The veteran slotback has missed Hamilton's last three games with a torn hamstring but was placed on the 46-man roster Saturday. Fantuz plans to get to Tim Hortons Field early, warm up then meet with Ticats coaches and doctors to decide if he'll face the Montreal Alouettes.
"I'm preparing to play, we'll see how it feels once I get running around and warm up," said Fantuz. "I think it's going to be a gametime decision but I am preparing to play.
"We've been repping it all week without me so they'll be ready to go if I am not ready to. If I am, it's just a bonus."
Sunday's winner will advance to the Grey Cup game Nov. 30 in Vancouver. Hamilton is looking to make a second straight trip to the contest while Montreal's last appearance in the CFL title game was in 2010 when it beat Saskatchewan 21-18 in Edmonton.
Fantuz was hurt Oct. 17 in a win over Ottawa. He missed Hamilton's final three regular-season contests, including its 29-15 home victory over Montreal on Nov. 8 that earned the Ticats top spot in the East Division.
The six-foot-four, 221-pound Fantuz was Hamilton's second-leading receiver with 62 catches for 639 yards and three touchdowns. Fantuz, 30, of Chatham, Ont., practised sparingly this week, taking limited reps with the starting offence Friday.
"Andy was healthy enough to put on the roster," Ticats head coach/GM Kent Austin said. "Is he healthy enough to play four quarters or start? We're still determining that.
"I can't say he won't play or that he won't start but I can't say how much he's going to play either, if at all."
Austin said he's not worrying about the uncertainty of Fantuz's status.
"He didn't take really any reps this week so it's not like the other guys aren't prepared," Austin said. "The thing about Andy is he knows our offence and he's very smart so there's trustworthiness with Andy as it relates to a lack of repetitions.
"We know he will be assignment sound even with few reps if he plays. You don't always have that with other players."
Ticats quarterback Zach Collaros would prefer Fantuz be in the lineup.
"He's been a great player in this league for a long time and there's a reason for it," Collaros said. "His size causes problems for people.
"He's a physical guy and they're a physical football team so that's huge to have out there as well. His competitiveness and love of the game, I think, definitely resonate in the locker-room and huddle as well. He gives me a sense of comfort out there."
Collaros will make his first career CFL start Sunday but says nerves won't be an issue.
"There's always tension, butterflies, but I wouldn't say nervous is the right word," he said. "Nervousness is something that comes with not being prepared for the game and I think we've done a good job all week of being prepared to go out there and do our job.
"I'm just real excited more than anything. I understand the importance of the game . . . but we feel we know Montreal pretty well. We know they're going to throw us a curveball here and there but we'll adjust to it."
Montreal head coach Tom Higgins said his team is prepared to face the Ticats, with or without Fantuz.
"As long as they play with 12 guys on the field, we're OK," Higgins said with a smile. "Any time you have weapons you have to be conscious of them but they have some other players who've stepped up and done a really nice job.
"If (Fantuz) gets the opportunity to play, we'll be ready."
Ticats' offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski will make his season debut. The six-foot-five, 315-pound Dyakowski, who in 2012 was crowned Canada's Smartest Person, missed the entire regular season recovering from a serious knee injury suffered in last year's Grey Cup game.
"I'm back on the roster, I'm back in the mix," the 30-year-old Vancouver native said. "I'll look to contribute any way I can . . . it may not be many chances but I'm going to get a season's worth of hits in whatever plays I am given."
Running back Tyrell Sutton was a surprising omission from Montreal's 46-man roster. Sutton missed last weekend's 50-17 East Division semifinal win over B.C. with an ankle injury but did practise all of last week.
"We truly thought he had a shot," said Higgins. "But it was obvious he wasn't close to being 100 per cent."
Brandon Rutley, who ran for 98 yards and a TD against B.C. in his first CFL start, topped Montreal's depth chart. Chris Rainey, who rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on just three carries versus the Lions, is the other running back.
The ground game was important for Montreal, which ran for 215 yards and four TDs versus B.C. The Ticats counter with a defence that allowed a league-low 76.8 yards rushing per game and two weeks ago held the Als to just 17 rushing yards.
Austin said Hamilton's defence prepared this week for all three of Montreal's running backs, adding Sutton and Rutley have similar running styles.
"They're both physical running backs, they're strong," Austin said. "They break tackles, they play hard so they're both a challenge to get to the ground."
Hamilton is 6-0 this season at Tim Hortons Field, which will be sold out Sunday. The weather forecast looks favourable with a high of 9 C and 60 per cent chance of rain.
Wind can be a factor at Tim Hortons Field, making the opening coin flip important to gain that advantage for the fourth quarter. If the forecast of 15-kilometre winds holds true, that would be just fine with Higgins.
"Fifteen kilometres an hour does not affect the game that much," he said. "When it starts to get to 25 and 30, then the coin toss is important.
"You want to win the coin toss so you have the option that in the second half you'll have the wind in the fourth quarter."Suggest a correction