Opening weekend of the CFL was a welcome sight for millions of football fans in both Canada and the United States. As fans welcomed three down football back to their televisions, they also welcomed back fantasy CFL football. Whether you play on DraftKings, or on the CFL’s official fantasy platform, we have you covered. Be sure to check in every week for our suggestions and favorite plays from each week’s slate.
There were several eye-catching performances from the first week in over a year of football for the Canadian Football League. A confusing quarterback situation in B.C. did not slow down one of it’s newest receivers. An old face may have created a confusing quarterback situation in Toronto. Finally, one team’s blue trash became a green and golden treasure in Edmonton. Below is a recap of the best of the best from week 1 in CFL fantasy football.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Toronto Argonauts
26-37, 254 yards, 2 TD’s (DK: 29.56; CFL Fantasy 22.2)
A familiar face returned under center for the Argos in their opening contest against the Stamps. Fresh off a stint as the quarterback for the Aviators of The Spring League, McLeod Bethel-Thompson returned to the Six for another season. He stepped in to replace former Calgary quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who was unable to start due to a hamstring injury. Bethel-Thompson was able to outduel perennial All-Pro Bo Levi Mitchell in week one on his way to a victory. More than that, he very well could have sparked an early quarterback controversy in Toronto.
Several former Stampeders factored into the mix to help MBT grab the top spot in fantasy. Juwan Brescacin caught a touchdown early in the game. Eric Rogers enjoyed a productive second half to spark the Argo’s comeback. In the end, it was Ricky Collins Jr. who enjoyed the best of what Bethel-Thompson had to offer. Collins Jr. caught six passes for 126 yards. It was a banner day for the backup who once led the league in touchdown passes in 2019. If Arbuckle misses another week, you should have MBT on your fantasy for what could be a shootout with the Blue Bombers this week.
Lucky Whitehead, B.C. Lions
5 rec, 136 yards, 1 TD (DK: 27.6; CFL Fantasy 24.6)
It seems that Lucky Whitehead was quarterback proof last week. His second catch of the 2021 season was a 75 yard major off the arm of Nathan Rourke. Later in the game, he caught a 36-yard pass from Michael Reilly, the Lions’ wounded starter. The former Blue Bomber proved to be a valuable asset to his new team in week one. He even managed to outpace long time B.C. wideout Bryan Burnham.
There are conflicting reports as to who will start for the Lions this week against Calgary. Although Whitehead has proven that he can be productive no matter who is throwing him the ball. He never seemed to get a full shot at showing his true capabilities in Winnipeg. It looks like B.C. wants to give him that chance.
James Wilder Jr., Edmonton Elks
15 car, 89 yards, 9 rec 72 yards (DK: 25.1; CFL Fantasy 25.1)
The new look team in Edmonton brought a new face to the backfield for the 2021 season. Former Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr. was that face. He promptly rewarded his new team by gaining 161 yards from scrimmage while leading the team with nine receptions. From the start, Wilder Jr. was out to prove that he is still as dominant a player as he has been his entire career. His 5.9 yards per carry against the Redblacks went a long way to back that claim.
He may not have gotten into the endzone, but he most certainly racked up the fantasy points thanks to his involvement in the Elks passing attack. This is a sign of things to come for Wilder Jr. this season. Head coach and offensive coordinator Jamie Elizondo loves to get his backs plenty of touches. Bank on that not changing anytime soon and for Wilder Jr. to benefit from it.
12 points allowed, 3 INTs, 3 Sacks, 1 Defensive Touchdown (DK:19)
In probably the biggest surprise of the week for most CFL fans, the Ottawa Reblacks upset the Edmonton Elks. One of the biggest reasons for that upset was defensive back Abdul Kanneh. He marked his return to Ottawa with two interruptions with one of them returned for a touchdown. He also added six tackles to his stat sheet. The most important of those came in the final seconds of the game. Kanneh stuffed Elks fullback James Tuck on the one-yard line as time expired to prevent an Edmonton touchdown and a win.
Avery Williams, Avery Ellis, and Micah Awe also pitched in with a sack apiece. At the end of the day, the Redblacks had the highest scoring DST on the slate. The squad will have an extra week to celebrate their victory and to prepare for a tough Roughriders team in week 3.