CFL 2022 East Division Preview

CFL 2022 East Division Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings CFL series.

Toronto Argonauts

2021 record:

9-5, 1st place in East Division/ Lost to Tiger-Cats in East Final 

Head coach:

Ryan Dinwiddie (2nd season) 

Key Additions:

Andrew Harris, RB (last with Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Brandon Banks, SB (last with Hamilton Tiger-Cats)

Markeith Ambles, SB (last with Calgary Stampeders)

Notable Departures:

Llevi Noel, WR (to Ottawa Redblacks)

Ricky Collins, WR (not re-signed)

Fantasy-relevant Holdovers:

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, QB

DaVaris Daniels, WR

D.J. Foster, RB

Eric Rogers, SB 

Overall fantasy outlook: The Argos are clearly making a Grey-Cup-or-bust push this season, an assessment based on both their strong body of work in 2021 and their offseason acquisitions. Bethel-Thompson was adequate last season with 2,303 passing yards and a 12:11 TD:INT while appearing in all 14 games, but his numbers could be in for an appreciable boost this season with the additions of Harris, Banks and Ambles. All three players will make excellent additions to a skill-position core that already includes several prominent holdovers, including Rogers, a two-time 1,000-yard receiver who should benefit from the departure of Collins. Meanwhile, Foster could very well still enjoy a solid role despite Harris' arrival, as the former enjoyed a solid CFL debut season in 2021 with 648 total yards and four total touchdowns.  

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

2021 record:

8-6, 2nd in East Division / Lost Grey Cup to Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Head coach:

Orlondo Steinauer (3rd season)

Notable Departures:

Jeremiah Masoli (to Ottawa Redblacks)

Jaelon Acklin, SB (to Ottawa Redblacks)

Brandon Banks, SB (to Toronto Argonauts)

Fantasy-relevant Holdovers:

Dane Evans, QB

Don Jackson, RB

Sean Thomas-Erlington, RB

Tim White, WR

Bralon Addison, WR

Steven Dunbar, WR

Papi White, SB

 

Overall fantasy outlook: The Ti-Cats will officially begin a new era under center with Evans, who is far from a neophyte after putting 562 pass attempts and completing them at an impressive 69.9 percent  clip for 4,924 yards, 29 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in his first three seasons. The departures of Acklin and Banks aren't ideal for Evans' prospects, but the reported full return to health by Bralon Addison, who posted a 95-1,236-7 line and added 218 rushing yards and a score just two seasons ago, could certainly help make up for the lost production. Additionally, continued development on the part of Tim and Papi White along with Dunbar would give Evans more than enough firepower to thrive. That said, Hamilton's backfield could be a bit of a fantasy quagmire, as Jackson and Thomas-Erlington may be involved in a fairly even timeshare, at least to open the season. 

Montreal Alouettes

2021 record:

7-7, 3rd in East Division

Head coach:

Khari Jones (3rd season)

Key Additions:

Hergy Mayala, WR (last with Calgary Stampeders)

Notable Departures:

B.J. Cunningham, WR (to Ottawa Redblacks)

Fantasy-relevant Holdovers:

Vernon Adams, QB

Trevor Harris, QB

Eugene Lewis, WR

William Stanback, RB

Jake Wieneke, SB 

Overall fantasy outlook: The Alouettes have an eye on taking the next step after a solid but non-playoff season in 2021, and they could have the talent to do it based on returning players alone. Montreal already averaged the second-most points (24.7) and most net yards per game (371.8) a year ago, and they'll run it back with Adams under center to open 2022. The highly versatile signal-caller made his mark back in the CFL's last full season in 2019 with 4,336 total yards and 36 total touchdowns across 16 games. Adams appeared in only eight games last season but was still effective with 2,247 total yards and 14 scores, and he'll have plenty of incentive to perform with accomplished veteran Trevor Harris sitting in the No. 2 role. The likes of two-time 1,000-yard rusher Stanback and the highly productive pass-catching duo Lewis and Wieneke should help ensure plenty of fantasy production for Adams or Harris, while the addition of the promising Mayala (67-846-5 over his first two seasons) represents a younger target than the departed Cunningham. 

Ottawa Redblacks

2021 record:

3-11, 4th place in East Division

 

Head coach:

Paul LaPolice (2nd season)

Key Additions:

Jeremiah Masoli, QB (last with Hamilton Tiger-Cats)

William Powell, RB (last with Saskatchewan Roughriders)

Shaq Johnson, WR (last with BC Lions)

Jaelon Acklin, SB (last with Hamilton Tiger-Cats)

Darvin Adams, WR (last with Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Fantasy-relevant Holdovers:

R.J. Harris, SB

Overall fantasy outlook: The Redblacks knew wholesale changes were called for following an abysmal 3-14 season that saw Ottawa's offense average a CFL-low 13.4 points per game and score a league-worst 13 touchdowns as well. The team spared no expense retooling that side of the ball this offseason, and all of the new arrivals should have appreciable fantasy value to varying degree. Masoli brings a wealth of experience, including in big games, to the quarterback position, and the presence of Acklin, his former Tiger-Cats target, certainly should help both players get off to a productive start. Then, the highly accomplished trio of Powell, Johnson and Adams serves to further infuse the offense with some much-needed talent, and Powell should be especially valuable to Masoli as a safety valve out of the backfield when considering his 165 career receptions. With all the new faces, the one question is whether solid holdover R.J. Harris, whose upside has arguably been limited by questionable quarterback play in his first three seasons, will be a largely forgotten man.

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.
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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 over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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