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Team Previews: Saskatchewan Roughriders

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.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

2017 record: 10-8, lost to Toronto in Eastern final
Head coach: Chris Jones

Key Performers

Duron Carter, WR/DB
2017: 73 receptions, 1,043 receiving yards, 8 receiving TD, 9 tackles, 1 INT

Naaman Roosevelt, WR
2017: 75 receptions, 1,035 receiving yards, 8 receiving TD

Bakari Grant, WR
2017: 84 receptions, 1,033 receiving yards, 5 receiving TD

Marcus Thigpen, RB
2017: 32 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 2 receptions, 31 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Notable Additions

Zach Collaros, QB (from Tiger-Cats)
2017: 1,767 passing yards, 8 passing TD, 7 INT, 52 rushing yards

Jerome Messam, RB (from Stampeders)
2017: 1,016 rushing yards, 9 rushing TD, 33 receptions, 183 receiving yards

Zac Stacy, RB

Notable Departures

Kevin Glenn, QB
2017: 4,038 passing yards, 25 passing TD, 14 INT, 75 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD

Cameron Marshall, RB
2017: 543 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD, 30 receptions, 280 receiving yards, 2 receiving TD

Kienan LaFrance, RB
2017: 273 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD, 14 receptions, 123 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

The Roughriders' quarterback situation is unsettled, with the quartet of Brandon Bridge, offseason acquisition Zach Collaros, B.J. Daniels, and David Watford competing for the starting job. Bridge played for the Roughriders last season and posted a respectable 1,236 passing yards and 10:4 TD:INT over 12 games. The mobile 26-year-old added 127 yards and a touchdown on the ground and saw his snap count slowly increase over the course of the season as fellow quarterback Kevin Glenn ceded reps.

Collaros brings more overall experience to the table than Bridge, having logged 59 games with the Tiger-Cats over the last six seasons. The 29-year-old ultimately lost his starting job in Hamilton to Jeremiah Masoli, but he has a clean slate and a realistic opportunity to work with in his new digs.

Daniels and Watford, while part of the quarterback competition, are likely on the outside looking in.

The Final Word: Bridge is a promising dual-threat option, but Collaros has the edge in experience and might be more of a pure passer. This situation shapes up undesirably for fantasy purposes given the uncertainty. Moreover, given head coach Chris Jones' willingness to use his quarterbacks interchangeably at times last season, it is not out of the question he uses the same approach again in 2018.

Running Back

Jerome Messam was the marquee offseason addition to this group, and the two-time 1,000-yard rusher should head up the Riders backfield from Day 1. The other occupants of the running back room include a few intriguing former NFLers in Zac Stacy, Tre Mason, and Marcus Thigpen, and who impressed late last year. A third, former Cleveland Browns first-round pick Trent Richardson, was serviceable in his CFL debut last season, but he has been placed on the suspended list as he deals with personal issues, and his availability this season is uncertain.

The Final Word: With the offseason departures of Kienan LaFrance and Cameron Marshall, Messam has a clear path to playing time to start the season. However, Thigpen will be a factor in some fashion after he completes a two-game suspension. Stacy, Mason, and even Richardson could offer some upside if they play a bigger role than expected, but several things would need to happen before that comes to fruition.

Receiver/Slotback

The passing game should once again run through the trio of Naaman Roosevelt, Duron Carter and Bakari Grant. The Roughriders have no shortage of options behind them, though, and several with appreciable CFL experience. Therefore, they will likely release multiple players that could catch on elsewhere, which is clearly a good problem to have. The likes of veterans Rob Bagg, Chad Owens and Caleb Holley are three such wideouts, and they head the rest of the pack behind the aforementioned top three.

The Final Word: As was the case last season, Carter, Roosevelt and Grant could well finish 1-2-3 on the team in receiving yardage; and as they did in 2017, it's possible they all eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. The No. 4 and 5 receivers could also generate some appreciable fantasy production certain weeks, but the group has the best chance of reaching its potential if there's a stable starter at quarterback.

Return Specialist

Top returner Christion Jones and his 1,068 combined return yards are back, and the player who logged the most punt returns behind Jones, Nic Demski, departed in free agency. Thus, Jones should fill both roles out of the gate. Marcus Thigpen could factor in once active, but his role on special teams could lessen if he is used more on offense than he typically was in the past.

Kicker

Tyler Crapigna held down the placekicking duties throughout 2017, drilling 86.0 percent of his 42 field-goal attempts and going perfect on all 43 extra-point tries. Brett Lauther was brought in as a presumed training camp/preseason leg.