CFL Week 16 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!
Mike Reilly – EDM vs MTL – $11,300
If there are any high-priced locks that I would ever guarantee, this would be one of them. Especially on Canadian Thanksgiving day! Mike Riley is the highest price player on this slate by a good margin but that shouldn’t stop us from using the best QB in the CFL in an excellent matchup. As I always say with the Montreal Alouettes, simply looking at their average passing yards allowed per game does not tell the whole story. Montreal is a respectable fifth in the league, allowing 295.6 yards per game through the air, but what that doesn’t tell you is that this Montreal Alouettes team is generating the least amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If you’ve been reading or listening to me in the past month or two, you know that this is something I say every week that Montreal plays and that won’t change this week as they face the most aggressive pass attack in the CFL. It also doesn’t hurt Riley that the Alouettes are allowing the second most points per game at 30.4. And c’mon, this team needs a win desperately, so you know they’re going to try their best to beat the worst team in this league on Thanksgiving. It might be difficult to fit other talent into your line up with an $11,300 price tag, but I strongly urge you to roster Reilly anyway, especially in a cash game. I wouldn’t even try to get too cute and tournaments. It’ll be very hard for Mike Reilly not to achieve his tournament value this week.
Matt Nichols – WPG vs HAM – $10,900
If you’re looking for a safe quarterback play at a cheaper price than Mike Reilly, then Matt Nichols should be your guy. Last week, he disappointed against Edmonton, but that was to be expected. The first game that those two teams played should be considered an anomaly, where over a thousand yards were generated between the two teams. Last week’s game in Edmonton seemed more like the rule rather than the exception as Nichols threw for only 238 yards and two touchdowns against one of the strongest pass defenses in the league. This week, Matt Nichols gets to go up against Hamilton, the worst pass defense in the league that is allowing 345.8 yards per game through the air. The last time Winnipeg played Hamilton, the game was played in Hamilton, and Nichols home and road splits tell us he struggles on the road. That being said, the fact that Matt Nichols only threw for 267 yards in the last game against Hamilton should be considered his rock bottom floor in a matchup that’s so favorable to opposing quarterbacks. Those of you looking to fade Nickels should reconsider because even in an extremely favorable game script for Winnipeg, Nickles still saw 35 pass attempts giving him plenty of upside even in a blowout. I’m okay with the move in cash, but I am much higher on him in tournaments where he should be lower owned then the extremely consistent Mike Reilly.
Jeremiah Masoli – HAM vs WPG – $8,700
Believe it or not, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats still have a somewhat legitimate playoff chance this season. They are only two games back from the Ottawa Redblacks for second place in the Eastern Division. That is hard to believe given that Hamilton did not win a game until Labor Day weekend. All of that being said, I don’t think that Jeremiah Masoli is necessarily a bad play this week. In fact, I think he makes for an intriguing tournament play. My justification for this makes me want to delete my account already. First off, Masoli has been able to perform at least decently against some of the top pass defenses in the league. For example, last week against Toronto, he was able to generate 288 yards passing, two touchdowns while also running for 32 yards. If any of you have watched a Toronto Argonauts game this season that’s a pretty difficult feat to achieve. Second, it’s not as if Jeremiah Masoli is going up against a difficult defense this week as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the second worst pass defense in the league, allowing 321.8 yards per game. Not only that, but they also allow 89.8 yards on the ground as well. Last time these two teams met, Jeremiah Masoli had not been named the starting quarterback which is why the Hamilton Tiger-Cats seemed so inept on offense. This week, with a much more skilled quarterback and being in the midst of a playoff chase, I expect Masoli to perform well against Winnipeg. There’s no way I’m going to touch this guy in a cash game, but tournaments are a much different animal. I am very open to the idea of using Masoli in GPP lineups.
Andrew Harris – WPG vs HAM – $8,600
Every week, like clockwork, Andrew Harris always seems to be my top running back of the slate and the first guy that I write up. Harris is having an excellent season so it only makes sense that he is at the top of my list. Last week Harris ran for 54 yards and a touchdown while also catching nine passes for 81 yards and that is a pretty typical week for Andrew Harris. It is hard to justify fading a running back who’s being used as a running back, getting 11 carries per game, as well as being used like a wide receiver seeing 7.7 targets per game. Couple that with the fact that he gets one of the best defensive matches against Hamilton, who are allowing the fourth most rushing yards per game at 91.2. Yes, he is very expensive relative to other running backs, but I still can’t see the justification for fading a player who is essentially another top tier receiver in his own right. Fade at your own risk in all formats.
Trent Richardson – SSK vs TOR – $5,500
NFL legend Trent Richardson makes his debut this week for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and might be one of my favorite tournament value plays on the entire slate. Head coach, Chris Jones, said earlier this week that Richardson will be getting first-team reps throughout the week in practice. This leads me to believe that he should be getting a decent amount of carries in this game. Say what you want about Trent Richardson’s NFL career, he has quite a bit of experience in the NFL which I believe could lead to positive production in the CFL. Would I play him in cash? Probably not. I’m all in for tournaments, as a lot of people already have a negative image of Richardson, which should generate low ownership for a guy who could see starters carries.
C.J Gable – EDM vs MTL – $6,800
I’ll start off by saying that this is a tournament only play that could pay off well, especially with him potential ownership. Just last week, Gable had an insane game for Hamilton against the Toronto Argonauts, in which he ran the ball 18 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns. There are a lot of different reports on Twitter as to what Gables usage will be this week in his first game as an Edmonton Eskimo. Here is what we know for sure, Gable should get red zone carries against the worst run defense in the league. When I say worst defense against the run, I mean they allow almost 8 more yards per game than the next worst team against the run. I believe the ownership will be low on Gable this week because of the uncertainty of his usage as an Edmonton Eskimo. If you’re someone who wants to get on the +EV side of things, I would suggest using an explosive running back with low ownership against a bad run defense in Montreal.
Greg Ellingson – OTT vs BC – $8,500
Seeing on Twitter that Trevor Harris is suited up and practicing with the first-team again makes me extremely optimistic that he could play this week against the BC Lions. If Trevor Harris is going to be the quarterback for the Redblacks this week, then give me all of the Greg Ellingson. In the two games with Ryan Lindley as quarterback, Ellingson was only able to generate 109 yards and a touchdown despite seeing 19 targets. If it weren’t for Lindley’s poor quarterbacking skills, Ellingson probably would have been the nuts play in at least one of the past two weeks, if not both. The Ottawa Redblacks get a pretty decent passing matchup against the Lions, who are allowing 295.8 yards, the fifth most passing yards per game. It wouldn’t shock me at all if the Redblacks, who are very busy defending their second-place standing in the east, gave the ball to Ellingson a ton in this game as they try to stave off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ellingson is very cheap, $8,500, relative to his upside when Harris is his quarterback. Don’t be afraid to put Ellingson in your lineup this week, especially if we have confirmation that Trevor Harris will be the starting quarterback.
Luke Tasker – HAM vs WPG – $7,200
If you’re going to be insane enough and join me on my journey and use Jeremiah Masoli in tournaments this week, you might as well stack him with one of his receivers. While Jalen Saunders might be the more popular receiver for this spot, I believe Luke Tasker is the sharper play. First off, Saunders is $600 more than Tasker, giving you more lineup flexibility if you do roster Tasker over Saunders. Second, over the last three weeks, Jalen Saunders’ targets have been wildly inconsistent. Saunders has seen 13, 3, and 7 targets respectively over that span. In the same time frame, Tasker’s targets have been very consistent as he as seen 11, 12, and 10 in the same period of time. If I’m going to pay up for a receiver I want to make sure they are getting the maximum number of opportunities to score fantasy points and that’s just not something that you can guarantee with Jalen Saunders. If Saunders is going to be higher owned then Tasker this week, I’m all about fading Saunders in favor of Tasker especially for $600 less and more fantasy upside on a PPR site such as DraftKings.
Ernest Jackson – MTL vs EDM – $6,400
I am notorious for disliking the Montreal Alouettes but I don’t hate their entire team for fantasy purposes this week. Ernest Jackson is my favorite play overall from the Alouettes because I’ve still yet to hear word that Nik Lewis is practicing again. Last time out in a very difficult offensive matchup against the Calgary Stampeders, Ernest Jackson saw eight targets catching 6 of them for 73 yards. He did not get the almighty touchdown but he still saw the opportunities with Drew Willy at quarterback. I believe Luis will be out again this week so you can expect the targets to funnel to Ernest Jackson against the Edmonton pass defense that yes, is technically the top pass defense in the league statistically, but does have moments when they fail to do so. If you need a value play that will get targets, I suggest you go to Jackson who should see those opportunities with Lewis out of the line up again this week.
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! And of course, happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all!