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Fantasy Pod: Will Franklin be a Fantasy force in 2019?

TORONTO — After a disappointing first season in double blue, can James Franklin become a Fantasy force in 2019?

With the starting job all wrapped up, Franklin is one of the most intriguing names in TSN CFL Fantasy going into the season. Last year was a roller coaster for Franklin, who replaced the injured Ricky Ray only to lose his starting job four games later.

Towards the end of 2018, however, Franklin showed off some of the upside that made him one of the league’s most coveted up-and-coming pivots before being traded to Toronto.

“He might be the most intriguing player for me across the league in 2019,” said Pat Steinberg. “I did not like when he stepped in for Ricky Ray early on, I thought he struggled mightily, but those were not ideal circumstances.

“Franklin got the job back late in the season, and in those final starts he was a significantly better quarterback. The interceptions came down, the completion percentage went up. Franklin is one of those guys that has the ability to turn a play into a scoring play with his feet. He adds that element too. If Franklin can pick up where he left off in his second stint as starter last year, I think there’s a lot of potential there.”

As the CFL Fantasy Podcast returns, Steinberg, Jeff Krever and Hannah Nordman rank the top 10 Fantasy quarterbacks going into 2019. The entire episode can be heard below:

Krever, co-host of the CFL Fantasy Podcast presented by LeoVegas along with Steinberg and Nordman, says Franklin is in a much better situation to be successful in 2019.

“Look, when you have a young quarterback, you have to put him in positions to succeed,” said Krever. “The Toronto Argonauts did not do that last year with James Franklin. Didn’t get along with the coach. Defence was on the field a lot, a lot of points, put the Argos in deficits. Franklin had to do more than he should have been trying to do as a first-time, full-time starting quarterback.

“You know that with Corey Chamblin and the talent they’ve got on defence, that’s going to change. They’re going to be able to run the ball a lot more, second fewest rushing attempts last year. You’re able to lean on that big guy, James Wilder Jr.

Franklin will also have a new weapon on offence in Derel Walker, who was one of the off-season’s biggest signings. Walker and Franklin are already well acquainted from their time together in Edmonton, where they showed significant chemistry in games Franklin started.

For Krever, however, there’s one more reason the stars are lining up for Franklin to have a bounce back season.

“The confidence from the coaching staff. He just didn’t have that last year. When James Franklin gets traded to Toronto, what did Marc Trestman say? He’s not the backup, he has to earn the job. Come Week 2, Ricky Ray’s injured. What does Marc Trestman say? ‘It was a coin flip’. A coin flip. You don’t say that, I’m sorry. Marc Trestman, Grey Cup winning coach, all the respect in the world. But that is not how you treat your young quarterback.

“Corey Chamblin’s come in, they’ve named James Franklin the starter. They’re going to ride with him and see what he’s all about. For James Franklin to have the trust of his coaching staff, that’s going to mean a lot. He’s not going to play with fear, he’s going to play as himself and play with confidence. That is a really big factor for James Franklin in 2019. James Franklin bounces back this year, in a big way.”