Team Previews: West Division
Team Previews: West Division

This article is part of our Team Previews series.

British Columbia Lions 

2018 record: 9-9, lost to Hamilton in Division Semi-Final
Head coach: DeVone Claybrooks - first season

Key Additions

Mike Reilly, QB (from Eskimos)
John White, RB (from Tiger-Cats)
Duron Carter, WR (from Argonauts)
Lemar Durant, WR (from Stampeders)

Notable Departures

Travis Lulay, QB (retired)
Jonathon Jennings, QB (to Redblacks)
DeVier Posey, WR (to Alouettes)
Emmanuel Arceneaux, SB (to Roughriders)
Ricky Collins, WR (to Eskimos)
Jeremiah Johnson, RB (to Alouettes)
Tyrell Sutton, RB (to Argonauts)
Chris Rainey, RB/KR/PR (to Argonauts)

Returning Fantasy-Relevant Players

Brandon Rutley, RB
Bryan Burnham, WR

Fantasy Outlook

No team turned over its roster in more drastic fashion this offseason than the Lions. The skill positions will look drastically different, and the arrival of the legendary Mike Reilly from Edmonton represents a significant upgrade over last year's duo of Travis Lulay and Jonathon Jennings. Reilly brings tremendous fantasy upside on the ground as well, but how quickly he meshes with fellow offseason acquisition Duron Carter and talented holdover Bryan Burnham will go a long way in determining if BC can maximize the prolific passer's arm. The backfield duo of Brandon Rutley and John White could prove productive if both players remain healthy. However, it may be difficult to predict the week-to-week workload distribution for each, and both could also lose a fair share of goal-line opportunities to Reilly.

Calgary Stampeders 

2018 record: 13-5, defeated Ottawa in Grey Cup
Head coach: Dave Dickenson - fourth season

Key Additions

Griff Whalen, WR (NFL free agent)

Notable Departures

DaVaris Daniels, WR (to Eskimos)
Lemar Durant, WR (to Lions)
Marken Michel, WR (released)

Returning Fantasy-Relevant Players

Bo Levi Mitchell, QB
Don Jackson, RB
Terry Williams, RB/KR/PR
Markeith Ambles, WR
Kamar Jorden, SB
Eric Rogers, SB
Juwan Brescacin, SB

Fantasy Outlook

The defending Grey Cup champs saw a trio of pass catchers leave over the offseason, but the Stampeders still retain a well-stocked shelf to help quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell in what figures to be another strong fantasy campaign. Calgary has high hopes for the development of Markeith Ambles, who showed flashes with a 28-304-4 line in a six-game rookie stint in 2018. Another pivotal factor will be the health of slotback Kamar Jorden, who had already posted a career-best 55-944-6 line over 10 games in 2018 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in early September. Jorden figures to be back to full strength at some point during the season and should be ready to roll from the onset, giving Mitchell a trio of potent weapons at the position alongside Eric Rogers and Juwan Brescacin. In the backfield, the returning duo of Don Jackson (1,092 total yards from scrimmage, three TDs in 2018) and Terry Williams should be more than enough to help the formidable Calgary offense achieve balance.

Edmonton Eskimos 

2018 record: 9-9
Head coach: Jason Maas - fourth season

Key Additions

Trevor Harris, QB (from Redblacks)
DaVaris Daniels, WR (from Stampeders)
Greg Ellingson, SB (from Redblacks)
Ricky Collins, SB (from Lions) 

Notable Departures

Mike Reilly, QB (to Lions)
Derel Walker, WR (to Argonauts)
Bryant Mitchell, WR (released)
D'haquille Williams, WR (released)

Returning Fantasy-Relevant Players

C.J. Gable, RB
Kenny Stafford, WR

Fantasy Outlook

The Eskimos probably made the best of a massive free-agent loss in quarterback Mike Reilly by nabbing former Redblacks signal-caller Trevor Harris. The veteran Harris is almost as prolific a passer as Reilly, even if he won't come close to matching the elite rushing production the latter provided. Helping Harris' efforts to get in sync with his new team will be one of his favorite targets in Ottawa, Greg Ellingson, who also arrived via free agency. Along with fellow offseason acquisition DaVaris Daniels, the two pass catchers could both be in for massive volume, given that a combined 308 targets left town in the form of Derel Walker, D'haquille Williams and Bryant Mitchell. In the backfield, trusted veteran C.J. Gable, who broke out with a career-high 1,063 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 2018, should retain a firm grip on the starting running back job.

Saskatchewan Roughriders 

2018 record: 12-6, lost to Winnipeg in Division Semi-Final
Head coach: Craig Dickenson - first season

Key Additions

William Powell, RB (from Redblacks)
Emmanuel Arceneaux, SB (from Lions)

Notable Departures

Brandon Bridge, QB (to Argonauts)
Cameron Marshall, RB (to Tiger-Cats)
Caleb Holley, WR (to Redblacks)

Returning Fantasy-Relevant Players

Zach Collaros, QB
Naaman Roosevelt, SB
Shaq Evans, WR
Marcus Thigpen, RB/KR/PR

Fantasy Outlook

The Roughriders will bring back plenty of pieces from last year's playoff team, and they did make a notable offseason upgrade in the form of running back William Powell. Powell racked up a career-high 1,362 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the Redblacks in 2018, and brings a robust pass-catching dimension as well after exceeding 30 grabs in each of the last two campaigns. His presence should keep defenses honest for quarterback Zach Collaros, who finished with an unsightly 9:13 TD:INT across 14 games last season. The offseason acquisition of three-time 1,000-yard slotback Emmanuel Arceneaux, who should be motivated to bounce back from a career-worst 32-553-1 line with the Lions in 2018, could also be a boon for Collaros' fantasy fortunes.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 

2018 record: 10-8, lost to Calgary in Division Finals
Head coach: Mike O'Shea - sixth season

Key Additions

Chris Matthews, WR (free agent)

Notable Departures

Weston Dressler (released)

Returning Fantasy-Relevant Players

Matt Nichols, QB
Andrew Harris, RB
Nic Demski, WR
Darvin Adams, SB

Fantasy Outlook

The Blue Bombers essentially stood pat this offseason and return multiple valued offensive pieces. Their one signing of note was veteran Chris Matthews, who returned to the CFL last year with the Stampeders after five seasons in the NFL. Matthews turned in a 81-1,192-7 line for Winnipeg way back in 2012, but it remains to be seen if the 29-year-old can generate anything close to that production while serving as one of quarterback Matt Nichols' top options. Otherwise, Nichols will have to lean heavily on veteran Darvin Adams, who could be one of the prime beneficiaries of the team's decision not to retain the trusted Weston Dressler. In the backfield, the versatile Andrew Harris, coming off a career-high 1,390 rushing yards in 2018, should once again have an unquestioned grip on the top running back job.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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