Stegall on Redblacks' QB strategy, seeing the 'old Vernon Adams Jr.'
Every week our CFL stats guru Jon Perlberg takes a deep dive Inside The Numbers to give bettors an edge.
This week, he takes a closer look at how Vernon Adams Jr. and the Montreal Alouettes have struggled since their win over the Edmonton Elks in Week 1, and what we can expect from them this week when they visit the Ottawa Redblacks.
Adams Jr., Alouettes look to rebound
The past two weeks have been a struggle for Alouettes starting QB Vernon Adams Jr., to put it mildly. Following a superb season opener, the Als’ total domination of the Elks seems like a distant memory.
Back-to-back losses will do that and dropping consecutive decisions to Calgary and Hamilton has certainly led to a sinking feeling in La Belle Province.
Over his past two games, Adams Jr. has posted a 49.3 per cent completion rate – by far the worst in the CFL.
In stark contrast to that figure, the rest of the league’s pivots have combined for a 70.0 per cent completion rate over the same span.
Welcome to rock bottom.
Thankfully for V.A., it shouldn’t be an extended stay.
The good news for Adams and the Alouettes’ offence is that this week he’ll be facing an Ottawa defence that has allowed a league-high 318.3 passing yards per game this season.
Adams is only 7-for-25 on pass attempts of 20-plus yards – a 20.8 per cent completion rate.
To put that number in perspective, he completed 49.5 per cent of his pass attempts of 20-plus yards in 2019.
To regain his rhythm, ‘Big Play V.A.’ needs to dial it back a bit and take what the defence gives him.
Ottawa’s bend-don’t-break mentality has served them well this year as they currently possess the league’s best red-zone defence, giving up a touchdown on just 20 per cent of their opponents’ red-zone trips.
While the Redblacks’ defence has done a good job of limiting the numbers of points they give up, they still surrender massive amounts of real estate, and that opens the door to a big performance from Adams.
After a pair of underwhelming performances, Adams is primed to capitalize with an over/under currently set at 224.5 passing yards.
I’ll take him to go over that number.
James Wilder Jr., EDM at CGY: The former CFL Most Outstanding Rookie has quickly become a must-start every week in fantasy football. The Elks tailback has averaged a CFL-best 100.3 rushing yards per game this season, which is over 20 yards more than his closest competitor, William Stanback (78.0 per game). It also doesn’t hurt that Wilder has piled up a ridiculous 21.7 touches per contest. Now all he needs to do is find the end zone.
D.J. Foster, TOR at HAM: Foster recorded 101 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries in his CFL debut against a tough Winnipeg defence, which opened some eyes. An affordable option in fantasy leagues this week, Foster’s explosiveness should earn him a greater share of the carries in the Argos backfield along with John White. Also of note, the Hamilton defence has allowed a league-worst 5.6 yards per carry and a league-worst 128.7 rushing yards per game.