It’s Week 16, the regular-season finale, which means “silly season” has arrived in full.
Of the nine teams in action this week, only Hamilton and Montreal have something to play for in the standings, so that likely leaves the other seven teams in some semblance of “exhibition mode,” in which banged-up starters will get the day off. That doesn’t mean the rest of the teams have nothing to play for, though, as players for Ottawa, BC and Edmonton are likely playing for their roster spots in 2022.
Edmonton is an especially interesting team to note for fantasy purposes. Players from the Elks will receive fantasy points for both games played in Week 16 but still haven’t received significant bumps in salary due to the uncertainty over playing time. The projections assume Edmonton will play their starting lineup from its previous two matchups in this week’s pair of games. If that’s the case, they’re pretty impossible to avoid in Week 16 of CFL Fantasy.
Antonio Pipkin, TOR – $5,689
It was easy to dismiss Taylor Cornelius after his first month of game action in the CFL, as he had six interceptions to just four touchdowns through five games and three of his touchdowns came versus Ottawa. However, it’s only fair to note that the other four games in that stretch included three games versus Winnipeg and one versus Hamilton – the top two pass defences in the league.
Over his past two games versus Saskatchewan, he’s compiled nearly 550 yards with five TDs to just one INT while averaging almost 20 fantasy points per game. In Week 16, he’ll face two middling pass defences in Toronto and BC at what could be essentially a $4100 salary per game. That kind of value is pretty tough to pass up. The Elks likely give him the rest of the season to make his case to be the starting quarterback in 2022. However, even if Dakota Prukop or Nick Arbuckle were to receive some playing time in either game, Cornelius still holds solid enough value to be worthy of consideration as just the 10th-highest-priced QB.
Jeremiah Masoli is one of two quarterbacks with something to play for in the standings and he will face a Saskatchewan defence that has allowed the second-most yards per pass attempt (8.73) and total passing touchdowns (20) in 2021 while likely resting some stars to prepare for the Western Semi-Final at Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 28.
While Masoli’s salary is high and difficult to justify given the potential value Cornelius presents, there’s a chance that Cornelius doesn’t play both full games and that Masoli puts up bigger numbers in his single match versus Saskatchewan. Given his salary, it’s likely two of his receivers will have to have big games to pay off. Still, Tim White, Steven Dunbar and Jaelon Acklin carry moderate salaries that are easy to fit given the values other Elks’ players present.
Trevor Harris is the other player at the position with playoff implications involved in his game and he faces the only pass defence more generous than the Roughriders’ this season – the Ottawa REDBLACKS. Ottawa has allowed a whopping 8.84 yards per pass attempt and 21 touchdowns through the air to go along with them. Meanwhile, Montreal has averaged the second-most yards per pass attempt as an offence in 2021 (8.32) while scoring the most passing TDs per attempt.
This is a dream opportunity for Trevor Harris to show what he’s capable of in this Als’ offence. There may be a heavy dose of William Stanback in the game plan, but even when Stanback had 112 rushing yards versus Ottawa in Week 5, the passing attack still had 288 yards and four TDs, so there’s no reason everyone can’t produce in Week 16.
If fantasy players are looking to go really cheap at the position in Week 16, Antonio Pipkin will get the starting nod against Edmonton in the Elks’ second game in four days on Tuesday. The Elks’ defence has struggled down the stretch and they have allowed the second-most passing TDs per attempt at this point. Pipkin hasn’t shown the ability to be a consistent passer in the CFL for the most part, but his rushing ability is more than enough to pay off a $5K salary while McBeth gets veteran rest while waiting for Toronto’s home playoff game in the East Final.
Jamal Morrow, SSK – $2500
James Wilder Jr. put up some excellent production for the Elks this season, but Walter Fletcher has maybe looked even better. While Fletcher may not have Wilder’s size and strength, his quickness and vision have been eye-popping in two games versus the Riders, who have allowed the second-fewest yards per rush attempt this season. His $6K salary would make him a solid value with just one start this week, but Wilder is listed as the starting RB for the Elks’ game on Tuesday. The current projections are for each back to get one start on the short week for Edmonton.
Toronto has been the most generous rush defence in the league to this point – allowing 5.64 yards per carry – while BC has allowed the most total plays per game to opposing offences (58.1). Between the efficiency likely in game one and the volume allowed in game two, Fletcher and Wilder could be in for exceptional endings to the 2021 campaign.
Edmonton’s opposition on Friday night, the BC Lions, have seemingly opted to explore offensive balance down the stretch. Butler has received double-digit carries in each of his past three games after having double-digit carries in just two of his first seven games of the season. What has really made Butler pop this month is having 10-plus points as a receiver in each of his past two games. With a regressing Edmonton defence on its second game of three in a week, Butler may have an opportunity for his first 100-yard rushing game as Edmonton allows the second-most yards per carry in the league (5.38). Butler is a fine and affordable fantasy option in Week 16.
While Butler and Fletcher are essentially just looking to assure their roster spots in 2021 this week, William Stanback and the Als look to vie for a home playoff game with a win over the REDBLACKS on Friday evening. Montreal’s is the highest volume and efficiency rush attack in the league and they project for 5.74 yards per carry versus an Ottawa rush defence that isn’t concerning anyone. The issue for Stanback won’t be the yardage; it will be the concern as to whether he can get in the end zone to justify his over $9K salary. Rushing performances over 100 yards every week are exceptional real-life production, but yards alone won’t cut it in CFL Fantasy at this salary without touchdowns or points as a receiver.
There’s certainly a chance Stanback has 200 total yards and three touchdowns versus Ottawa, but his track record to this point makes that unlikely and his salary makes him a contrarian option instead of a lock in Week 16.
Suppose fantasy players are looking to punt an RB slot with a minimum salary option. In that case, there’s a chance William Powell could get veteran rest versus the Ticats on Saturday, opening up an opportunity for Jamal Morrow to get his first start in the backfield for the Riders. He may not continue to get return duties, however, if that’s the case. Morrow was an accomplished runner and receiver at Washington State, averaging 5.7 yards per carry and over four receptions per game at 8.7 yards a pop. The skillset and athleticism are both there for him to impact the CFL if given the opportunity.
Jalen Tolliver, EDM – $3,791
Derel Walker, EDM – $5,816
Armanti Edwards, EDM – $6,461
Shai Ross, EDM – $3,961
Eugene Lewis, MTL – $10,200
Lucky Whitehead, BC – $8,959
Jake Wieneke, MTL – $7,851
Kenny Lawler, WPG – $9,470
Brandon Banks, HAM – $10,092
Bryan Burnham, BC – $9,665
Given Tolliver’s skill set and production over the past couple of games, it’s somewhat inconceivable that he languished on the bench almost all season for a team that struggled with offensive production. With nine receptions for 175 yards and two scores over the past two games as a starter and with five receptions for 48 yards and a TD in his Week 5 start versus Calgary, it’s impossible to think he couldn’t have made a difference for them given a full-time opportunity.
Week 16 of this season gives him one more chance to make his case for a starting job in 2022, with games against Toronto and BC. Walker is listed as starting for game one versus Toronto, and Ellingson could potentially be back for game two versus BC, though, which leaves some uncertainty for Tolliver’s workload.
Both the Argos and Lions present above-average matchups for opposing receivers and if Tolliver gets a full workload in both games, he’s likely the top producer and value at the position in CFL Fantasy contests. His teammate Armanti Edwards has been the more targeted player, but most of his looks have been on swing passes and bubble screens, as opposed to the downfield looks Tolliver has been getting. Shai Ross would also be a significant beneficiary of the two-game schedule for Edmonton as he’s received increased targets with all of Ellingson, Walker, and Jones on the shelf.
For players looking for a bit more certainty in playing time, Eugene Lewis gets to face the REDBLACKS with a home playoff game on the line. While Jake Wieneke has faded down the stretch and Quan Bray has never been much of a factor in 2021, Eugene Lewis has seen the most targets in the league to this point (105) and is likely to finish the season as the league leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns as well. A $10K salary is a lot, but his 35 fantasy point ceiling makes him a real option in Week 16 with all the value plays that Edmonton presents.
Wieneke is in play around $8K, but he’s nearly disappeared in the offence since Trevor Harris took over under centre. One of the best punt options at receiver may be Reggie White, as he’s averaged almost 12 Fantasy points per game with Harris as his QB while carrying a salary just over the bare minimum of $2500. As mentioned above, Ottawa’s is the worst past defence in the league, and Montreal is one of two teams with playoff implications to motivate them, so every fantasy lineup this week should include at least one Alouettes receiver.
The Hamilton receiving corps is priced a little more affordable on average than Montreal and has a similarly enticing matchup despite the reputation of the Riders’ defence. The Riders’ secondary has given up big plays and TDs in bunches this season and Hamilton has been the top passing attack in the league over the past month. None of them project exceedingly well given the even distribution of targets to Banks, White, Dunbar, and Acklin, but any of them are capable of 20-plus point fantasy performances this week and should provide some of the most certain playing time options at the position.
As for the receiving corps of the Argos, Lions, Riders, Bombers and Stampeders, it’s nearly impossible to know what playing time might look like and efficiency is likely to be hindered by the potential of backup quarterbacks getting starting nods. The Argos look to dress eight receivers for their Tuesday game versus the Elks with Antonio Pipkin at quarterback. There will likely be a strong rotation of players there with Josh Huff looking to get some experience with his new team, Rogers looking to get some game action again in preparation for the playoffs and the rest of Anderson, Jeanpiere, Brissett, Brescacin and Jones all getting a couple of targets in the game. Pipkin has always been known for his legs in this league, not his arm. If there’s an interesting piece of the puzzle there, it’s Cam Phillips making his CFL debut after some exceptional play for the Roughnecks in the XFL. Given it’s his first game action, he may get the most opportunity to prove what he can do at likely a minimum Fantasy salary.
Suppose either Lucky Whitehead or Bryan Burnham got a full run versus an Elks secondary on its third game in seven days. In that case, they could be justifiable plays despite their high salaries. The Elks defence has allowed an above-average rate of yards per target (8.05) and the highest rate of receiving TDs per target this season and should likely be completely gassed by Friday night.
Montreal Alouettes – $4,422
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – $3,586
Edmonton Elks – $3,200
BC Lions – $3,200
Given the uncertainty for so many offences this week, simply playing defences with something to play for has its advantages. The Als’ defence has been one of the best fantasy units around in the second half of the season, averaging nearly 13 fantasy points per game over their past seven contests. Given Hodges likely starts again for Ottawa and he couldn’t muster even 100 passing yards in his first start, this is a fantasy feast for Alouettes defenders.
The Ticats’ defence has similar motivations to Montreal’s and is likely to face an Isaac Harker-led Riders’ attack, which could also be resting banged-up starters like Duke Williams, William Powell, and others. Harker averaged just 7.6 yards per pass attempt along with three INTs to zero TDs during his action in 2019. Hamilton’s strong defence could have a fantasy field day.
The Elks are an option, given the opportunity to rack up sacks and turnovers over the course of two games instead of one. At the same time, the Lions’ defence may be an option just given they’ll have the benefit of playing an exhausted Elks team on its third game in seven days.
There’s a chance that the returning Derel Walker soaks up his usual seven or eight targets again, but hopefully, the play of Tolliver has convinced his quarterback otherwise. Playing an Elks double stack like this leaves salary open for Alouettes or Tiger-Cats receivers in prime spots.
Harris has played admirably well in his first few games as an Alouette, given that it has been two straight games versus Winnipeg. It’s a fairly expensive stack, but the Edmonton value plays make it an option for a duo with the potential to put up 60 fantasy points versus Ottawa.
William Stanback > Montreal Alouettes
If fantasy players want the other side of the Als’ offensive attack versus the REDBLACKS, Stanback and the Als’ defence could have monster days against Ottawa. This stack plays into that game script, with Montreal currently set as 14.5 point favourites.
WEEK 16 PROJECTIONS
|Name||Postion||Salary||Team||Opp||Projection||Points Per Dollar||Pass Attempts||Rush Carries||Recieving Targets||Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
|Sean THOMAS ERLINGTON||RB||$5,793.00||HAM||SSK||7.92||1.37||6||2.6|
|Reggie WHITE JR.||WR||$2,525.00||MTL||OTT||11.69||4.63||5.5|
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