CFL DFS Week 4: Ottawa(nna) Fade Chris Williams
This week my picks article will be done a little differently than in week’s past. Instead of going game by game, I’ll be going by position. With the emergence of multiple value options, there are many ways to go about constructing your lineup. This format allows for me to discuss who to build your lineups around and who can be used in tournaments as pivot options.
What Canadian Vegas Says
Ottawa (-1) at Toronto – Total: 53
Edmonton (-3.5) at Winnipeg – Total: 52.5
Hamilton (-1) at Montreal – Total 47
BC at Saskatchewan (-2) – Total 50
1. Trevor Harris, OTT
2. Mike Reilly, EDM
3. Jeremiah Masoli, HAM
4. Drew Willy, WPG
5. Darian Durant, SSK
Trevor Harris is the top choice for a few big reasons. He’s the most expensive quarterback on the board, so it’s important that he is consistent and has upside. Harris has both as he has thrown for 395 and 396 yards to go with three touchdown passes in his two starts. He also has a receiver group that is among the very best in the CFL. He should be a lock for more of the same this week against Toronto, whose defense has given up 288, 310 and 318 passing yards through three games this season. Mike Reilly comes in as a close second, but doesn’t save you enough in salary relief to rank him over Harris. Like Ottawa, Edmonton has an elite receiving group that provides an unfair advantage in league with receivers always in motion and fields a mile wide. In cash games, Harris and Reilly are the only quarterbacks I’ll be considering.
Zach Collaros from Hamilton was taken off the six-game IR Monday, but he won’t be starting in week 4. Instead, Jeremiah Masoli gets one last chance to impress this week. If you’re deciding to move down a tier from Harris or Reilly in cash games then it should be for Masoli and the salary relief he provides at this position. He does carry some risk (seven turnovers over the last two games), but has thrown for 311 yards per game. Montreal has only forced four turnovers through two games and is giving up 349 passing yards per game.
Drew Willy is one of the lowest priced starters of the slate and while I won’t be using him this week, you can easily make a case for him. First, he has been extremely accurate so far this season, completing 72% of passes or better in every game. He also has an underrated receiving group that is brand new to the offense. Using Willy allows for some extreme roster flexibility and because of that, you may consider him to be worth the risk in tournaments. My favorite tournament quarterback last week, Darian Durant, showed up big, throwing for four touchdowns and 317 yards. This made for the second game in a row where he threw for 300+ yards. BC’s defense has yet to give up more than 285 yards passing this season, making this a very tough matchup for Durant.
1. John White, EDM
2. Andrew Harris, WPG
3. Anthony Allen, BC
4. Brandon Whitaker, TOR
5. Nic Grigsby, OTT
John White is my absolute favorite running back option and should be considered your top running back in all formats this week. He has generated 20.3 and 26.9 Fantasy points in his first two contests because of his usage in all facets of the offense. White has averaged 14 carries and 4.5 receptions per game, so he’s clearly a go-to option in cash games. Of all 7k Flex players this week, he’s the player I’d bet on generating 20+ Fantasy points. With an average of seven receptions per game, Andrew Harris is a very safe option in week 4. His usage in the passing game has led him to his second overall ranking in total yards (not including return yardage) this season with 324.
Anthony Allen really impressed last week, marking the second time a running back has rushed for 100+ yards this season. He even added value through the air, catching three passes for 32 yards and one touchdown. Saskatchewan had trouble stopping John White on the ground last week (17/96/1), so all signs point to a green light. We haven’t heard much from Jeremiah Johnson, the previously starting running back, but as long as he is out then I am full go on Allen this week. Brandon Whitaker didn’t see many touches in week one (six), but he has seen an increase since. If you look at his last two games, he’s averaging 17.5 touches per game. Toronto has won those two games with Whitaker having an increased role, so here’s to hoping that happens again this week.
Nic Grigsby went from dominating at a KIA down in Florida (he says he was a top 10 KIA salesmen) to dominating in the CFL, combining for 103 total yards in his first week back in the CFL. Yes, he’s been in the CFL before. In fact, he has been cut four times from the CFL. If you add in the fact he missed multiple plays last week tending to a plethora of minor injuries, he’s one I’ll look to only in tournaments this week.
Wide Receivers (High Priced)
1. Chris Williams, OTT
2. Adarius Bowman, EDM
3. Derel Walker, EDM
4. Chad Owens, HAM
5. Duron Carter, WPG (If not suspended)
6. Andy Fantuz, HAM
7. Luke Tasker, HAM
8. Brad Sinopoli, OTT
9. Greg Ellingson, OTT
10. Tori Gurley, TOR
My top three receivers are fairly obvious for good reason. Chris Williams has been easily the number one player in fantasy football, averaging 41.1 Fantasy points this season, while Adarius Bowman has been unreal as well, averaging 31.9 Fantasy points per game. I am a huge fan of Bowman (I even bought his jersey last week) but there’s no way I go Bowman over Williams in cash games in week 4. Derel Walker had a lame game his last time out (5/51/0), but if you watched the game then you know why. Edmonton was forced into looking at John White and the Eskimos’ number three and four receivers early and often. This caused Walker to be neglected like a girlfriend during NFL season. I can’t see this becoming a trend, and while I’d rather pay up for a cash game receiver over paying $9,700 for Walker, he does make for an elite tournament option at the receiver position this week.
Hamilton receivers hold three of the next four slots in my rankings. Chad Owens is the guy I’m looking at the most because of his upside (two touchdown catches) and the fact that he’s tied for the lead in targets (29) with Chris Williams. And wouldn’t you know it? Luke Tasker and Andy Fantuz are third and fourth in terms of targets this season with 26 and 25, respectively. Fantuz will cost you significantly less, and because Tasker has yet to score a touchdown this season, I’d rather just go with Fantuz. Duron Carter is a much safer version of Derel Walker as he is the clear number one for the Alouettes (and it isn’t even close). Make sure to keep an eye on his status for week four.
The final three grouping is Brad Sinopoli, Greg Ellingson and Tori Gurley. They all make for fine options, but serve best as tournament options because of where they fall in terms of pricing. Sinopoli is the returning “Most Outstanding Canadian” and has shown why this season. He is averaging just under 82 yards per game and is doing it with 6.7 receptions on average. Ellingson was used early and often against the Stampeders last week and ended with his first 100+ yard game of the season. He’s averaging 74 receiving yards per game this season. Tori Gurley is an interesting option for tournaments because he’s priced similarly to many great options and should be very low owned. He caught his first touchdown of the season against a tough BC defense and has led the Argonauts in targets two of the three games played this season.
Wide Receivers (Value Plays)
1. Nik Lewis, MTL
2. Ricky Collins, SSK
3. Jace Davis, WPG
4. Cory Watson, EDM
5. Tiquan Underwood, HAM
Nik Lewis is not your typical receiver. With multiple injuries to the Alouettes receiver group, he won’t suddenly become the number one receiver, but will continue to retain his place as a safe haven for Kevin Glenn and Rakeem Cato. Lewis is big for a wide receiver and he’s used very effectively in the offense. He should be considered a solid cash game option in week 4. Ricky Collins is the receiver I’m looking at in terms of value for Saskatchewan. The Roughriders have multiple options out wide, but Collins has been a key target through two weeks, with 8-9 targets last week and six targets in week one. His salary is very attractive and while I don’t think he blows up for 20+ Fantasy points this week, he could very easily catch 6-7 passes for 75-80 yards.
Jace Davis is a safer option at the receiver position that could get overlooked considering how Ricky Collins and Cory Watson performed last week. When Weston Dressler went down in week one, Davis seemed to be the main beneficiary with seven targets. Dressler was healthy last week and saw eight targets, yet Davis still saw nine targets (tied for most this week with Ryan Smith). While Davis should be considered a safe option, he doesn’t have much upside – Drew Willy has just four touchdown passes through three games.
Cory Watson saw just two targets in week one, but then blew up for 7/118/0 in week three. He’s more than worthy of consideration this week, but keep in mind that many of his targets came around the line of scrimmage. He’s a bigger receiver (6’3, 211) that has been used in play action and check down opportunities recently. While Edmonton could be forced to check down plenty this week, I believe his recent usage was a result of Saskatchewan trying to take away Bowman and Walker – not because Edmonton was strategically vying to get Watson more involved in the football game.
Tiquan Underwood could’ve had a monster game this past weekend, but dropped a sure touchdown against Winnipeg. Even then, he had a very respectable game, catching five passes for 56 yards against the Blue Bombers. The Tiger-Cats have been a pretty top heavy target team, but for the past two weeks, Underwood has seen six and seven targets out of 37 and 36 total attempts. Those numbers aren’t great for a receiver, but when you consider Underwood’s price tag, he’s more than acceptable in multi-entry formats.
Hamilton’s defense should be considered the best this week. Key contributors are out on the Montreal offense which reaffirms Hamilton as the top defense. Due to pricing, however, they aren’t a must play. If you have salary cap space then they are certainly worth the price tag in cash games. Otherwise I don’t mind fading them in week 4.
Montreal’s defense has done well this season even though they have faced Ottawa and Winnipeg. On average, they are scoring 10 Fantasy points per game and while there is nothing all that exciting about the group, they are the second cheapest option facing a Hamilton offense that only wants to pass the football, making them very predictable.
BC’s defense has yet to allow a 300-yard passer and is giving up less than 70 yards per game on the ground. They draw a Saskatchewan team that showed its struggles on the ground last week against Edmonton. They were elite the first two weeks of the season and while they struggled against Toronto in week three, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in tournaments this week.