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Ryan Couckuyt

The Canadian Football League (CFL): A DFS Introduction

Editor’s note: Welcome our newest contributor Ryan Couckuyt, a resident of Manitoba Canada who’ll introduce you to the football league of the North, the Canadian Football League.

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This article will explain the differences between the NFL and CFL from both a rules and DFS perspective. Additionally we’ll talk some strategy to help gain an edge in cash games and tournaments.

General CFL Rules

First of all, up here in Canada we play with three downs instead of four. This usually leads to more passing plays and it can seem like the punters are always on the field. There are twelve players on the field at all times legally instead of eleven, and the entire playing field is 20 yards longer and marginally wider than an NFL field. With the larger field there are a lot of downfield passing plays and exciting all out blitzes which makes the CFL an exciting sport to watch.

Scoring is the same as the NFL except for one minor difference: Teams get one point on a missed field goal or a punt in the Endzone if the non-kicking team decides against running the ball out of their Endzone. Players only need one foot inbounds instead of two to perform a legal catch, and the goalposts are just beyond the goal line instead of at the back of the Endzone. The final piece creates more room to run around and make plays or do something dumb and cost their team penalties. Of course there are more differences between the two leagues but I feel that they are minor and less important than the ones I have discussed.

Daily Fantasy CFL Rosters

Now for the fun part, the differences between the NFL and the CFL from a daily fantasy standpoint. Currently the only site that has CFL available to play is Draftkings, so we’ll focus specifically on that site. CFL is less complex than NFL. You will be filling your lineup with 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 2 flex spots where you can chose from WR's and RB's only, and 1 Def/ST. The total maximum salary is $50,000. There are no tight ends in the CFL, and if you look at a CFL depth chart you will notice 2 slot backs which are considered wide receivers on Draftkings.

Building a CFL Lineup

This next and last part is very important and involves where to should focus most of your attention when building your roster. Your QB and your WR's are your most important positions and it's by far the best idea to fill your flex spots with WR's. Unlike NFL where locking in a stud RB is typically a winning cash-game strategy, in CFL it's almost a must to start your roster by choosing 2 high end WR's and finding value WR's for your flex spots. Why? It's because return yards count as points on Draftkings, and almost all CFL teams use their lower end receivers as kick and punt returners. This strategy will allow you to select a top end QB, and then use your remaining salary on your RB and DEF/ST.

Running backs are tough to chose because they are used so often in pass protection. Though you can usually find a value RB who returns the odd kick or catches the odd pass to fill out your roster. As always check the Vegas lines throughout the week. I use Pinnacle Sports. They seem to be the best site for CFL.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions I will be checking the comments section often. In a couple of days I will be writing a CFL picks article for the upcoming week which includes four games and starts Wednesday evening. Welcome to the Canadian Football League!

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image sources

  • CFL_football: By DoubleBlue (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

6 Visitor Comments

  1. Well done! I’m excited to give it a shot, thanks for your time and effort!

  2. Thanks for the compliment Ryan.. I working on a picks article that will hopefully be ready for the full game slate by Wednesday which is tomorrow I guess lol but at the very least I will have one ready for the 3 game slate on dk starting Thursday evening.

  3. One minor note. Teams can have 3 slot backs on the field at one time as well as 3 WR’s and an empty backfield. I. The article I said that CFL teams only have 2 SB’s at one time. Make sure u check the team websites before each team’s game starting time. It’s mandatory for them to post one at least 24 hours before their game.

  4. Hi everyone with week 4 starting early this week which is wed night at 7:30 et, I will not be able to write a picks article that includes the entire 4 game slate but I will have one ready for the 3 game slate starting thur evening. To be honest I like the 3 game slate better anways as the Ottawa Toronto game looks like a tough one from a DFS standpoint in my opinion. Thanks for reading

  5. You’re welcome. Based on some of your lineup building suggestions and the limited info on DK, here’s the lineup I’ve constructed. Tell me what you think of it: QB M. Reilly, RB N. Grigsby, WR A. Bowman, WR C. Williams, FL R. Collins, FL T. Underwood, D Alouttes. I have some trepidation with Underwood but it says he’s getting the start. Anyways, feedback? Think my wide receivers are due for any regression yet, they both started out far and away the hottest.

  6. Thanks for explaining that, will give it a go tonight!

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