Edmonton Eskimos @ Winnipeg BlueBombers
We kick off the season on Thursday night with Edmonton vising Winnipeg.
At the QB position, the Fantasy gods are easing us into the season with an obvious decision. We have last year’s MOP, Mike Reilly, a must start. On the other side we are going to see Winnipeg’s depth at the QB position, as Matt Nichols sits for up to 6 weeks. Streveler or Ross may be a gamble play to save some salary, but do we even know who to go with? Stay clear. *Edit – It’s going to be Streveler. I say again, Stay Clear. Let’s give him some time.
Edmonton’s backkfield will be led by CJ Gable, who fit in great when he joined the team mid-season last year. Start him. Though I wouldn’t be surpised to see Shaq Cooper steal some carries, he looked sharp in pre-season. *Edit – Cooper to the practice squad!
Winnipeg’s situation behind the QB gets interesting. Andrew Harris is a typical must-start, but I’d like to see how the Bombers also utilize Tim Flanders and Kienan Lafrance this year. I can see many TDs vultured. *Edit – Flanders goes to the 6 game IR, eligable to return after 4 games. I think this increases Andrew Harris’ value.
Edmonton is loaded to the gills when it comes to the Wide Receiver position. Obvious starts include guys like Derel Walker and Vidal Hazelton. Will we see the emergence of Duke Williams in the slot with Adarius Bowman having moved on? *Edit Hazelton goes out to the WR position, Williams gets the Slot. Go with Williams!
Speaking of Adarius – now a BlueBomber; anyone out there believe in Revenge Games? No really though with Winnipeg’s strength at QB under question I would avoid this core all together for now. Darvin Adams and Weston Dressler’s value really takes a hit.
Toronto Argos @ Sask Roughriders
Ricky Ray is back for another season under centre for the Argo’s. He’s going to go up against what is expected to be a very tough defense in Regina. I would temper expecations with Ricky in the opener.
Is anyone else excited to see how Collaros will perform under a new offense? Ugly departure from Hamilton, I’m just not sure what to exepct going into this season.
Toronto has some depth in their backfield. James Wilder Jr emerged as a must-start-every-week last season. We saw flashes of brilliance from Martese Jackson, and even the FB position had a couple impactful performances. I’m going to call Jimmy Ralph the sleeper here, as he will be starting in the RB/SB role that Anthony Coombs saw decent usage last year.
An all-new and very crowded backfield is what we are dealing with in Saskatchewan. Messam would normally be a must start but we have to see how the Riders end up using guys like Tre Mason and Marcus Thigpen, former NFLers. *Edit It’s looking like Tre Mason is getting the start – if you’re playing daily fantasy, get him in your lineup. TSN has him at only $2500. DK at $5400. *Update – Depth chart shows Messam getting the start with Mason as #2. I’m not convinced Messam is going to be a bellcow though. I’d avoid this backfield all together until some clarity is shown.
Hamilton Ti-Cats @ Calgary Stampeders
Masoli is expected to get the start for the Tiger Cats. How long until we see Manziel take over? If ever? His pre-season looked decent. Not amazing but not terrible at all. I think it’s all on how Masoli performs. I can see Manziel getting some short yardage and QB option plays to change things up.
Bo Levi Mitchel had, what I would call, an underwhelming Fantasy performance last season. I think a healthy Bo picks it back up this season. I’d start him for this game, going up against a defense that has not, historically, been good against Calgary. For this week in particular you are going to get great $ value out of him on daily fantasy.
Alex Green looks to hold the reigns for the Tiger Cats backfield. He seems like a solid start most weeks. Temper expecations week 1 against this Calgary Defense. *Update – Alex Green will miss at least 2 games due to a hand injury. James White gets the start. I would avoid. * Update 2 – Just released depth chart show Whitlock getting the start in the backfield for the TiCats.
Terry Williams has a chance to prove himself out of the Shadow of the departed Jerome Messam. Remember, Bo doesn’t run the ball, like, ever, so whoever is carrying it in Calgary should see decent success. *Update – Don Jackson appears as the #1 RB on the depth chart.
Hamilton has a ton of WR’s on the roster. Manziel likes to look for Damarr Aultmann. Look for Luke Tasker to continue his play. Brandon Banks is a more viable fantasy option when playing WR as well as Special Teams returner. Jalen Saunders had some breakout games last season and watch for Torrence Toliver to regain his effectiveness.
Montreal Alouettes @ BC Lions
Drew Willy has the chance to fully solidify himself as a starter in the CFL. Though his pre-season did not give me much confidence that Montreal is turning the corner. Avoid for now.
The situation isn’t much different in BC. Jonathan Jennings has a chance to regain his former stature in BC. I’ll be keeping a close eye, as Lulay lurks in the shadows.
Sutton will, once again lead the backfield for Montreal. For lack of better options, I actually like this play in Week 1.
BC’s backfield situation will be interesting. Last year we saw an every-other-game split between Jeremiah Johnson and Anthony Allen. This year will it be the same situation with JJ and newcomer Brandon Rutley? Until we know for sure I’m avoiding and going with Chris Rainey, special teams super hero!
The value of receivers in Montreal is really going to come down to how effective Drew Willy is. We have stars like BJ Cunningham, Ernest Jackson and speedster Chris Williams all looking to capitalize on available targets with the retirement of Nik Lewis.
In BC, we have the likes of Bryan Burnham and Manny Arceneaux. Start them.