Week 1: Ottawa Redblacks (4-14) at Montréal Alouettes (9-9)

Power Rankings


2022 record: 4-14, missed playoffs

Next game: At Montreal, June 10

After waiting through the preseason to see Jeremiah Masoli in action, we should get a sense of the QB’s health when the team hits the field on Tuesday for practice. A healthy Masoli should be able to do some great things with the talent around him.

9. Montreal Alouettes

2022 record: 9-9, lost Eastern Final

Next game: Vs. Ottawa, June 10

It’s been an off-season of change in Montreal, from ownership, to coaching, to quarterback, where Cody Fajardo and Jason Maas reunite in the East Division. While there are questions around the Als’ receiver depth, there’s also opportunity. A Week 1 win at home would be the perfect gift for new owner Pierre Karl Péladeau, who bought the team in March. Like the Elks, it would also likely bump them up in these rankings.

Make your picks here:

And watch live on CFL+ (if you can’t get TSN / RDS / CBS Sports):

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2022 Record: 4-14-0, missed playoffs

New Faces: LB Jovan Santos-Knox, OL Dontae Bull, OL Drew Desjarlais, RB Ante Litre

Quarterback: Jeremiah Masoli is healthy after a broken leg in Week 4 ended his (and, realistically, the REDBLACKS) season. Masoli was averaging 8.4 yards per attempt before the injury and should be able to resume a downfield attack orchestrated by new offensive coordinator Khari Jones. He may no longer be the runner he was earlier in his career, but Masoli can still generate yardage with his legs when needed. Nick Arbuckle led the league with 14 interceptions but also had a CFL-best 65.3% completion rate on pass attempts of 20+ yards. Second-year pivot Tyrie Adams has had a solid preseason and shows potential.

Running Back: The William Powell Era is over, leaving Devonte Williams and Jackson Bennett to share the touches out of the backfield. Williams ran for 454 yards in eight games before injuries ended his season, while Bennett came over from Hamilton and ran for 234 yards on 50 carries. Litre will also factor into the ground game after rushing for 241 yards and a major on 54 carries with the Elks last season.

Receivers: This is a sneaky-good receiving corps that will thrive if Masoli remains upright. Jaelon Acklin became an East Division All-Star on the strength of 75 receptions for 1,169 yards and two majors, and could see bigger numbers if Justin Hardy (39 catches in his last five games) stays healthy. The ever underrated Nate Behar (59-727-2) is a reliable intermediate target, and while Darvin Adams has departed, veterans Quan Bray and Tevaun Smith will compete to be the team’s top downfield target. The REDBLACKS will also look to find ways to get DeVonte Dedmon more involved with the offence after opposing kickers found their senses and stopped the dangerous return specialist from getting opportunities to hurt them on special teams.

Defence: Pivots beware: Lorenzo Mauldin IV is back after leading the league with 17 sacks. Fellow DL Kene Onyeka added seven sacks while DL Cleyton Laing (three sacks) chipped in to the REDBLACKS aggressive mindset. Ottawa performed attention by subtraction by adding Santos-Knox (105 defensive tackles) away from division rival Hamilton. He will join a unit that includes hard-hitting Adam Auclair. In the secondary, Monshadrik Hunter comes off a 2022 that saw him record a team-best four interceptions.

Fantasy Nugget: If you prorate Hardy’s late-season receiving binge over the course of a full season, you would be looking at a receiver with 144 receptions.


2022 Record: 9-9-0, lost in East Final

New Faces: QB Cody Fajardo, WR Greg Ellingson, QB Caleb Evans, WR Jake Harty, FB James Tuck

Quarterback: Out goes Trevor Harris (Saskatchewan). In comes Fajardo, who is reunited with former Riders offensive coordinator Jason Maas, who is now the head coach in Montreal. Fajardo looks to revive his career following a 2022 season where a porous offensive line and a spate of injuries resulted in him being sacked a league-high 61 times. The Als are hoping his strong arm can stretch defences and open the door for a running attack that Fajardo (22 rushing majors the past three seasons) will also contribute to. Backup Evans had flashes of brilliance in his two seasons in Ottawa and could be an exciting element to the offence if needed.


Running Back: The Als’ season was altered sharply when William Stanback was injured in the regular season opener, leading to him missing 14 games. He’s healthy, which means there’s not a back in the CFL who can rival his combination of speed and power. Stanback, who sports a career 6.0 yards per carry, could flirt with a 1,500-yard season if he’s atop the depth chart each week. Backup Walter Fletcher averaged 12 yards per catch and will see considerable action. Jeshrun Antwi adds quality depth behind Stanback and Fletcher.

Receivers: Ouch. The Als lost All-Star Eugene Lewis to the Elks and Jake Wieneke to the Roughriders, costing them 136 receptions and 1,892 yards. Although the addition of Ellingson (38-598-3 with the Blue Bombers) brings some relief, the offence will turn to Nationals Kaion Julien-Grant and Tyson Philpot to become the focus of the passing attack. Julien-Grant had five receptions of better than 30 yards last season while Philpot amassed 285 yards after the catch. Cole Spieker showed promise, and while Chandler Worthy offers experience, the Alouettes are counting on him more as a return specialist, where he tallied all but 38 of his 1,862 combined yards from.

Defence: Montreal fell from a league-best 49 sacks in 2021 to just 37 last season. That allowed opposing pivots to connect on a CFL-high 30 completions of better than 30 yards on the Als. However, DB Marc-Antoine Dequoy returns after leading the team with four interceptions, and LB Tyrice Beverette shared the league lead with three fumble returns.

Fantasy Nugget: “Give me 18 games…I might run for 2,000,” Stanback said at the start of training camp. For him to do so, he’d have to average 111.1 yards per game.


This game could be a ‘barn burner’. Nothing but ash and debris at the end. Flip a coin.

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Bad news for Ottawa:

TORONTO — The Ottawa REDBLACKS and Montreal Alouettes have filed their first injury reports ahead of their game on Saturday at Percival Molson Stadium.

In Ottawa, REDBLACKS head coach Bob Dyce told reporters that quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (knee) would not play this week against the Alouettes or next week against the Calgary Stampeders. Masoli was listed as limited for Tuesday’s practice. Backup Nick Arbuckle will get the start in Masoli’s place this week.

Dyce also confirmed that linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox (hamstring) would miss the first two games of the season.

The REDBLACKS had nine players as non-participants to start their week. That list includes defensive back Money Hunter (pectoral), receiver Shaq Evans (hand) and defensive back Sherrod Baltimore (knee). First overall CFL Draft pick, offensive lineman Dontae Bull (leg) was limited.

In Montreal, receiver Greg Ellingson (knee) sat out of the Alouettes’ first practice of the week, as did national receiver Tyson Philpot (hip).


Player Name Position Injury TUE WED THU Game Status
Jeremiah Masoli QB Knee Limited
Monshadrik Hunter DB Pectoral DNP
James Peter LB Hand DNP
Dan Basambombo LB Shoulder DNP
Gary Johnson LB Groin Limited
Jovan Santos-Knox LB Hamstring DNP
Shaq Evans WR Hand DNP
Tevaun Smith WR Hamstring DNP
Ante Litre RB Ankle DNP
Siaosi Mariner WR Hamstring DNP
Dontae Bull OL Leg Limited
Sherrod Baltimore DB Knee DNP


Player Name Position Injury TUE WED THU Game Status
Patrick Davis OL Lower Leg DNP
Greg Ellingson WR Knee DNP
Kerfalla Exume DB Shoulder DNP
Brock Gowanlock DL Shoulder DNP
Tyson Philpot WR Hip DNP

3DN Power Rankings:

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

7) Ottawa Redblacks (7)

Ottawa might be the hardest team to get a read on in the entire CFL, namely because of the uncertainty around quarterback Jeremiah Masoli’s health. The star pivot didn’t play all preseason and may not be ready for Week 1, though the team has a functional backup in Nick Arbuckle. All-star cornerback Money Hunter and receiver Shaq Evans are both expected to miss significant time, throwing a wrench into the turnaround plans.

Jason Maas Cody Fajardo

9) Montreal Alouettes (9)

Undefeated preseason? Pffft, who cares? Montreal still has too many offensive concerns to rise any higher on this list until Cody Fajardo and his crew of unproven receivers can prove their ability in a game that actually counts. Until then, we’ll sit back and enjoy some Our Lady Peace.

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Arbuckle to start over the not ready Masoli = good news for the Als and I’d bet on them in this one now.

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I had already picked the Als, being at home. But this makes me more confident in that pick.

Have you made your picks in the GCC thread yet?

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Not only are they without Masoli, but they’re also without full practice:

I hope all you Ottawa-area fans are doing all right. Scrounge up some of those old Covid masks if you’re heading out.

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Als will win this one! I predict a 27-20 victory.

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I’m picking the Als, too. Lots of new faces on both teams to watch for.


Player Name Position Injury TUE WED THU Game Status
Jeremiah Masoli QB Knee Limited Limited Limited Out
Monshadrik Hunter DB Pectoral DNP DNP DNP Out
James Peter LB Hand DNP DNP DNP Out
Dan Basambombo LB Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Out
Gary Johnson LB Groin Limited Limited Full
Jovan Santos-Knox LB Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Out
Shaq Evans WR Hand DNP DNP DNP Out
Tevaun Smith WR Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Out
Ante Litre RB Ankle DNP DNP DNP Out
Siaosi Mariner WR Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Out
Dontae Bull OL Leg Limited Limited Limited Out
Sherrod Baltimore DB Knee DNP DNP DNP Out


Player Name Position Injury TUE WED THU Game Status
Patrick Davis OL Lower Leg DNP DNP DNP Out
Greg Ellingson WR Knee DNP DNP DNP Out
Kerfalla Exume DB Shoulder DNP Limited Full Out
Brock Gowanlock DL Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Out
Tyson Philpot WR Hip DNP DNP DNP Out
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Very Very disappointing that Fletcher is not ACTIVE!!! :rage::rage:
Fletcher is the #1 RB without a doubt!! :boom::boom:

I don’t think Fletcher will be out of the lineup long. This is an evaluation opportunity for receivers, and probably a ratio issue too. But Stanback looked good in preseason and he’s 100% healthy this year. I understand why he’s getting the start. That said, I’ll wager we’ll see a lot of two-back formations with Stanback and Fletcher this year.

I’d hope they give Antwi - who broke the 1st and 3rd longest runs from scrimmage by a RB in the entire league last season - some chances to see if he can do more of the same; that’s if your offensive coaches value and have respect for the ground game and what it can do.

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I’d like to see more of Antwi too, but there are only so many touches available for running backs. He should have some opportunity tonight, since Fletcher’s not even dressed.

This one is very interesting, in that there was significant change on both sides.


Oohwah… will see how Stanback fares. He has dropped some weight, been training here since January.

4 carries for 26 yards in his limited time played in the pre season game.

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We as fans can only hope for that

Ummm, you did realize Fletcher tied with Kevin Brown for yards gained last season. The difference was Fletcher played 14 games and Brown 7. No excuses for “playing for the Elks” either because both of them played for the Elks.

I would post their stats but the CFL has expunged all previous stats from their site.

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