The CFL is officially back with tonight’s one game slate, and the four game Thursday – Sunday slate. For those of you that weren’t with us last season, we cashed every single week of the CFL season leading into the NFL season.
Let’s see if we can’t make the most out of these two months of CFL relevancy and build up our DraftKings bankrolls for the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the CFL game, it is the same sport as the NFL, but completely different. I won’t bore everyone with all of the differences, but here are a few key differences and the fantasy impact for each.
1. 3 downs to get 10 yards – This is perhaps the biggest difference in the CFL. You get three, not four, downs to get 10 yards, meaning you have to pick up a first down on the first two downs or have to decide whether or not to punt. This significantly lowers the number of rush attempts per game.
2. The field is considerably wider – The CFL field is 65 yards wide, while the NFL field is 50 yards wide. This makes a playing corner in the CFL an absolute nightmare, and makes for all sorts of room in the running game. IF you move the corners and safeties 10 yards away from the box, it creates a ton of space to break big runs. If you bring them in tight, it makes edge speed runs lethal.
3. 12 players on the field – The extra player on offense tends to be a receiver, while CFL defense generally run a base dime package with the extra player. You should be seeing a trend that the majority of the rule changes benefit the offense’s passing game, and in general make it really tough on opposing defenses.
4. Offensive backfield players can all move and in any direction – You have likely seen this before in the arena football. Generally you will see receivers start 10 yards off from the ball and hit the DB at a full sprint… more fun for opposing DB’s, if they miss their bump they are toast. This benefits shift slot receivers like Sinopoli, but also big play receivers like Walker.
Edmonton at Winnipeg – Opening Night Slate
We generally don’t pay attention to one game slates, however this is the first football of the new season, so we have to share some thoughts. The way I approached this slate was player by player, and in the end, ended with a roster of Eskimos.
Neither defense is off the charts, but Edmonton’s is still considerably better than the disaster Winnipeg rolled out all of last season. Winnipeg’s defense was terrible all of last year, forcing the offense to try to keep them off the field or come from behind to bail them out.
The biggest difference between these two teams is Mike Reilly, who is essentially the Aaron Rodgers of the CFL. He can do no wrong, and tends to be particularly lethal early in the season.
Not only is Reilly the best QB in the CFL, but his number one and number two receiver are the best one-two punch in the league. Derel Walker and Duke Williams are home run hitters and should shred this Montreal defense.
CJ Gable stepped in to fill the John White role in this Edmonton offense last season, he consistently put up loads of production as a runner and pass catcher. All reports out of Edmonton say that Gable is a natural in this system, which make sense given how skilled he is as a pass catching back. He has to be in your lineup.
Targeting those four players means leaving just $4,000, and for me the only player under $4,000 worth a look is Stafford. A proven commodity in the CFL, and a guy that averaged 12 DraftKings PPG last season in a much more reduced role than he will see this season, Stafford looks like a lock to push 4x value here.
Full CFL Week One Slate
Having already covered the Eskimos in depth, we will leave them off this list of targets, and focus on our favorite plays outside of Edmonton.
Bo Levi Mitchell
Mitchell started the season looking like the favorite to win the MOP, but tailed off in a hurry down the stretch with wildly inconsistent play. He has looked good this preseason, and gets a top two matchup here with a Hamilton defense that was in the bottom two in most defensive categories last season. Mitchell has loads of weapons around him and Calgary has Vegas’s top team total for week one.
James Wilder Jr.
Perhaps it’s the injuries and lack of a consistent role at FSU that led Wilder to the CFL, but this guy can flat out play and deserves a look in the NFL. He shredded the league in the second half of the 2017 campaign and will be the focal point of Marc Trestman’s offense.
Nothing is a more cash/GPP decision than Davaris Daniels vs Kamar Jorden. Jorden does it with consistency and volume, and Daniels does it with monster games. Daniels will disappear for three weeks, then have a 30 point explosion. I think both players are solid here, but Kamar will give you guaranteed production as he’s a lock to see double-digit targets in this favorable matchup.
Carter is one of the best two or three receivers in the CFL, but has struggled through inconsistent QB play. The addition of Collaros should fix that… we expect Carter to be targeted early and often in what should be a much improved Saskatchewan offense.
Ricky Collins Jr
Collins is our sleeper pick for week one. Everyone knows BC has a dream matchup with an absolutely dreadful Montreal defense, but I think most eyes will be on Bryan Burnham. Collins has been on the verge of breaking out in this league for years, and I think BC is the place he will do it. Jennings targeted him early this preseason, and he is they type of big play receiver that doesn’t need a ton of targets to produce.
The Lions defense started hot last season, then tailed off. We think they come out hungry and pounce on the pathetic Alouettes in week one.