We are so spoiled. This past weekend produced some incredible football at all levels here in Canada.
Saturday was a busy day at the amateur level and had the Saskatoon Hilltops winning their third consecutive Canadian Bowl after a 37-25 victory over the Westshore Rebels. Despite turning the ball over four times in the first half, the Hilltops were able to pound the ball for 298 rushing yards and win their 19th Canadian Bowl in franchise history.
The USports Conference Championships were also played over the weekend, and three of the four games were decided by three points in the final minute of the game. Like I said; spoiled.
The St. Francis Xavier X-Men [Okay, that is one seriously awesome team name. Are you listening, Dan Snyder? –Ed.] beat Mount Allison 29-8 in the Loney Bowl, the Laurier Golden Hawks won the Yates Cup after defeating Western 43-40, Montreal fell to Laval 20-17 in the RSEQ Finals and the University of Calgary got by UBC 46-43 in a Hardy Cup classic.
This Saturday, Laurier will battle Laval in the Uteck Bowl while the University of Calgary takes on St. Francis Xavier in the Mitchell Bowl as the four teams fight to get to the 52nd Vanier Cup in Hamilton.
*Then* we had Semi-Final Sunday in the CFL. Edmonton edged Hamilton 24-21 while BC beat Winnipeg 32-31 to complete a classic doubleheader. This weekend’s division finals and next weekend’s Grey Cup have a lot to live up to, but I have faith that the nail-biting football will continue.
The 10-8 Edmonton Eskimos head to Ottawa to play the 8-9-1 RedBlacks and attempt to become the first West Divison team to respresent the East in the Grey Cup. Ottawa heads into the game as two point underdogs and are looking to avenge their 103rd Grey Cup loss to Edmonton last year in Winnipeg.
The Eskimos lost both regular season meetings to Ottawa this year but a *lot* has changed since their two meetings. Trevor Harris relieved Henry Burris from injury in Week 1, while the less-than-100% Burris and his RedBlacks were able to beat the Eskimos by a field goal in Week 7. That said, Ottawa will be without star receiver Chris Williams and will need to rely on another epic East Final performance from Greg Ellingson.
Eskimo fans collectively held their breath late in the East Semi-Final when quarterback Mike Reilly took a nasty hit from linebacker Simoni Lawrence. Reilly left the game with a left arm injury and though it’s already been said that he will play this Sunday, he won’t be 100%. But who is at this point of the season, right?
In the West Final, the 12-6 BC Lions head to Calgary in an attempt to upset the powerhouse 15-2-1 Calgary Stampeders. The Stampeders are trying to win their second Grey Cup in three years; the Lions go for their first since 2011.
As 7-point underdogs, the Lions were able to surprise Calgary in Week 1, but Calgary really seemed to catch their stride after that opening week loss. The Stamps overcame a 19-point deficit to beat BC 44-41 in overtime in Week 6 before destroying them 37-9 in Week 9.
Calgary won all nine home games this season but hasn’t played a Western opponent since September 24th. They are coming off two consecutive BYE weeks and many of their starters, including quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, were rested in Week 19.
Dave Dickenson will be coaching his first playoff game and it happens to be against his former coach from his playing days in BC, Wally Buono. The Lions are optimistic star receiver Manny Arceneaux will be able to play following a punishing hit from Blue Bomber safety Taylor Loffler. He still needs to go through concussion protocol and is day-to-day with an ankle issue.
So here are some guys I’m running with this week in DraftKings CFL daily fantasy football this week.
Henry Burris (OTT QB $10,300) – Burris is the cheapest of the four starting quarterbacks but I see him having the best game. 2015’s MOP has been playing with a chip on his shoulder all year and Ottawa’s top-ranked passing attack should be able to give the Eskimos a lot of trouble. Hank wants one more shot at that Grey Cup.
John White (EDM RB $8,500) – Many had doubts that John White would regain his pre-Achilles injury form but White has been running with purpose since grabbing his job back from Shakir Bell. White has 617 rushing yards over his past five games and with a less than 100% Mike Reilly, the Eskimos would be smart to keep White involved in the offense.
DaVaris Daniels (CGY WR $8,100) – The West Division’s Rookie of the Year nominee has been dominating defenses since getting his first start in Week 9. Daniels has had at least 57 yards or a touchdown since making his debut and has averaged over 6 targets per game. Against a BC secondary that can give up big plays, I like Daniels to continue his success in the playoffs.
Brad Sinopoli (OTT Flex $5,500) – Ottawa still has three real threats at receiver even after the injury to Chris Williams so it’s almost a “pick your poison” scenario here. While the Eskimos were able to shut down Hamilton’s Terrence Toliver and Kevin Elliott, they gave up a lot of plays to Brian Tyms. I expect Ernest Jackson and Greg Ellingson to command a lot of attention in the East Final leaving lots of space for Sinopoli.
And my wild-card pick for this week is Terrell Sinkfield Jr. (BC WR $4,800) – Sinkfield left Sunday’s game against Winnipeg with an ankle injury but is expected to play against Calgary. While the Leos are optimistic Manny Arceneaux will be on the field, there is absolutely no way he will be 100% no matter how good he is. Calgary has the no. 1 defense in the league but if Jonathon Jennings has his confidence rolling, he’s already proved he can move the ball against any defense. Burnham could be a great play this week but Sinkfield’s $4,800 price tag is too hard to resist. BC may be forced to use Sinkfield even more this week so I like his chances on getting into the end zone for the fourth game in a row.
The folks at DraftKings could well come up with *some*thing for next weekend’s Grey Cup game, but this could be the final week to play in DK’s inaugural season of CFL daily fantasy football. But if you’re into daily NFL fantasy, naturally the competition at DraftKings will continue, with gajillions of contests with entry fees as low as $3 (or even FREE with first deposit – you know the deal: Click on the banner below, pick your team and go!