With training camps and pre-season in full swing and the regular season just over a week away, we can start to look forward to the one thing that can make or break your weekend…Fantasy Football. TSN is back with their weekly based game and once again, the 2 and Out League will be up and running, with the entry cost of a few Timbits of course.
I know we tend to go on tangents that include myself getting out of jury duty, random food escapades, my drunken adventures, and then there’s the obscure references that only a handful of you get but the main idea every week is to try to focus on the fantasy football aspect of this great league. We’re not professionals by any means and 70% of the time, we’re WAAAAYYYY off but hey, that’s the fun of it all.
I spend a lot of time entering data and crunching numbers to bring my hard hitting analysis to you twice a week throughout the season and have been asked many questions while doing so such as: “How do you get all the numbers?”, “Where do you find the time?”, “Have you ever thought of sharing your information?”, and most of all “What’s wrong with you?”. I can answer 3 of those questions fairly quickly..
- If I told you, Travis would have to kill you.
- I don’t really. I try to get as much done after work as a I can and as the season ramps up, it takes up 80% of my free time after work.
- WE NOW HAVE A WAY to get you all the info that I have concocted. As for the 4th question, you’ll figure that out in due time with the more episodes you listen to and articles you read
Let’s be honest. Everything that Mike Reilly touches, turns to gold. Same can be said for Fantasy Football. He’s scored over 400 fantasy points in the last 3 years, increasing each year since 2016. He averaged 24.3pts/start in those 3 years. Those numbers came with the likes of Adarius Bowman, Brandon Zylstra, Duke Williams, and Derrell Walker. This year, however, he has arguably one of the best receivers at catching the tough ball in Bryan Burnham. With the departure of Emmanuel Arceneaux, Burnham could get a lot more looks and add to his career high 9 TDs last season, and oh yeah, Reilly doesn’t cost $14000 any more!!! P.S. Duron Carter was added through free agency, but who knows how long he’ll behave and keep a spot on the roster.
If the Stamps don’t have the best QB in the CFL, they have 1A. Last year, Bo Levi Mitchell had 327.8 fantasy points on the backing of a career high in TDs (35) and averaged 18.2pts/start. Coming into this season Marken Michel, DaVaris Daniels, Lemar Durant, and Chris Matthews are all gone. Eric Rogers was extended along with his 117.9 fantasy points (13.1/game), along with Juwan Brescacin and Kamar Jorden who will look to become bigger players in the offence. Don’t forget about Don Jackson in the backfield. He had 160 carries in 13 games amassing 154.2pts (11.9/game). Week in and week out, Bo finds a new receiver to be the centrepiece of the passing offence so it can be a bit of a guessing game if you’re looking for an option at that position but as a quarterback, Bo is the picture of consistency week in and week out.
The Esks may have made the biggest splash when free agency opened with the acquisition of the Ottawa RedBlacks offen….I mean Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson, and the now injured SirVincent Rogers. DaVaris Daniels, Kenny Stafford, Kevin Elliott and Ricky Collins round out the receiving corps. I would assume that Harris (284.3 pts, 16.7/game last season) will be looking to the familiar Ellingson (237.7 pts, 14.0pts/game last season) early on the year until him and the other receivers start to click, which could be an early season pick consideration. CJ Gable is the incumbent at running back but if and injury pops up, which it inevitably will, Shaq Cooper will be a cheap-ish starting option if he gets the carries.
The #1 question in Regina is the health of Zach Collaros. I’m not saying it’s a question of whether or not he is injured during the year, but when? He was, if nothing, consistent in his starts under centre. The defense had more TDs than he had passing TDs, he threw 13 interceptions, and in 14 games, threw for under 3000 yards. He scored 139.9pts (10/start) which ranked him, not surprisingly, last among starters…yes, even including Johnny Manziel. Naaman Roosevelt only played 13 games last year but figures in to be the #1 option for receivers averaging 13.8/game. William Powell will be a welcome addition to the offence and will hopefully take some pressure off the aerial attack. Last season, albeit behind the RedBlacks offensive line, he scored 265.1pts (16.6/game) and I would expect that trend to continue.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Is the window closing in Winnipeg? Whether it be age or expiring contracts, this group is running out of time to get to the big dance and bring a championship home for the first time since 1990 (a stat I didn’t have to look up being a proud Saskatchewan resident). Matt Nichols started last year on the injured list and Chris Streveler proved he could play in this league and was as exciting as any other QB in the league last season. Nichols isn’t flashy but he doesn’t have to be. He started 14 games last year, threw for 3146 yards, 18 TDs, 13 INTs and had a 64.8% completion rate. He ended up with 183 points (13.1pts/start) but with the receivers he has in Darvin Adams, Nic Demski, Drew Wolitarksy and now Chris Matthews I would expect those fantasy numbers to be a little higher…until you look in the backfield. Andrew Harris, entering his 32-year old season and the last season of his contract set a career high in rushing yards and rushing TDs in 2018 and he led the league in both categories for running backs. In the last 2 years, he’s scored over 300 fantasy points and averaged 17.9pts/game. He’ll cost you but when he plays the Eskimos, he’s a must start. Don’t forget about speedster Lucky Whitehead. The return game, which seems to have been a strength since O’Shea took over as head coach (shocker), will offer some value at the flex position if he doesn’t factor into the offence too much.
It’s basically a foregone conclusion that the Cats will be hosting the East Final this year. Jeremiah Masoli is coming off a career year with 5209 passing yards, 28 TDs and a 66.1% completion rate and will look to pick on the East Division again, although the defences in the division have vastly improved on paper. He scored 343.7pts (20.2pts/start) which his receivers benefitted greatly from. Luke Tasker (yes, he’s Steve Tasker’s son) (17.2/game) and Brandon Banks (21.6/game) both had huge fantasy numbers last year and I don’t see a reason, other than injury, that that should change. Sure, there was a coaching change but if something’s not broke, don’t fix it.
A little further north, the Argos have brought in what seems like every Canadian quarterback and free agent running back they could find. James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson had similar fantasy scores last season but went about getting them in completely different ways. Franklin (15.1/start) capitalized on short yardage TD rushes with 14 of them, while only throwing 8 TDs to 9 INTs. MBT (14.2/start) was a grinder with 9 passing TDs and 10 INTs. Whomever gets the starting spot will have the likes of SJ Green (12.7/game in his career), Derrell Walker (18.1/game) and Armanti Edwards (12.2/game) to throw to which with the veteran presence, would be good for any QB. The RB position is yet to be decided but with McCluster and Rainey there, the return game could be improved and offer some value in the flex position.
After losing Trevor Harris to the Eskimos, Dominique Davis was named starter earlier this week..Finally!!! Wait, what? The acquisition of Jonathon Jennings in the offseason from BC meant there would be a competition at camp for the starting spot but he didn’t put up much of a fight. Davis’ sample size is too small to really put into account but the real question is: Who gets the ball? Ellingson. Gone. Diontae Spencer. Gone. William Powell. Gone. Brad Sinopoli takes over as the #1 option in Ottawa. The last few years Ellingson, Spencer, or Sinopoli would share the #1 title from week to week but now, I don’t think there’s any argument to be made for anyone else…yet. Sinopoli averages 11.4/game, and set the record for receptions in a season by a Canadian player and the Ottawa professional football record with 116. RJ Harris showed last season that he was a viable complimentary receiver to the big 3 and will now look to be a bigger part of the offence this season (9.7/game). Mossis Madu has averaged 12.5pts/game in his career but no announcement yet on who will get the starting job left vacant by William Powell.
Antonio Pipkin is my starting QB Week 1, if he gets the start. Mike Sherman hasn’t chosen a starter yet but that doesn’t surprise me one bit as he seems to be in over his head as a head coach in this league. After years in the NCAA and NFL, he still doesn’t seem to grasp the Canadian game which affects his game management and in turn, hurts his offence. Pipkin averaged 16.5pts in 4 starts last season and had trouble with ball security (3TDs to 8 INTs). The addition of DeVier Posey (11.6/game) to the receiving group that includes BJ Cunningham (10.61/game) and Eugene Lewis (8.8/game) will be huge for the young pivot. William Stanback (9.9/game) and Jeremiah Johnson (14.3/game) will also help take some pressure off the passing game. The defense with the additions of Taylor Loffler, Bo Lokombo, Patrick Levels, and the return of a hopefully healthy John Bowman, should be able to keep this team in games and maybe, with the DBs added, create some turnovers.