This is the end beautiful friend … of our elaborate plans, the end. I can still remember the day I was driving the family home from school six months ago, with a van full of screaming kids and a heart full of the dark hopelessness that inhabits all parents around the end of May. And then a voice came on the radio saying that the CFL had signed a one year partnership with DraftKings to create a CFL offering for DFS. It didn’t stop the egregious noise in the back bench, but it did create a force field of hope that deflected its effects from me for a brief moment in time as I basked in the realization that my dreams had come true. It has been an interesting season learning what the Canadian game plays like for DFS purposes, and despite the difficulties in pricing, availability of players, and prize pools, it has been an awful lot of fun. Thanks to all of you in the Forum and on twitter who have made this a wonderful ride for both Chris and I.
WEEKLY NFL PROJECTIONS | DST | KICKERS | TARGETS | CARRIES | RED ZONE | HISTORICAL | SNAPS | DEFENSE
This final week of CFL contests on DraftKings figures to be most likely the weirdest of the bunch given the implications of the playoffs for the playing time of starters on many teams. All of Winnipeg, BC and Edmonton figure to be running out their stars at full strength given then all have playoff seeding to play for. The caveat is this: If Winnipeg wins on Friday Edmonton likely sits their stars, and Winnipeg loses on Friday BC will likely sit their stars. There will be clarity eventually, but until then it’s all a pretty iffy slate. Ottawa and Hamilton on the other hand are in the playoffs and their placements are set regardless of this weeks’ outcomes. I would be surprised if their starters got much, if any, run on the day. On the bottom end of the pile are Montreal, Toronto, and Saskatchewan who may spend significant time playing young reserves as they try to evaluate talent for next season now that this one is lost for them. Much of this was already the case last week when Saskatchewan turned to a rotation at quarterback with Durant and Waters sharing duties. It has already been confirmed that G.J. Kinne will get significant playing time for the Riders. As of Wednesday, there are still two games this weekend that don’t even have announced betting lines. Frankly folks, you’d be foolish to play any cash games this week. Lineup overlap for any reliable options will be massive. Stick to GPP’s like the Season Finale Special, lock in some solid options, and then speculate on some of the uncertain pieces from the other games. I hope to give you the clearest picture I can here, but it’s going to be a weekend where you’ll have to keep a close eye on twitter and the forums to make lineup adjustments as more details become available. WE’RE ON TO THE TOTALS!
PROJECTED TEAM TOTALS
- Winnipeg – 25.75
- Ottawa – 25.75
- Hamilton – 25.25
- Montreal – 21.75
- Edmonton –
- BC – TBD
- Saskatchewan – TBD
- Toronto – TBD
Mike Reilly – 11400
Jonathan Jennings – 9700
Matt Nichols – 7800
It seems that this week there’s a good chance that the teams not playing for playoff positioning will be using rotations at the quarterback position. Saskatchewan and Ottawa have already indicated that is the case, and it’s hard to see Hamilton or Toronto risking anything happening to their oft injured starters in a meaningless game. That basically leaves you with Rakeem Cato. I have nothing more to say about him that I haven’t already expounded for the past ten weeks.
Mike Reilly is dreadfully expensive, but he has the highest upside of any quarterback this week. I think it may be more of a John White week given that Toronto has the worst rush defence in the league, but Edmonton does run the second most pass attempts per game in the CFL so Reilly is still a great option against a pretty hopeless Argonauts defence with nothing to play for at the end of a bitterly disappointing season.
The other real option at QB this week is priced much more reasonably and arguably has just as high a ceiling as Reilly, but reaches it much less frequently. Jonathan Jennings has been pretty unpredictable this season with scores ranging from 7 to 40 DK points. On the upside, his 40 point performance did come against this weeks opponent, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Riders defence has been much improved over the past month, but still has the leagues worst yards per pass defence. In a week where Saskatchewan may be rotating in a number of reserves for evaluation, it’s a good bet that BC will find some big plays in the secondary…
[sociallocker]Matt Nichols is the Trent Dilfer of the CFL. He’s not exciting and he’s not much fun to watch but his production has been painfully consistent throughout the season scoring between 20-25 DK points in seven of the past eight weeks. His job is merely to try to not lose the game and hope that his defence can score multiple touchdowns to win it. His ceiling is low, but his floor is exceedingly high for his price tag. If you want to lock in multiple high priced receivers, Nichols is unlikely to be the salary relief bum that loses it for you.
John White – 8000
Brandon Whitaker – 7300
Mossis Madu – 6100
Joe McKnight – 5400
CJ Gable – 5300
John White is the second highest priced option this week at a position that it rarely pays to pay up for. However, he draws the a defence this week with no pride to play for and is also the worst unit of its kind against running backs in the league. He’s certainly come back down to earth after posting weeks of 40 and 35 DK points, but he has the highest upside of any RB this week and gets the league’s best matchup. In tournaments, he checks all the boxes.
After John White, it’s really pretty hard to predict which RB’s will get significant playing time. Brandon Whitaker the most targeted back in the league in the passing game, needing only five more this week to eclipse one hundred on the season, and he’s in a position where his team will likely be playing from behind and passing all game. He’s priced a lot higher than I’d like, but makes an interesting pivot from White. That being said, given his age, Toronto may rotate in some other backs in the game and hope to keep him uninjured going into next season.
Looking into the bottom tier of pricing options, Mossis Madu, Joe McKnight, and CJ Gable all make interesting options but again, have a lot of uncertainty regarding their playing time due to injury woes and playoff implications. They are all tournament viable if we get clarification around their playing time as the week wears on. McKnight has been exceptional in a small sample size but is coming off a concussion, and Gable saw a massive influx of targets last week after the loss of Andy Fantuz in the passing game. If McKnight or Gable are revealed to be sitting, it’s safe to just ignore their replacements. If however Madu sits, Travon Van ($3900) or Keinan LaFrance ($3800) could be interesting punt options for Ottawa.
Adarius Bowman – 10800
Emmanuel Arceneaux – 9800
Derel Walker – 9500
Darvin Adams – 6800
Kenny Shaw – 5900
Brad Sinopoli – 5500
Brandon Zylstra – 4300
Injuries to many of the league’s top receivers along with the bye week for Calgary leave our receiving options mighty limited. It’s like trying to find a frozen pizza made without trans-fat: You believe it must exist, but when you do find one it doesn’t really look like anything you’d actually want. With top options like Chris Williams, Naaman Roosevelt, Luke Tasker, Chad Owens, DaVaris Daniels, Kamar Jorden, and Duron Carter all unavailable due to injury, bye week, or generalized degeneracy it’s hard to find much to get excited about at receiver that won’t also be 50%+ owned. Like I said, there is going to be an awful lot of lineup overlap this week. If you are building just one lineup I wouldn’t take chances. Just hope that you can be a part of splitting first place with fifty other players. If you’re playing multi-entry than build a core of solid bets and then take a chance with some iffy plays in the second flex spot.
Adarius Bowman is the highest targeted receiver in the league, has plenty to play for, and has a good matchup. I’d be surprised if he isn’t over 50% owned this week. That being said, you should probably still be a part of that group. He’s exceptionally consistent and has as high a ceiling as any player. His price exceeds his production, but given the other options, he’s one of a few high priced options that will likely anchor most lineups.
Emmanuel Arceneaux is priced a $1000 cheaper than Bowman and has a slightly better matchup making him my favorite high priced receiver this week. He gets a couple fewer opportunities per game than Bowman or Walker, getting 8 targets a game to their 9-10, but he catches more touchdowns and touchdowns win tournaments. In multi-entry situations you should likely have some of all three in lineups, but if you’re building a single lineup, I like Arceneuax’s chances to score just a little more than Bowman or Walker.
The aforementioned Derel Walker is pretty clearly the 1B option to Bowman’s 1A, but he’s still the second highest targeted receiver in the CFL and a good tournament option in a week with so much uncertainty. He comes $1300 cheaper than his counterpart and has been the more mercurial but more productive of the player over the past month. Most players looking to roster an Eskimos receiver will like stack Reilly/Bowman. I don’t think Walker will be much less owned, but narrative street will likely leave him a slightly less owned tournament option.
In his first game back from injury last week, Darvin Adams had 14 targets. I don’t necessarily expect 14 targets again this week, but it’s certainly not out of the question given that he’s averaged nearly 10 targets per game on the season. He draws a matchup with an increasingly porous Ottawa secondary with nothing to play for and which more than likely may rest some starters. In a game that could let Winnipeg clinch their first home playoff game in forever, Adams is a great value and a great upside play.
Kenny Shaw is the somewhat inexplicably underpriced and underappreciated top receiving option through a tumultuous Toronto season. He started the season as the fourth or fifth option on what seemed like a stacked Argos receiving core, he emerged after injuries to star receivers, he regressed due to poor quarterback play and the return of star players, and now has come back to some value after seemingly all his competition for targets was cut a few weeks back. He’s far from a lock for production, but he certainly has 4x upside in a good matchup against Edmonton.
I’ll take this opportunity for one last plea for sanity in decrying the indefensible $7900 price tag of Diontae Spencer. I shall now retire to rock in front of my fire place for the next six months of eternal winter here in Canada, or as we locals call it, Narnia. Hopefully I will come out of hibernation in June and see that Spencer has been priced at $5000 like he deserves and I’ll believe it was all just a bad dream.
Brad Sinopoli is probably the fourth best receiver in Ottawa and has a relatively low ceiling most weeks. Apart from one miraculous night in Regina, he’s been generally unexciting. That being said, he has one special thing going for him this week: He’s Canadian. While Ottawa may rest a number of starters this week including imports Ernest Jackson and Greg Ellingson, Sinopoli is a Canadian and thus almost guaranteed playing time because of the Canadian ratio rules. The Winnipeg secondary gives up a lot of yards, and increasingly, a lot of points, and as such at least one receiver for Ottawa is still likely to rack up some yards and a touchdown despite having little to play for in the standings. I like Sinopoli’s opportunity, price tag, and matchup a lot this week as a lesser owned tournament play.
Like his teammates Bowman and Walker, Zylstra is likely to be highly owned this week due to a lack of options due to game situations, but also because he represents an extremely low price tag at a position with few other cheap options. Since returning from injury, Zylstra has become the clear third option in a high paced passing offence, racking up ten targets last week alone. In a good matchup, playing for one of the few teams that will care about winning this week, Zylstra will likely be hard to avoid if you want to roster a higher priced receiver, quarterback and running back.
Lions – 5500
Blue Bombers – 5300
Alouettes – 4800
When it comes to picking a defence, my strategy has generally been to pick on the matchup against the worst quarterback of the week, and that has served me well this season. This week however, there will be many bad quarterbacks to pick on so there will be a number of options to consider. Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Hamilton, Montreal, and Toronto all may be starting backups or using a rotation of quarterbacks. With that many poor pivots in play, it’s likely a week in which a defence that creates a high number of turnovers and scores a touchdown will win the week.
The Lions ran through the turnstiles playing line for the Riders last week and had seven sacks. G.J. Kinne will likely increase the probability they will create a few interceptions as well this week. They are the top priced option where I’d usually like to spend down but are certainly in play.
The Blue Bombers have increasingly given up a lot of points to add to the yards they’ve given up all season, but still have a very high ceiling due to the risks they take to create turnovers. With their matchup against the RedBlacks backup QB’s with nothing to play for, I like their chances for multiple interceptions and as good a shot as any team to score a defensive touchdown.
And finally, if you really want to spend down at the position, the Alouettes are a very talented defence that may get one last shot against the Ti-Cat Turnover Machine, Jeremiah Masoli, if Hamilton chooses to rest Collaros for the playoffs. They are defence filled with dirty cheap shot artists, but they are a good bet to create multiple turnovers and have an outside shot at scoring a touchdown because of it.
Well that does it for week 20. We’ll certainly have updates on Twitter and in the Forum as more lineup details become available later in the week, but hopefully this gives you some good direction to start your process. If the CFL returns for a second season on DraftKings in June of 2017, you know where to find me. With the CFL wrapping up for this season though, come check out our NBA premium offering here on DailyRoto. The season meshes nicely with the start and stop of the CFL season, and frankly, Drew and Mike are as good as it gets for NBA projections and strategy. I’ll be chronicling my journey in learning the ropes of NBA DFS in a weekly article here starting next week, and I invite you to join me for the ride!
Thanks for spending the CFL season with Chris and I, and I hope you enjoy the playoffs!
WEEKLY NFL PROJECTIONS | DST | KICKERS | TARGETS | CARRIES | RED ZONE | HISTORICAL | SNAPS | DEFENSE