Canadian Football League DFS is here. If you’ve never watched or heard of the CFL I will have you covered with some of the top fantasy targets every week in this column, but also remember that there are some funky rules too. We only play three downs in Canada and you can get single points by kicking it through the other team’s end zone (or getting them to kneel in their own end zone) and the field sizes are, well, extra large!
Mike Reilly ($10,100): The Eskimos are the defending Grey Cup champs and are also going into the first set of games as nearly 7 point favorites over the Red Blacks in the game with the highest over/under on this week’s slate. Over the offseason, Edmonton changed coaches and ex-Eskimo Jason Maas instilled a new no huddle offense which should lead to some big stats for QB Mike Reilly who is undoubtedly one of the best athletes at QB in the league right now. Expect Reilly (if he stays healthy) to have a big year and to start things off with a bang with a big week 1.
Jonathan Jennings ($8,300): Jennings looks to be the starter going into the first game for the Lions and with old coach Wally Buono back at the helm I expect the Lions to improve a lot in all facets of the game. Jennings really provided a spark for BC late last season when he got implanted as the starter and if the momentum holds he could produce some big stats this year. His 66% completion rate from last season made him one of the more efficient QBs in the league and so even in a projected lower scoring game he could still be a great play. I like him as a tournament play at QB week 1.
Adarius Bowman ($9,000): No one on Edmonton benefitted more from Mike Reilly being healthy down the stretch last year than Adarius Bowman. Bowman led the CFL in catches in 2015 and averaged nearly 7 catches a game with Reilly in 2015. Considering the number of overall catches Bowman made in 2015 (93) his 7 TD total seems awfully low and with a healthy Mike Reilly you might see that number increase this season. He makes for a nice stack target along with Reilly in week 1 in a likely high scoring game.
Chad Owens ($7,000): Owens has been one of the best return men and receivers in the CFL over the past few seasons and moved on this year to a new team in Hamilton. Owens just happens to be playing his old team week one (narrative alert) and I can’t help but think he’ll be looking to visit the end zone at least once. Even if he is playing with a backup QB in this game Owens is dangerous to break a big play or return whenever he gets his hands on the ball… and that alone makes him look like great value to me. As a potential kick returner he makes for a nice stack with the Hamilton DST too as a return TD would mean double the TD points.
Chris Getzlaf ($6,300): Getzlaf was a career Saskatchewan Rough Rider who switched teams this year to the Green and Gold (Edmonton). While he looks to be number three on the depth chart in Edmonton don’t be shocked if the shifty Getzlaf ends up being QB Mike Reilly’s security blanket of sorts and ends up producing another big year in Edmonton. He’s more of a flier week 1 but the PPR points and TDs could rack up quick playing with the talented Reilly.
Jerome Messam ($6,700): Messam is a 31-year-old RB, but after a couple of shortened seasons, he’s a lightly used one. In Calgary this year, with former superstar Jon Cornish now retired, Messam is going to get a big workload for the Stampeders this season. Coming off one of the best seasons of his career, Messam might be the best value of all the backs on this opening slate, especially with BC and Calgary slated for such a tight game. I expect the Stamps to use Messam early and often week 1, and he’s one of my top choices at RB.
Editor’s Note: Andrew Harris has been listed as questionable for Week 1.
Andrew Harris ($8,000): Harris switched clubs over the off-season going from the BC Lions to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers are expected to be much improved over last season as they revamped their offense bringing in Harris and a few other weapons. I expect Harris to get a big workload, and his work in the passing game should allow him to rack up extra PPR points, in what is being projected as a close game and potential shootout. I think Harris is deserving of the top salary on this slate and would play him as such.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats ($4700): Regardless of who returns kicks for Hamilton (Chad Owens or Brandon Banks) the team will have two of the best return men in the CFL this year. With their star QB out to start the season, Hamilton will have to rely more on their special teams and defense to score points early and I like their DST in fantasy to start the year.