CFL Week 14 Breakdown
What is going on #FamVice! This is going to be an exciting series of articles that I’ll be producing throughout the rest of the CFL season to get everyone up to speed for each week for the North of the Border football! These articles and my accompanying podcast will be more in-depth than my previous Slack Chat thoughts now that I am on a more stable platform. Through these two media channels, I will be able to give a much clearer picture of guys that I like and don’t like in a given week and most importantly, why I like or dislike those players. For the articles, I will be utilizing a position by position format and for the podcasts I will utilize a game by game approach. So without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff!
Ricky Ray – TOR vs MTL – $10,000
Ricky Ray stands out as one of my top quarterbacks of the week due to his matchup against my favorite defense in the league to pick on. Don’t allow Drew Tate’s 185 yd from last week fool you, that was an outlier in fantasy production vs. Montreal and simply a product of a lack luster quarterback. This week we get to target one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league and Ricky Ray, who ranks third in the CFL in passing yards this season.
Something that I’ve constantly stressed for the past few weeks is that Montreal does not generate any pressure against opposing quarterbacks and they allow QBs all the time in the world to make decisions in the pocket. Combine that with top level receiving talent that Ricky Ray has and the decision to play him gets even easier. I’m a fan of Ricky Ray in all formats this week. So go ahead and use him as you please.
Matt Nichols – WPG vs OTT – $10,600
Matt Nichols will probably be the quarterback who will be overlooked this week, despite a great matchup. Especially since you can get a quarterback in a seemingly better matchup, such as Ricky Ray, for $600 cheaper. On the surface, if you look at season-long defensive stats, it wouldn’t seem as if Matt Nichols has that great of a matchup this week against the Ottawa Redblacks. Just looking at the numbers, in the past four weeks the Redblacks went from being the second worst pass defense in the CFL to now having the fifth best pass defense. The Redblacks have added defensive talent that has improved their pass defense but this defense hasn’t really been tested over the past month. Ottawa has played the Montreal Alouettes and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats twice in this period of time and in the only game during the stretch where the Redblacks played a formidable offensive opponent (BC Lions), they struggled mightily against the pass. In fact, they allowed 329 yards through the air to a combination of Travis Lulay and Jonathan Jennings in a game they almost blew a three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter.
Given the proper context to the Ottawa Redblacks defensive stats, it’s easy to say now that Matt Nichols is in one of the better passing matchups this week. Especially since Nichols has thrown for an average of 317.5 yards in his last four games played. I’m okay with him in cash, but I’m really going after him and tournaments where I expect him to be much lower owned then other quarterbacks in this pricing tier. I’m definitely going to look the stack Matt Nichols with at least two of his receivers this week where I can in tournaments.
Ryan Lindley – OTT vs WPG – $8,200
This game is probably going to be my favorite to target in terms of fantasy point output on the slate. Because of that, I want to get exposure to Ryan Lindley this week.This is the same Ryan Lindley that is played for a plethora of NFL teams over the course of four seasons from 2012 – 2015. Players that have NFL experience prior to playing in the CFL tend to do very well as a result of all the time they spent in practice with NFL calibar talent. That is especially true for quarterbacks and it translates beautifully to the CFL. The only real sample size we have on Lindley is in the Ottawa Redblacks first preseason game against the Hamilton tiger-cats where he completed 16 of 25 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. He definitely looked solid after taking an entire year off from professional football and given that is our only data set for him in the CFL we’re going to have to take his pre-season action at face value.
This level of uncertainty though is something that I love targeting in tournaments. Lindley is the cheapest starting quarterback on the slate and he is going up against a Winnipeg Blue Bombers team that currently ranks second-worst in the CFL against the pass, allowing 338.4 passing yards per game. While I’m not touching Lindley in cash, I’m certainly going to go aggressive on him and tournaments where I know people will be scared off allowing us to hit the nutz!
Roy Finch – CGY vs SSK – $5,900
If Jerome Messam is unable to play this week, which seems to be likely given the injury report, I think Roy Finch becomes an excellent play. Finch hasn’t seen many opportunities running the ball this season, seeing only 20 carries so far on the year, but when he does get touches he’s averaging 5.25 yards-per-attempt. In addition to a potential uptick in carries, Finch will continue to be on kick and punt return duties where he has famously performed well. This is a big boost on DraftKings where players score fantasy points based on kick and punt return yardage on top of the upside they get for scoring a touchdown if they do so. The only real downside to Roy Finch this week is he’s going to be chalky but I’m okay with that given the number of opportunities that he should have to run the ball this week. It also doesn’t hurt that he is going up against Saskatchewan, the third worst rush defense in the who allows 91.7 yards per game on the ground. I’m rolling Roy Finch out and all contest formats. You can even double-dip with him by stacking him with the Calgary defense and allowing for maximum upside if Roy Finch scores a special teams touchdown this week.
Jeremiah Johnson – BC vs HAM – $7,700
Jeremiah Johnson finds himself in an excellent position this week as a 13-point favorite against one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Hamilton has been poor all season at defending the run, allowing 90 yards per game on the ground, which is good for fourth worst in the league. Last week, Johnson saw 9 carries in a 14 point loss to Calgary, which is a lot more than I would’ve expected in a game where they were losing by so much. The week before that, in a 41-18 blowout against the Montreal Alouettes, he saw a whopping 19 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns. So, we know that Jeremiah Johnson is definitely going to get the carries whether or not he is in a favorable game script or not but that number is a lot higher if BC is working with the lead as they should against the piss-poor Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Lock him into your roster in any format this week.
Andrew Harris – WPG vs OTT – $8,200
It would be impossible not to talk about the best fantasy running back in the league in what seems to be a very plus matchup. Andrew Harris is both the most expensive running back and a player who did not play last week so I expect his ownership will be lower then where it would be on a normal week. We know Harris is going to get plenty of carries as well as targets, since he has only see less than 5 targets in just four games this year. I’ve said this before, the Ottawa Redblacks defense is greatly overrated in large part due to the cupcake matchups that they’ve had over the past month. Andrew Harris will probably be in every single line up that I create this week because of the upside he possesses. I will caution that in the last matchup against Ottawa earlier in the season, he didn’t really excel, running the ball seven times for only 43 yards as well as catching three of four targets for 20 yards. I believe that will prove to be a one-time fluke as I don’t believe the Ottawa Redblacks defense is really talented enough to contain a high-octane receiving back such as Andrew Harris.
Darvin Adams – WPG vs OTT – $7,400
There’s a good number of receiving options on both sides of this game but my favorite one has to be Darvin Adams. Oddly enough, since Weston Dressler’s return to the lineup, Adams’ targets have actually been on the up. In their last game against Saskatchewan Adams saw 10 targets and I expect that number to stay consistent again this week against Ottawa. Remember, Ottowa has an overrated pass defense and some players will be scared off Adams due to the defensive ranking they see on Draftkings. Don’t be fooled, I’m very comfortable with Darvin Adams in this spot at this price tag of 7400.
S.J Green – TOR vs MTL – $9,300
If I’m going to call Ricky Ray one of the top quarterbacks of the week then I certainly am going to pair one of his receivers with him. So, why not have that receiver be the top in the CFL this season, and of course, the most targeted. I know, Green does have a ridiculously high price tag of 9300, but I think it’s justified given that Montreal has absolutely no one that can stop the passing attack in anyway. Ricky Ray should be able to essentially do anything he wants this week and that includes throwing the ball to SJ Green as many times as possible. You could certainly pivot to other Toronto receivers in your lineups, and I wouldn’t fault you for doing so. But if you are going to stack one of these receivers with Ricky Ray, I just think it should be the best receiver in the league.
Bakari Grant – SSK vs CGY – $6,500
If Duron Carter is unable to play this week due to the sprained ankle that he suffered during last weeks game, then I want a piece of Bakari Grant. Last week while Duron Carter was on the sidelines for most of the game, Grant saw 8 targets and caught 6 of them for 71 yards and a touchdown. These are definitely the opportunities we want to see from a receiver that were rostering in tournament formats. I expect the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be playing from behind throughout this game which should only boost Grant’s upside further. It is true, Saskatchewan is playing a very difficult Calgary Stampeders defense, but they are going to need to throw the ball in an attempt to stay competive. So, while I don’t see Bakari Grant as a cash game play by any means, he can certainly work for you in a tournament with or without Duron Carter in the line up. Embrace the variance!
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, direct them to me on either the slack chat, or my Twitter @Echeney17. Good luck in your contests this week!