DailyRoto: Week 1 Fantasy Rankings
Long live the night, and the next 20-plus weeks of TSN CFL Fantasy presented by LeoVegas. Thursday begins the 2019 season, whose first chapter — thanks to Steph Curry and the Warriors — begins half an hour sooner when the new-look Riders offence clashes with Jeremiah Masoli and his fleet of game-altering wideouts in Hamilton.
Week 1 isn’t Week 1 without Fantasy Rankings, so why wait? Let’s dive in.
New uni, same result. Few are shocked that Mike Reilly ($11,754) ranks atop the list as he takes on the Blue Bombers in his long-awaited debut with the Lions. There will be some measure of motivation for Reilly, who was held to a combined 24.6 Fantasy points in his last two games against Winnipeg’s disruptive secondary last season. Speaking of pivots in new places, you have to like Trevor Harris ($8,689) to have a solid debut as Edmonton’s new gunslinger, as he faces an Alouettes D that finished last in the league in passing yards allowed last season. Masoli ($10,760) is a bit of a risk at this price. Saskatchewan’s ball-control offence and its aggressive defence will limit Masoli’s chances to rack up points.
Bo Levi Mitchell ($8,636) is always a strong play, even with a host of new receivers (more later on them). It will be interesting to see how often Matt Nichols ($6,811) takes downfield shots to Darvin Adams and new receiver Chris Matthews. The one pivot garnering intrigue is Montreal’s Antonio Pipkin, who comes in as a bargain ($7,050) against an Edmonton defence that will have its hands full trying to contain Pipkin’s running skills. The Als’ receiving corps is significantly better than last season, which makes gambling on Pipkin worth consideration. Dominique Davis ($5,221) and Zach Collaros ($5,223) are both risky road plays.
One could flip a coin between Andrew Harris ($8,075) and William Powell ($8,916), but the edge (and savings) goes to Harris, who punished the Lions with 248 rushing yards and three majors in two games against them last season. Harris will still factor in the passing game, but with Matthews and the fast-rising Drew Wolitarsky, his targets might see a dip. Powell should be good for about 20-23 touches from scrimmage, but the Riders will find a way to get explosive Marcus Thigpen ($6,570) involved offensively. All signs point toward C.J. Gable ($7,006) opening his season with a strong outing against the Als. The same can be said for Don Jackson ($7,179) getting steady production against the REDBLACKS.
From there, it gets interesting at the position. William Stanback ($6,865) is worth the investment, as he could be more involved in the passing game as one gets the sense the Montreal-Edmonton contest will keep the scoreboard busy. Cameron Marshall ($5,275) should get the bulk of the carries for the Ticats, yet Sean Thomas-Erlington ($3,000) looms as a good sleeper play for those who like to take risks. Terry Williams ($4,887) gets strong Flex consideration due to his return skills. Mossis Madu ($5,984) doesn’t feel like a good play against the revamped Stamps defence, and it remains to be seen if Brandon Rutley ($4,975) can fend off John White ($4,686) in what could be a potential timeshare in the BC backfield.
This is one week where playing Brandon Banks ($12,721) is too risky, but he still earns the second spot because of his ability to do more with less. Adams ($7,176) is the top receiver in Week 1 due in part that the Blue Bombers should be more aggressive in the passing game. Expect DaVaris Daniels ($7,164) and Greg Ellingson ($6,718) to thrive in their new environments in Edmonton against a Montreal defence that gave up 29 passing majors in 2018. We think Juwan Brescacin ($3,301) is going to be a breakout performer this season. He will be a bargain for the first few weeks before his salary climbs higher. Ditto for Alouettes wideout Geno Lewis ($5,835), who established a good rapport with Pipkin late last season and carried it over to training camp. Brad Sinopoli ($6,921) will keep doing Brad Sinopoli things; translation: keep calm and plug him into the lineup.
Once you get into the second and third tiers of receivers, the bargains begin to crop up. R.J. Harris ($4,176) gets his first chance to be a featured receiver in Ottawa, while Ryan Lankford ($3,839) has the opportunity to have an impact on the REDBLACKS similar to what the departed Diontae Spencer had as both a receiver and return specialist. Duron Carter ($3,028) is flying under the radar but having an elite passer for the first time in his career should revive his status as a game-altering presence for the Lions. If the Riders can show a semblance of a passing game, Emmanuel Arceneaux ($5,738) could be in position to start a rebound campaign with his new team if he’s ready to return from the injury that ended his 2018 season.
No clear-cut unit in Week 1, so the top nod goes to the Stampeders ($4,835), who begin defence of their Grey Cup title against a much-different REDBLACKS offence they bottled up to win it all last November. Saskatchewan ($5,440) and its knack for scoring defensive majors is right behind Calgary, while this might be one of the few weeks where using the Eskimos defence ($3,488) is a wise option.
Hamilton ($3,695) is a concern, especially if the unit is on the field way too long against the Riders ground game. The Lions ($3,200) could be ranked lower than sixth, but Ottawa ($3,550) and Montreal ($3,347) have secondaries that will be in for long nights against top-end passing attacks in Calgary and Edmonton.