CFL DFS: Introduction

CFL Breakdown

Heat up the poutine……crack open an ice-cold Labatt’s beer……it’s CFL time!!!!

We are back for another wonderful CFL season with a fun week 1 with less than 2 weeks away. If you have never played CFL DFS before, make sure to save some bankroll because it is a lot of fun and really holds you over until the NFL preseason contests kick in. Let us take a quick glance at a lineup review from last year to go over CFL roster construction and show you how to gain an edge for your DFS contests this year.


Roster Construction

CFL DFS on DK is unique because it allows you to be very creative with your roster construction on a week-to-week basis. The picture above is from week 7 of the 2018 CFL season and it is showing the highest actual total that anyone could score on that week’s slate. You have a 7-man roster with a QB position, RB position, 2 WR spots, 2 flex’s and a D/ST spot. The CFL is unique for many different reasons, as the field is much larger and there is one less down. With knowing just that information alone, you can see it truly puts an emphasis on the passing game. In the build above, you can see that while you have 2 WR spots, the other 2 flex spots were filled with 2 other WR. This can be a common lineup build in DFS CFL where all you need is one solid RB and fill the rest in with receivers.

This picture comes from the highest scoring optimized team in week 3. One thing that I wanted to point out is that you should not be afraid to stack several guys from the same team! The build above features all the main offensive weapons minus Derel Walker for Edmonton while stacking 2 WR from Hamilton. To fit this build, you had to punt on defense with the worst defensive team in the league at that time which was Montreal. Edmonton had a very explosive offense last season, led by CFL QB legend, Mike Reilly. He is pretty much always in play so if you roll with him, you want to make sure you get exposure to at least one of his WR (Think of this like taking Aaron Rodgers… pretty much want to pair him with at least Davante Adams!) Looking at the other mini stack of the 2 WR, Hamilton had one of the stronger aerial attacks last season and while Winnipeg was one of the more complete teams in the league last year, Hamilton was going to have to rely on the pass to keep up with the Blue Bombers. It made sense to use Banks who is the primary target in this offense while reaching down for someone like Toliver who was a starting boundary receiver that was at a significant discount.

One final thing when building your roster is checking for injury updates. This is extremely vital, especially when you are trying to fit in the high-priced studs like a Mike Reilly, Duke Williams or Kamar Jorden. The teams will put out depth charts a day before their games so this allows you to see who is in, who is out and who could be in for a bump in volume whether its in targets or carries. Last season, a lot of top WR went down with injuries so guys like Reggie Begelton, Kenny Stafford, and Juwan Brescacin became good safe value plays from week to week.


CFL Team Overview (Focusing on the QB/WR tandems)

There was a lot of movement this past offseason in the CFL. A lot of new faces in new towns or guys returning to old teams. I’ll break down some of the moves and what that means for their fantasy value as well as the teams that they are on.

BC Lions– BC landed the biggest free agent out there in Mike Reilly. Reilly is the top QB in the league and he kind of reminds me of their Aaron Rodgers by the way he plays. He has a strong arm that loves to throw deep but can also make some magic with his legs. He headed back to BC which really gives this offense a boost. Bryan Burnham will be a top target this year for Reilly and could establish himself as a top WR in the league. He is coming off a 1,000-yard receiving season, so the upside is there. Another main offensive weapon that the Lions got this off-season was WR Duron Carter. Carter is a physical specimen coming in at 6’5 and weighing 205 lbs. He had a rough season in 2018 partly due to playing on the defensive side of the ball in Saskatchewan until he ended up in Toronto. In his 4 previous seasons, he had at least over 900 yards receiving each year with at least 5 TD catches. I think this tandem could replicate the combo that Reilly had in Edmonton last year in Walker and Williams so if you play Reilly, make sure to grab one of these two WR!

Edmonton Eskimos– The Eskimos lost a ton of weapons in Reilly, Williams and Walker but they spent quite a bit in FA to bring in Trevor Harris, DaVaris Daniels, and Greg Ellingson. Harris and Ellingson have quite the rapport built from their time together in Ottawa. Last season, Ellingson was 2nd in the entire league in targets so this connection is something that we can rely on early and often. He does not have to compete with Brad Sinopoli for the security blanket target share so I think we could see huge numbers from Ellingson. Daniels was another new addition, which could pay off early in the season. He has big play ability and can stretch the field vertically with his speed. Even though he only played 12 games last season, he finished the season with 7 TDs which was top 8 in the CFL.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats– Hamilton lost a few pieces to FA but was able to keep their core group of guys in Masoli, Banks and Tasker. Banks is still dealing with a shoulder/collarbone issue that apparently has flared up so we are unsure of his status for their first game. Luke Tasker is the security blanket for this offense and is usually one of the safer WR options in the league from a DFS perspective. In 17 games last season, he hit double-digit DK points in 14 out of 17 games! If Banks is out for some time, Tasker could see an even bigger bump in this offense. A breakout candidate to replace Jalen Saunders is Bralon Addison. In the final 3 games of the season, Addison had over 3 straight 100 yard receiving performances while getting 35 targets during that stretch!

Calgary Stampeders– Bo Levi Mitchell is about as consistent of a QB as it gets. He led the Stamps to a Grey Cup win last season and put up fantastic numbers despite the offense being hit by the injury bug all season long. Kamar Jorden is a well-rounded receiver and is a top receiver in the league. In 10 games played, Jorden grabbed a TD catch in 6 different games while getting double digit DK points in 8 of those games. Unfortunately, Jorden went down with a season ending knee injury but up until that point, he hauled in 74 catches for 944 yards in only 10 games! DaVaris Daniels was the #2 guy in this offense but has since left for Edmonton so it is Eric Rogers time to shine. Rogers emerged as a top target for BLM, having 4 games where he saw double digit targets. In half of his games played, he hit for double digit DK points so he does have some upside as well. The Stamps have other WR that all saw significant playing time so keep an eye as to who is starting alongside Jorden and Rogers. Others to look at are Begelton, Brescacin and Markeith Ambles incase Rogers or Jorden goes down. The one downside to the Stamps is that they have one of the best defenses in the league so unlike teams like Edmonton or Hamilton that have high-powered offenses but mediocre defenses, the Stamps could get up early and choose to then focus on running the ball and draining the clock.

Toronto Argonauts– I really think the Args can take a huge step forward this season as long as they get consistent play out of their QB, James Franklin. They went out and picked up arguably the most talented WR in Derel Walker so that right there should give the offense a bump in production. Walker is coming off a knee injury, which knocked him out for quite some time. Even though he only played 11 games last season, he had impressive numbers by hauling in 51 catches for 875 yards and 8 TDs. He does take a hit by not having Mike Reilly as his QB anymore, but I think he is still poised to break the 1,000 receiving mark again this year. SJ Green could benefit the most from the Walker singing in my opinion. He was the top target for the Args last season, which meant he drew a lot of attention from opposing DBs. In 18 games, he saw 150 targets, which is the 3rd most in the league but only had 1,095 yards in receiving and 4 TDs. With teams fearing the big play ability in Walker, Green will be able to draw more matchups that are favorable this season.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers– The Blue Bombers had a quieter off-season compared to the rest of the league but partly because they feel as if they are set to make a strong run at the Grey Cup this season with the team they have in place. Darvin Adams is still the primary receiving target, seeing 123 targets all last season. The next closest on the team last season was Nic Demski with only 87 targets so if you do want to roster a WPG receiver, it would be Adams. The one main addition to the fold was WR Chris Matthews. Matthews spent some time in the NFL for Seattle and Baltimore and played several games for Calgary towards the end of last season. In the 5 games he played, he had 15 catches on 23 targets and 291 yards receiving. He could become a viable #2 receiving option for this offense if he is able to stay healthy. Winnipeg has a very balanced attack on offense, especially since they have the best RB in the CFL with Andrew Harris. Harris can run and catch so he does eat into the target share a bit.

Ottawa Redblacks– Ottawa lost a significant amount on their offensive end. Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson, William Powell and Diontae Spencer are all gone so there are plenty of roles that need to be filled. Dominique Davis and Jonathan Jennings are in a QB battle but it seems as if Davis will get the first crack at the starting job. Davis was the backup to Harris last season so he already has some rapport with the receivers. Brad Sinopoli will be the main target on this offense but I foresee him taking a huge hit in production since the supporting cast will not be the same like there was last year. R.J Harris, Dominique Rhymes and Caleb Holley are all WR that could be worth a look if you need a cheaper WR for your roster construction.

Saskatchewan Roughriders– This will be a very interesting offense to watch in my opinion. SSK is one of the top running teams in the league and only upgraded this position by adding William Powell from Ottawa. In addition to that, they went out and upgraded their WR corps by getting CFL vet Emmanuel Arceneaux. Manny is coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered back in August of last year so I have a feeling they will ease him into the mix early on in the season. He joins Naaman Roosevelt and Shaq Evans as the top 3 receivers that Zach Collaros will be throwing to. I think this offense has some upside but might not be an ideal offense to stack from a DFS perspective due to a more balanced attack and a lack of big play ability through the air.

Montreal Alouettes– If you want to give yourself a headache, then look no further. Montreal had a revolving door at QB last season and it looks like Antonio Pipkin is the leading candidate to start at QB. I do feel like they have improved, as a whole but it will be tough for them to keep up with other teams if this offense gets off to a slow start. They added big play ability in DeVier Posey who has shown glimpses of being a major receiving threat. BJ Cunningham and Ernest Jackson were almost identical in targets (81 and 82) and yardage (631 and 642) so there isn’t a true #1 receiver. Eugene Lewis is an intriguing option because he led the team in receiving yards (826) but had 14 less receptions than Cunningham had. Jake Wieneke has been establishing himself in camp as a boundary wide receiver so he could become a viable punt option if need be. Adarius Bowman is still on Montreal as well but he has not shown the ability to be the go to guy over the past season. If he is unable to get going early on in the season, I can see his role diminish.


I hope this write up helps and I look forward to sharing my thoughts throughout the CFL season! Feel free to reach me at @rdr1634 on Twitter.