Grey Expectations: Is West best for roster building?

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West Division teams are a combined 8-1 against their East Division brethren during the first three weeks of the regular season, outscoring them by a total of 214-151. What does this mean for CFL fantasy users? Simple: continue riding West Division talent in interdivisional contests.

Each of the matchups in Week 4 comprise of West-East collisions and while this week’s edition of Grey Expectations offers hope that Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto can turn things around, a trend is a trend and until said trend is altered, we at GE say just keep running with it.


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Nathan Rourke has been a fantasy cash cow in his first two games. Can he continue to outperform his rising price? (The Canadian Press)

Quarterbacks

Nathan Rourke, BC ($12,026) — Forget Most Outstanding Player. At his current pace, Rourke will be knighted by season’s end. However, before we begin referring to him as Sir Nathan of Vancouver, he will face a REDBLACKS pass defence that allows just 233.5 yards per game, but rank seventh in opponents’ pass efficiency (110.5). Ottawa faced Winnipeg in its first two games, and while (statistically) they held their own, it won’t take long for them to grasp there’s a huge difference between the Blue Bombers and Lions offensively.

Nick Arbuckle, Edmonton ($7,245) — Let’s play the odds with Arbuckle, who faces a Tiger-Cats secondary that has yielded a league-high eight completions of better than 30 yards while allowing completions at a 71 per cent clip. The Elks have the receivers to suggest making Arbuckle a sleeper play.

Zach Collaros, Winnipeg ($8,814) — The Bombers have an opportunity to live up to their name when facing an Argos’ D that ranks dead last with 360.5 passing yards allowed per game. Winnipeg is eighth in passing yards, yet Collaros has shown he can light up a secondary when needed.

Jeremiah Masoli, Ottawa ($10,780) — Don’t count on Masoli to slink away from playing gridiron pinball on Thursday. He and Rourke are the only two pivots with efficiency ratings better than 100.

Cody Fajardo, Saskatchewan ($10,790) — Even without Shaq Evans, it’s hard to see Fajardo and that receiving corps lay down consecutive bad performances.

And Then There’s….

Trevor Harris/Vernon Adams, Montreal ($9,731/$10,985) — Clarity on who’s starting might have placed the Montreal pivot over Fajardo.

Dane Evans, Hamilton ($8,120) — Bad Week 1. Good Week 2. Bad Week 3. Hmmm…

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Toronto ($8,814)

Jamal Morrow has been an all-purpose yards machine this season, even through the Riders’ disappointing Week 3 showing (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

Running Backs

Jamal Morrow, Saskatchewan ($7,019) — Bad as Week 3 looked on the surface, Morrow still put up 120 all-purpose yards. His 512 total yards is 205 yards better than the second-best skill position player (Montreal’s Eugene Lewis) and puts him on pace for 3,072 all-purpose yards.

James Butler, BC ($9,381) — Good to go after an early exit in Week 3, Butler’s 6.4 yards per carry is second only to Montreal’s Jeshrun Antwi (6.9) among the league’s top backs.

Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg ($5,366) — Clearly the Bombers’ RB1, Oliveira gets to run on a Toronto defence that gives up 110 yards per game on the ground. An 85-yard, two-TD effort feels reasonable with expectations of bigger numbers.

Don Jackson, Hamilton ($7,011) — Jackson participated in Tuesday’s practice and appears set to start on Friday against the league’s worst run defence. Edmonton has allowed eight of the CFL’s 19 rushing majors the first three weeks while giving up 6.0 yards per carry. START HIM if he’s atop the depth chart.

Andrew Harris, Toronto ($10,276) — It will be an emotional moment when Harris goes up against his former Winnipeg teammates on Monday evening. Users have to ask if they’re paying for name value or actual production. Let his ranking answer how we feel.

Jeshrun Antwi, Montreal ($5,113) — We get the feeling Antwi is one more sluggish outing from the Alouettes giving Walter Fletcher an extended look.

And Then There’s…

William Powell, Ottawa ($8,380) — The veteran workhorse is set to make his 2022 debut on Thursday, so let’s wait and see how much he’s used.

James Wilder Jr., Edmonton ($6,314) — He’s averaging just over 4.0 rushing fantasy points per game. Much of that is due to the Elks having to play catch-up, but it’s also an offensive line that isn’t doing Wilder any favours when it comes to opening holes for him.

Walter Fletcher, Montreal ($4,617)

Sean Thomas-Erlington, Hamilton ($6,594) — Worth starting consideration if Jackson is somehow not atop the Ticats’ RB depth chart.

With Shaq Evans out, Duke Williams is looking to raise his game and subsequently, his fantasy output (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

Receivers

Eugene Lewis, Montreal ($9,994) — The modest 10.8 fantasy points in Week 3 were a speed bump. Regardless of who’s at pivot, Lewis will be a strong lock for at least 15-18 FP.

Kenny Lawler, Edmonton ($9,241) — Plenty of fantasy users will back away from Lawler following a three-catch, 21-yard outing in Week 3. The targets (nine) were there, but Calgary did everything to assure he wouldn’t factor. Expect a big rebound against Hamilton’s suspect pass defence.

Jaelon Acklin, Ottawa ($7,166) — Value play as a WR1. Acklin has an 81.2 per cent catch rate and an impressive 14.9 yards depth per target.

Lucky Whitehead, BC ($9,908) — Whitehead has caught 15 of his 16 targets and leads the league with 107 yards after the catch. Major upside for a breakout considering his 7.6 depth yards per target will increase sharply with Bryan Burnham sidelined.

Greg Ellingson, Winnipeg ($8,361) — If the Blue Bombers emphasize attacking the Argos’ secondary, you’ll want to have Ellingson in your lineup. The reconnect with Zach Collaros has revived his career.

Duke Williams, Saskatchewan ($9,832) — Sure, it will be a team effort when it comes to replacing the injured Shaq Evans, but this feels like the week we see the Williams of 2018 that terrorized opposing secondaries.

Bralon Addison, Hamilton ($10,020) — Targets are there, yet it’s difficult to suggest investing just over a quarter of your fantasy cap to a wideout sporting a 55.6 efficiency rate.

Keon Hatcher, BC ($3,926) — Watch a lot of the targets which would have gone to Bryan Burnham come in the direction of the potential breakout performer. Hatcher’s 11-for-12 in targets and has plenty of growth beyond his 6.9 target depth.

Tim White, Hamilton ($7,663) — The numbers are clearly showing White has been the more effective of the Ticats’ receivers. Save the money from Addison and invest in White if you need to start a Hamilton pass-catcher.

Kian Schaffer-Baker, Saskatchewan ($5,773) — KS-B has the look of a WR1 while showing flashes of it. The loss of Shaq Evans opens the door for his salary to climb over the next few weeks.

And Then There’s…

Dominique Rhymes, BC ($9,241)
Jake Wieneke, Montreal ($7,488)
Reggie White Jr., Montreal ($4,087)
Emmanuel Arceneaux, Edmonton ($6,016)
Nic Demski, Winnipeg ($6,386)
Steven Dunbar Jr., Hamilton ($6,397)
Derel Walker, Edmonton ($6,277)
Kurleigh Gittens Jr., Toronto ($6,725)
Darvin Adams, Ottawa ($5,949)
Brandon Banks, Toronto ($6,581)
Jevon Cottoy, BC ($6,036)
DaVaris Daniels, Toronto ($6,625)
Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg ($2,500)
Kaion Julien-Grant, Montreal ($2,500)
Rasheed Bailey, Winnipeg ($6,050)
Mitchell Picton, Saskatchewan ($3,663)
Chandler Worthy, Montreal ($5,690)

Willie Jefferson brought in the Bombers’ defence’s first touchdown of the season, as this 12-man unit is looking scary already (The Canadian Press)

Defences

Winnipeg ($4,101) — The Blue Bombers’ defence we’ve become accustomed to showed up in Week 3, producing 15 fantasy points, including their first major of the season. Monday could be pretty long for McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Argos’ offence.

BC ($4,866) — Can the Lions keep their 16 fantasy points per game pace? A streaky Jeremiah Masoli could make that possible.

Saskatchewan ($3,408) — Montreal did a good job of keeping the Regina Sack Party to a minimum (two sacks) in Week 3. We’ll see if it’s a one-off or if the Riders continue to dial up the pressure.

Montreal ($3,626) — Don’t count on another 24-point effort from the Als’ D, but they’ll look to keep the Saskatchewan O off-balance.

And Then There’s…

Toronto ($3,200)

Hamilton ($3,200)

Edmonton ($3,200)

Ottawa ($3,200)

Stack ‘Em and Rack ‘Em

BC — James Butler ($9,381), Keon Hatcher ($3,926), Jevon Cottoy ($6,036). This is a solid stack at $19,343, especially if both Hatcher and Cottoy are getting at least 6-9 targets each.

Saskatchewan — Jamal Morrow ($7,019), Kian Schaffer-Baker ($5,773), Duke Williams ($9,832). A bit on the high side at $22,624, yet keep in mind you’re getting the heart of an offence that can explode at any given moment.

Winnipeg — Brady Oliveira ($5,336), Greg Ellingson ($8,361), Dalton Schoen ($2,500). This depends entirely on how much faith you’d have in Schoen. At $16,397, this is a potential value play worth the risk. However, you can replace Schoen and put Rasheed Bailey ($6,050) in his place and still come out well at $19,922.

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