Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Canadian Football: Living the Fantasy

The summer months are fast approaching, which means we are also nearing an important time for fans of fantasy sports. CFL Fantasy Football will soon be arriving!
Sorry if I got you excited there.

Though CFL Fantasy Football is nowhere near as popular as NFL Fantasy Football, it has definitely grown in popularity over the years as it has improved. Many hardcore fans of the CFL have started to play CFL Fantasy Football along with other fantasy games.

So, if you are planning to venture into the world of CFL Fantasy Football this season, who are you planning to choose? To win at CFL Fantasy Football, much like any other sport fantasy game, you will need to be prepared and know which players will give you the best chance to end up victorious.

With that said, here is an early look at the players that you should take, avoid, or take a look at in this upcoming CFL Fantasy Football Season:


Take Them

Ricky Ray: Chances are you won’t be disappointed taking Ricky Ray. The Edmonton Eskimo’s quarterback is a consistent 5,000 yard quarterback who threw for nearly 6,000 yards last season and finished with an impressive completion percentage. It doesn’t seem to matter who lines up at receiver for Ray as he has always found a way to the job done.

Ray can hurt opposing defences by throwing the short crossing pattern but has also shown that he can stretch the defence vertically effectively. Quite simply, Ricky Ray is one of the most dominate pivots in the CFL, and though he is no longer immune to throwing interceptions, he is a must have for ever Fantasy team.

Anthony Calvillo: After coming up short of a Grey Cup victory, Anthony Calvillo is back with a loaded Alouettes roster at his disposal. With receivers Jason Richardson, Ben Cahoon and Kerry Watkins and running back Avon Cobourne, Calvillo will have all the weapons he needs to be successful. Calvillo, who threw 43 touchdowns last season, would be a smart pickup by any team.

Take a Look At

Darian Durant: Darian Durant could have a successful year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, are a unsuccessful one. With a roster stacked with players such as Jason Clermont, Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler and Wes Cates, Durant has the supporting cast to be a dominant pivot. Darian Durant was also impressive in limited action last season. Taking Darian Durant could be a risk since he has seen limited playing time in his career.

Kerry Joseph: Though Kerry Joseph has a decent season for Toronto, he also showed some glaring inconsistency. When effective, Joseph can hurt opposing defense’s with his legs and powerful arm. The Argonauts have added some play makers in the off-season to help Joseph, but it will always be a risk taking an aging quarterback.

Avoid Them

Buck Pierce: Stay away from Buck Pierce and the glaring quarterback controversy in BC. While Pierce is working hard in the off-season, who knows how much playing time he will actually get. Jarious Jackson is also a very good quarterback and although Wally Buono has named Pierce the starter, he has shown he is not afraid to make a change.

Quarterbacks in Hamilton and Winnipeg: No one really who will be the starter in Hamilton or Winnipeg next season. Winnipeg will either start Stefan Lefors or Ryan Dinwiddie, and both of these quarterback are not worth a pick. Quinton Porter showed potential last season for Hamilton but Kevin Glenn was brought in during the off-season, so Porter might see his playing time reduced.

Running Backs

Take Them

Wes Cates: Injuries prevented Wes Cates from winning the rushing title last season, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders running back was still one of the best backs in the league. Cates has an impressive balance of power and speed which makes him an obvious pick.

Avon Cobourne: Much like Cates, Cobourne suffered some injuries last season, but he also gave Montreal a consistent threat at running back. Behind a solid offensive line Cobourne should continue to rack up yardage in Montreal.

Joffrey Reynolds: Reynolds finally captured the rushing title last season, and doesn’t look to be slowing down behind a solid offensive line. With a structured game plan thanks to head coach John Hufnagel, expect Joffrey Reynolds to get a high amount of carries once again this season.

Take A Look At

Kenton Keith: When Kenton Keith is on his game, he can be exciting to watch and he can rack up a lot of big plays. But there are a few things to ponder before picking Kenton Keith. Will he even be the starting running back in Hamilton, and will his poor attitude affect his performance on the field?

Fred Reid: It is no easy task replacing Charles Roberts, but Fred Reid may be the answer Winnipeg has been looking for. Reid is poised to rush for 1,000 yards this season if he plays the whole season. He rushed for 709 yards after Charles Roberts was traded last season.

Avoid Them

Anyone from BC: Stefan Logan was one of the most explosive running backs last season, but he is gone to the NFL. BC has had success recently finding star running backs but they really don’t have any proven backs. Ian Smart may be the starter but he has mostly been used as a special teams player.

Jesse Lumdsen: If Lumdsen is healthy he may rack up a lot of yardage, but the chance that Jesse Lumdsen will remain healthy seems so unlikely that picking him is not worth the risk.

Wide Receivers

Take Them

Geroy Simon: Even if he struggles early in the season, Simon always seems to finish will well over 1,000 yards receiving. BC’s offense may be weaker this season so the Lions will have to rely on Geroy Simon even more.

Keyon Rambo: Rambo, like Simon, is one of the most premier receivers in the league and should have another successful year with Henry Burris throwing him the ball. Jason Richardson: Richardson led the league in touchdowns last season with 16, and he seems committed to helping Montreal win a Grey Cup. No defender could cover Richardson last season and he would be a smart selection by anyone.

Arland Bruce: Toronto has a young receiving core, which means they will continue to lean on Arland Bruce. Bruce also developed a good chemistry with Kerry Joseph.

Paris Jackson: Paris Jackson looks to be destined for some huge stats this season. The Lions got rid of Jason Clermont, meaning Jackson will see a lot more balls thrown his way.

Take A Look At

Weston Dressler: Any one of Saskatchewan’s three slot backs could be a successful pick, but since there are so many talented players on Saskatchewan’s offense, it could hinder their individual stats. Dressler has a successful debut last season and should continue to produce for the Riders.

Kamau Peterson: Peterson’s turnaround has been one of the great stories in the CFL over the last couple of years and he should rack up a lot of yards this season. However, with a depleted receiving core, Peterson may draw more attention from opposing defense, hindering his stats.

Avoid Them

Arjei Franklin: People have been saying that Franklin is the next Milt Stegall, but he has failed to live up to the hype so far.

Jermaine Copeland: Copeland started to show some inconsistency last season as he dropped a lot of passes. It seems like the aging receiver may be past his prime. With so many other talented receivers, don’t add Copeland to your roster.

Defense/Special Teams

Take Them

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Yes I know that the Riders lost two of their starting linebackers and their coveted defensive coordinator Richie Hall, but don’t expect a huge drop out from the tough Riders defense. Saskatchewan has brought in a lot of players to fix their ailing pass rush as well as some American imports to compete for the void linebacker spot.

Simply put, Saskatchewan’s still has a lot of talent left on the defensive side of the ball and they have had one of the best defense’s over the last couple of years. The Riders also boast fairly solid special teams. While their return game is average, Luca Congi is becoming a dominant kicker.

Calgary Stampeders: Not long ago, I wouldn’t have advised anyone to pick up the Stampeders defense, but they have greatly improved. Thanks to players like Mike Labinjo, Calgary’s defense has become younger, faster, and more aggressive.

The Stampeders were also able to add some young defensive players in the draft which should bode well for them. On special teams, the Stampeders have one of the best kickers in Sandro Deangellis and Markus Howell has the ability to break a long return for a touchdown.

Take A Look At

Montreal Alouettes: Montreals defense is usually a solid pick, especially at home, but they do struggle against top teams. While their defense can shut an opponent down, they have also been known to give up 30-40 points every once in a while.

Edmonton Eskimos: Edmonton’s defense hasn’t been solid over the last couple of seasons, but Maurice Lloyd’s acquisition can only help. With Richie Hall, a defensive guru, now running the team, more emphasis may be made on defense.

Avoid Them

BC Lions: Last year the Lions defense was one of the best, but this year it may drop significantly. Cameron Wake left the team to go the NFL, leaving a huge void on the defensive line. The Lions are also depleted in the linebacking core, as only Anton Mackenzie and Javier Glatt are proven starters. It could be a work in progress for the Lions defense early in the season.

Toronto Argonauts: When Rich Stubler was running the show in Toronto, their defense was great. Ever since Stubler has left that role, Toronto has been awful. Last season the Argonauts struggled to stop the run, get any pressure on the quarterback and defend against the pass. While the Argo’s have added middle linebacker Zeke Moreno, they still have too many glaring weaknesses.

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