The Saskatchewan Roughriders continue to play mind games.
Both quarterback Cody Fajardo and receiver Shaq Evans are listed as starters on the team’s depth chart for the West Final.
Riders head coach Craig Dickenson doesn’t know if Fajardo will start, but said he will play against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The 27-year-old missed Saskatchewan’s regular season finale with an oblique strain. He suffered the back ailment during practice and said it felt like being stabbed.
Fajardo threw in a limited fashion at practice during the week of preparation for the first West Final between the prairie rivals since 1972. Rookie Isaac Harker would be the starter at QB if Fajardo can’t begin the game.
Harker made his first career CFL start in place of Fajardo, completing 23-of-28 passing for 213 yards in the win against Edmonton as the Riders clinched top spot in the West for the first time since 2009.
Fajardo led the Riders to a 12-4 record. He threw for 4,302 yards while completing over 71 per cent of his passes with 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions in his first season as a No. 1 QB. The dual-threat pivot used his legs for 611 yards and 10 touchdowns on 107 rushing attempts, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Fajardo signed a lucrative two-year contract extension as the face of the franchise worth over $400,000 per season. He plans to be out there for a shot at the Grey Cup, but there is uncertainty. Just like with Evans, Saskatchewan’s top pass target.
Evans status is to be determined. At issue for Evans is a toe injury sustained against the Eskimos in the last game of the regular season. The Riders clinched top spot in the West despite Evans making just one catch for 14 yards. Kenny Stafford drew into the lineup in the case Evans is hindered or sidelined.
Evans was the favourite target for Fajardo during the regular season. He recorded 72 catches for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns — his first 1,000-yard season.
The Riders are hoping both their No. 1 quarterback and No. 1 receiver can go on Sunday.