DraftKings CFL: Week 1 Value Plays
DraftKings CFL: Week 1 Value Plays

This article is part of our DraftKings CFL series.

Quarterback

Mike Reilly, EDM at WPG ($11,000): Reilly averaged 29.94 fantasy points over 11 road games last season, compiling a stellar 21:6 TD:INT and adding another seven scores on the ground. He lit up the Blue Bombers for 334 yards and three touchdowns (31.56 DK fantasy points) the last time he saw them in the first round of the playoffs, and compiled totals of 31.64 and 25.64 fantasy points in two regular-season meetings against them. None of that is really all that surprising, considering the Blue Bombers allowed the most passing touchdowns (33) and passing yards per game (321.6) in 2017, along with the third most completions. Reilly's dual-threat upside makes him worthy of his hefty price, considering that in addition to his career-high 5,830 yards and 30 passing scores last season, he also racked up a whopping 13 rushing touchdowns.

Jonathon Jennings, BC vs. MTL ($9,500): Jennings undeniably has struggled with consistency in his career, but his physical talents and passing-game weapons are both formidable. The versatile gunslinger also provides a ground dimension -- as evidenced by his career 5.1 YPC and six rushing touchdowns – and he draws an appealing matchup with which to generate some solid all-around production to open the season. Although they did their best to plug some holes this offseason, it's worth noting the Alouettes allowed the most completions (468) and total touchdowns (58) last season, including the second-most passing touchdowns (32) and most rushing scores (19). Jennings had his share of clunkers in 2017, but he thrived against Montreal, compiling 18.22 and 23.0 fantasy points in two regular-season meetings.

Chris Streveler, WPG vs. EDM ($6,700): Streveler is the wild card of the Week 1 slate at quarterback, as he will be thrust into the starting job in the wake of Matt Nichols going down with a multi-week knee injury. The athletic rookie brings an impressive college resume from South Dakota that includes single-season school records in passing yardage (4,134 yards) and total offense (4,834), with the latter figure being tops in the nation 2017. Possessing a 4.45 40-time, Streveler has athleticism to spare, and he won't have any shortage of weapons alongside him in his first taste of pro action. The likes of Andrew Harris, Adarius Bowman and Darvin Adams represent capable security blankets for the young passer, and the Blue Bombers will likely have no choice to remain aggressive against the Mike Reilly-led Eskimos. The fact Edmonton allowed the third highest completion percentage (69.0) to quarterbacks last season furthers Streveler's case as a low-risk tournament option.

Running Back

Andrew Harris, WPG vs. EDM ($7,700): Harris exploited a weak Eskimos rush defense last season for an average of 78.6 yards on the ground over three games, a sample that included a 105-yard effort in Week 9. He was arguably more lethal against them through the air, tallying 21 receptions for 244 yards. He's likely due for some heavy usage in Week 1, considering Winnipeg will try and keep the pressure off rookie quarterback Chris Streveler. That should give Harris plenty of chances to tee off against an Edmonton run defense that was plenty penetrable last season, allowing the most rushing touchdowns (19) and second-most rush yards per game (98.1) in the CFL. His ability to serve as a safe outlet option out of the backfield for Streveler and past pass-catching success against the Eskimos could lead to a big day on the receiving front as well.

Jeremiah Johnson, BC vs. MTL ($6,600): As mentioned in Jonathon Jennings' entry, the Alouettes proved highly susceptible on defense last season and gave up a CFL-high 19 rushing scores. Their dreadful body of work against the run also included the most rushing yards (120.5) allowed per contest and the second-highest YPC (5.5). Johnson had a part to play in their troubles, compiling 125 rushing yards over two regular-season meetings versus Montreal while logging three rushing touchdowns. That includes a Week 12 effort in which he notched a season high in rush attempts (19) while equaling a season best with 91 rush yards. With the Lions sporting a solid array of weapons through the air, Johnson should find plenty of running lanes against a squad he's proven capable of thriving against in the past.

Tre Mason, SSK vs. TOR ($5,400): Jerome Messam is the clear-cut lead back for the Riders, but the talented yet sometimes troubled Mason will serve as his primary backup and change-of-pace back to open the campaign. The former Auburn Tiger parlayed an eye-popping junior season back in 2013 (1,816 rushing yards, 23 touchdowns) into a third-round selection by the Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft, but legal issues and injuries kept him out of football altogether over the last two years. After an impressive preseason in which he was able to push former Rams teammate Zac Stacy off the roster, Mason is likely to see a fair share of action against a Toronto team that allowed the third most rushing touchdowns (17) in the CFL last season. At a bargain price and with it being possible he sees some action on returns, he serves as a viable GPP flyer if you need to save some cash.

Wide Receiver/Slotback

Derel Walker, EDM at WPG ($9,200): There's several appealing options at the top end of the receiver pool in Week 1, but Walker stands out as particularly enticing for several reasons. The first is naturally the prolific passing offense that he's now the unquestioned primary receiving option in. The departures of Brandon Zylstra and Adarius Bowman this offseason leave an abundance of targets to be absorbed, and Walker is certainly capable of delivering on the extra opportunities – he finished with 1,589 yards and 10 scores last time he played a full CFL season in 2016. Additionally, Walker put up a solid 13 receptions, 133 yards and one touchdown over two games against the Blue Bombers last season, and Winnipeg allowed the most passing scores (33) and third-most completions (461) in the CFL in 2017.

Kamar Jorden, CGY vs. HAM ($7,700): For those that need to save a few hundred bucks, the Eskimos D'haquille Williams ($7,400) is also an interesting option for the reasons just cited in Walker's entry. However, Jorden brings plenty of upside in his own right, especially after a 2017 season in which he set career bests in receptions (52), receiving yards (717) and receiving touchdowns (six). The Stampeders are likely to be more pass-oriented in 2018 in the wake of Jerome Messam's departure, and there's plenty of targets to be absorbed with Marquay McDaniel no longer around. The Tiger-Cats had more than their fair share of trouble against the pass last season, allowing the second-highest average passing yards per game (321.6) and most passing touchdowns (33).

Ernest Jackson, MTL at BC ($6,500): Both Marken Michel ($6,700) and Jalen Saunders ($6,600) also make for appealing options at this price tier, but Jackson comes in just a tad cheaper and could potentially be lower owned. The veteran figures to be motivated to put a lackluster 2017 behind him, one that saw him underachieve to an extent after back-to-back 80-catch seasons in Ottawa. He will work with an experienced signal caller in Drew Willy after a season of unstable quarterback play last year, and will face off against a Lions defense that was middle-of-the-pack or worse in most categories against the pass in 2017. Moreover, teammate B.J. Cunningham could be playing at less than 100 percent after missing last week's preseason game versus Hamilton with a rib injury, which could afford Jackson a few extra targets if Cunningham is limited in the opener.

Kenny Stafford, EDM at WPG ($3,900): Stafford's rock-bottom price makes him an appealing GPP option if you need to punt a WR or Flex spot, especially considering the Eskimos' propensity for putting the ball up. Stafford logged 20 receptions last season in a part-time role, but two of Edmonton's most prolific pass catchers in Brandon Zylstra and Adarius Bowman have departed. That bumps Stafford up to No. 2 on the receiver depth chart behind Derel Walker, which could lead to a boost in snaps. At worse, Stafford brings seemingly minimal risk, and as cited earlier, the Blue Bombers were highly penetrable through the air last season.

Defense

Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders ($4,500): The defending champion Argonauts will tee off against Zach Collaros, who will be making his first start in a Roughriders uniform and has struggled with interceptions at times during his career. The six-year CFL vet has thrown 38 picks across 59 career games, and he will face a Toronto defense that allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns (25) and completions (403), along with the second-lowest opposing QB rating (66.6) and third-fewest passing yards (267.9) per game during their 2017 championship season. Toronto was also tops against the run (82.8 rushing yards per game) and gave up the fewest rushes of over 20 yards (six), while tying with the Stampeders for most sacks (50). For what it's worth, after struggling against Saskatchewan in two regular-season meetings last year, they extracted a significant measure of revenge in the playoffs, tallying four sacks, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown on their way to 19.0 fantasy points. While the Roughriders switched out their QB-RB combination since that game, Toronto's defense should still lick its chops facing a Roughriders team that allowed the third most sacks (44) last season.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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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