Team Previews: Calgary Stampeders
Team Previews: Calgary Stampeders

This article is part of our Team Previews series.

Calgary Stampeders

2017 record: 13-4-1, lost in Grey Cup to Toronto
Head Coach: Dave Dickenson

Key Performers

Bo Levi Mitchell, QB
2017: 4,700 passing yards, 23 passing TD, 11 INT, 17 rushing yards

Terry Williams, RB
2017: 187 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD, 5 receptions, 88 receiving yards

DaVaris Daniels, WR
2017: 47 receptions, 743 receiving yards, 4 receiving TD

Kamar Jorden, WR
2017: 52 receptions, 717 receiving yards, 6 receiving TD, 1 rushing TD

Marken Michel, WR
2017: 41 receptions, 780 receiving yards, 3 receiving TD

Anthony Parker, WR
2017: 36 receptions, 482 receiving yards, 3 receiving TD, 81 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD

Notable Additions

Atlee Simon, RB (drafted in sixth round)

Notable Departures

Jerome Messam, RB
2017: 1,016 rushing yards, 9 rushing TD, 33 receptions, 183 receiving yards

Marquay McDaniel, WR
2017 stats: 65 receptions, 860 receiving yards, 4 receiving TD

Roy Finch, RB
2017 stats: 114 rushing yards, 20 receptions, 133 receiving yards, 696 KR yards, 1,200 PR yards, 3 PR TD

Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

Another impressive season for Bo Levi Mitchell ended on an extremely sour note when he threw a back-breaking end-zone interception against the Argonauts in the Grey Cup. That disastrous decision cast a sizable blemish on the impressive 4,700 passing yards and 23:11 TD:INT that Mitchell generated over 17 regular-season contests. Mitchell's starting job is secure heading into 2018, as none of the cadre of backups pose any threat.

Mitchell must also deal with a pair of notable departures on the offensive side of the ball, as the productive Marquay McDaniel and stalwart running back Jerome Messam will no longer be at his disposal. DaVaris Daniels, Kamar Jorden, and Anthony Parker return to the fold, and will be joined by a relatively unproven but promising array of pass catchers that includes Marken Michel, Lemar Durant, Reggie Begelton, and Juwan Brescacin.

The Final Word: Mitchell will undoubtedly helm the offense once again for defending Western Division champs, and given the lack of proven running back options, the Stampeders could well rely on his arm to a degree similar to 2016, when he racked up 5,385 yards and 32 touchdowns. Conversely, the potential imbalance on offense could lead to defenses keying more on the passing attack, which could lead to a slight bump in turnovers. Nevertheless, Mitchell's job security and track record have him trending in the right direction fantasy-wise heading into 2018.

Running Back

Jerome Messam's departure leaves a cavernous hole in Calgary's backfield, and heading into training camp, how it will be addressed is far from clear. Messam outpaced all other Stampeders running backs by over 800 rushing yards last season, leaving plenty of potential touches for candidates such as Terry Williams, Don Jackson, and rookie Atlee Simon, who showed plenty as both a runner and receiver during a stellar college career.

The Final Word: Camp and preseason may or may not sort out a definitive pecking order, and it's highly conceivable that Calgary goes with a committee approach to open the season. This could well be a week-to-week proposition as well, with head coach Dave Dickenson riding the hot hand accordingly. Therefore, the situation shapes up as a tricky one for both season-long and DFS purposes, and one to certainly keep a close eye on over the next several weeks leading up to the kickoff of the regular season. Consider Terry Williams the early favorite thanks to his 156-yard performance in Week 15 a season ago.

Receiver/Slotback

Marquay McDaniel's departure is as notable as Messam's, but the Stampeders are much better suited to withstand that blow due to their receiver depth. McDaniel appeared to struggle getting open at times last season, and the 108 targets he leaves behind opens up more opportunity for the promising, presumed top trio of DaVaris Daniels, Kamar Jorden, and Marken Michel. There's plenty of big-play potential in that group, which combined for 19 catches of 30 yards or more in 2017.

The Final Word: Daniels and Michel checked in behind only McDaniel in receiving yardage in 2017, and they could well helm the position again this season, especially in the downfield attack. However, Jorden, who improved on the stat sheet in each of his last two campaigns and was limited to just 10 games last year, could also see a significant uptick in short-to-intermediate looks.

Return Specialist

Roy Finch's departure leaves the Stampeders without a clear-cut replacement at both returner spots. Finch contributed a whopping 1,896 combined return yards last season, so there are undoubtedly big shoes to fill. Defensive back Tunde Adeleke showed promise with a pair of punt return touchdowns and is the favorite to man that spot. The kick return job is wide open, with Terry Williams being the leader as the only returning player with more than five kick returns in 2017. However, the coaching staff may avoid using him there if they are counting on him to play a key role in the backfield.

Kicker

Rene Paredes' 91.4 percent accuracy on 58 field-goal attempts last season represented his best showing since 2013, and he was good on 35 of 41 point-after tries as well. He eclipsed 190 total points for the second straight season. While 2018 seventh-round pick Gabriel Ferraro owns a solid college resume, his 80.2 percent success rate on 86 tries over four seasons at Guelph pales in comparison to Paredes' track record.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for Rotowire.com, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.
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