Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

You already hate my picks. As you scroll you’re going to scoff, laugh and dismiss my selections. You might even pop off in the comments and tell me how wrong I am – I hope you do.

That’s what makes this so fun.

Since being introduced as a partnership between the CFL and TSN a few years ago, the league’s fantasy game has become an addiction among those of us degenerates who love fantasy sports and the CFL as well as those who consider themselves casual fans but enjoy competing against their friends.

As someone who puts hours into crafting my lineup each week in a league with my college buddies, I want to share my (self-titled) expert picks with the 3Down community each week and see what the people think and throw some advice your way as well.

If you’re unaware, the game is salary cap based with an allotment of $40,000 (no Kavis Reed envelopes going around to boost your lineup – sorry) to fill out a QB slot, two RB and WR slots, one flex position as well as a defence. There’s also no requirements as to how you choose to assemble your squad, as you can pick reasonably priced players for each space or blow it all on Andrew Harris, Brandon Banks and Mike Reilly if you so choose.

What follows are my PLAYS and FADES for this week:

Quarterback

PLAY –  Nick Arbuckle ($6,145) vs. TOR

Being priced at sub 7K is an absolute steal for a starting QB, as Arbuckle hasn’t missed a beat filling in for Bo Levi Mitchell. He’s put up solid performances of 18.7 points against the Riders in Week 4 and despite a game that was a defensive battle in Hamilton last week still managing 14.7 on the board.

He has a dream matchup at home against an Argos defence that has been giving up 346 yards passing per game to opposing QB’s and allowed 10 touchdowns through the air to just three interceptions.

The other options have gotten a bit pricy with the matchups seemingly not in your favour. Although Matt Nichols ($8,589) could have another big night against a Redblacks defence that got shredded by Vernon Adams for the best game of his pro career.

FADE – Mike Reilly ($10,708)

This isn’t an indictment on Reilly’s talent, but it IS an indictment on his offensive line which has been one of, if not the worst so far in the league this season as our friend Marshall Ferguson points out:

In Riderville this week, and going for a hefty 10K-plus price tag, Reilly is a no go for me.

RUNNING BACK

PLAY – Andrew Harris ($9,674)

You have to pay for quality as he’s the priciest back in the game, but trusting Harris is always worth it. He’s scored in double digits in each game he’s played, and playing at IG Field against an Ottawa defence that has given up 111.8 yards per game, Harris is locked and loaded as my RB1.

PLAY – William Powell ($8,152)

We’re doubling up on the pricey backs this week, Powell figures to get a heavy workload against the Lions as the Roughriders are still in search of solid QB play. Despite coming off a quiet outing of just 50 yards on 14 carries against the Stamps in Week 4, Powell should be fresh off the idle week and ready to run on a Lions defence that have given up nearly 5 yards per carry.

FADE – William Stanback ($8,691)

Despite having been dominant in his last two games, I think Stanback comes back to earth as the Als host the Eskimos on Saturday afternoon. While double digit points are still a possibility, the Edmonton defence is second best in the league against the run and Stanback should be slowed enough the investment isn’t worth it.

James Wilder Jr. ($8,780) is also an obvious sit against Calgary, but can we please get a discount on the guy? Anyone trying to run in Chapdelaine’s offence and that offensive line shouldn’t be more than 6K.

Wide Receivers 

PLAY – Reginald Begelton ($6,834)

With such a deep pool, the receiver spots are where to get the bang for your buck and we’ll start with Reggie Begelton, who’s priced as a WR2 despite getting WR1 looks with Arbuckle behind centre. He’s scored a combined 46.7 points in the last two games while going over 100 yards receiving in both and even adding a score on the ground in Hamilton last week. Auto-start against the Argos secondary.

PLAY – Quan Bray ($3,500)

Best two syllable name in the league, and one of the best value plays in fantasy right now. He’s sandwiched in price by the Duron Carter’s and Caleb Holley’s of the world despite emerging as one of Vernon Adams favourite targets during the recent mini-resurgence for the Alouettes offence.

He’s only played two games but really popped this past weekend going off for 24.4 points on five catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. Able to make the big play as well as succeed as a safety blanket as we saw in his debut, Bray is a must start while his price remains this low.

My FLEX play this week is Argos slotback Llevi Noel ($5,538), who had three straight double digit outings before being held in check with just 4.9 points against the Blue Bombers.

I’m betting he rebounds this week as he’s currently 10th in the league with 21 receptions on 25 targets. With the Stamps defence surely getting after McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Noel should once again be a PPR Prince and receive a lot of looks on check downs.

UPDATE: With Noel being listed as a backup for Thursday night’s game, other flex options to consider are Naaman Rooselvelt ($5,481) who should factor in as one of the Riders main targets against BC, or one of Ricky Collins ($5,302) and Kenny Stafford ($5,393) if you’re in the mood to play Eskimo roulette.

I won’t be playing a Defence this week as the scoring is far too volatile and maximizing skill depth is a priority when I make my lineups, but if you wanted to cut some money from your backs and receivers the Stampeders unit ($5,289) is an intriguing play against Toronto.

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Mitch Robson
Mitch Robson is a freelance sports writer living in Toronto. He lives for weekends in the fall.