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CFL Daily Fantasy DraftKings Week 9 – Living With a Van Down by the River
BENYAMEN
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First off, I’m 37, I work out of my basement, and I’m going to be LIVING WITH A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!

This CFL Daily Fantasy slate on DraftKings doesn’t give us a ton of value options but Travon Van gets a shot to start at running back this week for the Lions versus the Eskimos porous rush defence. He’s a solid runner and receiver and represents the best value play on the slate.

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GAME NOTES

Implied Team Totals

Ottawa – 31.75

Winnipeg – 31.75

Edmonton – 28.75

Hamilton – 26.75

BC – 25.25

Montreal – 17.75

There isn’t a lot noteworthy regarding weather or Vegas lines this week. Pretty much all the real life and fantasy scoring is likely to come from only five teams this week making the smaller slate even smaller.

 

QUARTERBACK

Mike Reilly, EDM – $11700

Trevor Harris, OTT – $10700

Travis Lulay, BC – $9400

The BC Lions are not a good pass defence. They are allowing 8.67 yards per pass attempt on defence – third worst in the league – while the Eskimos pass offence leads the league in yards per attempt at 9.62 and passing touchdowns with 14. There is a little danger that scores could come on the ground this week for Edmonton as the Lions defence leads the league in rushing touchdowns allowed with 10. On the bright side, those could all wind up being one-yard Reilly QB dives into the endzone. Last week the Riders defence had Reilly on his heels but the Lions defence doesn’t present nearly as difficult a struggle to overcome.

Last week, the Alouettes defence gave up another two passing touchdowns and essentially got Jeremiah Masoli and the TiCats passing offence off the schneid. This week it’s the RedBlacks and Trevor Harris turn. Harris had a solid Week 8 but overall his scoring rates have been down significantly from 2017 levels. The Als allow double the league average touchdowns per pass attempt and allow the second most yards per pass (9.17) while the RedBlacks lead the league in total pass attempts (260) and percentage of passing plays run (62.3%). All signs point to a big week for Harris at a discount to Reilly.

Travis Lulay hasn’t been running at the rates that he has in previous seasons which holds his overall projection down each week. That said, any quarterback that can pass for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown versus Calgary is certainly worth consideration. The Eskimos allow 2.3 yards more per pass attempt on defence and three times the rate of passing touchdowns per attempt. In two of his three games as the starter in 2018 he has faced Winnipeg and Calgary which are the two toughest matchups in the league in terms of passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed per attempt and he was still serviceable. The Edmonton defence has similar numbers to Ottawa and in that game he threw for 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The discount in salary at those rates is enticing.

 

RUNNING BACK

Andrew Harris, WPG – $8700

C.J. Gable, EDM – $6800

William Powell, OTT – $7500

Punt Single –

Travon Van, BC – $5400

Andrew Harris is back following the Bombers bye week but his price hasn’t gone anywhere despite a down Week 7 versus the Argos. Harris’ Week 9 matchup versus Hamilton is probably too much to ignore though as the TiCats continue to allow a league high 6.24 yards per carry on defence. In their first bout this season, the Bombers offence languished a bit as Streveler struggled, and Harris owners were bailed out by garbage time receptions versus Hamilton prevent coverage. Harris should have an easier go of it this time.

C.J. Gable has shown some signs of life with touchdowns in each of his last two games and the matchup with BC this week may see that trend continue as they lead the league in rushing TDs allowed with 10. The Lions rush defence will not be stronger versus the run than they were in Week 3 when they allowed 24.2 fantasy points to Gable, as defensive ends Odell Willis and Shawn Lemon are both eager pass rushers that struggle with gap responsibility and contain. They may well end the season as the leagues’ worst rush defence after the addition of Lemon. The leagues’ third worst rush defence to this point will likely see that 5.26 yards per rush number climb this week.

William Powell’s production is somewhat of an enigma wrapped up in a puzzle box and stored in an escape room. Through his first three games, he seemed somewhat unstoppable on the ground averaging 6.45 yards per carry but over his past four games he has averaged a mere 2.92 yards per carry which is quite a precipitous drop especially considering two of those matchups were versus BC and Hamilton. The Montreal defence, surprisingly, allows the second fewest yards per rush attempt this season at only 4.49 so it seems unlikely Powell gets back on track this week given Ottawa’s propensity to score through the air and Montreal’s propensity to allow it.

One of the best value plays on the slate comes in the form of Travon Van, expected to start for the BC Lions at running back, after Jeremiah Johnson re-aggravated his ankle injury in practice on Tuesday. Van saw some work last week returning kicks, filling in for the injured Chris Rainey, but this week the return of Rainey and the loss of Johnson means he’ll likely fill the lead back role. Van has seen significant work as a lead back before in 2016 and 2017 for Ottawa and Edmonton with a career 4.6 yards per carry average and notable receiving skills. The matchup with the Eskimos that allow the leagues’ second highest rate of yards per rush attempt (5.76) and a league high 10 rushing TDs makes Van a solid play even if it weren’t at a big discount.

 

RECEIVER

Duke Williams, EDM – $9800

Brad Sinopoli, OTT – $9100

Diontae Spencer, EDM – $8600

Derel Walker, EDM – $9300

Greg Ellingson, OTT – $6900

Brandon Banks, HAM – $9600

Jalen Saunders, HAM – $9200

Emmanuel Arceneaux, BC – $7400

Punt Single(s) –

R.J. Harris, OTT – $4600

Ricky Collins Jr., BC – $4500

Last week Duke Williams was a big swing and miss versus the Riders but was one unfortunate review away from another 97-yard touchdown which would have completely changed his stat line. There’s no reason to believe the matchup versus BC will slow him down as the Lions allow 8.67 yards per pass attempt – third highest in the league. He’s the most consistent and dangerous receiver in the league right now. His teammate Derel Walker finally reasserted himself last week, with all the attention being given to Williams, and both of them make solid options as a WR1 with Walker likely being the lower owned and less expensive option.

Brad Sinopoli continues to accrue games with double digit targets making him the fourth most targeted receiver in the CFL through eight weeks – only two behind Williams. His yards per catch is also up a full yard over his career average. The matchup with the Alouettes only sweetens the deal as they have allowed a league high 18 passing touchdowns to this point. The Ottawa offence’s passing focus makes Sinopoli a great option while Diontae Spencer, coming off a massive Week 8, is also a good option with his added value from the return game. The unexpected dark horse candidate is Greg Ellingson who still projects alright due to his 2017 rates but who has struggled to get on track at all this season. The steep price discount to below $7K in this matchup makes him a potential steal.

None of the pieces of the TiCats passing game put up particularly appealing numbers in their matchup this week versus Winnipeg, as the Bombers are surprisingly one of the top pass defences in the league to this point allowing the second lowest rates of both yards and touchdowns per pass attempt in 2018. Saunders has been exceptional over the past two weeks but it’s hard to envision another 30+ point fantasy performance again this week. All of Saunders, Banks, Toliver, and Tasker hold some tournament appeal but none are worthy of cash game consideration.

One of the best mid-tier options is a resurgent Emmanuel Arceneaux who has seen his stock rise again with the return of Travis Lulay under centre. He has been Lulay’s favourite target over the past three weeks and the matchup with Edmonton is appealing in what may be a shootout Thursday night in Vancouver. The Eskimos allow an above average number of TDs and yards per pass attempt making Arceneaux a solid mid-tier play. The other mid-tier player to target is the less heralded but still consistent member of the Eskimos receiving corps, Kenny Stafford. Stafford continues to average a solid 6.3 targets per game which is still top 10 in the CFL. The discount in price makes him an appealing stacking option with Reilly in this matchup.

The best bargains on the slate all come in below $5K with more stability than you might expect at that salary level. R.J. Harris has carved out a consistent role in the Ottawa passing game since moving to the boundary slotback position from field wide receiver and has put up at least nine fantasy points in each game since. That’s not eye-popping production, but it’s excellent given his price tag. Similary, Ricky ComebackSZN Jr. has seen a consistent number of targets coming his way with Lulay as his starting quarterback despite not creating overwhelming production with them to this point. At this price and in this matchup he’s welcome salary relief.

 

DEFENCE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Ottawa Redblacks – $5200

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $4300

At defence, it’s an easy call to go with the RedBlacks given their matchup versus the Alouettes hapless offence. Johnny Manziel looked unprepared and Nathan Peterman-esque in his starting role last week versus the TiCats. Ottawa is an even better fantasy option given they have created more turnovers and sacks this season than the Hamilton defensive unit. Until Manziel proves otherwise, he’s likely the target to attack with fantasy defences each week.

If players are looking for a discount at DST or just for a tournament pivot, the Bombers have seen significant improvement in their pass defence this season while they are tied for the league lead in sacks (17) and are second in forced turnovers (22). Given Hamilton has allowed the second most sacks to this point (17) and has thrown the second most INTs (8), Winnipeg is a great option this week.

Enjoy the short slate Week 9 and good luck in all your contests!

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