CFL DFS Week 5: The Great Grigsby
Week five of the CFL is here and while I’m excited for our first week of Monday Night (Canadian) Football, there’s a lot going on these days in the league. Injuries around the CFL have had major Fantasy implications around the league. Let’s take a look at what I mean, starting with the Vegas totals for this week.
Ottawa – 30.5
Edmonton – 30
Calgary – 27.5
Toronto – 25.5
Saskatchewan – 25
Hamilton – 25
Winnipeg – 22
Montreal – 19.5
1. Trevor Harris, Ottawa
2. Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary
3. Mike Reilly, Edmonton
4. Mitchell Gale, Saskatchewan
5. Jeremiah Masoli/Zach Collaros, Hamilton
Last week Trevor Harris didn’t throw one single touchdown pass, yet he still managed 26 Fantasy points. This shows you just how safe he is at this position and why he should always be the top option. As a starter, he has thrown for 392, 396 and 395 passing yards with seven total touchdowns. The Redblacks have the highest total of the slate (30.5) and he has an elite group of receivers around him. Don’t overthink this one. If you can afford Harris then you use him.
Bo Levi Mitchell has seen this Winnipeg defense before and did quite well for himself. He threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns for a total of 25.36 Fantasy points in week two of this season. I’m a huge fan of him in this matchup because he’s $1,400 less than Harris, making him a great option in cash games. If you’re not comfortable with your lineup with Harris under center then you can move down to Mitchell and lock yourself into mid-20 Fantasy points in this matchup.
Canadian Vegas has shown us this week that they don’t care about Hamilton’s great defense by giving Edmonton an implied total of 30 points. Mike Reilly has been a star this season and he has receivers around him in Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker to make his life easy. With his price so similar to Harris, he is a great pivot in tournaments. In cash games, I’d rather just pay the $100 more and roster Harris.
It doesn’t sound like Darian Durant will be lacing up the cleats this week against Ottawa and because of that, Mitchell Gale will be under center for Saskatchewan. He played very well after Durant was injured last week, throwing for 247 yards and one touchdown. He comes at a significant price discount from every option on the board (no Jonathon Jennings this week) and makes for a great way to easily fit Chris Williams or Adarius Bowman. Ottawa’s defense ranks third best in yards per attempt, but Gale has the weapons around him to make his mid-7k price tag work.
Jeremiah Masoli holds down the fifth position in the rankings (only because it would be weird to list just four quarterbacks). I can see Masoli being used in multi-entry tournaments because of Hamilton’s desire to throw the ball non-stop and the matchup, but the truth is, Masoli has been unimpressive recently. Zach Collaros could start this week, so be on the lookout for that. Whoever starts at quarterback this week for Hamilton should be considered a tournament only option.
1. Nic Grigsby, Ottawa
2. Brandon Whitaker, Toronto
3. Jerome Messam, Calgary
4. Andrew Harris, Winnipeg
5. John White, Edmonton
Nic Grigsby has blossomed as the starter for Ottawa and while he isn’t likely to blow up for 25-30 Fantasy points in any week, he’s a very safe player at his current price tag ($5,900). In his first two weeks with the team, he has generated 14.3 and 14.4 Fantasy points. Of all running backs playing this week, he has the lowest price per touch rate at just $357. His 16.5 touches per game is an impressive number and he should be heavily owned with Ottawa’s implied total sitting at 30.5.
Brandon Whitaker has seen an uptick in touches since his flimsy week one performance, but because of that performance, we’re still seeing a slight decrease in price. I love his recent usage (six targets or more in three straight games) and the game script should allow for Whitaker to see plenty of carries. Montreal’s 5.15 yards per carry is third worst in the CFL.
Calgary has already faced Winnipeg this season and in that game, Jerome Messam broke out for 137 rushing yards on just 16 carries. I love his potential in a game where he should be featured (5.5-point favorites). He’s weak in the passing game, only seeing 2.3 targets per game, so I’m going to shy away from him in cash games, but I love him in tournaments where people will be turned off by his usage rates.
This week’s slate tends to make you want to pay down at running back. Because of that, we should see Andrew Harris and John White with low ownership rates. Harris is a solid contributor on offense thanks to his receiving skills alone (almost 13 Fantast points per game through the air), but likely won’t see a lot of rushing statistics this week. I’m not worried about his rushing statistics, but love the high floor he possesses in this matchup against Calgary. John White is a running back I’ll own little of this week with Harris being priced similar and Grigsby being so cheap. White has a high team total (30), but he’s not a huge target in the passing game when compared to Harris.
Wide Receiver (High Priced)
1. Adarius Bowman, Edmonton
2. Chris Williams, Ottawa
3. Marquay McDaniel, Calgary
4. Greg Ellingson, Ottawa
5. Weston Dressler, Winnipeg
6. Naaman Roosevelt, Saskatchewan
7. Chad Owens, Hamilton
8. Derel Walker, Edmonton
9. Duron Carter, Montreal
10. Vidal Hazelton, Toronto
The top two receivers in this slate are head and shoulders above the rest. Adarius Bowman and Chris Williams have elite talent and if you can afford either one then they’re worth using. If I’m picking one then I’m going with Bowman. You can read more about it here, but Bowman is the safer option in cash games because of a lower price tag and a target rate that is 2.7 targets higher than Williams. Edmonton has a touch matchup against Hamilton, but Vegas doesn’t seem to have an issue with it, as their team total is just .5 points lower than Ottawa.
After the top two receivers, it’s a tough decision between Marquay McDaniel, Greg Ellingson, Weston Dressler and Naaman Roosevelt. McDaniel has a great target rate (8.3 targets per game) and has the second most targeted receiver on the team doubtful for this week’s matchup (Joe West). Ellingson is ranked fourth because of the team’s high total and his recent performances (33.8 and 22.1 Fantasy points). I could easily see Williams and Ellingson produce 20+ Fantasy point performances this week.
Dressler is a huge target for me this week in tournaments because of his likely usage against Calgary. He missed the game against them earlier this season, but has averaged nine targets per game since returning from injury. Winnipeg’s offense doesn’t stretch the field yet and that’s why we find him ranked 5th to go along with a $7,100 price tag this week.
Naaman Roosevelt is a great tournament option this week, as he has been targeted a ridiculous amount this season (10.7 per game, second best in the CFL), but only saw five targets in week three. He also has a new quarterback starting for him this week (Gale), so there is risk in this pick. Considering his 12 targets last week with Gale playing more than half the game, I love Roosevelt in tournaments.
Chad Owens’ $882 per target rate is top 15 in the CFL and with a matchup against Edmonton (third worst in yards per attempt), it’s hard not to like him in this matchup. Jeremiah Masoli has struggled in multiple games so far this season, but he has always targeted Owens while he’s been under center (8.5 targets per game).
Derel Walker possesses the most talent of the bottom three in my receiver rankings, but his price is so high I’m looking to fade him outside of tournaments. The same goes for Duron Carter and Vidal Hazelton. Carter and Hazelton have injuries mixing up their situations as Kevin Glenn, the Montreal quarterback has been out, but is likely to play. Tori Gurley missed last week’s game for Toronto but is likely back this week. If Gurley is back this week then consider Hazelton useless, but if he’s out then Hazelton has a great matchup against the worst defense when it comes to yards per attempt (10.41 yards).
Wide Receiver (Value)
1. Tiquan Underwood, Hamilton
2. Jace Davis, Winnipeg
3. Cory Watson, Edmonton
4. Ricky Collins, Saskatchewan
5. Kenny Shaw, Toronto
6. Anthony Parker, Calgary
Tiquan Underwood is the top receiver when it comes to price per target this week, as we discussed in my week five strategy article. He has seen plenty of targets in the end zone and is averaging 6.7 targets per game. At just $4,1000 this week, I’m looking to take advantage of a “down season” out of him (9.3 Fantasy points per game) and think he’ll be great against a weak Edmonton secondary.
Jace Davis disappointed last week (3/30/0), but has another chance at proving his worth this week. Ryan Smith, the typical number two/three receiver in this offense (6.5 targets per game), is out for this one, so it would be hard to imagine Davis doesn’t see an increase in looks this week.
Cory Watson has had two great weeks in a row and with a matchup against a tough Hamilton defense, I love him against the lesser defenders from the Tigers-Cats. His price tag sits at just $4,600 and he is seeing over five targets per game. Last week he scored once, but also saw a touchdown overruled due to penalty.
Ricky Collins, Kenny Shaw and Anthony Parker are all great options out wide but come with some risk. Collins is seeing plenty of targets (6.7 targets per game), but is missing his starting quarterback. Shaw will be a legitimate top three value receiver if Tori Gurley is out, but we might not know that information until it’s too late. Finally, Parker is likely see an uptick in targets this week against Winnipeg, but has a difficult matchup against former teammate, Chris Randle. He saw eight targets last week compared to three per game over his first two games of the season. Please note Parker missed practice Monday, so if you want to roster him, you need to monitor his health.
1. Toronto Argonauts
2. Ottawa Redblacks
3. Calgary Stampeders
The Toronto Argonauts are a defense I’ve been a fan of since week two of this season and they’ve done well since, averaging nine Fantasy points per game. This week they face a Montreal offense that will be missing Tyrell Sutton, SJ Green and Kenny Stafford giving them a huge leg up on other defenses in the league. Kevin Glenn, the Montreal QB, will likely be back, but I’ve never been a big fan of his.
The Ottawa Redblacks have been a solid (not great), but their performances against weaker offenses makes them a great option at near minimum price in week five. Against below average offenses (Toronto and Montreal), the Redblacks generated 10 Fantasy points per game. Against two great offenses, the Redblacks averaged two Fantasy points per game. This week they face a Saskatchewan offense that is likely without their quarterback (Durant) and one of their top four receivers (Chambers).
Calgary’s defense is one you’ll definitely want to consider in tournaments. They are the best team in the CFL when it comes to passing yards per attempt (7.34) and are middle of the pack when it comes to rushing yards per carry (4.7). Winnipeg has the second lowest total of the slate (22) and if you have the salary to afford it then Calgary is the safest defense on the board.