When our Canadian Football League (CFL) experts have important information or updates on individual players, injuries, match-ups, positions, or other specific aspects of a sport, they share it in a Spotlight. These articles provide in-depth analysis on how to reveal hidden value in the world of daily fantasy sports. This is where you will find key advantages that can launch your lineups to the top of your contests.
Shakir Bell (DK: $6,000) & John White (DK: $6,000): As you can see by the price of each running back, we along with DraftKings, aren’t really sure who will be playing this Sunday for the Edmonton Eskimos. What we can be sure of is that whoever starts, should have a great game. Last week against Calgary, John White sustained a shoulder injury, and hasn’t practiced this week, leaving the door open for Shakir Bell to get his second start of the year, so stay on top of the news about which one will start this weekend.
Let’s take a quick look though at Shakir Bell’s first and only start this year against Saskatchewan! In week 10, Bell carried the ball 18 times for 138 yards and also caught 4 balls for 32 yards and a touchdown. That’s a whopping 30 points from a player that only cost $4,200. Now can we expect that same production this time around if Bell gets the nod? Probably not, but it helps that we have seen it before and, boy, does he have a nice ceiling.
If John White is healthy enough to play, he should also be active in the game-plan and has a high-floor based on his incredible ability to catch the ball. So far this season, John White has totaled 44 catches for 350 yards and one touchdown while averaging 4.4 receptions per game. In the past four games, SSK has allowed at least 3 receptions to the RB position, so we can expect at least 3 catches or more from White if he plays.
With Edmonton third in league with 929 rushing yards on the ground and averaging 84.5 yards per game with an average of 4.6 per carry, we are expecting the Eskimos to establish the run game early to set up more underneath throws to Adarius Bowman (DK: $10,400) and Derel Walker (DK: $10,300). When they get to the end zone though, Edmonton is not afraid to run the ball in, evidenced by their 10 rushing touchdowns.
Their opponent, Saskatchewan, is currently tied for dead last with 11 rushing touchdowns allowed while giving up 1,064 yards total on the ground. So far this season, the Roughriders have given up 96.7 rushing yards per game as well, only trailing Montreal, who allow 108.5 yards per game. With Vegas expecting this game to be high-scoring, with an Over/Under of 55.5 and Edmonton to win by 5 points, our research leads us to believe that which ever back is running the ball for the Eskimos, he will be great play at $6,000.
Derel Walker (DK: $9,900) has an outstanding story to tell. He posted 818 yards and five touchdowns his senior year at Texas A&M, but was overshadowed by a certain Mike Evans (2014 7th overall pick in the NFL draft) who was trying to make name of his own. But, Derel Walker was beginning to grow as a football player as well, entering the 2014 NFL draft. At the Aggies Pro-Day, Walker disappointed scouts with a 4.65 40-yard dash time, but his other measurables (4.36 20 yd shuttle / 6.82 three-cone drill / 37.5″ vertical jump) were all better than the 4th overall NFL pick, Sammy Watkins. Unfortunately, Walker was not drafted, but the Tennessee Titans gave him a shot in training camp. Unable to make the final roster for Tennessee, Walker looked north of the border where the Edmonton Eskimos gave him a try-out. Impressing the Eskimo’s coaching staff, Edmonton gave Walker the chance he deserved, although it was just on the practice squad. Walker quickly became acquainted to the CFL game and found himself thrust into action in Week 7 due to an injury ahead of him on the depth chart. Walker lit the league on fire, torching his remaining opponents for 89 catches on an absurd 138 targets, totaling 1,110 yards and 6 touchdowns. His 92.5 yards per game during his 12 game stretch was the third-best average in the last 10 seasons. Walker went on to win the Grey Cup with the help of QB Mike Reilly (2015 stats – 2,449 YDS / 15 TD) and SB Adarius Bowman (2015 stats – 93 REC / 1,304 YDS / 7 TD). Walker also won the Most Outstanding Rookie award and was named to the CFL All-Star team. Not too bad for a rookie who only played in 12 games. Walker won’t be such a surprise for defenders this year, but that might not matter according to his quarterback. “He knows where to position his body to give him an advantage to catch (the ball) over the defender,” said Reilly. “…he can run hitch and go’s, outs, slants, deep fades, you name it.”
Being 6’2″ and 185 pounds, Derel Walker will have an advantage against most defensive backs. In Week 1 against Ottawa, he had a 34 yard catch, where he beat one-on-one coverage by running past the DB, timing his jump, and catching the ball at it’s highest point. Walker finished the game with 149 yards and seven receptions. His match-up this week is against the Saskatchewan Roughriders who impressively held Ricky Ray and Toronto to just 186 yards passing. But, bogged down by the low yardage total, Saskatchewan did allow two touchdowns, one going to WR Vidal Hazelton on a busted coverage allowing Hazelton to walk into the end zone untouched.
On Friday night, we expect Reilly to look Derel Walker’s way early and often, due to his 11.2 targets per game average last year. Though this may cause Derel Walker to be highly-owned, we don’t believe you should avoid him. Look to budget Walker into your lineups.
The Saskatchewan Roughrider fans are excited to see their star quarterback, Darian Durant (DK: $9,000) come back after rupturing his achilles in week one last year, and so are we. Riderville nation missed Durant in 2015 and ended up with a 3-15 record. Durant and new Head Coach Chris Jones will look to get in the win column in week two as they face-off against the Toronto Argonauts. If Darian Durant wants to get pumped up for this game, he should just watch Jeremiah Masoli’s game film from last week when he lit up the Argonauts defense for 318 yards on 37 attempts and 3 touchdowns to finish with 28.72 fantasy points. At one point he completed 15 straight passes. If Durant can imitate that success, it might allow him to find a rhythm early and knock the rust off.
First though, let’s back track to 2013, Darian Durant’s last fully healthy season. 2013 Grey Cup champion? Check. 2013 Western All-Star? Check. 4,000 plus yards? Check. Durant was dominant putting up a statline of 325 completions on 531 attempts for 4,154 yards and 31 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. His ability to scramble and be mobile in the pocket allows his receivers the extra time they need to separate from the defensive backs and explode for big plays. Durant’s short and quick release makes his offensive line’s life a little bit easier and welcomes quick, precise routes by his wide receivers. Those wide receivers will be crucial for Durant this year. Durant’s number one target should be Rob Bagg, who has played with Durant these past 7 years. Bagg has moved to slotback this year to better utilize his quickness and be the underneath man for Durant. This will set-up John Chiles and Naaman Roosevelt to take care of the outside and SB2 duties, respectively. Chiles is a CFL veteran who missed 2015 because he was on the Chicago Bears roster but in 2013 he posted 9 touchdowns in 11 games for these very same Argonauts. Roosevelt is in his second year after jumping around the NFL for a couple of years as well. Rob Bagg and Roosevelt will look to relieve some pressure and stress off of Durant early in the game as safety valves.
As we said, Durant should have some rust due to the fact he has attempted just 246 passes in 2 years. However, if he can continue to be mobile and maintain Saskatchewan’s fast-paced offense, he will have a great chance to catch the Toronto defense off guard, if they can’t substitute or get caught with the wrong defensive package. Toronto’s defense also finished 7th for total defense in 2015 allowing 499 total points for 27.7 points per game.
After starting out as -2.5 point underdogs, Saskatchewan is now favored by 3.5 points and Vegas has the o/u at 51.5, meaning we are expecting a close game. But this could also mean a possible shootout brewing! Vegas definitely sees some good things happening for Saskatchewan and so do we. Riderville fans are hoping Durant can bring back the winning ways and even though he is a risky play due to rust, new weapons and injury concerns, Durant has the chance to really help your lineup reach the top of the leaderboard as your QB.
Last week was the start of the Canadian Football League’s 2016 season. We are excited because our friends over at DraftKings have begun setting up tournaments for us football fans that are desperate for some pigskin in our lives!
If you have never watched a CFL game, there will be some glaring differences from the NFL that you will notice immediately. The most noticeable is the style of offenses that are played in the CFL versus the NFL. The wide-spread shotgun style is prevalent and clearly is beneficial giving the field dimensions and rules. Let’s dive into some of the big differences between the two leagues to help better understand the preferred style of play.
Let’s start with the field:
Just those differences alone must make offensive coordinators in the CFL pretty excited. The size of the end-zones create mismatches for bigger wide receivers with a post or corner route and the wider field gives quarterbacks a little more room for error on an out or dig routes. As far as the goal post locations, having the posts in front of the end-zone in the CFL makes those post and corner routes even more important in the red-zone and allows for more creativity for the receivers and slot backs.
Rules and regulations
There are major differences between the CFL and NFL when it comes to the rules and game play which drastically change how offenses approach each possession. Here are a few major rule and regulation differences:
Some other notable rule differences are:
- 9 teams total. 4 teams in the East division and 5 teams in the West division. 1 team has a bye week each week with a 20 week schedule.
- A team can score 1 point (a rouge) when the opposing team allows a touch-back. Basically if you catch a punt and take a knee in the end-zone the kicking team is awarded that 1 point. The CFL encourages big plays which is great.
- An offense has 20 seconds to run a play from the referee’s signal compared to 45 seconds for the NFL. Hurry-up offense anyone?
- Defense starts 1 yard from the line of scrimmage where in the NFL they can line-up “nose to nose”. This makes 3rd and 1 a little less risky and also gives the offensive lines a little more time to get their feet positioning which will give the skill players
more time to operate.
- Only one foot has to be in the field of play for it to be a catch instead of two feet in the NFL.
Some notable differences are of course the amount of players on the field, three downs to get a first down, score or kick a FG compared to four and the amount of men that are allowed to be in motion. To see wide receivers and slot backs start running in a straight line before the ball is snapped is off-putting but also exciting. Offenses need to utilize this advantage because they have two downs to make significant movement on that possession. If you get sacked on first down and lose 10 yards, that’s now 2nd and 20 and your odds of getting a first down decrease drastically.
Due to the bigger field, smaller team sizes, faster game play and the offensive advantages, players need to have better stamina, endurance and the skill set to play multiple positions. In the NFL a starting wide receiver won’t play on special teams where in the CFL due to smaller size rosters and faster pace, players are expected to play where needed which tends to favor the versatile athlete. Wide receivers are also used far more often due to the larger field and the spread out play style. Most teams use their 12th player as a slot receiver or a defensive back, depending on which side of the ball they are on, therefore the passing game is used more often than in the NFL. Only having 3 downs to gain 10 yards compared to the NFL’s 4 also causes teams to pass more often because run plays typically don’t offer the same potential to gain big yardage as passing plays do. As far as the defensive side of ball, the linebackers and linemen tend to be on the lighter and faster side so they can keep up with the fast paced play and prevalent passing style of the CFL.
Clearly there are major differences between the CFL and the NFL regarding field dimensions, rules, players and style of play. Since there are only 9 total teams in the league, the pickings for your lineups will be slim. So with the CFL now rocking and rolling, we recommend you watch some highlights, familiarize yourself with the players names and team defenses. Here is a 2015 highlight reel of Ottawa Redblacks’ QB Henry Burris (DK: $10,400) to give you an idea of what the offenses tend to look like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbzsLoVoccw
The research and data shows that quarterbacks need to be a little bit more mobile, running backs need to be pass catchers as well as bruisers and defenses need to be fast and prepared for anything. It’s a different sport but at the end of the day, it’s football and we all know that there is no such thing as too much football!
Welcome back, Carter! Sorry, it had to be done. Let us take a look at why we should all be excited for the return of WR Duron Carter (DK: $8,000) to the CFL. Still only 25 years old and with three professional seasons under his belt, Duron Carter still has a ceiling we haven’t yet seen. In his first year with the Alouettes, Carter brought in 49 receptions for 909 yards and 5 touchdowns. He followed that up with 75 receptions, 1,030 yards and 7 touchdowns. That 2014 season allowed him to test the waters of the NFL to see if his skill set could translate well. The Indianapolis Colts gave him a shot with a three year deal with little guaranteed money. He flashed some playmaking ability in practice but that is where he would ultimately be stuck for the season, spending 2015 on the Colts practice squad. After the season, the Colts chose not to resign him leading to his return to Montreal. Carter signed a one-year deal with Montreal in January and is clearly happy with his home-coming. “Jim Popp trusted in me when nobody would when he put me on the practice squad,” Carter said. “So, for me to come back and help the Alouettes and help Popp, it was a no-brainer.”
Duron Carter passes the eye test. Long, athletic, soft-hands, 4.5 speed and his highlight reel showcases all those traits. Feel free to check out some of his highlights here:
He has the ability to beat a DB on the outside with his straight speed, he can run across the middle, go high to make a catch to take advantage of smaller backs, or he can be a red-zone threat with the corner route and with the extra room in the end-zone. This season he will team up with fellow WR, S.J. Green to form a dynamic duo for quarterback, Kevin Glenn. Green compiled 1,036 yards on 71 receptions while being targeted 124 times. With opposing defenses having to deal with Green, Carter will be able to put his play-making ability to work on smaller and slower defensive backs. Kevin Glenn should also be happy to have Duron Carter back. After throwing for 18 touchdowns in 2014, Glenn was only able to connect for 9 touchdowns last year. Before the season, Montreal traded for the rights to former Oregon quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr. The ex-Duck brings another dynamic and athletic piece to the squad and will only lead to more red-zone attempts if he gets a chance. We will just have to wait and see how he adjusts to the new style of play.
One final note we find interesting is that in 2014, Carter’s last year, there were three 1,000 yard receivers with Carter being one of them. Last year there were twelve 1,000 yard receivers. That’s a 300% increase ladies and gentleman. One major reason for this explosion in wide receiving yards is the rule change that took place prior to the 2015 season in which a defender can only make contact with a receiver that is in front of him within five yards from the line of scrimmage, but would not allow either player to create or initiate contact that impedes or redirects an opponent beyond five yards. We are seeing the rise in offense in the NFL with record breaking stat lines each year as they are focusing more on enforcing that rule to allow more dynamic plays and at the same time limit some injuries. We are about to see it happen in the CFL as well as offenses will now be able to be more creative and will look to put up more points. With these rule changes and the rest of the data, the arrow points towards Duron Carter fitting nicely into your daily line-ups no matter the opponent. Yup. Welcome back, Duron Carter!