Finally… fantasy football is back! If you are new to CFL, we recommend checking out our guide that covers everything you need to know about playing fantasy CFL on DraftKings. We break down the differences between the Canadian and American games, and what is different between NFL and CFL contests on DraftKings.
The CFL actually has a lot to offer. The game is uptempo (20 second play clock), pass happy (only 3 downs to gain first), and quirky (see rouge and legal presnap forward motion). The league receives a small fraction of a percentage of the press coverage that the NFL receives, which results in limited information and data. If you are willing to put in the extra work required to research, you can give yourself an enormous advantage.
DraftKings has a great week one slate, including a guaranteed $4 contest that pays out $40,000 in prizes and a $3,000 top prize. Looking to cut your teeth without risking your bankroll? Check out their week one free contest that pays out $10,000 in prizes to the top 6,160 finishers.
Jennings currently has Bovada’s second best odds to win the 2017 MOP, and was our preseason pick. Opening the season at home against Edmonton in what should be a shootout, to me Jennings is the clear play at QB this week. Jennings is a strong armed, mobile quarterback with an absolutely loaded arsenal of weapons around him. I think he arguably has the highest ceiling and lowest floor of the QB’s in this slate, but there is a chance BC ride Jeremiah Johnson to keep the ball out of Mike Reilly’s hands. It’s also tough to stack him with any one guy as BC has four legitimate #1 receivers on this roster right now.
Note: With only 8 quarterbacks active each week, it’s hard to find value at the position. If you are looking to load up at position players and save $2,000-$3,000 at the QB spot, take a look at Saskatchewan’s Kevin Glenn. Glenn is a CFL veteran, and certainly isn’t flashy, but has ability and the Rough Riders stacked their receiving corps this offseason with Duron Carter, Naaman Roosevelt, Chad Owens, Bakari Grant, and Ricky Collins Jr.
I am not hesitating to play both Johnson and Jennings together this week, as we think BC puts up 30+ points in this matchup. Last season Johnson was forced to split starts with backup Anthony Allen. With a new contract and a promise to start every game on the schedule this season, Jennings will get a shot to prove that he is the top back in the CFL. Johnson averaged just under 20 PPG in games he received at least 10 carries. Clearly he will receive 10 carries in this matchup, and the Eskimos run defense was arguably the league’s worst last season and has looked even weaker this preseason allowing over 8 YPC.
With names like White, Messam, Johnson, and Sutton around him in the $7,000 – $8,000 price range on DraftKings this week, I think Whitaker should see a really low ownership rate. However, any fantasy player can tell you what new HC Marc Trestman is all about. Between Trestman and veteran check down king QB, Ricky Ray, Whitaker could put up insane numbers in DK’s PPR format.
Keep an eye on: the status of Kienan Lafrance. If he is out, Cameron Marshall will be a really nice RB play at $3,600. If Lafrance is active (he did practice on Monday), I would consider William Powell the top value play at RB this week. I think Powell is flying under the radar as Ottawa’s number one back, and if that is the case he could be in line for a big workload as Ottawa RB’s tend to be heavily involved in the pass game.
Derel Walker has moved back to the NFL, and once again, Bowman is the top receiver in the CFL. He will see 15+ targets, the majority of the team’s red zone targets, and has a 2x floor for his $10,000 price. Bowman averaged 24.5 DraftKings PPG in two games against BC last season, and averaged over 31 PPG in the first month of the 2016 CFL season. We expect him to go over 30 and 3x value in week one.
If pressed for who I think can make a run at Bowman’s title as top CFL receiver, I would likely go with Toliver. The former LSU Tiger averaged 900 yards and 8 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Hamilton, but was never truly the #1 receiver. In fact he was arguably the number three receiver behind nationals, Luke Tasker and Andy Fantuz. However, Fantuz retired this offseason and Toliver flashed his ability when Tasker was out with an abdomin injury late in 2016. Look for Collaros to target Toliver deep early and often on Sunday. Toliver has legit 40 point upside in week one.
Green is another Argo that is likely flying under the radar. Currently listed as questionable as he recovers from an ACL injury that ended his 2016 campaign, Green missed both Argo preseason games. That being said, he’s been a full-go for most of camp, and has lit up Toronto’s secondary. He will see a ton of targets, and has proven over the course of his 10 year career that he is a legit #1 receiver in the CFL.
While most people will likely view Bowman, Hazelton, or even Duke Williams as the biggest beneficiary of Walker’s move back to the NFL, I think this season could be a breakout year for Brand Zylstra. Zylstra ended last season on an absolute tear, and has been the Eskimo’s leading receiver this preseason. With the talent Edmonton has, he will almost always have a favorable matchup and could blossom into Reilly’s favorite target.