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DraftKings CFL: Week 1 Value Plays

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for Rotowire.com, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Quarterback

Jonathon Jennings, BC vs. EDM ($9,600): Jennings looked to already be in mid-season form in the Lions' final preseason game last Friday, completing 10-of-14 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. That level of play is essentially a microcosm of what he displayed most weeks in his breakout 2016 campaign, when he led BC to a 12-6 record and their first home playoff game since 2012. He also eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark and led the CFL with 40 completions of over 30 yards, making him a fantasy stud in his first season as a starter. With a year of experience under his belt, there's ample reason to believe Jennings could take things up another notch this season, beginning with a matchup against an Eskimos secondary that allowed the second most passing yards per game (305.1) last year and that he threw for 551 yards and four touchdowns against over a pair of 2016 contests. He enjoys the added benefit of several of his top receiving options from last season back in the fold, including 1,000-yard slotback Emmanuel Arceneaux as well as the equally dangerous Bryan Burnham, who is coming off a campaign in which he tallied a career-high 1,392 yards. Additionally, Jennings brings a running dimension to the table, as evidenced by the 363 yards and four rushing touchdowns he logged in 2016.

Darian Durant, MTL vs. SSK ($9,700): Durant makes for an interesting pivot off Jennings in tournaments, as he should be playing with a bit of extra motivation against the vulnerable secondary of his former squad. No defense gave up more passing touchdowns last season (2.1 per game) than the Riders, and Durant will have the luxury of fellow newcomer and potent target Ernest Jackson to attack them with, as well as highly capable veteran holdover Nik Lewis. Durant showed he had plenty left in the tank last season despite playing on one of the worst teams in the league, amassing 3,839 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air while adding another 308 rushing yards and six scores on the ground.

Running Back

Mossis Madu, Jr, OTT vs. CGY ($5,800): ***See comment section below*** Madu offers solid value among the projected Week 1 starting running backs, considering he should get the bulk of the carries and plays on a high-powered offense that afforded him a healthy number of opportunities last season. Madu played in only seven contests in 2016 but saw between 11 and 21 carries in six of those games, finishing with 504 yards on an impressive 5.5 yards per tote. The 29-year-old looked good in limited preseason action and has PPR appeal, having snagged 44 receptions for the Tiger-Cats back in 2014 and compiling 92 yards after the catch on his 14 grabs last season for the Redblacks.

C.J. Gable, HAM at TOR ($6,000): The Argonauts' defense was a veritable sieve against the run last season, surrendering a CFL-worst 115.2 yards per game. That sets up well for the very reasonably-priced Gable, who supplied 693 yards on 5.5 yards per carry in 2016 and added 39 receptions for another 405 yards, all over just 15 games. Interestingly, the Ti-Cats were actually the least potent team in the CFL on the ground last season (66.9 yards per game), but as Gable's aforementioned numbers bear out, the lack of production can't be laid at his feet. His ability to contribute as a dual threat, the favorable matchup, and the potential for a second-half game script in Hamilton's favor certainly make him worthy of consideration for those seeking a cost-conscious play.

Wide Receiver/Slotback

Emmanuel Arceneaux, BC vs. EDM ($9,600): As detailed in Jennings' entry, Arceneaux was one of the Lions' top weapons last season, having racked up a career-best and team-high 105 receptions, 1,566 yards, and 13 touchdowns. The 29-year-old remains in terrific shape and appears primed for another prodigious campaign in tandem with his surging quarterback. He opens with a matchup against an Eskimos squad that allowed 1.61 passing touchdowns in 2016 - and that he eviscerated for 15 receptions, 296 yards and four touchdowns over two games last season. In what could certainly be a high-scoring battle, Arceneaux could well see double-digit targets.

Marquay McDaniel, CGY at OTT ($8,200): Much like Arceneaux, McDaniel proved to be one of his quarterback's most trusted veteran weapons last season, posting a career-high 1,074 yards along with 83 receptions (on 111 targets) and four touchdowns. He draws a premium matchup to open up 2017, facing an Ottawa secondary that allowed 311.2 yards and 1.7 passing touchdowns per contest in what is projected to be one of the higher-scoring games of the week. While the Stampeders have some capable secondary receivers, McDaniel is Bo Levi Mitchell's unquestioned No. 1 target, and the quarterback figures to look his way often in what should be a back-and-forth Grey Cup rematch.

Greg Ellingson, OTT vs. CGY ($6,300): Ellingson offered a glimpse of what he is capable of last season despite usually playing a secondary role in the Redblacks' receiving corps, posting a career-best 76 receptions (on 113 targets), 1,260 yards, and 16.6 yards per reception over 17 games. Three of those contests, the last of which was in the Grey Cup, came against the Stampeders, against who he tallied a combined 20 receptions for 268 yards and a touchdown. Prolific Ottawa signal-caller Trevor Harris notably lost both Chris Williams and Ernest Jackson over the offseason, leaving a sizable void in the Redblacks' passing game. While the capable Kenny Shaw and Diontae Spencer were both brought on as reinforcements, Ellingson has the advantage of an established rapport with Harris and considerable experience in an Ottawa offense that posted a CFL-best 343.9 yards per game through the air last season.

Ernest Jackson, MTL vs. SSK ($8,100): Jackson was brought over from the high-powered Ottawa offense in the offseason following a 2016 campaign in which he compiled 88 receptions for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns. Montreal's offense was in dire need of a talent infusion, considering they tied with the Argonauts for the second-lowest points per game (21.3) last season. Jackson should be fellow newcomer Darian Durant's No. 1 passing-game option to open the season, and given his body of work and a matchup against a Roughriders secondary that allowed 294.3 yards per game and a league-high 2.1 touchdowns per contest, he could be in for a spectacular Montreal debut.

Defense

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at TOR ($5,000): The Tiger-Cats were rock solid on defense last season, ranking second in sacks (48 total, 2.7 per game) and limiting opponents to a stingy 80.8 rushing yards per contest. Hamilton defenders also snagged 17 picks, and they draw a Toronto squad that posted the second-lowest points (21.3) and passing yards (260.9) per contest, along with a modest 87.2 rushing yards. Moreover, they surrendered 2.6 quarterback takedowns per contest and open the season with a pedestrian offense, whose most productive player could well prove to be veteran running back Brandon Whitaker.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.