Expectations are something that all high-level athletes have to deal with. When an athlete performs well, those expectations can grow to new heights. Sometimes athletes can live up to them, other times they can’t. This week’s article is a look at players who have different expectations at this point in the season, but are in the position to generate more before Monday comes. Here are your high-expectations picks for CFL Fantasy week 4.
CFL Fantasy Week 4
Jonathan Jennings, Quarterback, Lions
Huge expectations were attached to Jennings after his first full season as a starter in 2016. He threw for over 5,000 yards and 27 touchdowns, in addition to 363 yards and four scores with his legs. That stellar season, combined with the receiving corps the Lions retained for this season, was supposed to equal to a huge year for the 24-year-old. Instead, Jennings has started out slowly, averaging the third-least fantasy points among pivots so far. Luckily for Fantasy owners, this week could be a different story.
It’s no secret the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have struggled mightily on both sides of the ball. The defence is on the field consistently because the offence can’t move the chains, averaging only 12.5 first downs per game. This tires the defence more quickly, which leads to errors and points against. In their first two games, the Ticats have allowed over 470 total yards and more than 30 points. The Argos’ Ricky Ray threw for a career high, while Roughriders’ Kevin Glenn racked up six touchdowns. All these point to Jennings having a breakout game. Until Hamilton as a whole improves, it’s difficult not to pick the opposing quarterback every time.
Travon Van, Running Back, Eskimos
Back John White is out the rest of the season after suffering a torn right ACL in Week 2 against the Montreal Alouettes. Van is the next man up, and will have every opportunity to be the next bell cow in Edmonton. When White went down in the first quarter, Van was thrown in the fire immediately. The 26-year-old put up 71 total yards on 21 touches, in addition to one impressive touchdown run, where he popped two Montreal defenders on the goal line.
Head coach Jason Maas utilizes tailbacks in his offence: White averaged just under 15 touches per game last year. If that and last game have any indication of what Van’s role maybe moving forward, he should be considered a starter every week in Fantasy. He’s also many cheaper than many other starting running backs.
Marquay McDaniel, Slot Back, Stampeders
One of the main reasons why Nik Lewis expendable in Calgary was McDaniel. The slot back has become a staple for the organization the previous five years, always in the top two in receptions, targets and yards. In the opening week, when the 33-year-old made 10 grabs for 114 yards, it seemed the trend would continue, but it’s gone the opposite way since. He’s only made six catches for 61 yards and zero touchdowns since.
For a player with so much skill and intelligence, it’s hard to imagine this negative pattern continuing. The Alouettes defence the Stamps will face this week are tough customers. They haven’t allowed more than 23 points this season and they do a great job stopping the deep ball. This is great news for McDaniel. When Montreal’s attention is focused on taking that option away, the veteran can slip through the cracks and find space to make plays.
In the end, no matter how hot a receiver on Calgary is, McDaniel will remain Bo Levi Mitchell’s go-to guy.
Brad Sinopoli, Wide Receiver, Redblacks
The departures of Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams left two massive gaps at the receiver position. The good news for Ottawa is Sinopoli continues to fill in those gaps when some may have doubted his abilities. Most thought going from the fourth option to now the second option would be to much for him. But quarterback Trevor Harris keeps looking the Canadian’s way and Sinopoli continues to impress. In their loss to the Argonauts, Sinopoli was targeted 11 times for eight catches and 88 yards. The 29-year-old has been thrown to at least eight times in the first three contests.
Sinopoli has so far exceeded expectations and can be counted on to produce consistent numbers every week. If there are any doubts towards this, think about this. Sinopoli and Ellingson are the only wide outs on the Redblacks with over 20 targets, 20 catches and 200 yards. Secondly, a receiver is only as good as the quarterback throwing to him. Trevor Harris is the only quarterback who’s recorded over 20 fantasy points every game in 2017. If Harris continues to sling it and put up numbers, you can bet Sinopoli is at the receiving end of many of those throws.