While some players get off to hot starts, others jump out of the gate slower before picking up steam. Many different factors can contribute to a player moving up in the stats – being with a new team, a change to a team’s strategy, or a new opportunity presenting itself. But identifying an underperforming player who’s about to turn into a star can mean a big step forward on your fantasy portfolio. For CFL Fantasy Week 6, we’ll touch on the slow-burning players who will help you heat up your progress against your opponents.
CFL Fantasy Week 6: Better Late than Never
Travis Lulay, Lions Quarterback ($9,214)
Is it 2011? Because Lulay is playing at the same level now as he did six years ago when he won Most Outstanding Player. In recent weeks the 33-year-old has reminded everyone why he was the face of the Lions for so long.
In the two games since Jonathan Jennings suffered a shoulder injury, Lulay has completed 72% of his passes, netting over 800 yards, five touchdowns, and a total of 59.7 fantasy points. And beyond these stats, the nine-year veteran has recorded a rushing major in four of the five contests. That’s six more fantasy points without taking yards into consideration.
Lulay is a quarterback who isn’t afraid to take chances down field or throw into tight windows, so he’s put up these numbers while also throwing four picks. These are the results that come with a gunslinger mentality. It’s worked out against the two worst passing defences (Winnipeg and Hamilton), but those numbers may be a bit harder to duplicate against the league’s best pass defence in the Eskimos this week.
Even with the matchup being a bit more difficult, Lulay is still worth a look. He’s the second-cheapest starting pivot. Meanwhile, there’s a chance that wide receiver Chris Williams will make his highly anticipated Lions debut; the speedster is listed as day-to-day but would present a juicy new target for Lulay.
Ross Scheuerman, Tiger-Cats Running Back ($3,000)
It’s well-documented that Hamilton prefers the passing game to the running one. In recent weeks, though, the Tiger-Cats have been utilizing the ground attack more and Scheuerman has seen the benefits of the change.
The previous two games, he’s had at least eight carries with touches in the double-digits. The second year back delivered over 10 fantasy points in the process. Considering how expensive starting running backs are in fantasy, Scheuerman can help save money while getting his opportunities to register points.
In my previous article, I mentioned the Stampeders’ defence has given up over 10 fantasy points to opposing tail back. The trend continued last week against the Roughriders when Cameron Marshall put up 14.3 points.
B.J. Cunningham, Alouettes Wide Receiver ($5,547)
Cunningham’s game is all about the big play. He’s recorded a reception of over 30 yards in every contest. It doesn’t matter whether he lines up in the slot or outside, the Alouettes can rely on him for a grab when needed. The receiver sits first on the team in yards and touchdowns.
Montreal is up against the Blue Bombers, who rank second-last against the pass. Quarterback Darian Durant seems to get more comfortable with the offence and receivers every game. He threw for 452 yards in Ottawa and amassed 27 first downs. This could mean a big night for a the offence as a whole.
Fellow receiver Tiquan Underwood will most likely not play on Thursday. This puts more pressure on Cunningham to pick up the slack, but he’ll be on the end of even more passes than usual.
Vidal Hazelton, Eskimos Wide Receiver ($3,914)
Hazelton is not the flashiest receiver, but he can make things happen when given the chance. His numbers in his first season with the Eskimos are proof. The 29-year-old has accumulated at least 65 yards in each of his last three contests. Among Eskimos, he currently ranks second in grabs, targets, yards, touchdowns, and 30-plus-yard plays.
Around 24 hours before the Eskimos’ game against the Ticats, news broke out Adarius Bowman had been placed on the six-game injured list. This sets off a chain reaction: opposing defences’ focus shifts to Brandon Zylstra; when Zylstra is double-teamed, Mike Reilly looks more towards Hazelton. Every week, the two are building more and more chemistry.
The last time these two clubs battled in the opening week, D’haquille Williams went off for 110 yards and a touchdown. You can bet some of the Lions attention will be on him as well. That opens up more space for Hazleton to emerge as the next big option in Edmonton.