If he was the highest priced RB on the slate you’d still have reason to have significant exposure to him, but he’s only $3000. His baseline production from his days at Mississippi State show a guy with a good YPC average, capable hands in the passing game, and an ability to score TDs. And he’s only $3000. Perkins is going to eat all day, you guys.
It’s funny to talk about a “punt” play at the position when two of the top three projected RBs are $5K or less, but if you are looking for a tournament pivot, Brandon Rutley is worth a look for some exposure. In his week 6 game versus Winnipeg, he was absolutely snakebit. He could just as easily have had 30 fpts versus the 11.8 he wound up with. He was the victim of a Beaulieu TD vulture, a long run called back on a questionable penalty, and fell just short of the endzone on goalline opportunities. The Argonauts still rank as a good rush defence, but injuries to their defensive line have left them more vulnerable than their overall numbers show. Last week they allowed Jerome Messam 7.6 YPC and the previous week they allowed Cameron Marshall his first 100 yard rushing game of the season. Rutley has similar upside to Madu and Perkins and is in the same price range, although his mean projection is much lower than either of the other two.
It appears that Brandon Rutley’s hand injury has opened the door for Tyrell Sutton (RB – MTL $6900) to take back the starting job. Much of the possible upside that I wrote about Rutley holds true, but at $2000 higher cost there’s really no reason to go there with Mossis Madu and LaDarius Perkins projecting much higher and at a substantial discount.
Bryant Mitchell, EDM – $4500
Vidal Hazelton, EDM – $7700
Greg Ellingson, OTT – $8900
Darvin Adams, WPG – $7600
S.J. Green, TOR – $8800
Naaman Roosevelt, SSK – $7900
Bryan Burnham, BC – $7600
Chris Williams, BC – $8500
B.J. Cunningham, MTL – $7200
Ernest Jackson , MTL – $6800
The top two receivers in our projections this week are both Edmonton Eskimos, and few weeks ago neither would have been in the top 20. Injuries to Adarius Bowman and Brandon Zylstra tough have thrust Bryant Mitchell and Vidal Hazelton into significant roles in the Edmonton offence which is highly efficient. Last week Mitchell saw 11 targets in the absence of Zylstra and Hazelton has averaged nearly 10 targets per game in the past two weeks. They both look to continue to see high workloads as there is no reason to believe any of Cory Watson, Shamawd Chambers or Chris Getzlaf will cut into their looks. Ottawa is a better than average matchup for WRs and the targets have to go somewhere as Edmonton projects to throw over 35 times in a fast paced affair. Mitchell and Hazelton are the two top projected scorers at the position as well as the top two values. It’s a somewhat exciting and uncomfortable projection all at the same time. With the value they present along with Perkins and Madu, it’s easy to leave $3-4K on the table in creating a top projected scoring lineup. It’s frankly a pretty uncomfortable slate to build in this week as you can quite literally roster anyone you’d like without any real restrictions due to salary.
Greg Ellingson is the third projected WR this week, and the highest priced player at his position. You’re going to have to spend all that salary somewhere, but unfortunately Ellingson faces the toughest pass defence in the league this season, yielding only 231.5 yards per game through the air. His week 4 matchup versus Edmonton netted him his usual 9 targets, but he could only turn those into 5 receptions for 66 yards against their stifling secondary. I wouldn’t expect him to have much more running room this time around, but his mean projection still puts him in the top three.
Next up is Darvin Adams who has had a fairly disappointing season to this point. He has still been averaging nearly 9 targets a game, but has not been able to break nearly as many big plays this season leading to a number of really disappointing single digit fantasy point outings. This week he finally gets his shot at the porous Tiger-Cats secondary. At some point his efficiency is likely to regress towards the mean and he’ll break some big plays to reward his faithful. The opportunities have been there, and the lack of Weston Dressler means the big play role in the offence is all his. There’s lots of reasons to hope this week begins his breakthrough.
As I’ve mentioned, you’re likely to spend your salary savings somewhere, and there aren’t a lot of high priced options to get excited about. SJ Green is one of the few high priced WR worth considering, but much of his upside is hampered by the injury to Ricky Ray. Montreal is not a good matchup to attack and having the offence likely led by Cody Fajardo significantly hampers the Argos ability to pass effectively. Green continues to average nearly 10 targets a game and is posting his best yards per catch since 2012. However, if Cody Fajardo starts at QB all the Toronto WRs whither into a decaying dust heap of sadness and despair.
The Argos have announced Jeff Mathews as the starting QB for their Friday night matchup with the Alouettes. While Mathews yards per attempt and yards per completion are similar to Ray’s, his touchdown to interception ratio is far worse at 7:9. This really hurts the upside of all Argos receivers. Green may be worth a GPP sprinkle, but I won’t have any in my lineups.
Kevin Glenn has been better than mediocre for the Riders this season, which is more than many expected, but his performance last week versus BC was bad enough that Brandon Bridge got significant playing time late in the game and put up a couple garbage time scores versus a prevent defence. There’s no real QB controversy here yet, but the uncertainty at QB always leads to some uncertainty at WR. Naaman Roosevelt is a target hog and gets is production through sheer volume rather than efficiency. BC is the third best yards per reception matchup for a WR so there’s reason to think Rosie will be able to do something with his many targets. He’s a safe, albeit, unexciting play. For what it’s worth, you could easily put Duron Carter in this same spot for $100 cheaper. His mean projection leaves him just outside the top 10 in the projections, but he’s only 2 points outside of the top 5. With his recent uptick in usage and penchant for spectacular plays there’s a good case to be made for having some exposure in GPP lineups as well. Roosevelt is the safer play, but Carter has a higher ceiling.
It feels odd having two Lions follow two Riders in the projections given that Travis Lulay is a top projected passer and Kevin Glenn doesn’t rate at all, but much of this is due to nature of their offensive schemes. While the Riders pass more often and focus much of their targets on Roosevelt and Carter, the Lions run more and spread their targets quite evenly over their very deep receiving corps. Last week, each of Burnham, Arceneaux, Moore, and Williams saw exactly 6 targets. While that’s great for their real life offence, it makes it difficult to project any of them very highly due to a lack of opportunities. It reasonable to expect at least one of them will have a highly efficient game each week, but predicting which one on any given week will be very difficult. Burnham and Williams both project slightly higher than the other two this week due to baseline efficiency, but neither will likely get a big enough workload to produce a monster game. Yes. I know Burnham produced 27 fpts last week, but that efficiency isn’t likely reproducible with any regularity. When looking for GPP targets, opportunity matters a lot and it seems none of the BC receivers will likely be able to get Lions’ share of the workload.
Rounding out the top 10 of the receiver projections are the speedy pair from Montreal, BJ Cunningham and Ernest Jackson. The past three weeks have seen a significant uptick in production or both of them that, not unexpectedly, coincides with an increase in pace for their previously anemic offence. As I wrote last week, I think this may be the emergence of the new normal in Montreal given Captain Jack’s track record and as such their salaries may make them great tournament targets while they lag behind actual production. They are not “safe” plays, but they’ll certainly be lower owned than any other well known targets from Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg and BC. Toronto is a below average matchup, but the Als receivers make interesting tournament pivots.
Winnipeg BlueBombers vs HAM – $5100
Edmonton Eskimos vs OTT – $5000
Toronto Argonauts/Montreal Alouettes – $4800/4600
Unlike the past few weeks, there is no clear favourite to target when picking a DST for your lineups. Calgary has been the clear top DST this season, but they are on a bye this week. My three favourites are Winnipeg vs Hamilton, Edmonton vs Ottawa, or Toronto vs Montreal. Winnipeg continues to create turnovers although not at the rate they did in 2016 and while giving up a great deal more points in the process. They don’t create as many sacks as I’d like, but the Hamilton offensive line is embarrassingly dreadful at protecting poor Zach Collaros while he scurries around like a hare avoiding the hounds during the fall hunting season. Accordingly, I expect sacks to be a bit easier to come by than usual for the Bombers and for them to have a solid base projection with upside for a defensive TD.
Edmonton boasts the best pass defence in the league and faces a mistake prone Ottawa offence which allowed them their lone DST TD of the season in week three. Their sacks have also been up of late which leads to a better projection. I still prefer Winnipeg, but not by a lot.
The final option(s) worth considering comes from the Argos versus Als matchup. I have some interest in the Argos ability to create sacks and potentially create multiple turnovers by pressuring Darian Durant. If however Cody Fajardo starts at QB for Toronto, it makes the Als a great option at DST as his lack of passing ability suppresses the Argos ability to score and increases the likelihood of turnovers for an Als DST that has been largely quiet so far this season. They will be very low owned, but would have a high ceiling if facing Fajardo.
The news that the Argos will be starting Jeff Mathews at QB on Friday boosts the INT expectations for the Als DST slightly as he averages an interception thrown for every 23 pass attempts in his career. We have the Argos projected for 45 pass attempts at 2017 rates which would project for 2 INTs. I’m not saying it will certainly happen, but there’s some reason to believe the Als DST will likely have their best game of the season at low ownership and a very affordable price.
Well, that does it for week 8. 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!