When determining what just to write about to intro week 19, I was reminded of a memory in my life that I must now share with you. The year was 2013 and I was a struggling catcher heading into the All-Star break with a batting average worse than my dating record. After the final game of the first half of the season, I walk into the locker room and throw my gear down. Finally, a few days off to recharge the batteries and come back better in the second half. Nope.
Our trainer walked up to me and gave me the five words that no player ever wanted to hear, “Skip wants to see you.” And that was all she wrote folks. After a five-minute conversation in the manager’s office, I was 12 hours away from my last baseball road trip. So, what’s this story have to do with this week’s CFL action?
Between difficult matchups, defenses that have forced quarterbacks to beat them (they haven’t) and a quirky situation in Saskatchewan, things are tough in week 19. If you’re looking for pep and excitement for stars like Andrew Harris, Brandon Zylstra and Mike Reilly then see your way to the door because it’s tough in these CFL daily fantasy streets this week. Have no fear though! Ben and I have concocted a full-proof plan that is guaranteed to keep you from recharging your batteries for too long. Let’s get to the implied team totals…
IMPLIED TEAM TOTALS
Saskatchewan – 34.25
Winnipeg – 30.75
Ottawa – 30.25
Calgary – 28.75
Edmonton – 25.25
BC – 24.75
Hamilton – 23.25
Montreal – 17.75
Kevin Glenn, SSK – $8,800
Trevor Harris, OTT – $10,200
Matt Nichols, WPG – $10,000
Jonathon Jennings, BC – $9,100
Let the fun begin boys and girls! It all starts with our highest projected player of the slate, Kevin Glenn. Yes, Glenn has been removed from the game in five of the last six Riders games, but there’s reason to believe he’s a legitimate top play this week. To start, he provides big savings in a week where there are no value options that really jump out at us. This week he’s at home, a positive for him both statistically and when it comes to playing time. He’s been removed in all four road games during this odd six-game stretch. Of the two home games, he has played one in its entirety and threw for 387 yards and two touchdowns. We know how good he’s been at home in 2017 and faces a Montreal team that the Riders are nearly 17-point favorites over. Glenn is a risky choice, but more than worth using in a decent amount of lineups (20-30%).
If you want a safer play at this position then look no further than Trevor Harris. He’ll be without his second-best receiving threat (Brad Sinopoli) but there’s enough firepower out wide for that not to be a real issue. Against Hamilton at home he should fare quite well; he’s averaged just over 20 fantasy points against the Tiger-Cats this season. The Redblacks have the third highest implied team total of the slate (30.25) and Harris throws it 38+ times per game on average. He is definitely the safer of the two options at the position this weekend.
It’s been about a month since Matt Nichols has been a legitimate top fantasy quarterback, but even then here I am talking about him. Defenses have forced Nichols to throw over the top of them to stop Andrew Harris and thus we’ve seen Nichols struggle. In the past five games, we’ve seen his usage through the air drop significantly (29.2 attempts per game compared to 38.7 in the first 11 games) and him become ineffective on the ground. Even though the past five games represent about 31% of Nichols’ season, he has generated just 6% of his rushing yards during that time. Needless to say, I’m not a huge fan of this pick at all even if the projections say otherwise.
Jonathon Jennings is a cheap option to consider in tournaments, but because of DraftKings’ multi-entry structure recently (eight entry max for the $4 full slate contest), doesn’t warrant much more than a sprinkle of lineups. I’m thinking teaspoon levels at most of Jennings with him $300 more than Glenn. His matchup against Winnipeg on the road is below average.
Andrew Harris, WPG – $8,200
Jeremiah Johnson, BC – $7,200
Jerome Messam, CGY – $7,000
Tyrell Sutton, MTL – $6,700
Chris Rainey, BC – $6,400
Stefan Logan, MTL – $3,700
Ask Ben about the running backs this week and he’ll likely block you. There’s not a whole lot to like here; you can’t blame Ben for his hatred towards this weekend’s options. Let’s run through these options fairly quickly…
Andrew Harris is our highest projected option but because defenses are challenging Nichols to throw over the top of him Harris has been kept in check lately. His performance has dropped dramatically recently and it’s tough to warrant using Harris at his price tag of $8,200.
Jeremiah Johnson is the running back for a team that is nearly a touchdown underdog and isn’t consistently used in the passing game. While the Blue Bombers have slowed down this rushing attack in 2017, four of the past five games they’ve given up 115 or more rushing yards.
It’s not hard to dislike Jerome Messam this week (even though projections love him). He’s generated single-digit fantasy point totals in four of his past five games, one of those games against his opponent this week, Edmonton. Messam is rarely used in the passing game and just isn’t as effective nor as heavily used in the running game over the past five games.
Tyrell Sutton has been a check down monster in previous weeks, so there’s reason to believe he has value on this slate. He costs less than the “big three,” should be low owned and does have a touchdown in each of his last four contests.
A nice pivot to Sutton would be Chris Rainey, whose return skills have reemerged lately to give him a decent floor to go along with his usage in the passing game (four receptions per game in his past three).
The best way to go at this position may be just to punt it all together. If Sutton struggles on offense then I could see Stefan Logan fall into offensive usage to go along with his normal return opportunities. Unfortunately, the Riders are a very sound team on special teams, so his return yardage should be lower than usual.
Greg Ellingson, OTT – $8,900
Brandon Zylstra, EDM – $9,500
Duron Carter, SSK – $8,100
Derel Walker, EDM – $8,700
Diontae Spencer, OTT – $8,200
Bakari Grant, SSK – $6,900
Brandon Banks, HAM – $7,600
Chris Givens, WPG – $5,100
Christion Jones, SSK – $3,600
With Brad Sinopoli out for this weekend’s game, Greg Ellingson rates very well in our system. He’s the highest projected receiver for a number of reasons (matchup, implied team total, usage), but there is reason to be wary of him. He comes at a high cost ($8,900) and has shown games of limited production in 2017. Ellingson’s 2017 season can literally be considered average or phenomenal depending on the game. In 17 games this season, he has generated single digits just twice and 30+ fantasy points three times. The man rarely puts up over 2x his salary, but when he does, he does it big.
Brandon Zylstra not being the top-ranked received this week has to be because of his matchup against Calgary. The Stampeders are the best defense in the CFL and they’ve done a great job of shutting down teams through the air. Four of their past five games has resulted in less than 200 yards through the air. Those numbers are phenomenal no matter who they played during that span. For that reason, I like guys like Zylstra and Derel Walker, but can’t get too excited about them. They’re certainly worth using in tournaments but not at high rates.
Does anyone know what the heck is going on in Saskatchewan? Between pulling Glenn from games early and Duron Carter being thrown on defense, we’re just not sure what to think of this passing attack. It is being said that he’ll be used on both offense and defense this week, so his projections obviously takes a hit. He’s a risky tournament option and at his price tag really shouldn’t be used much at all unfortunately.
Another benefactor of Sinopoli being out this week (and a reason why I’m writing this week’s content and not Ben) is Diontae Spencer. He has regained his big-play ability over his past two games, scoring twice and averaging just under 31 yards per catch. With Sinpoli out, there are fewer mouths to feed and we should see an uptick in targets go Spencer’s way. Add that to his return ability and you’re looking at one of the safer options at receiver this weekend.
With Roosevelt out, Bakari Grant projects fairly high this weekend. He hasn’t come up huge but twice since week 12, but I love the price point and matchup. Grant shouldn’t come in too highly owned and is a nice player to pair up with Glenn on this slate. Keep an eye on Grant’s availability going into this weekend. He may be left off the starting lineup to rest him for the playoffs.
I’m not quite sure what Brandon Banks did to the projections for them to hate him, but I’ve added him here because of how great he’s been this past month. He’s gone for 100+ yards four straight times and added a touchdown in three of those games. The matchup against Ottawa is very good and he’s truly been one of the reasons why the Tiger-Cats aren’t so awful anymore. Consider Banks a very strong play this weekend.
When a player is used on offense and in the return game he becomes an automatic player to consider. When that player is priced in the $5,000s then he suddenly becomes a great play. Chris Givens is that man this week and while I don’t think he’ll explode for a huge game, he’s essentially one touchdown away from about four-times his cost in production. Last weekend he managed just four receptions for 41 yards, but came out of the week with 13.6 fantasy points thanks to his return skills.
If you’re looking to punt a receiver position this weekend then look no further than Christion Jones. Ben and I are both in the camp that he will be less than 10% owned and that’s something I’m looking to take advantage of in about 25% of our lineups. Three of his past four games resulted in double-digit fantasy points including two touchdowns. Pair him up with Sasktachewan’s defense and you have a good chance at double dipping.
Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Montreal $5300
Calgary Stampeders vs Edmonton – $4900
Sasktchewan’s defense goes up against the weak Montreal offense that has looked pretty pathetic over the past few months. Their return game has been pretty explosive in the past month (two return touchdowns in the past month) and has generated at least one turnover in every game since week six.
Calgary’s defense is the very best in the CFL and thus has generated nearly four fantasy points more than the next defense (Saskatchewan) in 2017. Their matchup isn’t the best as they go up against Edmonton, but Mike Reilly has looked very human at times this season.
Hopefully, I didn’t discourage you from playing this week’s DFS CFL action. Using this article and talking with Ben (@benyamen) or myself (@RealestChrisKay) on Twitter can keep us on the straight and narrow in week 19. Feel free to ask any CFL questions you may have as the slate draws nearer.