The CFL is back! Below, I’ll break down my top targets from every position for Thursday night’s slate.
Jonathon Jennings ($9,600) – Jennings is in a nice spot opening day as his team has the highest implied team total on the board and he’ll be at home playing against the Eskimos. Edmonton has added some pieces to their defense this year but are still not likely to be defensive juggernauts. Moreover, Jennings had some of his best games at home last season as he averaged three DK points more at home than on the road. He also scored six rushing TDs last season, the second most of any starter. He brings the upside and is a great target for week one.
Zach Collaros ($9,800) – Collaros has had injury issues throughout his career in the CFL but he’s also had glimpses of greatness. For Week 1 he’ll get a matchup with the Argonauts, who were absolutely pitiful last year but did bring in a new coach in 2017 in Marc Trestman. Hamilton still has one of the highest team totals for Week 1, however, and Collaros should benefit from having his best WR healthy in Luke Tasker; a weapon he was mostly without towards the end of last year. The duo had some big fantasy days when healthy in 2016 and having Tasker back opening day could propel him to a big fantasy day against a bad opponent in week one.
Adarius Bowman ($10,000) – Bowman is the lead dog in the CFL when it comes to just about anything receiving as he led the CFL in both receptions (120) and yards (1761) in 2016. He lost his sidekick in Derel Walker to the NFL in the offseason, however, so there’s a chance his production goes down slightly this year with more coverage being shifted over to him. I’d still not hesitate to use him week one as the Lions/Eskimos game has the highest point total of all four games by three points. If you’re in sticker shock or just can’t spend up you could also look at Vidal Hazelton ($6,000), who Edmonton signed in the offseason as a potential Walker replacement.
Luke Tasker ($8,700) – As I mentioned above, Tasker is coming back from a late season abdominal injury which kept him out down the stretch in 2016. He enters this season fully healthy though and should be Hamilton’s top target in 2017 if things go right. Through 12 games in 2016, Tasker recorded four with 24 or more DK points, and QB Zach Collaros (who is starting this week) was his QB for three of them. Tasker and his QB is a great stack for week one and, if you can afford it, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Tasker on his own either.
Brandon Zylstra ($4,400) – Edmonton lost one of their best weapons to the NFL over the offseason in Derel Walker, and his absence should really open up targets for a couple of players. One of those is Zylstra, who only caught fewer than four passes once in eight games last season with Edmonton. Zylstra may not be the explosive deep threat Walker was but he’s got the inside track on the number two wide receiver job and is incredibly cheap at $4,400. Given he’s playing in the game with the highest point total week one and looks like one of the best values at WR.
Brandon Whitaker ($7,000) – The Argos’ offense wasn’t so great last season, but Whitaker was still a big play DraftKings-wise as he ended the year with 81 catches. With Marc Trestman taking over, I expect Whitaker’s role to remain the same, or possibly even grow as the former NFL head coach likes to use the RB in the passing game. I prefer him slightly to the more TD dependent options above him.
Chris Rainey ($6,900) – Rainey is a nice target almost every week in fantasy because of his dual role as both running back and kick returner. The former Pittsburgh Steeler still has a ton of talent and actually led the CFL in kick return yardage last season; an important stat for play on DraftKings as 0.05PT is awarded for every return yard. With no Anthony Allen on BC this year and a bigger role in the passing game, Rainey is a great target for week one against Edmonton and in position to have a big year fantasy wise.
C.J. Gable ($6,000) – Gable is opening the year as the Ticats lead back and at only $6k for week one represents good value on that basis alone. Hamilton is more of pass-friendly offense, but Gable still caught 43 passes last year despite sharing time with other backs and should have a bigger overall role in 2017. With Hamilton projected for a big point total week one, don’t forget about him when setting the RB position as his PPR potential should mean there’s little chance for a complete bust.
Alouettes ($4,900) – Montreal and Saskatchewan switched QBs over the offseason as Kevin Glenn will now be the opening day starter for Saskatchewan and Darian Durant for Montreal. That is significant as Glenn is an older immobile QB who is more prone to getting sacked and coughing up the ball. Montreal’s defense actually allowed the second fewest points per game last season and will be facing the only team who averaged fewer points per game on offense than them (19.4) in 2016 in the Roughriders. This is a nice spot for the Montreal defense in general, who are large home favorites and playing in the game with the smallest projected point total of the week.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.